The fall months of Philadelphia are nothing short of romantic. I mean come on, Sylvester Stallone did his triumphant "Rocky" run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art — seeing those stairs in person is the next best thing to a Netflix and chill date featuring the cult classic.
Well okay, so maybe Rocky doesn't excite your girlfriend — and that's totally fine! From spending a day at the museums to seeing your favorite bands when they come to town, there are nearly endless places to go and people to see in Philly.
Undoubtedly you two have already been spending your off time together hitting up all the typical commercial tourist hotspots, but you can totally keep things interesting by taking the path less traveled. So pack up your bae because you won't want to miss these must-see secrets spots in Philly for a date you'll both never forget.
The Fountain Street Steps
Where: the intersection of Umbria Street & Fountain Street in Manayunk
Once overgrown with weeds and littered with trash, these 70 stained glass mosaic steps didn't always look so pleasant. They were tended to back in the 1990s (oh the wonderful 90s) by some community members who made it their mission to beautify the local eyesore. Since then, the stairs have been maintained by the community and have undergone additional restoration, making it into the beautiful artwork as seen today.
Henry Cope Garden
Where: 1 Awbury Road, Germantown
Known as the "secret garden," this 55-acre plot of land dates back to the early days of Awbury. The garden is home to many species of shrubs and plants, but what really makes Henry Cope Garden spectacular is the plethora of rare — and very old — trees. Visits to the garden must be planned in advance, so don't hesitate because the clock is ticking!
Where: 530 South St
This isn't what it sounds like, the Tattooed Mom is actually a wacky (and vulgar) hipster restaurant featuring bumper-car tables, exotic decorations, and neon painted everything. The menu is just as unique, the restaurant doesn't recognize sandwiches — instead, they have "sammies." Make sure to try one of their signature brightly colored cocktails if you're over 21!
The Strange and Unusual Antique Store
Where: 523 S 4th St
True to its name, the Strange and Unusual antique store is full of oddities, making it a perfect date for all those witches and warlocks out there. From authentic human skeletons to Ouiji boards and spirit summoning equipment, there are plenty of macabre items to see and purchase in this one-of-a-kind shop.
Glendinning Rock Garden
Where: Kelly Drive & Brewery Hill Drive
Once home to the Spring Garden Water Works, the 18th-century building's foundation still remains but has since been overpopulated with flora. The Garden itself is charming, but also local to a lot of picture-perfect scenery. The rocky stairway adjacent from the garden leads the way to waterfalls, a pond, trails and a darling little picnic area. This is a must-see for anyone keen on outdoor exploration.
This restaurant is a seafood lover's dream come true. From brunch to dinner, the menu is full of variety and different seafood (and some non-seafood) options. Daily deals are totally a thing here, such as the popular all-you-can-eat mussel Monday, so if you plan your timing right you can save a little bit of money to spend on your lovely lady elsewhere.
The Corner Stone Bed & Breakfast
Where: 3300 Baring Street
Dodge all of your adult responsibilities for a while at the historic Corner Stone Bed & Breakfast, located conveniently within walking distance to much of what Philly has to offer. The converted 1865 Victorian-style mansion with modern amenities offers a cozy and relaxing atmosphere perfect for unwinding.
Mount Moriah Cemetery
Where: 6201 Kingsessing Ave, Angora
Nothing says "'til death do us part" like romantic strolls through abandoned cemeteries. How can a cemetery be abandoned you ask? In this case, Mount Moriah Cemetery was once overseen by the Mount Moriah Cemetery Association but, after the last member died over a decade ago, the cemetery remained unclaimed by any other organization — leaving it unkempt and rotting. Occasionally, volunteer organizations will attempt to maintain the site by cutting back overgrowth and picking up trash.
This cemetery has quite the history; first opening in 1855 and spanning over 400 acres with architecture rivaling some of the most famous cemeteries of the time like Pere Lachaise in Paris, it soon became Pennsylvania's largest final resting place. Since its gates have closed, many visitors still come here today to view the timeless gothic architecture and whatever else remains.
