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Posts Tagged ‘cheap date ideas’

Last year, I recommended going to one of Philly’s many street fairs and festivals, as a great cheap date idea: There’s (usually) no cost for entry, there’s (almost always) live music or entertainment to enjoy, and there’s lots of cool stuff to look at and fun foods to try! Of course, if you don’t want to spend date money at the food stands you can always bring your own and dine picnic style – and bringing your own water anyway is a smart (and cost-saving) move.

In short, Philly’s festivals come in all shapes and sizes, and they are a great opportunity to venture out to a different park or neighborhood, mingle with a new crowd, get some sun and some exercise, see some great live music, meet up with friends, or just enjoy the company of your date.

Penn Landing's Great Plaza

Like last year, I’ve again compiled a list of upcoming street fairs and festivals for your next cheap date! As you can see, there is definitely something for everyone this summer! Mark your (2011) calendars for:

Keep checking back for updates and additions! And for a list of ALL festivals (including those with entry fees above $15, film fests, and events taking place in the greater Philadelphia area, check out this awesome festival roster from Visit Philly!

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I admit that I was a little hesitant at first (ok, resistant may be more accurate) to the idea of trying “disc golf,” “frisbee golf,” (or “FROLF” as my date likes to call it).  But after a few hours spent flinging discs, tramping through the woods, and feigning a competitive edge, I was sold.  This game is really fun!  And being that it’s totally free to play, it’s also a cheap date!  In fact, the Sedgley Woods disc golf course is actually one of the oldest free, public pole-hole disc golf courses in the United States.  A more detailed history of the sport here in Philadelphia can be found here.

Disc golf also has the benefit of being an outdoor sport that takes place mostly under the cover of trees — a definite advantage for hot summer afternoons.  And much like standard golf, you can go at your own pace, allowing plenty of time for flirting and joking around.  You will need to invest in a specialized disc, which is flatter and smaller than a traditional frisbee and specially designed for the sport.  Never fear if you find that aspect intimidating — there are usually some kind and friendly Friends of Sedgley camped out at the entrance to the park selling discs (proceeds go to benefit the park). The best part? The satisfying clang of metal you hear every time you throw your disc into the basket.

Benches!

How cheap we talkin’?: Entrance to the course is absolutely FREE! If you are a first-timer, you may have to invest $9-12 in a disc, generally available for purchase on site.

Why this will impress your date: Because throwing a frisbee is athletic but it is also laid-back. So you can show your date that you are (importantly) both.

The Inside Game: By showing your date the “back 9” – an additional 9 holes that are more challenging than the regular 18, but will lead you into some lovely deep dark woods (read: where to MAKE OUT).

Score Extra Points: By bringing a picnic or some drinks. There are plenty of places throughout the course to stop and enjoy the view.

Next Date: Anytime! Sedgley Woods are open to the public year round, during daylight hours.  Check SEPTA for your exact route, but the 48 bus will get you within walking distance (the park is at 33rd and Oxford in East Fairmount Park).

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Meg poses with a Santa we encountered at Suburban Station

My date’s stats:

 Blog: PhilaDate — Hot Spots for Great Dates in Illadel!

Age: Started blogging in October 2010.

Likes: Walking the city, singing, jazz and blues, and being the go-to source for her friends (especially her guy friends) for date ideas sure to impress the ladies.

Dislikes: Negative Feedback. (Who doesn’t?)

Little Known Fact: Also writes Songs That Won’t Make You Vomit, where she details the ups and downs of her dating life as it relates to, and reminds her of favorite songs.

Favorite Cheap Date:  Brunch at Fitzwater Café.

Meg Mirzoff is a 27 year old “self proclaimed dating pro” and the author of PhilaDate, a relatively new (October 2010) blog that highlights fun date spots culled from Meg’s own extensive experience with both dating and Philadelphia. A lifelong area resident, her twitter profile quips positively that “Philly is a hotbed for the singles… you just gotta put yourself out there!” And that is exactly what Meg did when she agreed to meet me for a blind date after I pitched my I’m Seeing Other Blogs idea to her via email.

Of course, as soon as we met I realized that Meg really never had a moment’s hesitation – a spirit of adventure is just a part of who she is.  Outgoing and enthusiastic, her fun-loving personality comes across in her blog as well.  For example, for a date with “heat” she recommends following a meal of tacos with a night out dancing at a salsa club, and she isn’t afraid of proposing ideas for a 24-hour long date (for some “serious” quality time).

Her idea for our Cheap Date was equally adventuresome: an afternoon Busker-hunting in and around Suburban Station, followed by drinks at Village Whiskey.  For those that don’t know (I didn’t), “Busking” is the act of performing in public while soliciting tips or gratuities (i.e. passing the hat).  Those engaged in Busking are called “Buskers,” also known as street performers, street musicians, minstrels, or troubadours.  I’ve passed by countless such performers before − on South Street, in Rittenhouse, and in the subway stations – but it hadn’t occurred to me that intentionally seeking out these performances could make for a highly entertaining afternoon and a great cheap date.

