T and I spent our long Labor Day weekend in Philadelphia, PA. We were there to celebrate our friends’ wedding (and T’s birthday) and were excited to explore this beautiful city and catch up with some friends along the way. Before leaving, I researched the city and made sure to jot down the very best food and sights Philly had to offer. I usually do my research on Yelp or TripAdvisor and create an itinerary for each day we are traveling (I know, Type A to the max). Sometimes, my itinerary goes out the window (cue T), but other times we use it and it’s a nice tool to have. Here is our itinerary with hopes that it might be useful to you when you are visiting Philadelphia!
Where We Stayed-
Westin Philadelphia – We decided to stay at the Westin because of the awesome group rate our friends received for their wedding. We were provided a room on the 14th floor with a gorgeous view of downtown Philadelphia. The room was spacious, clean and had surprisingly comfortable beds. I hadn’t stayed at a Westin in a while and noticed they had a “Superfoods Menu” for room service. I rarely see healthy options with superfood ingredients on room service menus, so I was glad to see this trend is starting to catch on. Without a doubt, the best part of this hotel was the location. We were in walking distance to EVERYTHING!
Where We Ate/Drank-
P&S Co. – I scoped out this spot before we left because I knew I would need a smoothie in the morning to keep me feeling energized and grounded. I had their “Greens” smoothie and it was delicious! It was a blend of organic kale, organic banana, organic pineapple, organic orange and Vero water. They also had a full brunch and lunch menu. We were in a hurry so we didn’t have time for anything more than smoothies, but I had my eye on their homemade coconut yogurt and muesli for when I come back!
Sweetgreen – I had been dying to go to a Sweetgreen for years. While I try to avoid chain restaurants when traveling, I had heard so many great things about Sweetgreen that I had to try it. I had the “Hello Portebello” (organic wild rice, shredded kale, raw beets, sprouts, basil, spicy sunflower seeds, warm portobello mix, miso sesame ginger dressing) and T had the Earth Bowl (warm quinoa + farro, organic arugula, roasted chicken, organic white cheddar, tomatoes, raw corn, organic chickpeas, spicy broccoli, pesto vinaigrette). We both really enjoyed our meals and I felt like the portions were huge considering the price and quality of ingredients.
El Vez – This was a recommendation from the Bride and Groom and I’m so glad we went. We went to El Vez with a few friends to celebrate T’s birthday. El Vez is known for their margaritas and guacamole so we had to try both! We ordered the traditional guacamole and the blood orange margaritas. The blood orange margarita was the best margarita I’ve ever had and it was so refreshing after a long afternoon of walking around the city! They also had a photobooth in the restaurant that we (mostly I) took advantage of.
Stratus – We came here for a post-dinner cocktail on Saturday night and the ambiance was really nice. It is a rooftop bar/restaurant and we watched the sunset while sitting in cushioned chairs next to a fire.
Sky Garden – This was one of my favorite places we went to while in Philadelphia. I know there is an observation deck on top of city hall that can give you great city views, but it’s 20 dollars a person and this view of the city was just as breathtaking but also free! We were 50 stories up and the city lights absolutely lit up the grid. The Made in America concert was happening while we were visiting so we got to see these views while also listening to Rihanna perform in the distance! There’s nothing better if you ask me (except for maybe Beyonce). Sky Garden also has an inside area where they have games set up like Jenga and Connect Four.
Devon – We stumbled into this spot after having awful luck trying to find a restaurant that would accommodate seven people on a Sunday morning. I’m so glad we did because we enjoyed a delicious brunch here. They brought us out a basket of cheesy biscuits before our meal and for some reason they reminded me of the biscuits from Red Lobster, but obviously better. We all ordered different things for brunch ranging from eggs benedict to steak and eggs. I had scrambled eggs, toast and berries and it was a great way to start the day.
Little Pete’s – After our friends’ tied the knot at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, we wandered around the city with some friends in search of a Philly cheese steak. We ended up at Little Pete’s after a few people told us they had a great experience there the previous night. Since I don’t eat red meat, I didn’t get a Philly cheese steak, but T and our friends did and they all loved them. This was all their first authentic Philly cheese steak experience and they definitely left this little diner satisfied!
What We Did –
Reading Terminal Market – This was a place my mom had recommended after she visited Philadelphia. This is a huge market with lots of tiny shops inside. The best way I can describe it is a food court mixed with a farmer’s market. Reading Terminal Market had hundreds of booths selling everything from candles, to cheese, to flowers, and pretty much any kind of food you could think of! T and I walked around and enjoyed looking at all the different booths. The most memorable part of this market was the aroma of different smells. It was almost as if you were assaulted with them (but in a good way). One minute you’d take in the strong scent of chinese food and then you’d turn the corner and smell a Philly cheese steak, Indian food, or fresh fruits and vegetables.
Rittenhouse Square – This was hands down my favorite part of Philly. Rittenhouse Square reminds me of the squares in Savannah, GA. We went on a Saturday afternoon with 75 degree sunny weather so the square was packed with picnics and street performers. It was beautiful and I would be frequenting that park all the time if I lived in Philly!
Love Sculpture – We passed the Love Sculpture and sadly I was very underwhelmed. It was much smaller than I thought and I was expecting it to be much bigger. If you’re passing by it while roaming around the city, I’d try and check it off the Philly bucket list. However, I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to see it.
Independence Hall and Liberty Bell – T and I had both done the tours of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell last time we were in Philly so we decided to skip them this time due to time constraints. With that said, it is definitely a must do for Philadelphia. Make sure to reserve tickets online for Independence Hall. Tours usually fill up quickly so it’s smart to plan this activity ahead of time. Just a FYI – you don’t need tickets to see the Liberty Bell.
Overall, we loved our time in Philadelphia. The city is walkable, full of American history and has plenty of great restaurants and fun things to do. If you like the idea of a smaller New York City mixed with Savannah, GA, this is your destination. We will definitely be back!