Walk, Eat, And Drink Your Way Across Center City, Philadelphia


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Reading Terminal Market

Start with breakfast at the Terminal Market. Take your pick: the Dutch Eating Place (for Amish breakfast with a side of butter) or Down Home Diner. Roam around the market, and pick up some chocolates or cookies or whatever. (Note: the Amish places are only open Wednesday to Saturday.)

The Barnes in Philadelphia

An amazing collection of art, in an amazing new building. Get the audio tour. And it's too much art to take in all at once (this is art displayed like you've probably not seen before) and at some point you just kinda have to give in and let it wash over you...

Schuylkill River Trail

Get your blood flowing a bit. Rent a bike, and do the loop out one of the river drives, across the river on the Falls Bridge (a fabulous box-girder bridge) an back on the other side, then down the east back of the Schuykill to Locust Street to go back into Center City.

Parc Brasserie

Lunch outside, over looking Rittenhouse Square, with a glass of wine at a bustling French bistro. What could be better? Oh, and the people-watching is fab.

Rittenhouse Square

This may be one of the best urban park/squares anywhere. It just works. Again, more people watching...

Walnut Street Shopping

Make your way back across town--we're going to walk off lunch--with a little shopping on your way to Society Hill. Walnut Street has become an interesting mix of chains (Apple, H&M, Banana, Gap, etc.) plus local boutique-y stores. And you should stick your head in Macy's on Chestnut St., and go to the center court. (If you're lucky, they'll be an organ concert.)

city hall tower

'This is quintessential Philadelphia. City Hall is this massive granite (I think) building right in the center of town. And you can take an (admittedly a tad claustrophobic) elevator ride up to the top of the clock tower (in fact, going behind the clock) and come out on observation deck with great views of the city. Surly city employees are an added taste of authenticity! (OK, they're not all surly...)

Society hill

This is one of the best places to walk around, especially if you like utterly charming small blocks and houses. And there is an amazing number of interesting modern houses mixed in with all of the old Colonial houses that you expect to see.

Nap Time

I have no idea who this guy is, but you'll need a nap by now.

R2L Restaurant

Have a cocktail in the city's "highest" bar (or at least second highest...)

Barbuzzo Mediterranean Kitchen & Bar

If I had to pick one restaurant to have dinner in, it'd be this one. (Plan ahead!) Pizza, pasta, (stuffed meatballs!), you can't go wrong (it's not all Italian.) OK, and you're going to do dessert--twice. Once here--you have to have a Budino, just do it...

Capogiro Gelato Artisans

...and then you're going to walk across the street and have dessert again at the gelato joint. And you're going to try a few flavors first, and you're going to try things you've never had before...maybe one with rosemary in it or some other herb. Don't be shy.

graffiti bar

If you're still standing, then you're going to walk back across the street to either the Graffiti Bar (it's behind Sampan) or to the 2nd floor deck of the Corner and have a nightcap. And you'll be within stumbling distance of your hotel if you stay here:

I would stay at: Loews Philadelphia Hotel

The first International Style building in the US, built for the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society. Great space, great location.