Philadelphia Travel Guide

Philly Love Sign

Philadelphia is famous for the Liberty Bell, Rocky Balboa, and Cheesesteaks.

The City of Brotherly Love is also the birthplace of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Philadelphia is home to a vast array of national treasures, a thriving culinary scene, beautiful parks, hip shopping, and a bustling sports scene.

Are you ready to pack your bags?

I have some fantastic recommendations for your next trip.

Make sure you pack your sneakers and get moving in one of the most walkable cities in America.

Don’t forget to pack an extra bag for shopping. All clothing and shoe purchases are tax-free.

My Philadelphia travel guide includes the top must-do things to plan your next visit.

What are some of your favorite places to visit in Philly? Leave your responses in the comment section.  

EAT

Reading Market is one of the top indoor markets in the country. The shoe doctor is one of the best kept secrets in Philly for a fantastic shoe shine. I also like Chocolate By Meuller.

Vedge  is one of the best vegetarian restaurants in the country. If you can’t make it to Philly, pick up a copy the Vedge cookbook. *V *GF

PS & Co is my favorite spot for healthy food options. The chocolate chip cookies and sweet potato bread are out of this world.

Federal Donuts is popular for the donuts and fried chicken.

Dizengoff is home of the best hummus ever!

Hip City Vedge is a budget-friendly spot a quick lunch.  I recommend the groothie, a delicious green smoothie. *V *GF

Green Eggs Cafe is a top pick for brunch. The mouth-watering menu features crème brûlée French toast, red velvet pancakes, and chicken and waffles.

Vegan Commissary is offers a gluten-free menu. The food is fresh and not boring. I recommend the beet lemonade.  *V *GF

Osteria is a highly acclaimed Italian restaurant. *GF

Vetri is an upscale Italian restaurant.

Sam’s Morning Glory Diner offers traditional breakfast fare. Diners love the homemade ketchup. *V

Alla Spina is an Italian gastropod with a popular happy hour menu. Pork is the main menu item.

Zahav is a modern Israeli restaurant bringing the flavors of Israel to the table. It is my favorite restaurant in Philadelphia. Reservations should be booked in advance. *V *GF

Vernick is a fancy little restaurant in an old brownstone. The chef has earned accolades from Food & Wine, Bon Appetite, James Beard Foundation, StarChefs and more.

Nomad Pizza is an artisanal wood-fired pizza parlor using locally sourced ingredients.

Sabrina’s Cafe is cozy café for brunch. *GF

White Dog Cafe is a quirky restaurant with a large menu to please any appetite. *V *GF

Modomio is one of the best upscale Italian dining experiences in the city.

Paisano’s is a famous Italian sandwich shop. *GF

Kaffa Crossing is the best Ethiopian food in the city.

Pizza Brain is a unique little spot where  you can grab a whole pie or huge slices.

The Corner Foolery is a rustic sandwich shop and popular spot for viewing sporting events on television. *GF

Loco Pez serves LA-style Mexican street food.

Tacconelli’s Pizza is a popular pizza parlor featured in many travel magazines and television shows.

Honest Tom’s Taco Shop is my favorite Mexican restaurant in Philly.

Rye Bread is a sandwich shop specializing in fresh ingredients. *GF

Cafe La Maude is a hidden gem serving a French-Lebanese inspired menu. Great for brunch.

Bitar’s serves Middle Eastern cuisine.

Le Viet is a modern Vietnamese restaurant in South Philly. Try the green tea ice cream for dessert.

Kanela is the best authentic Greek food in the city.

Little Nonna’s serves traditional Italian dishes delivered in a homey trattoria setting with an open kitchen and a garden.

Pho 75 is a no frills spot for Vietnamese soup. The coffee with condensed milk is excellent.

Picnic is a healthy lunch spot. I recommend stocking up on some grub and heading outdoors to Fairmount Park for a picnic. *V

Gino’s and Pat’s King of Steaks are the iconic cheesesteak joints.

 

MARKETS

Head House Farmer’s Market is every Sunday morning near the Italian District.

Rittenhouse Farmer’s Market is every Saturday morning at the picturesque Rittenhouse Square Park.

DiBruno Brothers is an Italian market with locations in Center City, Old City, and the Italian District.  Great option for take out food.

Night Market is a great way to sample the city’s best street food. Check the schedule for the dates.

9th Street Italian Market is home to gourmet grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries, and cheese shops. De Luca’s Villa De Roma is a great choice for food.

 

SWEETS

Gran Caffe L’ Aquila is one of my favorite cafes in the city for authentic Italian gelato and coffee.

Whipped Bakeshop is the best cupcake shop in Philadelphia. Martha Steward listed the bakery as one of her favorites.

Pam Cakes are fresh cupcakes not stored in a cooler. It is a cute shop near Rittenhouse Square.

Sweet Box Cupcakes are also good cupcakes.  I recommend the Pink Champagne.

