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Posts Tagged ‘Cheap’

Since its renovation in 2006, Franklin Square Park has been transformed into a vibrant amusement park, complete with a carousel, two playgrounds, the impressive and historic Franklin Square Fountain, and the perfect Cheap Date diversion: an 18-hole miniature golf course designed around iconic Philadelphia landmarks like Love Park and the Liberty Bell. After battling it out on the green, my date and I cooled off by getting frosty treats from Square Burger, the park’s freestanding snack stand, and taking them on a stroll (part-way) across the breezy and beautiful Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

How cheap we talkin’: $8 for a round of golf ($7 if you have a Septa pass!)$3.50-$4.75 for a rootbeer float or shake from Square Burger.

Why this will impress your date: By showing that you can be a gracious winner. Or loser.

Score extra points: By offering to be the one to keep score. (Do not literally score extra points by cheating).

The inside game: Access to the Ben Franklin Bridge closes at 9pm, and is not reputed to be the safest after dark, so make sure you are finished walking well before sundown.

Next date: Anytime! Well, almost. The course is open from 10am to 9pm every day May 28th through September 7th.  Then, through October 23rd, you can golf Tuesday through Saturday 9am-9pm (although from October 1st – 31st the hours Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are 11am-8pm).  The course is also open Columbus Day, and November 26th-28th, 5-8pm.  December 4th-19th golf Saturday and Sunday 5-8pm.  December 27th-31st golf every day 5-8pm.  Then the course will close until daily hours resume March 26th. Whew! Did you get all that???

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Every Wednesday until August 24th, as part of its Summer Nights Music Series, the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology hosts a live music series in its verdant garden from 5-8pm.  The museum is located at 3260 South Street, at the intersection of Spruce and 33rd, in the shadow of the Palestra on Penn’s campus.  Entry is pay-what-you-want, and beverages (alcoholic and non) are available for a donation. The lush and stately garden makes you feel like you have been transported away from the city to another time and place – making it the perfect setting for the diverse musical acts featured by the series, which come from all over the globe.  My date and I had a lovely time there, wandering leisurely among the small crowd of students, families, and professionals unwinding after work, taking in both the music and the museum, which remains open to visitors for the duration of the event.

How cheap we talkin’: Your $5 entry fee includes museum admission. (It’s free for Penn Museum members and PennCard holders). Drinks are provided with donation.

Why this will impress your date: Completed in 1915, the Chinese Rotunda at the museum is one of the largest unsupported masonry domes in the United States, housing one of the finest collections of monumental Chinese art in the country, covering some 4,000 years of Chinese history.

Score extra points: By knowing the difference between congas and bongos.

The inside game: If you get there early enough, there might be some Yuengling available.

Next date: Wednesdays 5-8pm, through August 25th, 2010.

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There is good fun to be had with old-fashioned bar hopping in boisterous pubs or local dives, but on a recent weeknight, my date and I decided to class it up with a happy hour “cocktail crawl” in Center City.  We started around 5:30pm at Vintage, a wine bar and bistro at 129 S.13th street that offers up $4 house wines by the glass from 4-6pm, Monday-Friday.  After one delicious glass of red there, we trotted 1 block south and 2 blocks west to the swanky nineteenth floor bar at the Bellevue Hotel (aptly named XIX), where all signature cocktails are only $6 from 5-7pm, Monday-Friday.  After enjoying a well-made cocktail and the view from the balcony, we made a last stop at the nearby Kimmel Center to walk off our buzzes wandering around the rooftop garden.

How cheap we talkin:’ Wine at Vintage: $8.80 + $2 tip for 2 glasses. Cocktails at the Bellevue $12.00 + $2.00 tip for 2 signature cocktails.

Why this will impress your date: This time, it’s class all the way.

The Inside Game: If you are going to stop by the Kimmel Center, check the calendar and make sure it will be open. It closes at 6pm when there are no evening events.

Score Extra Points: Before leaving the Bellevue, take your date to the 12th floor where we stumbled across an atrium with a fountain and an unattended grand piano. My date scored extra points by treating me to a few impromptu show tunes.

Next Date: Any Monday-Friday.

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There is something undeniably romantic about curling up on a blanket, sharing some candy, and maybe a brown-bagged bottle of cold beer, and taking in an outdoor movie on a hot summer night.  Every Wednesday through September 1st, the Headhouse District Indie Film Series screens an independent film in Headhouse Square (2nd street between Pine and Lombard).  All films in the series have a connection to Philly (whether the film was shot in the area or the filmmakers are natives) and the directors are usually on hand to discuss their films or answer questions after the show.  If you don’t want to take a chance on an unknown indie flick, Thursday evenings through August 26, the River Stage at Penn’s Landing (Columbus Boulevard at Chestnut) also hosts a series of “Screenings Under the Stars” featuring popular films, such as Star Trek and, this Thursday July 15th, the Secret Lives of Bees.  Importantly, however, both of these screenings are located within walking distance of the Sweettooth Candy Storeon 4th and Bainbridge, a delightful old-fashioned bulk candy store (reviewed recently by uwishunu), where we had fun assembling a grab bag of treats before the film.

How cheap we talkin’: Per person, $3.50 for candy at Sweettooth. Optional $4.50 for falafel at Maoz and/or $2 beer or beverage.

