Philadelphia can truly be enjoyed within three to four days. Downtown Philadelphia is very easy to navigate and mostly can be conquered on foot. Select lodgings that keep you in downtown Philadelphia to maximize your time when visiting.
Philadelphia Pennsylvania: An important city in the history of the United States of America. In this city the founding fathers met to sign and declare their independence from Britain. Philadelphia also served as the temporary capital of the US and was home to many famous Americans including Benjamin Franklin.
How long time do I need for my visit to Philadelphia?
Philadelphia can truly be enjoyed within three to four days. Downtown Philadelphia is very easy to navigate and mostly can be conquered on foot. Select lodgings that keep you in downtown Philadelphia to maximize your time when visiting. There are several hotels in Center City as well as Airbnb options based on your travel budget and preference. When I visit larger cities, I like to take the plunge and indulge in hotels and Bed and Breakfasts that are in historic buildings, my top pick would be the Morris House Hotel which is a Bed and Breakfast in a restored home from the late 1700s. To truly indulge in elegance and luxury, consider the Bellevue Philadelphia, now operated by Hyatt, but originally considered “one of the most most elegant hotels” when first built in the early 1900s.
Day 1: First impression of Philadelphia
Start you day at Reading Terminal Market. This is one of the oldest markets in Philadelphia. Not only can you shop for fresh produce, prepared meats, local and international cheeses and breads, but there are also several quick service kitchens that you can order breakfast while you shop and select a few goods to pack for a picnic lunch for later that day.
The Old City
After a filling breakfast and goodies in your pack for lunch and snacks later, head towards Old City. Here you should start with touring Benjamin Franklin Museum and see property his home and businesses stood. You can walk through the actual carriageway and see the preserved foundation of his original home. You are also in the neighborhood to see the Constitution and Declaration of Independence and the Philadelphia History Museum as well as the Liberty Bell. There are several charming locations for that outdoor picnic including Washington Square overlooking Independence Hall.
Your first evening
While in the neighborhood, consider checking out the Museum of the American Revolution and Christ Church where many of the founding fathers were buried. If you enjoy a good ghost story, the Ghost Tour of Philadelphia was a fun way to wrap up a day of history with tours daily around 7:30pm. While on this end of town, consider dinner and cocktails at The Olde Bar. Originally known as Bookbinders, a fine dining establishment well known in Philadelphia for decades, this location offers great cuisine and cocktails just a few blocks from wrapping up your evening in Old City.
Day 2: Philadelphia Culture & Art
Philadelphia is hugely supportive of the performing arts. So much talent resides in this city, you can not visit without enjoying a live performance. Philadelphia has so many Theaters to choose from. Ballet, Musicals, Off Broadway hits and the Symphony not to mention the local talent of up and coming musicians that perform live each evening. Once you solidify your travel to Philadelphia, choose a live performance to enjoy, it is part of what makes Philadelphia so beautifully diverse. Today’s agenda assumes you have tickets for a show in the evening…
Start your day with breakfast at Parc situated on Rittenhouse Square. Parc is one of the many culinary adventures by Stephen Starr whose iconic restaurants have been “the place to been seen” in Philadelphia and New York City. After a filling breakfast, head up to City Hall. The building is truly beautiful, with the founder of Philadelphia William Penn positioned at the very top. Just behind the City Hall, is one of the most beautiful structures I have ever toured, the Masonic Temple. Tours are offered regularly and well worth it.
Museums and landmarks
After taking in the splendor of the Masonic Temple, head towards Logan Square. Here you will have several beautiful Museums and landmarks to experience: The Cathedral Basilica of Sts Peter and Paul, The Rodin Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Save time to plan for dinner at Double Knot. If time got away from you, take Lyft or a cab a few blocks back to Midtown to Double Knot. The downstairs dining room is lit by candles and the food and cocktails are amazing. Reservations are strongly recommended. From Double Knot you should be able to walk to most of the theaters. After your show, if timing permits, you should be a close walk to Charlie Was A Sinner, one of my favorite bars in Philadelphia. Dark and elegant with creative cocktails and tempting bites.
Day 3: Philadelphia Culinary Experiences
Philadelphia has really flourished in the cultivation of culinary adventure. So many local privately-owned restaurants and bistros have flourished in this city. One of the most amazing experiences I have had was at Will BYOB. Definitely a dinner to save up for, the use of creative cooking techniques and seasonal local produce made for a most memorable dining adventures I’ve ever had. If your budget allows, book a reservation for Will BYOB in South Philly for dinner. The place is small and fills up quickly as soon as you solidify your travel plans (even if months in advance) book your reservation. If Will BOYB isn’t on your agenda for the evening. Still venture into the heart of South Philly. There are several bars and restaurants favored by locals to share a beer and hear their story.
The Italian Market
After a relaxing morning, head down S 9th Street to the Italian Market around 11am-noon. Enjoy fresh produce and share a tasting of the iconic sandwich, The Philly Cheese Steak. Take your time stepping in and out of booths, bars and shops and truly seeing what Philadelphia locals offer. Further South down 9th Street where Passyunk Ave intercepts are two historic locations for what claims to be “the best cheese steak sandwich”: Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s. Don’t fill up on these cheesy meaty combinations but enjoy comparing them with your traveling companions… be a food critic and pick your favorite.
Further into South Philadelphia
From here I highly recommending calling for Lyft or a cab and heading further into South Philly towards the location of Will BYOB. There are several bars and shops all along Passyunk Ave. Spend the late afternoon before dinner checking out some of the charming bars in this reviving neighborhood. Start out at The Pub on Passyunk East and continue your walk from there towards Passyunk Square where the bar and dining options abound. As your evening wraps up in South Philly, you will definitely want to snag a cab or Lyft back to your lodging.
More of Philadelphia
There is so much more that Philadelphia offers. Fishtown is another great neighborhood to venture up to and spend the afternoon or evening. Far away from the bustle of tourist groups, this neighborhood also boasts small locally owned restaurants, bars and shops full of welcoming locals with a passion for their city. Philadelphia also hosts several festivals throughout the year. Consider saving time on your third day before venturing into South Philly enjoying one of the festivals. For more suggestions for what to do and where to go while in Philadelphia, check out my Sippin Gypsy Quick Tips: Philadelphia. I hope you enjoy your visit to “The City of Brotherly Love”.
How to get to Philadelphia
Traveling to Philadelphia is easy. Philadelphia sits within close proximity of New York City and Washington D.C. so there are several large international airports that would easily support your travel agenda. One could easily take a week and visit all three of these important, iconic cities, but for this post…my focus is “The City of Brotherly Love: Philadelphia”.
When to visit Philadelphia?
Philadelphia is accessible all year. The weather can be hot and uncomfortably humid in the Summer months of July and August and freezing cold with ice and snow storms in the Winter months of December through February, but even in extreme weather, the city rarely shuts down. My favorite time to visit Philadelphia or any North-Eastern city is in the Spring months of April or May or the Autumn months of September or October. The weather is less tumultuous, and I can pack lighter and enjoy walking everywhere.