Despite the fact that I grew up in Philadelphia and lived there for four years while in college, a lot has changed there since I left four years ago. Recently, I had the chance to head back there for 24 hours to be a tourist in my hometown and I’ve rounded up my travel guide of what to, where to eat & drink and where to stay.
What to Do:
- Walk Around Fishtown – This area of the city has really transformed in the past few years. Once very residential, it’s now full of hip now bars and restaurants (like Philadelphia Distilling & Root Restaurant) and is also packed with of fun and unique vintage and antique shops. I highly recommend checking this area out if you’re looking for some unique finds.
- Explore Old City – This area of the city is full of history. It houses Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House, the Liberty Bell and more. Here you’ll find quaint 18th century row houses, along some of the city’s trendiest restaurants. It’s a great place to explore, take in some culture and check out some cute shops and art galleries.
- Shop in Rittenhouse Square – This area of the city is known for the park, but another great part about it is the beautiful townhomes and of course the shopping. With Stores like Madewell, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom Rack and more all located within walking distance, this is a great area of the city to check out if you’re looking for some major retail therapy. There are also some great classic Philadelphia restaurants and bars in this area!
- Wander Through Reading Terminal Market – If you’re looking for a good place to eat, or are interested in picking up a coffee, some produce, or even a pound of seafood, this is the place to go. It’s a mix of a market and food court, offering unlimited options. I can never leave Philly without stopping here for a bite to eat. My personal favorites are Martin’s Quality Meats and Sausages for the tastiest sausages and Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies and Cheesesteaks for a quality Philly cheesesteak.
Where to Eat & Drink:
- Philadelphia Distilling – Located in the Fishtown area of Philadelphia, this spot has only been open for a year and has already made a name for itself. A distiller of Bluecoat American Gin and soon to offer whiskey as well, this place can make a real mean drink and from what we saw, they have some great food offerings as well.
- Radicchio – There’s nothing that I love more than a classic BYOB Italian restaurant and luckily, this spot is just that. Located in Old City (right by the Lokal Hotel), this is very much a local spot with some great food. If you’re planning to go here, I highly recommend getting there early and don’t hesitate to put your name in with the staff as there’s a very relaxed name policy.
- Parc Restaurant – Located in Rittenhouse Square, this Stephen Starr restaurant is a Philadelphia staple. Made to look like it’s straight out of Paris, this spot offers the ambiance and food that you would find there, all right in the middle of Philadelphia. It’s on the pricier side, but it’s well worth it! In the spring, it’s the best place to snag a table outside, order a glass of wine and enjoy people watching.
- Root Restaurant – I can’t say enough good things about this place. We headed here for brunch on a Sunday afternoon and the food did not disappoint. I opted for the Eggs in Purgatory with a Bloody Mary of course and we finished everything off with the Chocolate Budino. Then staff was very helpful and attentive and the decor was majorly on point.
- United by Blue Coffee – A great coffee shop in the Old City neighborhood, this place makes a mean Cold Brew and offers some great pastry options. On top of that, I saw that they offer a great brunch deal on Saturday’s that may or may not include unlimited mimosas, so definitely check it out if you’re in the area!
Where to Stay:
- Lokal Hotel – If you’re looking to live like a local during your stay in Philadelphia, this design-centric boutique hotel is just the spot to do it. They offer ‘invisible service’ so you receive codes to enter the building and your individual room, and you can even order food, groceries and more, all from the iPads conveniently located in your room. They give you all the tools that you need to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Read more about my experience at the Lokal Hotel here in this post.