Pennsylvania, United States
Don't knock the Philly cheesesteak until you try it, or ding the Liberty Bell for its structural flaws: the City of Brotherly Love has nothing but love for revolutionary notions from Germantown's Underground Railroad stops to South Street's trash-paved Magic Gardens. It's all right, give in to the impulse to copy Rocky's triumphant jog up the up the Philadelphia Art Museum steps.
Getting Around Philadelphia
The best way to get around Philadelphia is by walking. The city's extensive bus, trolley, subway and train system is useful for cross-town adventures. An $11 day pass makes the most sense for visitors.
Nearby Airports
  • Philadelphia International Airport-PHL
Airport Taxis
  • $28.50-flat rate to Central Philadelphia
Things to Do and See in Philadelphia
Society HillUniversity CityMarket EastOlde CityCallowhillChinatownAvenue of the ArtsWashington Square WestManayunkFairmount ParkChestnut HillSoutheast FairmountSouth StreetNothern Liberties & FishtownSpruce HillSpring GardenTempletownGermantownPassyunk / Italian MarketRittenhouse SquareRichmondNortheastKensington
Imagine post-colonial Philadelphia and you would be in Society Hill. Featuring Federal-style townhouses and Trinity homes, Society Hill has some of the most beautiful residences in the city. Surrounded by historic Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the National Constitution Center, Society Hill has historic charm. Touring the Independence National Historic Park could take a day on its own, but leave time to explore side streets dotted with boutiques, cafes, and local landmarks like City Tavern and colonial-era Christ Church.
With three universities sharing the western bank of the Schuylkill River, it's no wonder the neighborhood is called University City. The local scenery ranges from the industrial look of Drexel to the Ivy League grandeur of Penn. Explore the winding paths of the University of Sciences, and pay your respects to the mighty sphinx at the University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Anthropology. Many shops and restaurants cater to the college crowd, but Sansom Row features quality cuisine in historic buildings, including high-end sustainable food at White Dog Cafe and vintage New Deck Tavern. For an insider's view of University City, call any of the universities' admissions offices and book a tour.
Shoppers find Nirvana at Market East, Philadelphia's signature retail zone. First up is famous Reading Terminal Market, a full indoor farmer's market. Here you'll find flowers, kitchenware and some of Philly's most famous food, including Pennsylvania Dutch buttered pretzels and Bassett's ice cream. For prime window-shopping, check out the dazzling jewelry-store displays along Market and Chestnut and the showcase windows at Macy's, located in the vintage Wanamaker's department store building.
A magnet for foodies and culture mavens, Olde City makes an easy, entertaining night out near Center City. It's always sunny in Philadelphia at comedian Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson's Mac's Olde City Tavern, where only the brave order the infamous milk steak. Restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues are all within walking distance, including Continental for tapas, Franklin Fountain for old-school sundaes, and Cuba Libre for salsa dancing. Visit on First Friday (the first Friday of every month) for free wine, cheese and live music at Olde City's art gallery openings.
Near Chinatown, Callowhill is a popular district for loft-style housing in converted factories and mills. While Callowhill was a busy neighborhood in pre-Revolutionary America, today it is mainly known as the former home of Monopoly's Reading Railroad. Stop by and see who's playing at Union Transfer, a former railroad building-turned-concert hall, then head over to the Prohibition Taproom for some quality drafts and beer-battered green beans.
One of the largest Chinatowns on the East Coast, Philadelphia's Chinatown is home to some of the best Asian cuisine in the region. Sang Kee Peking Duck House is a local hotspot featuring the namesake dish.
Avenue of the Arts is the hub of cultural and artistic events in Philadelphia. Located on Broad Street around the majestic City Hall, the name "Avenue of the Arts" was coined in the early 90s by then-mayor Rendell. Theaters and art instiutions along the Avenue of the Arts include the Kimmel Center, Academy of Music, University of the Arts, PA Academy of Fine Arts and the Wilma Theater. Be sure to take a stroll through City Hall and see its beautiful artisan masonry.
Washington Square Westmore on Washington Square West »
Lovingly known as the "gayborhood," Washington Square West is home to the busiest clubs and nightlife in the city, including GLBT-friendly venues. Piano bar and dance club Tavern on Camac is a popular spot for a singing old standards and show tunes, while Woody's club plays current dance hits. Check out Antique Row for furniture, curios, and interior design options.