How cheap we talkin’:  $1-5 in tips for the Buskers; Approx. $6 for a beer at Village Whiskey.

Why this will impress your date: Not only does Busking have a long history dating back to at least the 1860’s, but today’s Buskers have their own culture involving unspoken but understood rules and customs about who gets to play when, and where.

Score Extra Points: By ordering tater tots to share at Village Whiskey. They are only $3 and they are delicious.

The Inside Game: All Buskers are entertainers, but not all are equally entertaining. For a nice profile of various Philly Buskers and their stomping grounds, check out this article from Penn music blog God Save the Beat, or this blog by local Busker David Richenbacher.  

Next Date: Anytime! But Saturday and Sunday afternoons are a pretty safe bet at Suburban Station, as well as early evenings weeknights (rush hour).

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Every Friday at noon, you can go to World Cafe Live and see a free concert.  The performances are recorded and broadcast live on WXPN, complete with on-air announcements, so it’s really a fun thing to be a part of, and definitely a notch above the usual “lunch date.”  I recently met a date there to see Drink Up Buttercup, an energetic, psychedelic, PA-based garage band that has been gaining momentum both locally and nationally. Performances reliably start at noon and end about 30 minutes later, leaving plenty of time to actually enjoy lunch, too.  If you want to stay in-house, World Cafe has $8 pre-fixe lunch specials, but we opted instead to walk two blocks North on Walnut street to the more casual Picnic, which offers an inventive inventory of freshly made sandwiches, salads, soups, and desserts.

How much we talkin’: The show is FREE. (Optional) drink at World Cafe Live is $5 (+ tip). Salad or sandwich at Picnic, $8 or less.

Why this will impress your date: Show you’re not just a slave to the man by indulging in a drink on your lunch hour. A real one.

The inside game: These shows can and do reach capacity, especially for larger national acts, and XPN makes registration available to its members before the general public.  If you’re not a member, check the free-at-noon events page to see who’s coming the next Friday and if space is available.  Registration is a simple matter of providing your name and email, and one person can RSVP for two or more guests.

Score extra points: By showing your date up to the balcony, accessible by the stairs on the second level.

Next date: Friday at noon! Find out who’s playing this week here.

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Drink Philly is my go-to source for information about all things alcoholic in Philly.  They cover it all: where to find the season’s best microbrews, Philly’s best mixologists, and a very helpful “Specials” guide organized by neighborhood and day of the week.  But they understand that it can’t be all champagne toasts and top shelf cocktails all the time.  They get me.  And that’s why we’re together.

So check out my Cheap Date review of Del Frisco’s happy hour at drinkphilly.com, where I recently discovered you can get dinner and drinks for under $15 per person (no, really!).  And look for more Cheap Date articles on Drink Philly in the coming months!

Cheers!

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There is something kind of exhilarating about having the daylights scared out of you, especially when you have a date’s hand to cling to in the dark.  In October, through Halloween, haunted houses pop up all over Philly and the surrounding area.  These spook shows are fun, for sure –  but they’re not cheap.  Tickets to Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary during off-peak hours are $20, and go up from there.  But, as I discovered on a recent date, this dilapidated prison fortress in Fairmount is pretty darn creepy all by itself, even in daylight hours.  Get your imagination going by trading ghost stories over a cup of coffee at Mugshots across the street, then go walk the long, ghostly halls of Eastern State, which many believe to be haunted. If you dare.

Why this will impress your date: Because being scared on a date is kind of sexy.  (Note: Being scared of your date is not).

The Inside Game: If you need something warmer than your date’s hand to hold onto, Eastern State will let you bring in your coffee.

Score Extra Points: By being able to give your date goose bumps with a great ghost story. Don’t have any? Borrow one fromTrue Ghost Stories or Your Ghost Stories. Both sites feature real stories of hauntings and other paranormal happenings.

Next date: Anytime. Eastern State Penitentiary is open 10-5pm, every day, year round.

How cheap we talkin’: $12 for daytime admission to Eastern State; 2$ for coffee or tea at Mugshots.

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First Oriental is a full-service grocery store at 6th and Washington streets, but in addition to its wide selection of ordinary foodstuffs, it also stocks tons of fascinating products that you can’t find in the average supermarket: lychee, jackfruit and other exotic produce, every kind of rice and noodle imaginable, an entire aisle of imported candies and cookies, quail eggs by the dozen, vats of seaweed crusted with salt, tripe, pig’s feet, frogs, eels, frozen fish (whole), and dozens of varieties of dumplings, fish balls, gyoza, and shumai.  In other words, it makes shopping for a dinner date into an adventure of its own.

How cheap we talkin’: $10-$15 per person.   Our total came to roughly $20, which included frozen dumplings, ingredients for noodle soup, and dessert.

Why this will impress your date: Did I mention the live frogs?

The Inside Game: Buy at least one thing you’ve never seen/eaten/cooked with before. Part of the fun is buying whatever looks intriguing, and making a meal out of it.

Score Extra Points: By carrying the groceries.

Next date: Anytime.

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