The holidays are here, and all around Philadelphia, romance is in the air.
From the twinkling lights of the city from above at the new One Liberty Observation Deck to the cozy warmth of the fire pits at the revamped Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, Philadelphia delivers excellent seasonal options to encourage displays of affection.
Time for you and your sweetie to slip away from the holiday hubbub and get into a romantic holiday date.
1. Hit the ice at BlueCross RiverRink Winterfest
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest transforms Penn’s Landing into a winterized riverfront park for the entire season with an Olympic-size ice rink, sprawling winter garden, mountain chalet-style Lodge, holiday trees, fire pits and plenty of cozy seating — plus, excellent food and drink from local culinary stars Garces Group and Franklin Fountain. Whether your darling prefers to cozy up in one of the new warming cottages or hold hands on the ice, Winterfest delivers a location fit for a magical date night.
When: Daily through February 28, 2016, including holidays
Where: Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
2. Check out AMOR at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Through mid-January, the Philadelphia Museum of Art continues its installation of Robert Indiana’s tremendous sculpture AMOR atop the museum’s steps on the east terrace. One of the City of Brotherly Love’s best-known landmarks is LOVE itself — the Robert Indiana sculpture in John F. Kennedy Plaza, northwest of City Hall. Now, the six-foot-tall bilingual version mirrors its sister sculpture on the other end of the Parkway and makes for a lovely photo-op. Be sure to venture inside the Philadelphia Museum of Art, too, to admire the holiday decorations and participate in festive programming, particularly on Wednesday and Friday nights.
When: Sculpture on view through mid-January; Programming held after 5 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday nights
Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
3. Stop by Christmas Village at LOVE Park
Modeled after traditional European open-air Christmas markets, Christmas Village at LOVE Park is a daily an outdoor holiday market, right in the heart of Center City. Sip mulled wine, browse through the vendors and snap a holiday card-worthy photo in from of the LOVE sculpture.
When: Open daily, with the exception of Christmas Day
Where: Love Park (JFK Plaza), 1500 Arch Street
4. Visit Longwood Gardens for A Longwood Christmas
After the sun goes down at Longwood Gardens, the verdant grounds light up with thousands of twinkling lights. Cuddle in the chilly air and stroll with your loved one through the expansive holiday lights display. Plus, there are plenty of nooks and shadows to duck into for a smooch.
When: Through January 10, 2016
Where: 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square
5. Score tickets to a holiday show
There’s no place like the theater for the holidays, where all of the magic of the festive season comes to life on stage. Philadelphia’s performing arts community hosts a ton of great holiday-themed shows this season sure to be a treat not just for theater enthusiasts, but anyone looking to embrace the holiday spirit — or a loved one. Hold hands after the house lights dim at a performing arts show such as Pennsylvania Ballet’s George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, The Philly Pops’ Christmas Spectacular or A Christmas Story, The Musical at Walnut Street Theatre.
When: Dates and times vary
Where: Various locations
6. Gaze at the city lights from the One Liberty Observation Deck
The grand opening of the hotly anticipated One Liberty Observation Deck arrived just before Thanksgiving, marking the public debut of Philadelphia’s first highly accessible observation deck. The observatory on the 57th floor of One Liberty Place in downtown Philadelphia and supplies the chance to score panoramic views of the cityscape, interact with innovative technology and check out Philly-centric art installations. The bird’s-eye view of the city can be inspiring, and we’re betting lots of holiday engagements will take place 883 feet above street level.
When: Daily, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Where: 1650 Market Street
7. Warm up around the fire at Franklin Square
Festive lights, winter treats and holiday cheer fill historic Franklin Square all season long for its free holiday festival and light show. With the spectacular Electrical Spectacle light show as its main feature — the show employs more than 50,000 (!) twinkling lights and dynamic holiday soundtrack — the seasonal outdoor attraction rounds out the ongoing festivities with a winter beer garden, holiday shopping, themed events and more. We recommend cuddling around the fire pits, craft brew in hand.
When: Through December 31
Where: Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th Street
8. Go on a walking tour of Center City holiday lights
Center City is home to many destinations where couples can ooh and aah over holiday lights. Stroll hand-in-hand down Addison Street or gaze at the City Hall Christmas Tree before walking through Rittenhouse Square beneath its sparkling globes in the trees overhead.
Where: Center City
9. Dine at a decked out restaurant
Forget ho-hum date night dining and check out one of the brand-new restaurants on this city’s scene like Neuf, Buckminister’s or Tredici. Plus, tons of Philadelphia restaurants are all decked out for the holidays, too, so score a seat at a spot like Pub & Kitchen, The Dandelion or Little Nonna’s — all of which festively decorate their dining rooms.
10. Stay overnight in a Philadelphia hotel
The holidays are a perfect time for a little staycation or vacation in Center City, and Center City hotels are awaiting those reservations. Check out the always-a-great-deal Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package. The one- or two-night package includes free hotel parking so you can drive into town and not have to worry about finding and paying for parking.