After years of mainly traveling between Memphis + Austin, it feels like I have been going, going, going, all summer. I’ve already told you about my amazing trip to Chicago, but thanks to a recent business trip, I was able to knock another city/state off my US travel list. I spent five days learning about digital marketing + exploring Philly. I’m excited to share my Philadelphia travel guide with you!
When I say there is a lot of history in Philly, I mean it! This Philadelphia travel guide is chock full of historical places you can visit once you take your 20-minute Uber from the airport. On your way into the city, be sure to check out all the major league sports stadiums. Head out a game if any teams are in town! Philly was smart + grouped them all together so they could share parking. Once you make it into the city center (or wherever you’re staying) get your sightseeing shoes on + get moving.
Philadelphia Travel Guide Must-Dos
I did so many things in Philly that I loved. The best decision I made was to spend a day touring the city on a Big Bus Tour. Not only will this double-decker bus take you all around town, but it is a hop-on, hop-off tour (from 9:30-5) which means you can explore all the attractions + get right on to the next one. Some of my highlights on the tour were the Liberty Bell, Besty Ross’ House, Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Love Park, South Street, Chinatown, and Eastern State Penitentiary.
If you have the time, take a tour of the penitentiary. This centuries-old jail was started as a new system that stressed solitary confinement as a way to inspire penance of prisoners. A guided audio tour by Steve Buscemi tells you the history of the prison and talks about the famous prisoners who were held there + what life was like until it closed in the ’70s.
Outside of the bus tour, there are plenty of other things to do. One thing I really loved was exploring Magic Gardens. This outdoor folk art gallery uses non-traditional materials to create amazing art. Philadelphia is a city full of amazing art + artists. While in there, I enjoyed some hilarious comedy at the Punch Line Philly. One of my favorite things I did was meet up with a fellow Skimmbassador at Spruce Street Harbor – where we had a great chat + some great food.
Philadelphia Travel Guide Must-Eats
Spruce Street Harbor (located on the Delaware River) was full of yummy food trucks. I had Crab fries from Chickie’s & Pete’s + cotton candy ice cream from Franklin’s Fountain. Also located on the Delaware is Moshulu. While the inside is fancy-shmancy, up above is On Deck, a first-come, first-serve small plates + cocktails restaurant with an amazing sunset view. I wasn’t able to get their wine pop but the mango mojito was amazing. I also really enjoyed their spinach dip.
Obviously, the big food item in Philly is the cheesesteak. No Philadelphia travel guide would be complete without mentioning it. Because I only had one cheesesteak while in town, I cannot weigh in on the debate of whose is the best. I can tell you that the “wiz wit” from Pat’s was absolutely delicious. If you aren’t ravenously hungry, I recommend splitting it because it was huge. Make sure you know how to order or you’ll get some sass from the authentic Philly staff.
You can’t live a whole weekend off cheesesteaks + I had plenty of yummy things while visiting Philly. I recommend the tye-dye bagel with birthday cake cream cheese from Chestnut Street Philly Bagel + brunch at Talula’s Garden – everything is delicious. Bare Burger also had an amazing, organic selection. If you head to Reading Market Terminal (which you should), get a burger + lobster mac’n’cheese from Hunger Burger, trust me on this one. If the mac’n’cheese isn’t too rich for you, be sure to also get a chocolate chip cannoli from Termini Brothers. You could honestly eat at the terminal all weekend + be a happy camper.
As far as where you should stay, both my hotels were located near City Hall in the City Center Neighborhood. It was obviously a very central location that allowed me to be close to almost everything I wanted to see. I’ve heard from others that Rittenhouse Square and Old City are also a great location. You really can’t beat any place near downtown.
I hope this Philadelphia travel guide helps you plan your visit to the City of Brotherly Love!