The Perfect Getaway: A foodie’s dream weekend in Philadelphia
Fall in love with Philadelphia while enjoying rooftop views, some of the country’s most historic landmarks and a perfectly cooked Philly cheesesteak, of course. | By Alina Dizik | September 22, 2022
Thanks to a new crop of homegrown chef talent, Philadelphia deserves a bona fide spot on any food-lovers list. Spend a weekend sampling fresh fare and learning where to eat, while getting a glimpse into what makes the UNESCO World Heritage city a favorite for the more than 30 million annual visitors. Consider:
Taking a stroll: Get an outdoor history lesson — and a glimpse of the 2,080-pound (944 kilograms) Liberty Bell — during a walk-through of Old City landmarks
Sampling the stalls: Save room for local specialties at one of the country’s oldest public markets
Chillaxing: Take a much-deserved break in a hammock-filled riverfront park
Ease into your Philly stay with a tasty morning bite. Don’t let their neighbors to the north fool you — Philadelphians know their bagels. See what the buzz is all about at Kismet Bagels, a Fishtown spot known for its everything bagel and rotating lineup of bialys. Choose your own bagel spread or order a sandwich with your favorite toppings from their Sammie menu. Then, head over to the nearby Milkcrate Cafe, a coffee-meets-record-shop that’s sure to impress any music lover. Spend the rest of the morning enjoying the neighborhood streets, including Fishtown’s trendy Frankford Avenue.
After a morning of exploration in Philadelphia’s creative enclave, head back to your hotel and reach for the sky at The Logan Philadelphia, Curio Collection by Hilton. With killer views, The Logan’s Assembly Rooftop Lounge is a welcome respite come happy hour. Complete with all-weather lounge areas, outdoor fireplaces and impressive cocktails (the It’s Always Sunny with Rittenhouse rye and house-made lemon cordial is a standout), it’s the ideal spot for a much-needed city break. And if you're feeling a bit peckish, their snack menu aims to please with options like oysters, charcuterie and fried tofu — the perfect beginning to an evening spent feasting your eyes on beautiful works of art at First Friday.
First Friday, a monthly open house for galleries in Old City, is still going strong since the 1990s — and for good reason. The renowned Philadelphia historic district is home to more than 30 contemporary galleries. Aesthetes new and old will love the opportunity to meet artists, view new exhibits and enjoy live music.
After getting your fill of art, indulge in another kind of feast at Royal Boucherie, a French-inspired American Brasserie from award-winning chef Nick Elmi. Dine on their outdoor patio or inside their charming dining room as you taste classic favorites like steak frites, duck confit and escargot with garlic butter. Don’t forget to save room for dessert — the creme brulee is a standout!
Work up an appetite for a day of adventure in Philly's Reading Terminal Market, a bustling indoor market that’s been operating since the 1890s. With dozens of vendors and food purveyors, you can sample some of the city’s most iconic baked goods, savory snacks and sweet treats without even leaving the building. Try Beiler’s Bakery’s fresh-baked breads and sticky buns before finishing the trip with a warm cookie from the Famous 4th Street Cookies stand.
Between the Declaration House, the carousel at Franklin Square and Elfreth's Alley, the country’s oldest residential street, it’s easy to spend hours exploring Philadelphia's Historic District. Start by popping into the Independence Visitor Center for a plan to walk around the area. Later, take a break on one of the Once Upon a Nation storytelling benches to hear trained storytellers share entertaining tales about the city’s enchanting history.
Start your night with an early dinner at restaurateur Ellen Yin’s original farm-to-table restaurant Fork.
Known for seasonal, new American cuisine and a surprising wine list, Fork’s classic dishes, including the house-made charcuterie, skate wing and carrot cake, do not disappoint. Plus, the Old City staple has plenty of outdoor seating that’s ideal for people-watching.
Cap off your night with a toast to a successful day of fun and feasting at Chinatown’s Hop Sing Laundromat. This intimate speakeasy is celebrated as being one of the most popular bars in town. Though take care to mind your manners — after all, you don’t want to end up on the owner’s infamous ban list.
Start the day at Cafe Lift, an all-day brunch spot in a refurbished factory that’s just north of Philadelphia's Center City. Specialties include cannoli French toast, which is stuffed with ricotta cheese, and Jen’s Crespelle, scrambled eggs rolled in a crepe.
Explore Rittenhouse Square, a leafy park with Old World Philadelphia flare. The park is home to the city’s most popular bronze outdoor sculptures, including Albert Laessle’s Billy. Then head to Laser Wolf, a skewer-focused restaurant from famed Israeli chef Michael Solomonov. Here you can dine on veggies and meats that are cooked over a charcoal grill — infusing each ingredient with a mouthwatering, smoky flavor. Each meal includes an array of flavorful sauces, pickles and dips like babaganoush, schug and harissa. Walk off your meal (or take a nap) with a leisurely stroll through Spruce Street Harbor Park.
Spruce Street Harbor Park
Don’t leave Philadelphia without stopping by Spruce Street Harbor Park that overlooks the Delaware River. Known for its rentable hammocks, floating gardens, bocce courts, colorfully illuminated trees and local food offerings, it’s the ideal spot for a lazy afternoon of relaxation.
No trip to Philadelphia is complete without the city’s most beloved sandwich: A Philly cheesesteak. If you want a side of drama with your dinner, head to either Geno’s or Pat’s. These two institutions sit on opposite corners of 9th and Passyunk, and you can grab your steaks and watch as diners pledge their allegiance to one or the other after a night on the town. For some true local flavor, however, head north to the historical Roxborough neighborhood. There you’ll find Dalessandro’s, a mom and pop shop where you can enjoy an authentic cheesesteak experience alongside the people that know best: Philly locals.
With so many things to do (and places to eat!), the only question left is: Cheez Whiz (aka “wiz wit” to a true Philadelphian) or cheddar?
Alina Dizik is a lifestyle journalist, covering travel, real estate, work trends and food. She lives in Chicago.
The Logan Philadelphia, Curio Collection by Hilton
Our hotel is in the heart of Logan Square downtown, steps from The Franklin Institute and Philadelphia Museum of Art. We capture the spirit of Philly with a curated collection of local art, hometown favorites on our menus, and Benjamin Franklin Parkway views from our rooftop bar. Enjoy our spa, yoga classes, and indoor pool.