Why this will impress your date: Because you can bond over your shared love of snowcaps and other obscure confectionaries.

Score extra points: By bringing a couple of cold brews, cleverly disguised, ofcourse, in brown paper bags.

The inside game: If you forget to bring a blanket, Headhouse has thick pillars along both sides to lean up against, which may offer a more comfortable position than indian style on cement.

Next date: Every Wednesday at Headhouse Square through September 1st. Every Thursday (except July 29th) at Penn’s Landing (Through August 26th, 2010).

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Lining up for $1 treats!

The stretch of commerce along Baltimore Avenue between 50th and 43rd streets in West Philly offers a fantastic variety of restaurants, stores, and services.  At least, that is the conclusion I came to after checking out the Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll on a recent date.  Tonight (July 8th) and again on August 12th, from 5:30 until 8:30 pm, participating merchants will be showcasing their wares and enticing passerby with special, one-night-only offerings for $1.  Starting off with $1 pizza slices at Dock Street Brewing Co. and ending with $1 ice cream cones at Milk & Honey (with $1 theater tickets and cat toys in between), we had a great time: discovered some new places to put on the we-should-come-back-here-sometime list, picked up some free books (that we probably should have just put down), and ended the evening by watching the fireflies light up nearby Clark Park.

How cheap we talkin’: With 15 vendors at last count, you could spend up to the budget on $1 coffee, cookies, sandwiches, beer, records, clothes, etc.  We spent about $8 each, and still ended the night full and happy.

Why this will impress your date: Because of the confidence with which you can pick up the tab and say, “I got this.”

Score extra points: By coming up with a game to play to pass the time while waiting in line. Rock, paper, scissors is a good one. Or I-spy.

The inside game: If there is something you know you want to try, go there first. In some places supplies were limited.

Next date: The 2010 season is over. Hopefully they will reprise this event in 2011!

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Host Eric Thomas reading the rules

Last Tuesday night, my date and I went to a Story Slam, a unique event sponsored by First Person Arts that is part theater, part stand-up comedy, part open-mic, and part game show. Ten volunteer contestants each vie to be named best storyteller of the night by regaling the audience with personal tales related to a predetermined theme.  Each story must be less than five minutes in length, and Judges award points for content and delivery.  Between sets, we were kept well entertained by quick-witted host Eric Thomas, who at one point put on a t-shirt bearing the slogan “I did Justin Three Times” and explained that — although he had bought the shirt for Justin Timberlake —  it had become very awkward for him to wear the shirt ever since the ascent of Justin Beiber because, in his words, “Bieber is a 15 year old lesbian.” That was only one of the many laughs my date and I shared as Thomas and the rest of the storytellers each took their turns on the stage.

After the Slam, which took place at L’Etage, a swank nightclub on the corner of 6th and Bainbridge in Queen Village, we meandered downstairs to Beau Monde, a cozy french-style crêperie that proved to be the perfect spot to indulge in a little post-show dessert.

How cheap we talkin’: $10 per person entry to the Story Slam.  One shared crepe at Beau Monde: $7-8, including tax and tip.

Why this will impress your date: I did mention that Beau Monde has Nutella, right?

The Inside Game: If you decide to order anything during the Slam, pay in cash so you don’t have to wait for your check at the end.

Score Extra Points: By putting your name in the bucket!  Nothing is sexier than an abject willingness to expose oneself to public humiliation.  (Remember, most of the shows are taped for You Tube).

Next Date: L’Etage hosts a slam every fourth Tuesday of the month.  There are also Story Slams every second Monday at World Café Live, which are open to all ages (L’Etage is 21+).  Check the First Person Arts web calendar to confirm upcoming dates.

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Corner stools - best seats in the house

Every Wednesday, the Ritz theaters in Old City reduce rates on all shows to an amazingly affordable $6. The Ritz are good “date-movie” theaters because there is always something interesting/stimulating/artsy/educational/foreign/award-winning showing (i.e. you can generally avoid the cheesy romcoms and lame studio blockbusters which can be date-movie disasters, trust me).

There are 3 Ritz theatres all within walking distance of one another, but the Ritz Five at 214 Walnut Street is the closest to Zahav, a “modern Israeli” restaurant with a comfortable atmosphere, an elegant bar, and an outstanding happy hour from 5-7pm.  Be warned, however; the Lemonnanas at Zahav are so delicious, you may end up ditching the movie and ordering another round instead.

How cheap we talkin’: Admittedly, this date cuts it close, but $15 per person should get you 2 theatre tickets, 2 Lemonnana cocktails, and one order of half-price hummus to share, including tax and tip.  But if your bartender was as nice as ours, you should pony up the extra buck or two and tip handsomely.  I will not stand accused of being a Rachel Ray.

Why this will impress your date: The Ritz Five has history (it has been in operation over 30 years and was one of the first “arthouse” theaters in Philadelaphia), and Zahav has class (afterall, it was reviewed in Gourmet magazine).

The Inside Game: Demonstrate you possess the twin turn-ons of planning and foresight by picking up movie tickets on your way to Zahav. That way you won’t have to wait in line later, and you’re guaranteed a seat.

Score Extra Points: By actually knowing how to find Zahav.

Next Date: Any Wednesday!

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