A Weekend in Philadelphia

Visiting Philadelphia? Here's what to See, Do, Eat, and Drink in Philadelphia.

Where to Stay, What to See, Do, Eat, and Drink in Philadelphia

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Philadelphia is rightly named the City of Brotherly Love, but it’s also the place I called my second home. If you’re not familiar with me, I grew up 30 minutes outside of the fifth largest city in the US. Trips to Philly happened almost every weekend for me and my family. I somehow even ended up in the city for college, and I don’t regret it for a second! So of course I want to share my love of Philly with everyone who hasn’t visited. Continue reading for the perfect weekend guide on what to see, do, eat, and drink in Philadelphia!

Where to Stay in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Marriott Downtown

Philadelphia Marriott Downtown // 1201 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107-2817

If you’re in need of a really reliable and centrally located hotel, the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown is honestly a great cost-saving option. I can personally attest to how amazing their beds and pillows are. It’s only 1 block away from City Hall and Broad Street. Don’t get freaked out by how huge the hotel is. The Philadelphia Convention Center is right around the corner, but so is Reading Terminal Market.

Other options: Sofitel Philadelphia, Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square, Sonesta Philadelphia Downtown

Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia

Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia // 433 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106-2426

If you’re looking to stay closer to the historic areas of Philadelphia, stay at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia. It’s located right in the heart of Old City and a short walk to Independence Hall. This hotel is also a great option if you like the boutique hotel feel.

Other options: The Logan Philadelphia, Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Le Meridien Philadelphia

Ritz Carlton Philadelphia

Ritz Carlton Philadelphia // 10 Avenue of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA 19102-2500

Want to stay in luxury right on Broad Street? The Ritz Carlton Philadelphia recently went through a TON of renovations, and it is gorgeous. The hotel sits right across the street from City Hall, and you’ll be by a ton of shopping, restaurants, and shows.

Other options: The Rittenhouse Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia (recently opened!)

What to See in Philadelphia

Rittenhouse Square

Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market // 18th & Walnut Streets: up Walnut and down 18th

Rittenhouse Square is a must-see on any trip to Philadelphia. While it’s a small park, it’s right in the center of everything: residences, restaurants, shopping, and bars. Rittenhouse Square is one of the five original open-space parks that was designed by William Penn, and was originally named Southwest Square. On Saturdays, visit Rittenhouse Square for its year-round Farmers’ Market from 9am to 3pm.

City Hall

City Hall // 1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.

City Hall sits in the heart of Downtown Philadelphia at Broad and Market Streets. Its central location is convenient to endless amounts of shops, restaurants, and hotels. City Hall was built on the exact center of William Penn’s original 1682 plans for the city. Venture into the courtyard to get a completely different perspective of the building.

Photo tip: Stand on one of the medians on Broad Street for an iconic shot. You’ll be able to get William Penn’s statue in the photo too!

Independence Hall

Independence Hall // 520 Chestnut Street

First timers in Philly have to go see Independence Hall. It’s rich with history considering it’s where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were created and signed. If you have the patience to wait, take a peek at the Liberty Bell, which is located across the lawn.

Elfreth’s Alley

Elfreth’s Alley // 124-126 Elfreth’s Alley

Elfreth’s Alley is the oldest residential street in the US! The 32 residential buildings were built between the 1720s and 1830s, and is one of quaintest streets I’ve ever been on. And yes, it really is an alley! Tours explaining the history of each house run Friday to Sunday from 12-5pm and are only $5.

South Street

South Street // South Street

A broad range of unique shops line South Street as well as bars and restaurants. You’ll find hookah bars, music venues, Condom Kingdom, cheesesteaks, and more! It’s the perfect place for people watching too.

  • Want some Philadelphia tour options? Viator has a ton of tours at different price points.

  • What to Do in Philadelphia

    Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) & Rocky Run

    Philadelphia Museum of Art // 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

    Another must-do is the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rocky statue. Don’t forget to run up the stairs! The museum itself is colossal and overlooks the Schuylkill River (and Drexel!). My favorite parts of the museum are the The Carl Otto Kretzschmar von Kienbusch Collection, which showcases 14th to 18th century European objects used in battles and tournaments, and the The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Collection, which contains the PMA’s contemporary art collection.

    Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)

    ICA // 118 S. 36th Street

    One of my favorite museums in Philly is the ICA, which is located on the border of Drexel and Penn’s Campus. The museum is fairly small, but you can spend hours here. I recall going to Stefan Sagmeister’s The Happy Show exhibit back in 2012, and wanting to read every single piece. Exhibits can be interactive as well. Admission is free for all.

    Eastern State Penitentiary

    Eastern State Penitentiary // 2027 Fairmont Ave.

    Eastern State Penitentiary is located in Philly’s Fairmont neighborhood, a walking distance from the PMA. It’s America’s most historic prison and offers audio tours, hands-on history, art installations, and history art exhibits. If you’re visiting during Halloween season, get your scaries in at Terror Behind the Walls!

    Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

    Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens // 1020 South Street

    Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a not-so-hidden gem on South Street that is a massive art installation. This is Isaiah Zagar’s largest public work and features found objects, mosaics, glass bottles, tiles, and mirrors. It’s truly a unique space, and you’ll spend quite a bit of time looking at the different areas and phrases that accompany them.

    Where to Eat in Philadelphia

    Reading Terminal Market

    Reading Terminal Market // 51 North 12th Street

    Reading Terminal Market is a foodie paradise. Fresh produce, meats, fish, restaurants, bakeries, and more are located in the market, which makes it the perfect one-stop-shop. It can be a little overwhelming when you first walk in, but maps and signs are easy to locate throughout. Lines can be extremely long, so make sure you’re prepared to wait.


    Parc // 227 South 18th Street

    My love for Parc is insane. I don’t know anyone that dislikes Parc. Parc is an enormous French bistro located right in Rittenhouse Square that offers great food on a consistent basis. I’ve been for both brunch and dinner, but if it’s your first time, go for brunch! The seafood towers are to die for.

    Jim’s Steaks

    Jim’s Steaks // 400 South Street

    Move over Pat’s and Geno’s. The quintessential cheesesteak spot you need to eat at is on South Street. Jim’s has been around since 1939, and it never disappoints. Watch as your cheesesteak is being made ‘wiz wit’ or ‘witout,’ and your mouth will instantly water. Jim’s is cash only.

    Hai Street Kitchen

    Hai Street Kitchen // 32 South 18th Street

    Need a quick, but delicious bite? Stop by Hai Street Kitchen for sushi burritos! You can choose between cooked or uncooked main ingredients and customize your toppings. Portion sizes are generous.

    Federal Donuts

    Federal Donuts // 1632 Samson Street

    I’m sure you’ve heard of chicken and waffles, but have you heard of chicken, doughnuts, and coffee?! Although not served together, feast on fried chicken and doughnuts for a meal at any time. You seriously won’t be disappointed.

  • Want some Philadelphia tour options? Viator has a ton of tours at different price points.

  • Where to Drink in Philadelphia

    The Franklin Bar

    The Franklin Bar // 112 South 18th Street

    I’ve never seen such exceptionable service, attention to details, and such an enormous cocktail menu. The Franklin Bar is the first speakeasy bar that I’ve ever been to and it has remained my favorite. What it lacks in secrecy, The Franklin Bar makes up in quality. I’ve seen waiters and bartenders ask specific questions about a patron’s favorite flavors and come back with the prefect drink for them. Try to go early as there is a no standing policy.

    Ranstead Room

    Ranstead Room // 2013 Ranstead Street

    The Ranstead Room is right around the corner from The Franklin Bar, but you may have to look hard since the smaller speakeasy is behind an unmarked door down a small street. You can also access the bar through El Rey, though I’ve never gone through that way. Service is impeccable, just like The Franklin Bar.

    Frankford Hall

    Frankford Hall // 1210 Frankford Ave.

    Frankford Hall is an enormous beer garden in Fishtown. There’s indoor and outdoor seating and different group games available like Jenga. Hungry? Grab a bratwurst or two with your beer. This is great for large parties since seating is spacious.

    National Mechanics

    National Mechanics // 22 South 3rd Street

    This former bank offers a large bar space in one of Philly’s best neighborhoods: Old City. It’s really a sight to see for yourself because you won’t see a more grand entrance.


    Barcade // 1114 Frankford Ave.

    Head to Fishtown for classic arcade games and craft beers. This spot is epic for a date or group night. You can also find Barcade in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, which are owned by friends.

    What are your favorite places in Philadelphia? Let me know in the comments!

    What to See, Do, Eat, and Drink in Philadelphia


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        • Please make it out there! What I love about it is that it’s so relaxed and it just feels calming. I love just wandering around the Magic Gardens and reading every little tidbit I see!

        • Thank you, Alaina! Try to book a long weekend! There’s just so much to see (and eat), but what I love about Philly is that it’s so walkable. I rarely ever use the subway (it’s not great), and if I need a cab, Uber is really cheap there.
          Can’t wait to see your post! Thanks for the feature 🙂

      • As a Philadelphian, I think this is one of the best city guides I’ve seen! Personally my favorite place to bring visitors for a cheesesteak is Joe’s, but that’s partially since I live walking distance away 🙂 i FINALLY made it to the Magic Gardens for the first time this week, and it was one of the few things I’ve done that had been hyped but didn’t fall short of my expectations at all.

        • Thank you so much for the kind words, Lola! I don’t think I’ve tried Joe’s yet, but I’ll actually be there next weekend, so I may stop by! I think the Magic Gardens is such a great experience since everyone can take away from it what they interpret. I’m so glad you liked my guide 🙂