Love is in the air, Philadelphia. This February, there are plenty of Valentine's-themed activities to occupy including the Sweetheart Skate at the Blue Cross RiverRink. (Photo by Matt Stanley for DRWC)
In the City of Brotherly Love, amorous feelings are never far from mind.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, though, the city’s affection for romance peaks with many, many events on or around Friday, February 14.
Whether you’re a part of a contented couple, a blissful single or a loving family, there’s something happening in Philadelphia around Valentine’s Day for you.
Looking for romantic dinner ideas? We’ve got you covered there, too. Check out out roundup of picks for Valentine’s Day dinners right here.
Bonus Idea: Pair that date night or group party with an overnight stay at a Center City hotel. Valentine’s Day falls on Friday this year, so it’s a perfect excuse to kick it up a notch with a pampering hotel stay. Whether you’re coming in from outside of the city or are already here in town, a mid-February hotel stay can be the ideal winter getaway, staycation and/or treat that you’ve been looking for.
The best part — there are some spectacular hotel deals right now, and you can check them all out in our roundup of picks for Valentine’s Day hotel packages right here.
Check out our picks for Valentine’s Day events of all sort, below:
Museums & Attractions
• Sweetheart Skate at the Blue Cross RiverRink: Bring your sweetheart to Blue Cross RiverRink’s Sweetheart Skate on Friday, February 14. Reserve a spot during one of three sessions, 7-8:30 p.m., 9-10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m., and skate circles around the RiverRink while a DJ spins classic love songs. Complimentary flowers, chocolates and a Valentine’s Day photo are included for each couple. Tickets are $20 per person, and advance reservations are definitely suggested. Tickets are available online.
• Love at the Barnes at The Barnes Foundation: The extraordinary art collection of The Barnes Foundation can deepen any love of the arts. On Valentine’s Day, enjoy the permanent collection, the temporary exhibition from Yinka Shonibare MBE and a live cello performance, champagne and chocolates on Friday, February 14, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The Love at the Barnes soiree is $30 for general admission, and tickets are available online.
• Be Our Valentine at the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Celebrate sweet love at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with a number of special Valentine’s Day–themed gallery programs, including guided tours and performances. On Friday, February 14, Art After 5 takes on amour with Love Lounge, an evening of soul music curated by artist and producer Nina “Lyrispect” Ball running from 5 to 8:45 p.m. Events are free with museum admission.
• Valentine’s Day Date Night Tours at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens: Head to South Street’s glittering Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens for an art-filled date night on Thursday, February 13 at 6 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. Tour the mosaic wonderland and learn about the love story of the gardens’ founding artist Isaiah Zagar and his wife, Julia. Note that the Friday, February 14 tour is already sold out, so make plans now for a pre-Valentine’s tour by calling 215-733-0390 to reserve tickets.
• Wild at Heart at the Philadelphia Zoo: Walk on the wild side at The Philadelphia Zoo with Wild at Heart, a family-friendly Valentine’s Day celebration February 15 and 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The events run all day long on both days, and families can take part in a self-guided “love tour” that explores the world of animal couples at the zoo and also watch animals chow down on special treats from the trainers.
• Valentine’s Day at the James Turrell Skyspace: Find peace, quiet and a bit of amazement on Valentine’s Day with a viewing at the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting Skyspace from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, February 14. The special Friday opening of the James Turrell-designed Skyspace lasts 50 minutes, and view is completely free. Bring blankets or sleeping bags, though, as the space is open to the sky and it will be chilly. Be sure to check the website before coming, too, as the opening will be cancelled in the event of rain or snow, or snow or ice on the roof, or temperatures below freezing. Space is limited, and reservations should be made online.
It's easy to fall in love with The Barnes Foundation. The museum hosts a Friday night Valentine's Day party with marvelous art, cocktails and live music. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)
Shows, Film, Dance & Music
• The Ex-Files First Person Arts StorySlam: If hearts and chocolate aren’t your style, snag a ticket for the fourth annual First Person Arts StorySlam, The Ex-Files, on Friday, February 14. Held for the first time at Underground Arts, the annual anti-Valentine’s Day storytelling competition asks audience members to step up and share real-life tales of breakups and heartbreaks. Philadelphia’s own Eric Smith, author of A Geek’s Guide to Dating, is set to make a special appearance and give away copies of his book, too. Tickets are $14 and available online, and we recommend booking soon before the show sells out.
• BalletX Winter Series: If you’ve never seen BalletX on stage, it’s time to take a seat and take in one of our city’s most high-octane and passionate dance troupes. From February 12-16, the Winter Series hits the stage at The Wilma Theater with a trio of works spotlighting an incredible array of talented dancers and choreographers.
• Pablo Batista’s Mambo Syndicate at the Painted Bride: Whether you’re a couple or not, the Painted Bride makes a hot destination on Valentine’s Day. Join Grammy Award-winning percussionist Pablo Batista and his large ensemble for a night of salsa music and dancing. Show up at 7 p.m. for salsa lessons, then plant yourself on the dance floor after 8 p.m. for the concert and party. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of, and are available online.
