Amanda from Chasing My Sunshine is here with a super Philadelphia travel guide!
Ah, Philadelphia. You may know us for those famous Rocky Steps at the Art Museum. And yes, we run up and down them all of the time. We’re also The City of Brotherly Love! There is certainly quite a lot to love here, too. I’ve lived here for seven years and still have not run out of places to explore in the city.
The best part of Philadelphia is that there is a neighborhood for every style. Seriously, people are nuts about their neighborhoods in Philadelphia! And each neighborhood houses some seriously cool places to explore. Maybe more importantly, depending on your travel style, they’ve all got some pretty delicious food to eat too.
Click through to see Amanda’s Philadelphia Travel Guide!
EAT + DRINK
Cake & The Beanstalk — This coffee shop has your standard delicious fare, but the decor is absolutely my favorite part. It’s like everything you wish your kindergarten classroom had, but somehow it is more sophisticated. It’s magical! Plus they put roasted red pepper on the breakfast sandwiches. Grab it before you set out for the day!
Good Karma Cafe — I cannot count the afternoons I have spent at Good Karma typing away on my laptop. Their specialty coffee drinks are what really attracted me, and now I’m hooked. They change their specials every season. For all you PSL lovers out there, skip it and go for the Pumpkin Chai. So. Good.
Ant’s Pants Cafe — There are a lot of touristy places to brunch in Philadelphia that even the locals love. Ant’s Pants has somehow glided under the radar and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Their specials are always totally awesome. And the iced coffee packs a punch – don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Dim Sum Garden — If soup dumplings make your world go ’round, this place will definitely not disappoint. If you grab dim sum here, that means you get to explore Chinatown too! Philly’s is definitely a sight to see.
Mama’s Vegetarian — This is a tiny cash-only falafel place that makes up for size with flavor. This is some of the best falafel I’ve ever had. I know you’re going to feel the health trend pressure and try to order it on wheat pita – DON’T. Go spicy on white pita. You won’t be sorry. As a tip, don’t come during the lunch rush if you expect a seat!
Talula’s Garden — Hands down my favorite place to dine in the city. They’ve got brunch too, but if you want to treat yourself go for dinner. And do NOT skip dessert! The menus are seasonal and inspired by the farm to table idea. I haven’t had a bad dish there.
Little Baby’s Ice Cream — Have you ever had Earl Grey Sriracha ice cream? Didn’t think so. Little Baby’s is the ice cream place with those crazy flavors that you don’t think will work…and then totally do. They’ve got a tasting option too, so you don’t have to settle for one flavor. Dairy isn’t your thing? They’ve got coconut flavors too that are equally delicious.
Ranstead Room — Speakeasies are all the rage these days. But some of them are starting to become a little crowded. This is probably my favorite of the bunch. It’s great for date night or to hang out with your classy friends. Can’t go wrong! If you need some help finding it, it’s behind the El Rey restaurant. There will be a light over the door to enter!
Indego — Bike shares are becoming more and more popular in cities everywhere. Philadelphia’s program is a baby, but it has become so popular. I’m telling you, if you want to travel like a local in Center City: walk or take bike share. They are super easy to use and they are step through, so go ahead and wear all the skirts you please.
Yard’s Brewing Company — Is beer your thing? We’ve got a brewing company right in the city, no driving required! This is a good activity for part of your day. And if you’re feeling up to it, there’s a rock climbing gym right next to it! Give it a try! Can’t go wrong with climbing and beer.
Woodlands Cemetery — Located in University City, this cemetery is a little local treasure. It’s got a path surrounding it, so you can easily walk around and explore the grounds. They even offer tours of the mansion that sits on the site. Just be warned: if it just rained, it may be a bit muddy!
Mütter Museum — There are tons of museums in Philadelphia, but this one is pretty sweet. On their website, they ask if you are ready to be “disturbingly informed.” It’s the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and there are tons of things to help you learn about the human body.
