In case you missed the memo, Philadelphia is no longer known just for its Philly cheesesteaks. In fact, it’s one of the hottest food scenes in the nation. Spend your next three-day weekend noshing on good eats, steeping yourself in US history, and enjoying the arts.
Where to Stay
As a visitor, you’ll want to be close to all of the action so we recommend staying in Rittenhouse (check Hotwire to save up to 60% on hotels). You’ll be within walkable distance to most of the main attractions.
And if you’re looking for a specific property, then we’d recommend:
- Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philly. Awesome rooms and really great rates.
- Embassy Suites in City Center West. If you are coming with your family (or a big group), this is the place to stay. The entire hotel was recently renovated and looks amazing.
What to Do
While food might be the draw, there is plenty else in Philly to explore.
- Independence National Historic Park. Philadelphia is basically the birthplace of American democracy and Independence Park houses some of its most important sites. Most notably, the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall (where the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence). Hot tip: all of the sites on the property are free to enter but reserve your spot for Independence Hall in advance.
- Eastern State Penitentiary. Once the most famous prison in the world, ESP is now a haunting (some might say haunted) shadow of its former self. The prison sought to reform prisoners (including Al Capone) using isolation tactics and its shutdown in the 1970’s led the way for judicial reform. These days, you can tour the facilities or even visit their nighttime haunted house during the month of October.
- Rocky Steps. You’d be hard-pressed to name a more iconic set of steps than the 72 outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art (thanks to the Rocky movies). Grab a friend and have them running up the steps (or with Rocky’s nearby statue).
- While you’re there, also be sure to take a peek inside the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
- Mütter Museum. A house of all things anatomically strange, the Mütter Museum now has over 20,000 anatomical & pathological specimens, medical oddities, and medical equipment (including the skeleton of the tallest man in North America).
- Institute of Contemporary Art. The ICA hosts new exhibits three times each year and aims to identify artists with great promise (it was the first museum to show the work of Andy Warhol).
- The Fillmore Philadelphia. A 25,000 square foot concert venue (or rather, two venues under one roof). Come for great drinks, great crowd, and great shows.
- Longwood Gardens. An 1000+ acre botanical garden showcasing over 11,000 types of plants. Wander into the conservatory for exotic flowers and lush plants. Plus, holidays are celebrated with concerts, displays of poinsettias & thousands of lights (with the occasional firework or two).
Where to Eat & Drink
Visit any of these restaurants and you’ll find passionate Philly natives proudly showcasing a range of cuisines (everything from traditional American fare to modern Israeli is to the beloved cheesesteak sandwich).
- Zahav. If you’re lucky enough to get a reservation here, you’ll experience a unique & modern spin on traditional Israeli food. Start your meal off with the Salatim (rotating selection of six salads/sides) and creamy hummus.
- El Vez. Nine different types of guacamole (including black truffle & crab). Need we say more?
- DiNic’s. In a city full of sandwiches, DiNic’s manages to stand out from the crowd. The line might be long, but it’s worth it to get a taste of their Roast Pork with Provolone with Broccoli Rabe Sandwich.
- John’s Roast Pork. Both the Roast Pork and the Cheesesteak sandwiches here are award-winning. Our advice? Try both.
- Beiler’s. These fresh-made doughnuts might just change your life. Soft, fluffy dough with a light, creamy filling (and that’s not to mention the heavenly smell).
- Federal Donuts. If you’re a fan of chicken n’ waffles, then put Federal Donuts on your list. Not only do they have some of the best fried chicken in Philly, but each order comes with a hot plain cake doughnut. Oh yea, and the “fancy” doughnuts are melt-in-your-mouth delicious as well.
- Green Eggs Café. A brunch go-to, Green Eggs has huge lines, huge portions, and huge taste. Feeling sweet? Get a stack of red velvet pancakes.
- Cafe La Maude. Cafe La Maude is tucked away in a quiet neighborhood and has an elegant European charm. Try the bestseller: Parisian Zá (an open-faced pizza croissant).
- Reading Terminal Market. An food court for foodies with tons of really good options (you really can’t go wrong!). Plus, locations for a few of our favorites above (like DiNic’s and Beiler’s).
- Bluestone Lane. Modern & airy coffee shop across from City Hall. Go plain with a pour over or espresso or try something new like a beet latte.
- ReAnimator. ReAnimator’s roasts are so good, you’ll be coming back to try them all. If you’re not sure where to begin, ask the friendly (and super knowledgeable) baristas.
- Old City Coffee. A quaint coffee shop perfect for an afternoon break.
- La Colombe. Whether you’ve heard of La Colombe or not, stop by one of their Philadelphia locations to try a draft iced latte. Surprisingly thick & creamy taste without actual cream.
- Ox Coffee. A cozy dog-friendly cafe perfect for an early morning latte.
- Status. (Monaco Philly Rooftop)
- Assembly. This rooftop bar (atop the Logan Hotel) not only has good drinks, but great views of Logan Square.
- Revolution House. Hosts pop-up beer gardens every Wednesday throughout the summer.