Philadelphia is a destination for history buffs. There are numerous museums, art galleries, parks and festivals to keep you busy for a week. It is also one of the upcoming foodie destinations offering ethnic, organic and vegetarian cuisines. But, if you have a day or weekend to spare in the nation’s oldest city, then here are some must do’s…
Start the day with a hearty breakfast at Sabrina’s Cafe (4 locations). Run by an enterprising couple Robert and Raquel DeAbreu, Sabrina’s is the most hip brunch place in Philadelphia. Everything is prepared using fresh ingredients and served in a casual setting. There are plenty of vegan, vegetarian, gluten and dairy-free options to choose from.
After breakfast, walk a few blocks to the birthplace of American democracy, Historic Philadelphia’s Independence National Historical Park (INHP). The area comprises of must-see free attractions.
There, the Liberty Bell Center is a global symbol of freedom for Civil Rights advocates, immigrants, protestors and other groups. Alongside that, Independence Hall is where the Founding Fathers came together to sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Furthermore, Congress Hall, the New Hall Military Museum, Franklin Court and the Bishop White House are other attractions you can visit.
If there’s enough time, stop by the National Museum of American Jewish History. The museum traces stories of Jewish immigrants to the US across 360 years.
Walk back through the bustling Chinatown district where a decorated Chinese gate leads you through Asian shops, restaurants and businesses. You’ll end up at the famous Reading Terminal Market for lunch.
Established in 1892, Reading Terminal Market is the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmers’ market. There are over 80 merchants selling everything from fresh veggies and fruit, homemade candy, and seafood to self serve meals. Lunch options include Indian, Chinese, Trini, gourmet sandwiches, and the locally acclaimed Philly Cheesesteak. You could also try the Best Sandwich in America (according to Travel Channel) at DiNic’s.
For four days a week, Amish merchants from Lancaster County bring farm-fresh products and distinctive prepared dishes. Try Philadelphia’s famous soft pretzels. Also, look for spots to get a Philly Cheesesteak.
Take the afternoon to shop at King of Prussia Mall, the largest mall on the East Coast. Some stores include Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and Macy’s. There are more than 40 eateries, which include Morton’s and The Cheesecake Factory. Additionally, nearly 400 specialty shops, like Burberry, Apple, Louis Vutton and Sephora, are there too. The best part is there is no sales tax on clothes and shoes in Philadelphia.
Late afternoon is perfect to stroll along rows of impressive Renaissance, American, Impressionist and Modern art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The building itself looks like Greece’s Parthenon, and is the third-largest art museum in the country. After 5 pm on Fridays, there is live jazz or international music concerts and a cash bar in the Great Stair Hall.
Walk down South Street, Philadelphia’s famous street bustling with restaurants, shops and galleries. Step back into the 80’s for an American classic dinner at Juniper Commons. An extensive Gin menu features nostalgic cocktails that would make you chuckle and buzz. Try the Flying Caucasian – a take on the White Russian with coffee syrup, cream and gin.
Filled with extraordinarily high-quality music experiences, Philadelphia has Classical, Jazz, Rock, Folk, World, Dance Club and Neo-Soul and Hip-Hop. To see the country’s most historic opera house, walk down Avenue of the Arts to find Opera Philadelphia. Also, you’ll see a 150-foot glass vaulted rooftop at the Kimmerl center and many local venues performing live music, comedy, dance and more.
End the night with late-night drinks and laughs at The Crazy Sofa. The new entertainment venue has become a popular gathering place for food, drinks, piano, jazz and dancing.