Manayunk literally means "place to drink" because of its location right on the Schuylkill River, but you can also grab a drink at the Manayunk Brewery. Manayunk's Main Street is home to dozens of boutiques, bars, and restaurants. By day, take a stroll along Main Street; by night, hit up Manayunk's famous nightlife at Cooper's Wine Bar or Kildare's. After you've hit the bars, head up to neighboring Roxborough for a Delassandro's Cheesesteak.
As the largest park in Philadelphia, Fairmount Park is hard to miss. Located just behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Fairmount Park stretches for acres overlooking the Schuylkill River. Rain or shine, there is always something to do in Fairmount Park. Walk along Kelly Drive and admire the statues and greenery that surround Boathouse Row. Check out Centennial Hall grounds, which were build to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Just inside the hall is Philadelphia's Please Touch Museum, which is a great experience for young and the young-at-heart. Tucked away in a corner of the park is Shofuso, the Japanese house in Fairmount Park that offers tea ceremonies, sushi nights, and hosts an annual cheery blossom festival.
A popular vacation spot in the pre-revolutionary era, Chestnut Hill has preserved its colonial charm and small-town feel in the Northwestern corner of Philadelphia. A train ride away from Center City, Chestnut Hill is home to locally-owned boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. The nostalgic Trolley Car Diner recalls the days of Chestnut Hill's trolley service, and is a favorite local spot for dinner and ice cream. Stroll through Chestnut Hill to spot historic sites like Graver's Lane Station, Wissahickon Inn, and Ingleswood Cottage.
Home to the Phillies, Flyers, 76ers, and the Eagles, Southeast Philadelphia hosts all the major league sports stadiums. Get off at this subway stop to grab a hot dog and see a ball game at Lincoln Financial Field, or catch a concert at the Wells Fargo Center. There are plenty of tailgating opportunities in the area as well as comfortable sports bars, including the Xfinity Live complex.
The historical Fairmount neighborhood in North Philadelphia is home to some of the city's most famous architecture, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Located north of Center City, Fairmount hosts a score of museums and cultural hotspots like the Barnes Foundation, Rodin Museum, Free Library of Philadelphia, Franklin Institute, and the Academy of Natural Sciences—all along the Ben Franklin Parkway. Take a stroll around Eakins Oval and run up the famous Rocky Steps. If you're looking for more thrills, check out Eastern State Penitentiary, which once held Al Capone. This neighborhood is a must-see for Philadelphia first-time visitors.
South Street is always bustling with shoppers, students, and nightlife. The famous South Street stretch from Broad Street to the waterfront is a high-traffic area for tourists and locals alike. This quirky street features chain restaurants, art supply stores, Brauhaus Schmitz beer hall, sex shops, tattoo parlors, and an occult store. Take a stroll through Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, paved with mosaics of found glass, metal, and mirrors. Grab a slice of pizza at the recently-renovated Lorenzo's or snag one of Jim's Steaks, a South Street favorite. For a fun night out, head to Tattooed Mom's bar and sit upstairs in one of the bumper cars.
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Northern Liberties is the new hotspot for young professionals and hipsters seeking nightlife, starting with the Piazza at Schmidt's. Check out a concert or free movie in the courtyard, grab tacos at El Camino Real, or dance the night away at PYT. Over on 2nd Street are Standard Tap, Silk City Diner and the living-room-themed dance floor of 700 Club. You won't strike out at North Bowl bowling alley and bar if you order the "disco tater tots," their signature tater tots with cheese and gravy.
Walnut and Spruce Hill are easygoing, neighborly districts west of University City where most people get around by bike or foot. Check out the 4400 block of Spruce Street for tasty bites like Honest Tom's tacos, Tampopo Ramen and community hub Local 44 bar. Nearby Clark Park hosts a popular farmer's market on Saturday mornings as well as Shakespeare in the evenings during Summer. Pop into the Green Line Cafe for an organic, fair trade coffee before you hop on the Green Line trolley.