• Revolution Shakespeare presents Love’s Labour’s Won: Head to the Off-Broad Street Theatre on Sansom Street for an evening of Shakespearean sonnets and scenes to inspire Valentine’s Day on Tuesday, February 11 starting at 8 p.m. For just $5, hear poetry, music and song featuring some of Shakespeare’s most romantic sonnets and scenes. Tickets are available online.
More Valentine’s Day events, below.
• Dances of Love at Society Hill Dance Academy: On Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14, learn how to move like a smooth Latin lover at Society Hill Dance Academy in Headhouse Square. All evening long, every hour on the hour from 5 to 9 p.m., the dance school offers classes in either Tango or Rumba. Classes are $40 per couple, and class size is limited, so reserve a spot soon by calling 215-574-3574.
• Shine A Little Love at The Trestle Inn: Raise a glass to Valentine’s Day at The Trestle Inn with whiskey, dancing and awesomely sappy love songs from the 1970s. Start the evening with love songs and cocktail specials from 6 to 9 p.m., then stick around for the Souled Out dance party, a night of classic funk, soul, R&B and go-go dancing. The sweetest part? There’s no cover.
• Valentine’s Day at the International House: The International House Philadelphia’s Free to Love film series is keeping things interesting in University City this winter, and on Valentine’s Day weekend there are a couple films perfect for the holiday. On Friday, February 14 catch Woody Allen’s Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (But Were Afraid to Ask), the classic satire of ’60s pseudo-science, and on Saturday, February 15 see the Swedish film I Am Curious (Blue), about a girl who confronts religion, sexuality and social justice. Tickets, $9, are available online.
• Karen Gross presents Valentine’s Mixtape: Beyond Center City, head to music club Puck in Doylestown to catch comedic cabaret songstress Karen Gross perform her Valentine’s Mixtape show. Kicking off at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 14, the show includes two one-hour sets — “side A” and “side B” — for $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets are available online.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art welcomes couples, singles and even families to its love-themed Art After 5 on Friday, February 14. (Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia)
Shops, Galleries, Tours & More
• Galentine’s Day with Art in the Age: Shop around on East Passyunk Avenue just before Valentine’s Day for a Galentine’s Day event on Saturday, February 8 with Spodee Wine. Start at Home on East Passyunk and continue to Occasionette, all the while sipping love-themed Spodee cocktails and nibbling tasty treats. Plus, create a make-and-take felt flower with Sue Eggen of Giant Dwarf and end the night with a gift bag of goodies.
• Devil’s Alley and Smoken Betty’s 7th annual Puppy Love Valentine’s Party: Center City restaurants Smokin’ Betty’s and Devil’s Alley team up once again this Valentine’s Day to host the seventh year of a Puppy Love Valentines Party on Wednesday, February 12 at the 23rd Street Armory. The doggie-themed bash includes cocktails, treats, a silent auction, live music, dancing, a puppy photo booth, pet adoption, and a doggy fashion show. Tickets are $40 for general admission, $150 for VIP, and are available online.
• Nest Tweetheart Social: Enjoy an early Valentine’s Day date with your pint-sized loved ones at the Nest Tweetheart Social. Open to members and non-members, the Friday, February 14 event invites families to enjoy heart-shaped pizza from Nomad Pizza, a silent auction, cooking demos from local chefs, a children’s dance party (ages 4 and up), Valentine’s Day themed crafts and activities for younger children (3 and under). Proceeds from the event will benefit Friends of CHOP, making it a feel-good party, too.
• Hands-On Tour: Love Letters at The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation: From the love notes of poet John Keats to his beloved Fanny Brawne and a 19th-century forgery of William Shakespeare “writing” to his wife Anne Hathaway, the Rosenbach Museum & Library is home to a wide variety of historic love letters. Join a tour of some of the most personal and emotional writing in the collections. Tickets are $15 ($10 museum admission, $5 tour) and advance registration is strongly recommended and available by calling 215-732-1600.
• Mural Arts Program Love Letter Tours: Nothing saves love quite like 50 giant rooftop murals. Mural Arts’ Love Letter Tour brings guests around the city on Market Frankford line’s elevated El train. The tours are offered every Saturday 10-11:30 a.m. and Sunday 1-2:30 p.m. The tour explores the romantic murals around the city. Guests will get to check out a love letter turned into a mural and murals that represent sentiments from people to their town. The train leaves from Mural Arts at the Gallery and drops off there as well. Tickets are $20 per person and are available online.
• Valentine’s Ghost Tour: Love Never Dies: A candlelight walking tour of Society Hill sounds awfully romantic, but add a dash of the supernatural and it quickly becomes far more engaging. Join Ghost Tours of Philadelphia to walk by the light of the full moon and discover the spirits of Philly’s lovelorn past. The 75-minute tour is $20 per person and begins at Powel House, 244 S. 3rd Street, and reservations are required.