Philadelphia City Guide

Philadelphia Travel Guide

My meticulously curated travel guide for Philadelphia, includes local hotspots, under-the-radar restaurants, can’t-miss boutiques, and hip places to stay.

Philadelphia is famous for the Liberty Bell, Rocky Balboa, and Cheesesteaks. The City of Brotherly Love is also the birthplace of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Philadelphia is home to many national treasures, a thriving culinary scene, beautiful parks, hip shopping, and a bustling sports scene.

I created an insider’s Google map that reflects all my recommendations, so you can easily access them throughout your travels. You can save the map with your Google account. This isn’t your typical list of see-and-be-seen spots (though to be fair, they’re on there).

Click here for a complete list of all my recommendations.

If you only have one day, don’t miss the following:

Reading Market
 is one of the top indoor markets in the country. My favorite shop in the market is Chocolate By Meuller.

Zahav is a modern Israeli restaurant bringing the flavors of Israel to the table. It is my favorite restaurant in Philadelphia. Reservations should be booked in advance. Named the best restaurant in the country by the James Beard Foundation. *V *GF

Suraya is a Lebanese restaurant in Fish Town. It’s fantastic.

P.S. & Co. is Philly’s only gluten-free and vegan cafe. The pastries are the best! *V *GF

Goldie’s is modeled after Israeli-style falafel shops. Don’t miss the Tehina shakes (Turkish coffee, chocolate, and coconut). There’s also falafel in a pita sandwich or a salad and french fries with various spice options on the menu. *GF *V

Pizzeria Beddia was named the Best Pizza in America in 2015.

Royal Sushi & Izakaya is a moodily lit Japanese pub with drink-friendly fare & a chef’s sushi counter in the back.

Dizengoff is home to the best hummus ever! *V

More recommendations:

Vedge is one of the best vegetarian restaurants in the country. If you can’t make it to Philly, pick up the Vedge cookbook. *V

Federal Donuts is famous for its donuts and fried chicken.

Green Eggs Cafe is a top pick for brunch. The mouth-watering menu features crème brûlée French toast, red velvet pancakes, and chicken and waffles.

Osteria is a highly acclaimed Italian restaurant.

Vetri is an upscale Italian restaurant.

Sam’s Morning Glory Diner offers traditional breakfast fare. Diners love homemade ketchup.

Vernick is a fancy little restaurant in an old brownstone. The chef has earned accolades from Food & Wine, Bon Appetite, James Beard Foundation, StarChefs, and more.

Nomad Pizza is an artisanal wood-fired pizza parlor using locally sourced ingredients.

Laser Wolf is an Israeli grill.

Sabrina’s Cafe is a cozy café for brunch. *GF

White Dog Cafe is a quirky restaurant with a large farm-to-table menu to please any appetite.

Pizza Brain is a unique little spot to grab a whole pie or huge slices.

The Corner Foolery is a rustic sandwich shop and a popular spot for viewing sporting events on television.

Tacconelli’s Pizza is a famous pizza parlor featured in many travel magazines and television shows.

Parc is a great spot to dine on the patio.

Giuseppe & Sons bring a fresh twist to Italian American classics

Friday Saturday Sunday is a charming gem in an old brownstone.

Rye Bread is a sandwich shop specializing in fresh ingredients.

Cafe La Maude is a hidden gem serving a French-Lebanese-inspired menu. Great for brunch.

Bitar’s serves Middle Eastern cuisine.

Le Viet is a modern Vietnamese restaurant in South Philly. Try the green tea ice cream for dessert.

Kanela is the best authentic Greek food in the city.

Little Nonna’s serves traditional Italian dishes delivered in a homey trattoria setting with an open kitchen and a garden.

Pho 75 is a no-frills spot for Vietnamese soup. The coffee with condensed milk is excellent.

Gino’s and Pat’s King of Steaks are the iconic cheesesteak joints.


Head House Farmer’s Market is every Sunday morning near the Italian District.

Rittenhouse Farmer’s Market is at the picturesque Rittenhouse Square Park every Saturday morning.

DiBruno Brothers is an Italian market with locations in Center City, Old City, and the Italian District. A great option for take-out food.

Night Market is a great way to sample the city’s best street food. Check the schedule for the dates.

9th Street Italian Market is home to gourmet grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries, and cheese shops.


Gran Caffe L’ Aquila is one of my favorite cafes in the city for authentic Italian gelato and coffee.

Machine Shop Boulangerie is the best bakery for a taste of France.

Whipped Bakeshop is the best cupcake shop in Philadelphia. Martha Stewart listed the bakery as one of her favorites.

Sweet Box Cupcakes are also good cupcakes. Try the Pink Champagne.

The Franklin Fountain is an adorably themed old-time ice cream shop. *V *GF

Bassett’s Ice Cream serves old fashion style ice cream.

Federal Donuts is gourmet style donuts. Popular menu items include Sea Salt Chocolate, Blueberry Mascarpone, and Cherry Pie.

Four World’s Bakery is an artisan bread bakery.

Manakeesh is a Lebanese bakery.

Lore’s Chocolate is an old fashion candy shop.

Lil Pop Shop is a nationally recognized gourmet popsicle shop. Popular flavors include goat cheese with cherries and honey and Vietnamese iced coffee. *V *GF

Shane Confectionary is a vintage-style chocolate shop.


Ultimo is one of the top coffee shops in Philly with multiple locations.

