Ah, Spring. The flowers are in bloom, the sun is shining and as the winter chill begins to thaw the heart turns to thoughts of romantic bliss. How can you show your main squeeze a good-time when your budget is tighter than Lady Gaga’s pants? Here are a few suggestions:
1.) A night out in West Mt Airy – that’s right West Mt. Airy!
Take the 23 Northbound bus, the R8 commuter train or drive,but do get to this unlikely, delightful destination for lovers looking for fun on the cheap. For an inexpensive dinner try Fino’s Pizza at Germantown Avenue and Carpenter Lane. Along with Philly cuisine staples like cheesesteaks and hoagies, they serve up four kinds of mouth-watering vegan pizzas piled high with toppings and a choice of three sauces.
After dinner, on the weekend, you can catch a movie a few blocks away at 7141 Germantown Avenue home of The Video Library. Walking into this place is like taking a time tunnel journey back to the sixties and the days of hippie chic – in other words it’s a little shabby but charming, and they have ice cream! So, if you want some dessert after your meal, the friendly person behind the counter will serve you Bassetts Ice Cream with a smile.
For $6 per admission, in the 25 seat ‘Little Theatre’ you can see movies like Up In the Air with George Clooney, Broken Embraces (Los Abrazos Rotos) from Spanish director Pedro Almodovar and the Academy-Award winning Precious. Piping hot delicious popcorn is served in little brown paper bags – free of charge. Beware: people have been known to bring their dogs to the screenings, which only detracts from the charm if the dog hasn’t been bathed in a awhile. To top off the evening you can have an intimate conversation over two glasses of Almira ‘Los Dos’ 2007 across the street at the Earth Bread Brewery (7136 Germantown Avenue) and at $5.50 per glass you’ll be toasting each other for celebrating your night out without emptying your wallets.
2.) A day at Reading Terminal Market and Station
To explore what Reading Terminal Market has to offer would take the better part of a day because it’s just chock full of enticing and exotic food and wares. Located on 12th Street between Filbert and Arch, the Reading Terminal Market has been in existence since the Reading Terminal Station was built in the early 1800s and the Market retains all the charm of famous old world farmer’s markets like Pari Fermier in Paris. The market is open weekdays until 6pm and on the weekends until 5pm. On Sunday not all the merchants are open, the Amish being among them. You can explore the world through cuisine here from Mexico to Thailand to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania home of the Pennsylvania Dutch. The Market Street El and All SEPTA commuter trains will get you to the Terminal but if you must drive, the 12th and Filbert Parking Garage gives discounts to all those visiting the Terminal Market; just present your ticket to any merchant and they will validate it. While you’re there don’t forget to check out the restored Terminal barn. Across Filbert Street around the corner to the Market Street entrance. In 1993 the City of Philadelphia bought and restored the soaring shed and roof of the original commuter station sight of the Reading Railroad . It is now the grand entrance to the Philadelphia Convention Center – an awe inspiring sight that will give you a chance to hold the object of your affections just a little closer.
3) Hang out with the stars at the Fels Planetarium
First , a lovely, yet inexpensive dinner of your favorite foods at Whole Foods Market, 2001 Pennsylvania Avenue. The food and salad bars offer up a menu to satisfy the vegan and the carnivore. There’s also a sushi bar, a prepared hot-foods counter and a variety of self-serve hot soups. The ambience is no frills but comfortable and usually clean. Next stop – the stars. Right down the street is the Joel N. Bloom Observatory at The Franklin Institute (222 N. 20th Street). The Observatory is open late to the public and offers 5 different telescopes for you to view celestial objects in the sky, including stars, planets, nebulae, and if conditions are right, a galaxy or two. Shows are hosted by Chief Astronomer, Derrick Pitts. The evening includes a breath-taking Fels Planetarium show. Meet some BIG STARS on the second Thursday of each month at The Franklin Institute! The event is held from 6-9pm all months except June & July when the event is held 7-10pm! Admission is $5.00. Members are free.
4) Dance your way into her heart with the Philadelphia Swing Dance Society
For those of you who’d rather do something a little more energetic than gaze at the stars or into that certain someone’s eyes, here’s your chance to jump, jive and wail – together. The Philadelphia Swing Dance Society has regular dances for all ages and all skill levels. Dress is casual and the dances go from 8:45pm to midnight with free lessons in the jitterbug and the lindy. If you flash your student I.D. you can get $3 off the admission price; same goes if you show up with a big stash of baked goodies.Upcoming dances include The Walt Wagner Big Swing Band on March 27th, a Philly favorite.
Watch for dances on April 10, April 24, & May 8, plus regular summer DJ’d dances!
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