Where: 1717 Arch St., 51st Floor
You won't get views like this at any other restaurant in Philly. You'll be eating on the 51st floor at SkyGarten, making it the world's only 51st-floor Biergarten. The view isn't the only thing cool about this eatery - its German pub inspired accents and food make it an-all-year-round Oktoberfest.
Cave of Kelpius
Where: 777-795 Hermit Ln
The Cave of Kelpius sounds oddly like a Spongebob episode, but I assure you it's actually a stone-framed enhanced cave. It's believed by many to have been built into a side of a hill in a remote area of Philadelphia's Fairmount Park during the 17th century by one of America's first cults of mystics (aka doomsday preppers) to withstand the world's end. Wow — just reading that was a mouthful.
Anyways, some skeptics say it's just an old springhouse but some evidence leaves historians to believe it housed the traveling mystic Johannes Kelpius and his followers, sought solitary shelter for the world's end after elaborately interpreting the Bible’s “Book of Revelation.”
PECO Green Roof
Where: 100 N. 20th Street - 5th Floor
Tour the PECO Green Roof — a 45,000 sq ft roof on the 8th story of the PECO headquarters building is filled by a layer of lightweight, water absorbing, green perennial plants. According to PECO's official website, green roofs offer big benefits for the environment because the plants retain large quantities of rainwater, reducing runoff that contributes to flooding and water pollution.
Interestingly, the plants also keep temperatures on the roof much lower than on a conventional roof — which also helps save energy.
Where: University City
If you're looking for an exotic place to eat, take your date out for some Ethiopian cuisine at this college town restaurant. The best thing about this eatery (besides the food) is the prices. Since they cater mostly to the local college students, portions are big and prices are small, making it the perfect place for an unusual dinner date.
Love Letter Murals
Where: viewable from the elevated train platform of the Market-Frankford line in West Philadelphia
Unknown to many, Philadephia is considered the "Art Capital of America." Contributing to that moniker, “Love Letter” is a series of 50 rooftop murals painted by Stephen Powers in a collaborated effort with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. The murals signify love between different "characters" including between a couple, an artist and their hometown, and local residents to their Philly neighborhood.
Spruce Hill Bird Sanctuary
Where: Spruce Hill Bird Sanctuary, S Melville St
This location is definitely for the birds. Hidden away behind the backyards of the West Philadelphia rowhomes, this adorable bird sanctuary is home to several species of birds — making it a great location for birdwatchers.
Giorgio on Pine
Where: Washington Square West
It's'a'me, Giorgio! Grab some delicious Italian food at this BYOB eatery in Washington Square. Okay, so Italian food is everywhere in the city — but what makes this restaurant special? For starters, the food here is amazing — from the savory pasta to the homemade pizza, anyone with an itch for Italy will feel great about eating at Giorgio's. Not to mention, how many gluten-loving Italian restaurants do you know with a tasty gluten-free menu? You just found one.
Franklin Institue — Maillardet's Automaton
Where: Franklin Institute
Add this to your list of weird things to see. On the surface, the Maillardet Automaton appears to be an extremely creepy, nightmare-inducing, things horror stories are written about — but it's actually kind of adorable. Parts of this odd creation were brought to the Franklin Institute in 1928, and after some reassembling the "boy" was revealed.
This Humpty-Dumpty robot turned out to be a writing and drawing automation created by the 17th-century Swiss-born mechanician Henri Maillardet. It wasn't until the machine was put into motion that his origin was revealed, he signed the bottom of a poem with "Ecrit par l’automate de Maillardet" — translated into English as "Written by Maillardet’s automaton." He's now on permanent display at the Franklin Institue.
Where: University City
If you can't get enough of the rooftop to-dos, you'll want to check out the often-unnoticed and very unique Cira Green. Located on the top floor of an 11-story parking garage, this park officially opened to the public in 2015 and remains open seven days a week.
Where: 138 S. Second St.
Skip the museums — experience Philadelphia's history first hand. From the waitstaff in period clothing to the old-time inspired menu, the City Tavern restaurant prides itself on being a historically accurate replica of a colonial tavern - so pull up a chair and chow down on some of the lost recipes of foods our ancestors once enjoyed.