African American Museum: I appreciate this museum. Although it’s smaller than I’d wanted, it’s very doable if you have an hour or so. Really beautifully created. The interactive digital village is very informative, but loud, so if more than one video is on, it’s hard to hear yours.
Barnes Foundation: The outside of this space is modern, simplistic, and beautiful. It’s a big white cube. This collection is an eclectic one of post-impressionists, and modern.
Ben Franklin Museum: A charming, well put together way to spend an hour, and learn a little more than you likely need to about good ol’ Ben Franklin. 90 minutes and you can cover the entire place. A highlight includes the creepy yet wonderful Ben Franklin videos around the museum (you’ll have to see them yourself!)
Constitutional Center: A small centre but A LOT to read and interact with. I thought it was a great investment in quality over quantity here.
Franklin Institute: So much fun and so much to learn at this very hands on experience! For people of all ages, give yourself at least 3 hours to go through the standard exhibits (including a walk through heart, a brain maze, and a race against the Philly Phanatic!). Also there’s a Pixar exhibit on right now about all of the different pieces that go into making their masterpieces. Very technical, but very cool! (easy to spend 1.5-2 hours in this alone).
Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Tour: Great way to get localized with the city. Note if you want to go up towards the zoo, there is a special shuttle- ask about that.
One Liberty Place Observation Deck: Amazing views of the city, accompanied by these really cool interactive 3D maps, and it never seems to be all that busy. Also, One Liberty Place was the 1st building in Philly to break the ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’ that no building be higher than the hat of William Penn (who sits atop City Hall). Supposedly this brought on the curse of William Penn, making all of the local sports teams bad. I don’t know if we can blame a curse for that one…
The Liberty Bell Center: Currently admission is free! Stop in just to see the bell, or spend an hour learning the history of the one and only Liberty Bell.
Love Park (aka JFK Plaza): OH LOVE! Note the LOVE Sculpture has moved to Dilworth Part until Spring 2017.
National Liberty Museum: Each room is totally different here, from a 9/11 memorial, a glass blowing section, a Be A Hero exhibit, and more. A great place for visitors who get bored just looking at more and more art.
National Museum of American Jewish History: Beautiful spacious building, full of a colourful Jewish history, and some really neat artifacts like Spielberg’s first camera.
Philadelphia Museum of Art (or as the locals call it: the Art Museum): This is a pretty big gallery inside that’s well curated with some classics, and some modern! What this space is really known for though is THE steps (The Rocky Steps). The Rocky Statue is also a popular photo spot at the base of the steps.
Please Touch Museum: Located a little outside of City Centre, this Museum is located in the last remaining building from the Worlds Fair years ago. It’s a beautiful building with a small exhibit on the Worlds Fair and a few highlights like the Liberty sculpture and merry go round; otherwise it’s a bit more of a glorified playground that would be great for 1-5 year olds.
Walnut Street Theatre: America’s Oldest Theatre, and many would say brightest! Tickets are reasonably priced, and the locally produced shows are Broadway quality! Always a fun night out.
The Italian Market: You know it’s the Oldest Outdoor Market in America! Lots of outdoor vendors, and some hidden gems line this 9th Street market. I might even say it’s more Mexican than Italian… Great place to go for affordable fresh produce that you would use day of.
The Reading Terminal Market: This is a market! Hustle and bustle, with a variety of items and FOOD! Lots of food options to eat there, or take home for later. If you drive, make sure you get the $4 validated parking. Check out the rather fascinating history here. Be sure to check out America’s Oldest Ice Cream vendor Bassetts Ice Cream and try the WHYY Experience. Carmen’s is also famous (Obama’s been!), yet not the oldest: Pretty good cheesesteaks!
Carmen’s: Reading Market staple. Famous of course. The Franklin is a good spin on the cheesesteak, as they add a layer of Philadelphia Cream Cheese to the mix. Yummy!
Campo’s: Small space inside, but it’s worth it! This is the place I was told where you go for a beer and a cheesesteak, but not fries (go a few doors down to Sonny’s if you’re looking for those).
Sonny’s: My 4th try at the Cheesesteak, and my favourite! Enjoyed the atmosphere- not loud, comfortable, a little retro and friendly. You come here for cheesesteak and fries, but no beer. Sonny’s is a few doors down from Campo’s.
Jim’s on South: I was told this was the “tourist trap”, but I really loved it! Enjoyed mine with peppers, onions and provolone.
Ishkabibble’s: Not sure on this one- it was a lot of bread. If Ishka is low on seating- and there isn’t much seating- you can bring your food up to Ishka 2 for more seating, just north of 5th on South)
Pat’s: So this was my first cheesesteak stop. Maybe I had unrealistic expectations, or maybe the cheesesteaks just aren’t that good. A lot of bread, some flavor; not what I would call the “King of Steaks”. It’s in all of the tourist books as the place to go, so maybe they’ve opted for marketing over food investment. Maybe I should try it again?
Lorenzo & Son’s Pizza: If you are looking for a large piece of cheese pizza that’s super cheap, this is your place! Note the strict house rule: they only let you have toppings on Topping Tuesdays.
Papa John’s: You know what, it’s not the oldest, nor the best, but it’s okay! This global pizza chain is affordable and okay in a pinch! The thin crust is the way to go.
Stella: Amazing wood fired pizza, classy fun atmosphere, and great salads on top of that! YUM! For a full review, check out the Philly Phood Blogger Derrick’s post.
City Tavern: Okay, so it’s a bit touristy, but it’s history, and that’s what Philly does best! Eat colonial inspired food (great for those picky eaters), and enjoy what it might have been like to have enjoyed a drink with good ol’ G Washington 240 years ago. This is a rebuild of the original tavern, but I get the sense that those civil war ghosts, and dead brides never left…
Victor Cafe: YUM! Honestly, one of my new favorites! Yum for the great Italian food, yum for the outstanding opera (the servers are trained, and perform a full song every 15 minutes!), and yum if you’re a fan of Rocky: it’s Adrienne’s 🙂
Places to Run in Philly: I’ve ventured over the Ben Franklin Bridge. Great run, beautiful views. I’ve been told don’t get off the Bridge in Camden NJ though; safety first!
Wolfson Wellness Family Chiropractic: After looking around the city, I’m so glad I found Dr. Matt. Appointments are quick, yet effective. He’s super personable which makes for a comfortable visit. Also, the roller is a nice mini massage kick off before the adjustment!