With a mix of the nation’s top historic attractions and booming modern culinary scene, it’s easy to fall in love with The City of Brotherly Love. You can spend your days wandering charming cobblestone streets and visiting world-renowned museums while chowing down on international delicacies by top chefs and sipping on inventive cocktails at night. And, given that Philly is known as The City of Neighborhoods, you’re bound to find an area to suit your taste. Or, plan a trip where you can sample them all. Journalist Jordi Lippe-McGraw shares her destination guide to the city below.
Perched above the popular Italian restaurant Wm. Mulherin’s Sons, this intimate hotel only has four rooms. Each is simple yet beautifully designed with custom-made furniture, vintage rugs, bold artwork, and living greenery, making it the perfect rustic-inspired retreat. It’s ideal for a longer stay as each room has a kitchen and spacious sitting area.
Although you’re only a five-minute walk from attractions like the Mütter Museum and 30th Street Station, you might never want to leave. That’s because the 14-room property is actually a members-only lifestyle club with incredible amenities to keep you entertained for days. Think a golf simulator, bowling lanes, a rock wall, indoor pool, fitness classes, four dining options, and more. Then you can retire to sleek rooms adorned in neutral tones and soaking tubs.
The restaurant is as chic yet cozy as the four-room hotel above. The once abandoned 100-year-old whiskey blending and bottling facility was converted into a delicious eatery serving up wood-fired Italian dishes with a twist. It’s hard to choose a favorite, but diners love the Spicy Jawn pizza complete with pepperoni, hot coppa, caciocavallo, sharp provolone, long hots, and tomato or the Saffron Messinesi pasta with fennel sausage ragu, and pecorino di fossa.
Although it’s one of the newest restaurants in town, Wilder is already a go-to hot spot. The three-story, 150-seat industrial-style restaurant, bar, and private event space in Rittenhouse Square has pizza ovens and a crudo station in full view for diners. So, you can expect delectable seasonal menus filled with handmade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, oysters, and seafood dishes. Come here for lunch, brunch, dinner, or late night for a house cocktail.
Known for its small plates and strong drinks, the Midtown Village bar and cafe is a vegan establishment serving up tapas described by diners as “a culinary Christmas.” The drinks are equally delightful, with intriguing names like Ruse Master and Witch’s Rave that match the sexy dimly-lit vibe of the decor.
It’s impossible to choose just one museum as a recommendation as there is something for everyone. History buffs will love visiting the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall; science fans should head over to the Franklin Institute, and art aficionados have their choice of masterpieces between the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rodin Museum, and more. There’s even an entire museum—The Mütter Museum at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia—dedicated to medical oddities.
If you know someone with a membership, Palizzi Social Club has been around forever and is a members-only Italian social club with incredible ambiance, food, and drinks. It’s worth the experience if you can go with someone who’s a member. They also sell a cookbook so you can recreate the recipes at home. It’s home to the best espresso martini in the city.
Only open in the summer, this pop-up park near Penns Landing is one of the best urban beaches in the country. You can lay on a hammock overlooking the Delaware River and grab a drink at one of the many floating beer gardens. Throughout the season, there are activations and DJs spinning into the evening.
When visiting a city known as the City of Neighborhoods, it can be challenging to choose a favorite. But, hip and creatively vibrant Fishtown is a must-see as there are many shops, bars, and restaurants along Frankford Avenue to check out. Cheu and Nunu are Asian/Jewish hybrid restaurants, and sitting in either establishment allows you to order off both menus. Meanwhile, get your fix of Lebanese cuisine at Suraya. The garden is so beautiful; it makes you feel like you’ve been transported to a Mediterranean villa. Then, wander off Frankford to try homemade flavors in homemade waffle cones at Weckerly’s Ice Cream. Stop in at LMNO, a new Steven Starr Mexican restaurant with a great vibe, amazing food like waffle fry nachos with brisket, and a speakeasy called the listening room where the DJ spins vinyl records. Cocktail bars all around like The International that has a seemingly endless menu. Also in Fishtown is a place called Fabrika where you have dinner and a show. The performers are incredible; think Cirque du Soleil and drag.
You wouldn’t suspect it, but on the roof of a parking garage are year-round park moments from 30th Street Station with a burger joint, bar, and stunning skyline vistas. Plenty of activities are hosted in the space, like outdoor movies and cartoon picnics.