Temperatures may be low this month, but romance is heating up all over the city. From horse-drawn carriage rides to DIY date nights, these spots and activities around the city are sure to put you in the mood for love.
Spend some quality time—and maybe a few dollars—at Philadelphia shops and boutiques. The dazzling displays at the Lagos flagship store (1735 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA, 215.567.0770) in Rittenhouse Square are chockfull of earrings, bracelets, necklaces and other bejeweled accessories that will make any sweetheart swoon. Planning to visit one of the city's many bring-your-own-bottle restaurants while you're in town? The experts at Pinot Boutique (227 Market St., Philadelphia, PA, 215.627.9463) in Old City can select the perfect vintage to complement any meal. The Pleasure Chest (2039 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA, 215.561.7480) caters to customers who want to spice things up in the bedroom. The knowledgeable and discreet staff at this adults-only shop are on hand to help patrons find whatever they need, whether it's sexy lingerie or something a little more risqué.
Couples can get their hands dirty in these classes that combine quality time with hands-on fun. The Clay Studio (139 N. Second St., Philadelphia, PA, 215.925.3453, theclaystudio.org) hosts date nights designed specifically for couples who want to sculpt and throw pottery together, and this month the powers-that-be have added extra workshops to accommodate the event's high demand. Artists who'd rather create on canvas can attend Paint Nite, a roaming class held at bars and restaurants all over the city. During each two-hour lesson, a local artist leads the group through step-by-step painting instructions, and participants get to take their masterpieces home. On the food front, Marc Vetri's eponymous restaurant Vetri (1312 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA, 215.732.3478) recently built a demo kitchen and private dining room that hosts cooking classes like Meatless Monday (Feb. 9), Risotto (Feb. 11) and a romantically inspired Valentine's Demonstration Dinner (Feb. 13). Class sizes are extremely small, so be sure to reserve seats as soon as possible.
Take a walk on the romantic side at some of Philly's local attractions. With its Night Skies stargazing series, The Franklin Institute (222 N. 20th St., Philadelphia, PA, 215.448.1200) proves that science can be sexy. One evening each month, Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts invites visitors into the Joel N. Bloom Observatory to view celestial objects like planets and stars through a selection of the museum's powerful telescopes. Back on earth, Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest (Penn's Landing, 201 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA, 215.925.7465) feels like a mountain retreat right here in the city. This seasonal complex includes a riverside ice-skating rink, s'mores-ready fire pits and hundreds of shrubs and trees. After a spin on the ice, couples can relax with craft beer, cocktails and cuisine from Garces Events in The Lodge, a heated, chalet-style hangout. Be sure to get there soon; Winterfest closes for the season on March 1.
Tours for Two
Prefer to leave the planning to experts? Sign up for one of these guided tours that showcase the loveliest aspects of the city. On the Mural Arts Love Letter Tour, guests travel via elevated train past more than fifty rooftop murals by Philly's own Stephen Powers (aka ESPO) and his team. Tours depart from The Gallery (Ninth Street and Market Street, Philadelphia, PA, 215.685.0750) on Saturdays and Sundays. For old world-style romance, opt for a horse-drawn carriage ride from 76 Carriage Company (Fifth Street and Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA, 215.389.TOUR). As the horseshoes click-clack on the cobblestone, you can sit back, relax, and take in the sites with the one you love. Private tours range from $35 to $90, depending on duration.
Bundle up and snuggle up at these outdoor spots that are ripe for romance. The impressive Rodin Museum (2154 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA, 215.763.8100) houses the largest collection of the artist's work outside of Paris, but admirers needn’t even step inside to appreciate the works of art. Eight stunning sculptures, including "The Thinker" and "Adam," reside in outdoor garden, which is free and open to the public. The Smith Memorial Arch in Fairmount Park (North Concourse Drive near Memorial Hall, Philadelphia, PA) honors Civil War heroes, but it is also a popular spot for playful fun. The seating areas at the base of the arch, dubbed the Whispering Benches, are set against stone walls that curve in a way that enables a whisper from someone at one end to be heard clearly by someone at the other. Don’t leave Philly without taking a photo or two in front of Robert Indiana's famed LOVE statue in Love Park (temporarily located at City Hall). You may have to wait your turn behind other couples in love, but you'll walk away with an iconic, profile-picture-worthy snapshot to remind you of your Philly getaway.