A Weekend in Philadelphia: A Must-See, Must-Eat Travel Guide
Living in Maryland has its perks - the beach, experiencing all four seasons, Old Bay, and being so close to major cities. Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and even New York City are a few hours away and can make for the perfect weekend getaway.
A lot of people think that a weekend trip has to be somewhere warm a sunny - like a girl’s trip to Miami or L.A. But we live so close to major cities that don’t get the recognition they deserve!
Philly is sort of tucked in between D.C. and New York and it slides in under the radar for its great food scene, museums, and the arts! After being a student at Temple University for a few years, Philly will always have special place in my heart.
Philadelphia is a pretty important place to Hubs and me - we both love the food, the history, and we have had some really good times in the city! So it was it was a no-brainer that we go to Philly after our wedding. We tend to plan our trips around food and cocktails, so we pretty much spent 2 days bar-hopping around the city and checked out some of our favorite places.
On our Mini-Moon to Philly, we opted to forgo staying in a hotel and we stayed at a great little AirBnB in the perfect location. I can’t stress how important location is when staying in a city - too far from the city center and it’s a hassle getting anywhere and staying in the heart of the city can hurt your wallet. It was the quaintest little place that was exactly what we needed.
If you are going to Philly, be sure to check out some of these places:
1. Reading Terminal Market
For any foodie, RTM is paradise. There are endless shops and restaurants to get any kind of food you could imagine - Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Gyros, Oysters, Schnitzel, and of course, cheesesteaks. Along with food, there are specialty shops where you can find the greatest chocolates, honey, and olive oils and balsamic vinegars. It’s always hustling and bustling with people from all over the city and tourists who want good food in a fun, lively atmosphere.
2. South Street
This has become a tourist hot spot but is also home to some of the coolest little boutiques and specialty shops. It’s a bit of a hipster destination, but it’s full of art murals, bars, and just about anything you can imagine. Check out Jim’s Steaks to join in on the great cheesesteak debate!
3. Rittenhouse Square and the Walnut Shopping District
The Rittenhouse Square District is home to some of the most bourgeois hotels, restaurants, shopping. Walnut Street houses some of the best shopping - Barney’s New York, Burberry, and gourmet chocolate shops, just to name a few! There are world-class bars and restaurants intermingled with the shops, making it an easy way to spend a Saturday! For great views and revamped classic martinis, check out XIX (NINETEEN) at the top of the Hyatt at the Bellevue, Butcher and Singer for a classic Old Fashioned, and The Continental for cocktails and a very Instagrammable ambiance.
Our favorite spot is The Dandelion, an English Pub right off Rittenhouse Square. The outside is adorned in ivy and greenery, and when you walk inside, the decor is so cozy and ideal for an afternoon cocktail. We planned our day around the Dandelion's Afternoon Tea menu, simply because it has the best cocktails and a chicken-duck liver parfait that is to die for. It's the stuff dreams are made of.
Every major city has a booming Chinatown, and Philly’s might be my favorite. Hubs is a huge fan of dumplings, ramen, and pho, so it was really a win-win for both of us. There’s no shortage of sushi and Dim Sum - some of the best dim sum can be found at Tom’s Dim Sum - a no-frills noodles and dim sum shop. We got the soup dumplings and pork steam buns… WOW. They were amazing (messy, but amazing!) But all of Chinatown has a certain feel about it, almost transporting you overseas. And if you look hard enough, you might just stumble upon some hidden speakeasies...
5. The Museums and Historical Sites
The birthplace of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia has no shortage of cool historical sites and museums. Check out the Betsy Ross house where she sewed the first American flag, Elfreth’s Alley - the oldest, still occupied, residential street in America, and walk around Independence Hall to see where the Founding Fathers signed the DOI, take a peek at the Liberty Bell. If art is more your scene, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a great way to spend the day. Admission is free unless you want access to the special exhibits - and it’s always free to run up the steps like Rocky.
6. The Cheesesteaks
This deserves its own recognition, and rightfully so. Philadelphia cheesesteaks are world famous - and everyone is very opinionated about which joint has the best cheesesteak in Philly. Jim’s Steak on South Street. Tony Luke’s is my ultimate personal favorite. I love the original location - a divey little diner under I-95 in South Philly. You don't go for the ambiance, but you stay for the food. The great cheesesteak debacle between Pat’s and Geno’s (Hubs and I are #TeamGenos). There are loads of great places to get a cheesesteak.
And don’t forget to order wiz wit.