Philadelphia is one of my favorite cities in the US! I might be biased as I called the city home for five years. With its quirky neighborhoods, amazing food scene, and history, everyone is bound to find something they just love about the city. I think the best time to visit is when the weather is warm as exploring the city includes spending a lot of time outdoors. Below, I have outlined how you can spend a long weekend in Philadelphia familiarizing yourself with the city. I have also included a list of some of my favorite bars and restaurants.

3 DAY ITINERARY

DAY 1

  • Grab breakfast at K'Far Cafe and walk to Rittenhouse Square where you can sit and enjoy your meal while people watching in this lively square. I recommend the Jerusalem bagel, mushroom toast, and pistachio bun.
  • After breakfast, head to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Here, you can see the famous Rocky steps. Afterwards, you can walk north along the Schuylkill River - there are some nice trails and gardens perfect for strolling. This is also where Boathouse Row is located - home to some historic, riverside boathouses for rowing clubs that date back to 1853.
  • If you enjoy spending time in museums, you can also check out the Rodin Museum, Franklin Institute, and Barnes Foundation. Be sure to stop by Love Park, which is also in this area, to take a photo with the famous Love Statue.
  • Head to 13th Street for dinner. This street is lined with many great options - my favorite are Barbuzzo, El Vez, and Sampan. Try to make a reservation in advance if you can. You can also head to Insomnia Cookies for some dessert (although I recommend getting the salted caramel budino at Barbuzzo).
  • Some fun nightlife options in this area include Brü and Graffiti Bar. You can also head back to Rittenhouse and go to The Franklin Bar or Ranstead Room if you want a unique speakeasy vibe.

DAY 2

  • Spend the day exploring Old City - home to many important historic sites. Start off your morning at Independence Hall, and then work your way north to the Liberty Bell and Independence Visitor Center.
  • If you are a history buff, you can also check out the National Constitution Center, Carpenters' Hall, Ben Franklin's Grave, Second Bank of the United States, and a few other landmarks. You may even consider joining a walking tour of Old City - many of these begin at the National Constitution Center.
  • After your tour of Old City, head to The Franklin Fountain and get one of their famous ice cream sundaes. From here, you can walk along the Delaware River to Spruce Street Harbor Park to check out their urban beach or Morgan's Pier (beer garden).
  • In the late afternoon or early evening, head to Fishtown (the Brooklyn of Philadelphia). If you are in the mood for a beer garden, you should head to Frankford Hall. My favorite dinner spot in the city is Suraya - I highly, highly recommend this restaurant for dinner. You will likely have to make reservations far in advance - try to make a reservation in their garden just before sunset. Pizzeria Beddia is another great option in this area.

DAY 3

  • Start your morning off either with a sit-down brunch at Honey's Sit 'N ear or grab some chicken and donuts at Federal Donuts.
  • Head to Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, a mosaicked art gallery. Be sure to take lots of pictures at this unique gallery! You will probably spend about 30-45 minutes here. Afterwards, walk east along South Street, popping into the funky shops that line the street and getting a sense of this quirky part of Philadelphia.
  • Spend the afternoon on a cheesesteak tour of Philly. Your first stop should be Jim's Steaks South Street located at 4th & South. From here, you can head to Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks - perhaps the two most famous cheesesteak joints in the city. There are so many more options - check out this guide from Visit Philadelphia to see if there are any other spots you want to try out.
  • If you are looking for nightlife, you can head back to South Street or you can head down to Bok Bar which is rooftop bar that offers nice views of the Philadelphia skyline, especially around sunset.

LOGISTICS

BEST TIME TO VISIT

While I love Philadelphia year-round, I do think that tourists will have a much better time when the weather is warm - usually mid-April through early October. Do keep in mind that it can be pretty humid in the summer, especially July and August. If you are coming just for the food, it doesn't matter what season you visit!

WHERE TO STAY

My favorite neighborhoods are Rittenhouse and Old City. I suggest trying to find a hotel or Airbnb in these areas. Both are near many bars, restaurants, and walking distance from many attractions. Usually, most ares within Center City are very lively and safe.

GETTING AROUND

You do not need a car to get around Philadelphia. Most places can be reached by either walking or taking an Uber/Lyft. You can take the SEPTA buses or subway, but I personally would avoid them as I have had some strange encounters on them (and they have an unpleasant smell - especially the subway).

RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATIONS

Philadelphia has a great food scene and should be on every foodie's bucket list. Below, I have compiled some of the restaurants in the city that I have tried and really like. These include options ranging from hole-in-the-wall joints to fine dining. I've definitely missed a few, but this is a good start. I have also included a few bars and clubs.

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