The Spring Garden neighborhood covers a wide, diverse section of North Philadelphia. Mainly residential, Spring Garden has a variety of indie stores, eateries and concert venues. The Punk Rock Flea Market has a dedicated following of musicians, vintage fashionistas and spendthrifts. At the border of Spring Garden and Chinatown, Hop Sing Laundromat is a lounge-bar with major buzz. Catch a show at The Electric Factory, one of the city's largest venues.
Located around Temple University's sprawling campus, Templetown is part of Philadelphia's North Broad Street area. The neighborhood has gained steam as Temple continues to grow, with new shops and and movie theaters like the Pearl. For a bite before a Temple football game, hit local food trucks for organic eats, spicy Korean beef barbecue and freshly baked cookies.
Historic Germantown was the original suburb of Philadelphia. Along Germantown's cobblestone streets are more than 20 registered historic sites and national landmarks, including the site of the Battle of Germantown at Cliveden House and John Johnson House, a stop on the Underground Railroad. Between landmarks, grab a bite at Earth Bread + Brewery. Germantown was home to notable Philadelphians like Louisa May Alcott, Charles Wilson Peale, Patti Smith and Bill Cosby.
Passyunk / Italian Marketmore on Passyunk / Italian Market »
The eternal question: Pat's or Geno's? No matter which vendor you choose, Passyunk/Italian Market is the place to taste a real Philly cheesesteak, the official food of Philadelphia. Take a stroll through the Italian Market and pick up gourmet meats, cheeses and pastries from famed businesses like DiBruno Bros. and Claudio's Specialty Foods. Get the Paesano or Arista hoagie from Paesano's II or try the original tomato pie from Santucci's. A local secret: stop by the pretzel bakeries along Passyunk and Washington Avenue around midnight to try a soft pretzel straight from the oven.
Rittenhouse Square is the Central Park of Philadelphia, with frequent music performances. Al fresco dining surrounds the square at restaurants like Parc, Butcher and Singer, along with high-end shopping. Wander past the neighborhood's Trinity homes to Mamma Palma's pizzeria or Dimitri's Greek restaurant.
Port Richmond serves up some of the most authentic Polish food this side of the Atlantic. The area's Eastern European community throngs local Polish, Russian and Lithuanian restaurants and delis. Krakus Market is famous for its selection of meats and pierogis, while Syrenka Luncheonette dishes out homemade Polish cuisine cafeteria-style. If you're lucky, you might catch the Polish American String band rehearsing for the Mummers Parade.
Named for the site where pioneer William Penn landed in Pennsylvania, Penn's Landing is home to numerous historical venues and festivals. Dive into history at Independence Seaport Museum, then come up for a bite or a drink at Moshulu, a floating bar and restaurant. No matter the season, Penn's Landing hosts dozens of free concerts, movie screenings, food festivals, and cultural celebrations. Check the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation's website before your visit to see what's happening.
Kensington is a neighborhood in transition, but still recognizable as the colorful backdrop for films like Rocky and Twelve Monkeys. New shops and industrial loft spaces are opening, and its ethnic eateries are thriving. Grab memorable kielbasa sausage from Czerw's Kielbasy, or try the classic Philly "tomato pie" at Tacconelli's Pizzeria, or take on the deep fried pickles from Memphis Taproom.
Our friends at pick the city's best restaurants each quarter, and we trust their opinion. See full list »
The lovely ladies of 13th Street, Marcie Turney and Val Safran, opened Jamonera, their ode to Spanish ham in the former Bindi spot. After numerous glowing reviews from local critics, Safran and Turney have another bonafide hit on their hands.
The most successful outpost in Marcie Turney's empire, Barbuzzo is busy every day of the week. The "it" restaurant of 2011, the pastas and pizzas are fantastic, as well as the famous salted caramel budino dessert. Great cocktails and wine selection, Barbuzzo has a ton of staying power.
Wursthaus Schmitz
Jeremy Nolen's brilliant work at Brauhaus Schmitz has been compacted into a stall at the RTM, and he's added a bunch of new portable sandwiches. White hot in the first month, and there's no signs of slowing down.
Vedge is the latest iteration of the evolution of vegan eats in Philly from chef Rich Landau. Famous for his previous restaurant, Horizons, Vedge has gotten a lot of local and national attention as of late. This isn't a great vegan restaurant, it's one of Philly's best restaurants, period. Don't sleep on this one.