48 hours in Philadelphia

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48 hours in Philadelphia

When it comes to America's east coast, there are plenty of big name cities to keep you busy, but one that can sometimes get overlooked is Philadelphia. Mixing a vibrant nightlife and restaurant scene with a wealth of historical significance, Philly is a great place to spend a weekend. Check out my 48 hour guide for first timers in the city...


Lacroix restaurant Philadelphia

Kick off your weekend in style with breakfast at The Rittenhouse's Lacroix restaurant. This sophisticated spot offers a selection of classics with an enviable view of Rittenhouse square. Be sure to try their signature date butter!

Elfreth's Alley Philadelphia

There's no better place to get yourself introduced to Philly than the old city district. Philadelphia played a really important part in the American Revolution and a morning stroll around this part of town will see you tick off Independence Hall, the birthplace of the declaration of independence and the constitution, Liberty Bell, an iconic symbol of freedom and Elfreth's Alley, America's oldest residential street.
There's also a number of museums in this area if you want to learn more about America's past but my recommendation would be to head to the recently opened Museum of the American Revolution which provides a slick and interactive overview.

Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia

DINIcs Reading Terminal Market

Now you've finished geeking out on American history, you've probably worked up an appetite. Just a short walk away is Philly's Reading Terminal Market - a favourite lunch spot for locals and tourists alike. Get your savoury fix with a pulled pork sandwich from DINIc's - they are huge so one between two will be plenty unless you are a big eater. Finish it off with one of the amish pretzels from Miller's Twist or a doughnut from Beiler's.

Philly mini golf Franklin Square

If you're a fan of mini golf (and who isn't) spend an hour early afternoon checking out the mini golf on Franklin square, where the course is made up of holes inspired by all of the cities most famous landmarks.

Mural Arts Philadelphia

Another thing Philly is known for is its street art, with a number of murals dotted around the city thanks to the Mural Arts programme which works with communities to transform outdoor spaces. There are organised tours of the murals that you can book on to but if you're short on time you can also download the Mural Finder app, which gives you a digital map of all the art pieces around the city with image previews included, meaning you can just pick the ones you want to see and create your own self guided tour.

One Liberty Observation Deck Philadelphia
Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

As evening draws in head up to the observatory of One Liberty Observation Deck. Sunset is a great time to see a view of the city from above and the cocktails are a perfect way to kick off your evening in the city.

Butcher and Singer Philadelphia
Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

Philadelphia born Stephen Starr is one of America's best restaurateurs and his group of Starr restaurants are some of Philly's best. Head to chophouse Butcher and Singer for one of the best steaks around and be sure to order a side of the stuffed hash browns. For an authentic east coast experience team your chop with one of their renowned Manhattan cocktails.

Finish the night by heading to Spin, a trendy ping pong bar which doubles up as a great party spot until the early hours.


Sabrina's Cafe French Toast

Sundays are for lazy starts so once you've got yourself up and about head for brunch at Sabrina's Cafe. Serving up comfort food with a Philly twist they regularly change up their menu with specials around different seasons and events. The Stuffed Challah french toast is also not to be missed if you have a sweet tooth.

Eastern State Penitentiary Philadelphia
Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

Now it's time to check out some of the museums the north west side of the city has to offer. If you want to do it properly you will really only have time for one. My pick would be the Eastern State Penitentiary - a huge former prison which housed some of America's most notorious criminals and has now transformed into an interactive attraction. If you're looking for something more family friendly The Franklin Institute is one of the biggest science museums in the US or for art buffs there is the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Rocky Steps Philadelphia

Even if you don't pay a visit to the art museum, you'll more than likely want to pay a visit to the steps outside, made famous by the movie Rocky. Head to the top to recreate the iconic scene and take in some great views across the city.

Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk Philadelphia
Photo by C. Smyth for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

Spend the rest of the afternoon strolling along the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk a breathtaking, 2,000-foot-long pathway that extends the Schuylkill River Trail from Locust to South Street. This picturesque walk offers some of the best views of the Philly skyline and has four designated viewing spots to help you get that perfect Instagram shot.

Spruce Street Harbour Park Philadelphia
Photo by M. Edlow for VISIT PHILADELPHIA™

Finish off your weekend by heading a little south of the centre to Delaware River Front. In the summer, an urban beach is illuminated with colourful LED lighting that hangs from the treetops. Grab a selection of food from vendors representing some of Philadelphia's best restaurants and chill out in one of the signature hammocks under the stars. If you're visiting in the winter you'll be treated to a winter wonderland with Philadelphia’s largest outdoor ice skating rink, cozy cabins and a chalet-inspired Lodge.

Have you ever visited Philly? What would be your best picks for a first timer?

Charlotte x

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*Some of the activities in this post were in partnership with Visit Philadelpia, however all views are my own.
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