So far on Escaper.co, we’ve taken you all over the world on our various getaways. It’s about time we highlight our home city of brotherly love – Philadelphia. In recent years, Philly has been snubbed in comparison to some larger neighboring cities that will remain nameless. Put your prejudices aside though, we’re about to uncover 21 amazing reasons to make Philadelphia your next stop.
Nope, we won’t just highlight the fact that Philly was once our nation’s capital and the birthplace of our forefathers (though that makes it extra cool), we’ll be featuring what locals are proud to call their own. Book your flight or make the drive, and print the following easy weekend itinerary organized by neighborhood.
Friday: South Philly / Washington Square / Old City
1. There is no shortage of brunch spots in Philly. From Green Eggs to Sabrina’s and Sam’s Morning Glory Diner, you can’t go wrong. However, for a truly unique Sicilian brunch, head to Monsu (901 Christian Street). The complex flavors and great service will pleasantly surprise you.
2. Passyunk Square is a shopping and restaurant haven nestled in South Philly. Take a stroll and check out the wide variety of boutiques and cute spots like Urban Jungle. Grab a drink at State Side or some delicious sushi at Izumi.
3. The artistic style of Isaiah Zagar, which is on display at Magic Garden (11th and South) has become iconic in South Philadelphia neighborhoods. Take the time to explore the mosaicked art labyrinth and see if you can identify this style on other buildings and homes in the area.
4. Hungry? Nomad Pizza (7th and South) offers the best pizza you might ever consume. It’s locally sourced, organic, and delicious. Trust us – you do not want to order something plain. We recommend the Spicy Soppressata – it never disappoints. Pizza not your thing? We are Taco El Rodeo Food Truck (10th and Washington) junkies. You can’t beat three fresh tacos for just $6.
5. Think you remember what South Street is like? Think again. In the past five years, South Street has been enjoying revitalization. Case in point: there’s a beautiful Whole Foods, trendy yogurt bars and smoothie shops, and stores like Totem (535 South Street), a men’s store that’s so hip, even women want to shop there.
6. Headhouse Square (Society Hill) is a stunning square with a center market that’s surrounded by residential and commercial buildings from the late 18th century. On Saturday mornings from spring to fall, you’ll find a large flea market taking place there. Antique-lovers, beware!
7. If you’ve made it to Headhouse Square, it’s just a few more blocks to Washington Square, our favorite park in all of Philadelphia for beautiful views and a relaxing nap on the lawn. Try not to be creeped out at the fact that there are still dead soldiers from the American Revolution buried beneath its grounds.
8. If you’re not too exhausted and want to take on some of the history Philly has to offer, head over to Independence Mall (5th and 6th, Chestnut and Race) where you can take on the Constitution Center, the Visitor’s Center, and the Liberty Bell. You’re also not far from the Betsy Ross house or Independence Hall.
9. Art and history buffs – you won’t want to miss the little-known FREE portrait gallery of 185 famous historical leaders. The art gallery is housed at the Second Bank of the United States (420 Chestnut St). Check out original paintings of Ben Franklin and other rad Americans.
10. Old City features boutiques, high-end retail stores, and art and design galleries on the renowned North 3rd Street. Once you’ve shopped your heart out, enjoy homemade ice cream at Franklin Fountain (116 Market Street). We’re firm believers in having dessert first.
11. Philly is a foodie city. Yes, it rivals NYC. To cap off your first day, try Cochon (801 East Passyunk Avenue), which means ‘pig’ in French. The restaurant features amazing pork entrees (you can also order steak or seafood). We love the intimate friendly feel of this little gem. If you are a veg, hop over to Zahav or Chloe instead.
Saturday: West Philly / Midtown
12. Start your Saturday off right with a breakfast to rival them all. Cafe Lift (428 N. 13th Street) – Need we say more?
13. Need a break from the concrete jungle? We know yesterday was a long day in South Philly. Check out the little known, green oasis that is Bartram’s Garden (54th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard). Home to the most varied collection of North American plants in the world, the garden is truly a breath of fresh air. Also, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson hung out there, drinking tea and making America – so that’s pretty cool too.
14. Let’s talk about food. We really like food and the Midtown dining strip (10th to 13th, Spruce to Chestnut) is the place to go for a great meal. The only problem is choosing one out of the many dining experiences available here. We have mad love for Lolita, Barbuzzo, Jamonera, Zavino, El Vez…well pretty much all of them.
15. In the spirit of experiencing the greenery that Philly has to offer, head over to the Mann Center (5201 Parkside Avenue), part of the widespread Fairmount Park, to catch a show at Philadelphia’s premiere outdoor cultural art center. We promise it will make for a relaxing and magical evening!
Sunday: Center City / Northern Liberties / Fishtown
16. We’ve already given you an abundance of breakfast/brunch options. So, please choose from above! Didn’t get your coffee fix at breakfast? Also, is there such a thing as too much coffee? Head to La Colombe (1414 South Penn Square) for an excellent cup of joe from a Philly-based coffee company that is making great strides on Starbucks. The shop is also across from the brand new Dilworth Park at City Hall, a sustainable, green public space – with an ice skating rink (!!)
17. You can’t visit Philly without visiting Washington Square’s sister park, Rittenhouse Square. Billy Penn’s famous open-space is the most trafficked park in Philadelphia. You will find entertainers of all sorts, friends and families enjoying picnics, and plenty of Philly’s most loved furry friends! Rittenhouse is also home to great shopping. So make sure you save some time to hit up all of the wonderful stores on Walnut and Chestnut Street.
18. From here, we’d like to take you to the up-and-coming Fishtown and Northern Liberties neighborhoods. NoLibs is home to The Piazza (1050 N Hancock S), where you can catch a Phillies game on the big screen, play Corn Hole, or grab a burger and adult milkshake at PYT.
19. Next stop, Pizza Brain (2313 Frankford Avenue). It’s the world’s first pizza museum – yes, pizza museum – with an artisan pizzeria attached. This quirky spot in Fishtown houses the world’s largest collection of pizza memorabilia (they hold the Guinness Record, for real!). After you’ve grabbed a slice of to-die-for pizza, head next store to Little Baby’s Ice Cream which is “dedicated to making the best and weirdest ice cream in the world”. And by this they mean that they have BBQ flavored ice cream…yes.
20. Since we’re nearing the end of our weekend escape to Philly, we decided the best thing to do was to grab a drink at Frankford Hall (1210 Frankford Ave), a lovely beer garden specializing in German food and draft beer. There’s no better way to end a weekend in the city than with friends, food, drinks and games. This indoor/outdoor space features ping pong, fire pits and Jenga, of course. Philly offers pop-up beer gardens all over the city in the summer months, like this one in Old City (again featuring fire pits and Jenga):
21. As the sun set, we decided to head back to our own stomping grounds and hit up Race Street Pier, just south of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and right on the Delaware River. After a long and exciting day exploring the city, the cool river breeze and fantastic views were the perfect respite. The pier was a great reminder that in the midst of the hustle and bustle, there is also a peacefulness and flow to this lovely city we call home.
We hope you’ll come and visit!