Fairmount Treehouse — Okay, so technically this is a “pavilion in the trees,” but we Philadelphians definitely refer to it as a treehouse. Constructed by Martin Puryear in 1993, it’s located in West Fairmount Park near the horticulture center. While you’re at it, go ahead and explore the whole area! You’ll forget you’re in a huge city, except for the fantastic skyline views you may find.
Visit Manayunk — Manayunk is a bit outside of Center City Philadelphia and you’ll have to take a train to get there. Or you could bike there on the Schuylkill (skoo-kill) River Trail! But this is a really fun area of town to go out or grab dinner. Lots of young professionals move out there and so it’s got a younger vibe.
Night Market — If you are visiting Philadelphia at the right time, you must go to Night Market. If you want to visit like a local, this is a way to do that. Philadelphia Magazine voted it the best city activity, so it’s got to be true! Tons and tons of food trucks and vendors are here, but my favorite activity has got to be people watching.
Historical Tours — Don’t yell at me! I know you don’t want to be a tourist. But there is so. much. history. in Philadelphia that you might miss if you try too hard NOT to be a tourist. If I had to suggest a tour, it would be the free walking tours. They cost what you tip and there are some cool tours that they offer. We’ll compromise by not having me send you to a tour where they dress up like colonial times.
Uhuru Furniture — Uhuru is a used furniture store that has such a cool vibe. My boyfriend and I furnished our apartment pretty much solely from Uhuru! If you’re just in town for a bit and luggage space is an issue, they’ve also got smaller collectables that are really fun to look through.
Occasionette — Looking for a souvenir that doesn’t a) look cheap and/or b) isn’t something that everybody else has? This is the place to go! They’ve got a great selection of local products AND the store is such a fixture in the community.
Nuts to You — I’m sneaking a food shop onto the shops list. But Nuts to You is awesome. This is where I buy all of my nuts/seeds in bulk. BUT they’ve got some pretty awesome goodies that would be great snacks. I imagine they’d travel well too, so your friends and family back home will be glad you visited.
Philly Aids Thrift — Thrift shops are pretty big in Philadelphia and if you go to one, Philly Aids Thrift is the way to go. Pro tip: the first Saturday of every month they have dollar clothes days! So bring those dollars with you to Philly!
Jinxed — Jinxed has such a grab bag of cool stuff available. They’ve got a lot of vintage knick-knacks that are SO fun to dig through and explore. I especially love when I find old postcards. They’ve also got a fairly decent jewelry selection.
Philadelphia Runner — Okay, so if you forget any running or workout stuff, this is a place to go to replace it. BUT that’s not why they make my list! If you are a runner, I encourage you to take a look at their run schedule. They’ve got a lot of events and group runs. Going to one is a great way to get a glimpse of the local running scene. It’s huge in Philadelphia!
Bloom — This is another great place to snag gifts, for yourself or for someone else. The jewelry selection is on point, but it doesn’t stop there. I once found an adorable set of mixing spoons painted like ladybugs. I’ve also never been in there chatting with a shopkeeper that I didn’t like.
Franklin Flea — This isn’t a store, per se. Are you into flea markets? Then you most definitely have to go to Franklin Flea. I encourage you to check out the dates beforehand, as they are fairly sporadic. If you visit Philadelphia in the wintertime, you’ll get to see this huge flea market in the historic Strawbridges.
Chaddsford Winery — This is only a 40 minute road trip outside of the city, so if you’ve got a car you have no excuse! This winery is such a breath of fresh air (…literally). They have events all the time. Even if they don’t, their outdoor patio is a great place to relax with a bottle of wine. Fun fact: this is also the winery that supplies the wine for Philles and Flyers games. Go for the Flyers Red. Delicious.
AMANDA FOLK //
Amanda is a graduate student in Philadelphia, just waiting to burst. She’s got a severe case of itchy feet and can’t wait to get out, explore the world, and share her stories. Amanda spends as much time as possible outside and being active, but she’ll be the first to sit down with you (and a bottle of wine) if you’ve got a story to tell. She’s just a girl trying to find the sunshine!