Two Person Coffee is my favorite coffee shop in Philly.

The Wellness Refinery is an infrared sauna studio and a tonic bar serving adaptogenic smoothies, herbal lattes, and juices.

The Rook is a great dive bar with amazing wings.

Goldie’s has the best Tehina shakes (Turkish coffee, Chocolate, and coconut). Here’s the recipe if you want to make the shakes at home.

Siddiq’s Water & Ice is known for vivid ices steeped in natural fruits for flavors like the strawberry daiquiri and mango-berry.

Rouge is a fancy cocktail bar.

Menagerie is another good coffee shop.


Walnut Theater is America’s oldest theater. Check the schedule for Broadway shows.

Independent Films can be viewed at one of the Landmark Theaters.


Don’t forget to pack an extra bag for shopping. All clothing and shoe purchases are tax-free.

Fante’s Kitchen Shop sells every gadget imaginable for your kitchen.

Good Buy Supply is a sustainable general store. I purchased a nut milk bag and cast iron cleaner.

Cuttalossa is a vintage boutique in the old city.

Anthropologie is headquartered in Philadelphia. The flagship store is located in a beautiful mansion.

H-mart is an Asian market.

Addiction Consignment Shop is my favorite consignment shop for designer brands.

Nice Things Handmade is an Etsy-style boutique.

Hob Nob Design is a home decor store.

Verde is an adorable boutique with pretty jewelry and gifts.

Open House is a great gift store.

Mode Modern is a modern home decor store.

Moon and Arrow is a darling handmade and vintage boutique.

Vix Emporium is a local artisan boutique.

Omoi Zakka Shop is a quirky gift store.

Avril 50 is a stationery and gift shop.

AIA Bookstore and Design Center not only stocks books but great gifts for souvenirs.

Wardrobe Boutique is a women’s designer consignment shop.

Rikumo is a Japanese houseware store.


The Gables is a turn-of-the-century Victorian mansion turned bed and breakfast.

Hyatt Centric is a new hotel in the center city.

Cornerstone Bed and Breakfast is a cozy Victorian-style bed and breakfast.

Le Meridien is a swanky boutique hotel.

Four Seasons is the top luxury hotel in the city.

Sofitel is a luxury hotel in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood.


City Hall Observation Deck is the best view of the city open to the public.

Liberty Bell is a great photo op. Arrive early to avoid long lines in the summer.

Independence Hall is my favorite historical tour. I recommend booking a reservation online to avoid long lines.

Museum of the American Revolution tells the story of the American Revolution and its legacy.

Faith and Liberty Discovery Center: Designed to guide the visitor in a personal exploration of the relationship between faith and liberty in the American experience by illuminating the influence of the Bible on individuals in key historical and personal moments.

The Mutter Museum (pronounced “mooter”) features weird body parts in jars.

Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the best art museums in the country.

Barnes Foundation is home to a stunning collection of paintings. A limited number of tickets are available each day. Stop by on Friday evenings for live music and special events, or visit the first Sunday of every month for free.

Philadelphia Magic Garden is a great photo op.

Barren’s Gardens is one of Philly’s best-kept secrets.

Please Touch Museum is for the little ones.

Eastern State Penitentiary features grand architecture and colorful history.

Philadelphia Zoo is a 42-acre Victorian garden home to more than 1300 animals.

Sports Center is home to the Phillies, Eagles, and 76ers, concerts, and spectacular city views.

Mural Arts are all over the city. Great photo-op.


The Wellness Refinery is an infrared sauna studio and a tonic bar serving adaptogenic smoothies, herbal lattes, and juices.

Mia Cumbia is my favorite nail salon. All of the products are organic.

Advanced Skin Care is an excellent spa with very affordable prices.


The Rocky Steps is a must-do activity. Don’t forget to take a photo of the Rocky statue.

Schuylkill River Trail is an excellent place for a run.

Race Street Pier is an ideal place to exercise or sit and relax with a good book. Ice skating starts in late November.

Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk recently opened. This is my favorite place to run, walk or bike in the city. You can also enjoy a picnic, kayak, or a riverboat tour.

Fairmount Park is a 9,200 park with amazing views of the city.


Amtrak runs frequent trains from DC, Baltimore, Boston, and NYC. Traveling by train from DC to Philadelphia usually takes one hour and 49 minutes, but the fastest Amtrak train can make the trip in one hour and 30 minutes. If you do not purchase your tickets at the time of a fare sale, I recommend checking the app the day prior to travel for last-minute ticket reductions. Early and late trains are usually the best deal, but if a train has empty seats Amtrak may reduce the fare the day prior. I also like the flexibility to change my ticket or cancel without penalty as long as the ticket is changed before departure.

College students receive a discount on Amtrak travel.

Plash runs May-December and weekend service is only September – December. The fare is $2, and the bus stops at 20 popular tourist spots.

30th Street Station is the main train station in Philadelphia.

I created an insider’s Google map that reflects all my recommendations, so you can easily access them throughout your travels. You can save the map with your Google account. This isn’t your typical list of see-and-be-seen spots (though to be fair, they’re on there).

Click here for a complete list of all my recommendations.

What are some of your favorite places in Philly? Leave your responses in the comment section.


Laurel  // Waco  //  Jacksonville //  Washington, DC // Austin  // Richmond // Palm Springs // Venice Beach // Oxford, MS // Portland, Oregon  // 30A Florida // Charleston // Portland, Maine // San Antonio // Savannah // New Orleans

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