We all know dating isn’t easy, especially in the cold winter months. Have you been glued to the couch bingeing Netflix with your significant other for the last three weekends? Or stuck sitting in awkward silence at the movies on a first date? We scoured the area for fun ways to actually get to know a new person, or break the comfortable (but monotonous) cycle long-term couples often fall into. Consult the list below for some fresh ideas before you head out for date night!
- Laugh it up
Helium Comedy Club on Sansom Street features open mic nights once a week in January. You can check out some of Philly’s local talent, or sign up to be on stage yourself! If you or your date want to build some comedy skills, sign up for Writers Bloc, held every Tuesday in January from 5:00-8:00 P.M. (the first session is on a Wednesday, January 3). Hang with other novice comics for food and drinks, while working on material and getting feedback from established comedians. As a bonus, you’ll get free admission to that open mic night we mentioned!
If you’re hoping to stay off the stage, but want to see some big names, Helium will not disappoint. Through March, you can see the likes of Jess Hilarious, Ari Shaffir, and Tom Green. Consult the Helium calendar for show dates and times.
Across Sansom Street, check out Philly Improv Theater for even more laughs. Even if you don’t want to pursue a career as a comic, you can sign up for a class solo or with your S.O. You can decide if improv is your thing by taking a FREE Intro to Improv session in January. You know what they say – the couple that laughs together, stays together! They do say that right? Regardless, it’s bound to be a fun, bonding activity. If you’re single, maybe you’ll meet some new, interesting people, and learn something to boot. Check out PHIT’s website for more info, including details about their sketch comedy and acting programs.
It’s not all work and no play over at PHIT. There are shows almost every night of the week, ranging from improv musicals to With Mirth and Laughter: Improv in the Style of Shakespeare. Tickets are a steal at $12.00 each – visit the calendar, click on the show you want, and get ‘em now!
- Get cultured
Philly has tons of museums at your disposal, so it was hard narrowing down the list. We couldn’t ignore an old standby, the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Long recognized for its iconic Rocky scene, the art museum is more than a set of steps. Buy tickets online for just $20.00 each – not a bad deal when you consider tickets grant you access to all the museum buildings for two consecutive days. Don’t have $40.00 to shell out for you and a date? No problem. Visit on the first Sunday of each month, or any Wednesday from 5:00-8:45 P.M., for Pay What You Wish Admission. You’ll find an impressive collection of work from renowned artists like Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Georgia O’Keeffe. The museum also boasts a collection of South Asian Art that includes Chinese Buddhist Art, with an interactive view of a decorated Buddhist temple ceiling from Beijing.
This is just a sampling of the treasures found in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We guarantee you’ll learn more about someone on a first date here than at an uncomfortable dinner for two. Or who knows, maybe you’ll find out that your fiancé has exquisite taste in contemporary art!
If you’re into a more…macabre scene, visit the Mutter Museum on 22nd Street. A world-famous medical museum, the Mutter features carefully preserved specimens, models, and antiquated medical equipment. Before you try this out on a first date, you might want to make sure that your new love interest isn’t squeamish. You’ll find human skulls, Einstein’s brain, and an exhibit titled A Stitch in Spine Saves Nine: Innovations in Spinal Surgery. Through January 4, Lisa Nilsson: Connective Tissue merges art with anatomy.
Open daily from 10:00-5:00 P.M., tickets are $18.00 each for adults. Don’t miss an opportunity to test your knowledge after all those Grey’s Anatomy marathons you’ve had with bae!
- Root for the home team
Everyone has been caught up in Eagles fever this year, but don’t forget about our other winter sports teams! Both the Flyers and the Sixers play home games at the Wells Fargo Center on weekends and weeknights. This is an awesome alternative to meeting up for drinks after work!
Basketball tickets are generally cheaper than hockey tickets, especially if the two teams have less than stellar records. At 15-19 as of this writing, the 76ers are having a bit of a rough start. Regardless, being at a game is always more exciting than watching it on TV. The energy and excitement of a sports stadium is bound to create a positive date atmosphere. Plus, you can show off your sports knowledge! On January 24, watch the Sixers take on the Chicago Bulls for as little as $22.00 per ticket, or splurge for better seats at $40.00 each.
If you’re definitely looking for an intense game, check out the Flyers vs. the St. Louis Blues on January 6. These tickets start at $50.00 a pop, so maybe save this for your sweetie who’s been itching to get to a Flyers game. If you can hold out until March, save up for tickets to catch the Flyers play their rival, the New York Rangers. The Rangers come to town on Thursday, March 22 at 7:00 P.M.
The NBA and NHL regular seasons both run through April. That’s plenty of time to score seats for any of the home games at the Wells Fargo Center.
- Channel your inner child
Everyone has a childhood memory of playing at the arcade. Whether it was down the shore or at the neighborhood Chuckie Cheese, there was no better place to run around and be shamelessly competitive. What if we told you that you could STILL play arcade games, and drink beer while you do it?
Welcome to Barcade, a Fishtown hot spot featuring classic arcade games and craft beer. Travel back in time and try your hand at vintage hits like Frogger, Donkey Kong, and Tetris. There are two player games like Daytona USA, so take a risk and challenge your date to a race before getting some drinks. Barcade has loads of craft beers on tap, with a rotating menu each day. Past menu offerings include Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale, Yards Chocolate Love Stout, and Abita Grapefruit Honey Lager.
If you’re looking for a bit of a party vibe, check out Lucky Strike in Center City. Bowl on one of 24 lanes, shoot some pool, or try your hand at ping pong. This is the ideal date locale if you want to have some old school fun before a big game or on fight night. Huge TVs, handcrafted cocktails, and a diverse menu will make anyone happy, so don’t sweat the small stuff when bringing someone new here! Pro tip: save room for the Blueberry and Ricotta Spoon Cake, perfect for sharing.
Before you go, be sure to keep an eye open for special events, like Barcade’s upcoming Winter Beer Night on January 18.
- Test your smarts
Escape the room venues have been hot for the past few years, and Philly has not shied away from the trend. In most room escapes, a small group will be dropped in a locked room and given a set time to get out. You’ll have to work together to find clues that unlock the door. We can see how this might be a bad situation if it turns out that you don’t actually like that person from Tinder. BUT, at least you won’t have to waste time on a second date.
Escape the Room Philly on Walnut Street is a classic spot, with origins in New York City. Choose from four room options: The Dig, Three Mile Island, and two Agency settings featuring top secret missions. Your group will have 60 minutes to get out. If it’s just you and your plus one, you’ll have 6-8 others in your escape crew. Otherwise, make it a group date with a few other couples. You’ll find out who your friends are when you’re trapped in a room!
Another downtown favorite, Room Escape Philadelphia, has two scenarios to choose from. Board a Caribbean pirate ship with a group of 4-8 and hunt for treasure. Don’t forget the whole point is to escape the room, so you’ll also have to get to land! Larger groups of up to 14 can choose to escape from famed prison Alcatraz. You’ll have to break out your friends and yourself in 60 minutes or less, so no time for small talk! On a first date, that might be a good thing.
Both venues offer advance online booking. Tickets for Escape the Room start at $28.00. You can even purchase a gift voucher if you’re looking for a unique anniversary gift! Hey, some people might be into that. Room Escape pricing also starts at $28.00 per person. Both locations suggest that you arrive 10-15 minutes early, so plan accordingly!
Now that you’ve seen this list, you have no excuse for hitting play on another episode of Stranger Things. Get out and try something new, immerse yourself in culture, or get wrapped in fun and games. You won’t regret it!