Little Babies Ice Cream is a groovy ice cream parlour. *V *GF

The Franklin Fountain is an adorably themed old-time ice cream shop. *V *GF

Capogiro Gelato is a modern gelatoria. *V

Bassett’s Ice Cream serves old fashion style ice cream. *GF

Taffet’s is a gluten-free bakery in the Italian Market District. The quinoa bread is good. *GF

Bakers Jar Philly features scrupulous cakes, pies, and puddings perfectly portioned and elegantly packaged in a Mason jar.

Federal Donuts are gourmet style donuts. Popular menu items include the Sea Salt Chocolate, Blueberry Mascarpone, and Cherry Pie.

Four World’s Bakery is an artisan bread bakery.

Manakeesh is a Lebanese bakery. *V *GF

Lore’s Chocolate is an old fashion candy shop.

Lil Pop Shop is a nationally recognized gourmet popsicle shop. Popular flavors include the goat cheese with cherries and honey and the Vietnamese ice coffee. *V *GF

Shane Confectionary is a vintage style chocolate shop.

 

DRINK

Elixir is one of the best coffee shop in Philadelphia.

Menagerie is my favorite coffee shop in Philadelphia.

Chapterhouse Cafe and Gallery adds a spin on the coffee experience with live music.

Tria is a popular wine bar serving cheese and light snacks.

Emmanuelle serves unique drinks in a trendy setting.

The Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company is a famous bar serving the best cocktails in the city.

 

LISTEN

Walnut Theater is America’s oldest theater. Check the schedule for Broadway shows.

Independent Films can be viewed at one of the Landmark Theaters.

 

SHOP

Fante’s Kitchen Shop sells every gadget imaginable for your kitchen.

Anthropologie is headquartered in Philadelphia. The flagship store is located in a beautiful mansion.

H-mart is an Asian market.

Third Street Habitat is an upscale women’s boutique in Old City.

Nice Things Handmade is an etsy style boutique.

Hob Nob Design is a home decor store.

Bean’s Beauty is a well-stocked beauty supply store.

South Moon Under is a trendy women’s  fashion boutique.

Verde is an adorable boutique with a pretty jewelry and gifts.

Open House is a great gift store.

Mode Modern is a modern home decor store.

Smak Parlour is an adorable women’s cutting edge boutique.

Moon and Arrow is a darling handmade and vintage boutique.

Vix Emporium is a local artisan boutique.

Papillio is my favorite shop for hosiery. The owner stocks the best brands of Italian hosiery. The hosiery is high quality and fits well.

Joseph Fox Bookshop is an independent bookstore. The staff is very knowledgeable.

Omoi Zakka Shop is a quirky gift store.

Avril 50 is a stationary and gift shop.

AIA Bookstore and Design Center not only stocks books but great gifts for souvenirs.

Wardrobe Boutique is a women’s designer consignment shop.

 

STAY

The Gables is a turn of the century Victorian mansion turned bed and breakfast.

Cornerstone Bed and Breakfast is a cozy Victorian style bed and breakfast.

Le Meridien is a swanky boutique hotel.

Sofitel is a luxury hotel in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood.

 

SEE 

City Hall Observation Deck  is the best view of the city that is open to the public.

Liberty Bell is a great photo-op. Arrive early to avoid long lines in the summer.

Independence Hall is my favorite historical tour. I recommend booking a reservation online to avoid long lines.

The Mutter Museum (pronounced “mooter”) features weird body parts in jars.

Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the best art museums in the country.

Barnes Foundation is home to a stunning collection of paintings.  A  limited number of tickets are available each day.  Stop by on Friday evenings for live music and special events, or visit for free the first Sunday of every month.

Philadelphia Magic Garden is a great photo-op.

Barren’s Gardens is one of Philly’s best-kept secrets.

Please Touch Museum is for the little ones.

Eastern State Penitentiary features grand architecture and colorful history.

Philadelphia Zoo is 42-acre Victorian garden that is home to more than 1300 animals.

Sports Center is home to the Phillies, Eagles, 76ers, concerts, and spectacular views of the city.

Mural Arts are all over the city. Great photo-op.

 

PAMPER

Mia Cumbia is my favorite nail salon. All of the products are organic.

Affordable Skin Care is a great spa with very affordable prices.

Laurentis Salon nail tech Robin Campbell is highly acclaimed. If you prefer a gel polish, I recommend this nail salon.

 

MOVE

The Rocky Steps are a must-do activity. Don’t forget to take a photo at the Rocky statue.

Schuylkill River Trail is a great place for a run.

Race Street Pier is an ideal place to exercise or just sit and relax with a good book. Ice skating starts in late November.

Schuylkill Banks boardwalk recently opened. This is my favorite place to run, walk, or bike in the city. You can also enjoy a picnic, kayak, or a riverboat tour.

Fairmount Park is a 9,200 park with amazing views of the city.

Rocky Statue

GET AROUND

Plash runs May-December and weekend service only September – December. The fare is $2, and the bus stops at 20 popular tourist spots.

30th Street Station is the main train station in Philadelphia.

What are some of your favorite hotspots in Philadelphia?