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An Insider’s Guide to Philadelphia

Philadelphia – the city of brotherly love, “Philly,” the bird place of America, “the cradle of America.” Pennsylvania largest city is a place with many names, and now it’s a place that I hold dear to my heart.  As a New Yorker, I’ve heard great things about Philadelphia… especially in terms of its food culture, its history and its close proximity to Manhattan (thanks to the rail system). After just a few short days here on a whirlwind long weekend trip, I can honestly say I love Philadelphia. I’m excited to visit more regularly! Here are some of my absolute favorite finds in Philly!

Where to Stay

Fitler Club

When planning my rather spontaneous weekend trip to Philly, I found myself staying at the exclusive social club of dreams, Philly’s @fitlerclub. Each time you stay here earns visitors access to all of the privileges that the members have, such as 34,000 square feet of luxury co-working space, dining options curated by the geious Philly chef Marc Vetri, an incredible gym, and luxuriously stunning and sleek rooms. The Fitler Club also happens to be located right by the shimmering Schuykill River and a stone’s throw away from 30th Street station (Philly’s centrally located Amtrak train station). I loved waking up in the morning and having my breakfast right by the water. I can imagine this space is the perfect spot to grab a drink by the lounge or on their rooftop too! Such a stunning and easy location, if you ask me! Be aware there are only 14 rooms available, each of them adored with contemporary art and unique touches. It was the perfect place for a last minute getaway…  found on Hotel Tonight!

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Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia

If you’re on the hunt for a hotel that’s both centrally located right near City Hall  that also houses some stellar views of the Philadelphia skyline… the Kimpton Hotel Palomar is a great choice. What I love most about this boutique hotel is its design sense! It’s stylish, Art Deco-inspired, but with a Philadelphia scene of humor and a twist (think busts of Benjamin Franklin). It’s no wonder it’s a favorite for travelers! The Kimpton also offers their guests bikes to explore the city, as well as complimentary yoga mats in each room… nice little touches that truly make a big impact!

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Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square

Decorated beautifully around the holidays, the Warwick has one of the most chic lobby’s in the city. I loved seeing it looking merry and bright right around Christmas time. If you’re looking to stay close to Philadelphia’s favorite little park, Rittenhouse Square – this is a great spot! The Warwick Hotel is also listed on the National Registrar of Historic Places as it was originally constructed in the 1920’s – so history buffs will adore its  commitment to maintaining its age and architectural details.

What to Do

Reading Terminal Market

This was honestly one of my favorite experiences in Philly! The market has endless food choices of some of the best of the best treats in Philly… but what captured my heart the most was how vintage and old school it is. You won’t find any hipster vendors trying to hard here. What you see is what you get (such a Philadelphia mentality – and I love that!)… and what you get in Reading Terminal market is the best, because many of them have been around for years and years. Established and Philadelphian-loved market vendors know what they’re doing here! Just spend an hour or two grazing amongst its stands! Trust me, you’re going to love this place.

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Broad Street

Head to Broad Street and capture the perfect shot of City Hall with this perfect frame of view. Philadelphia’s City Hall is an architecture lovers delight.

An Insider's Guide to Philadelphia

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

I absolutely loved this unique experience of exploring Phlly’s Magic Garden! This large and expansive mosaic exhibit is so charming and interesting! It’s a outdoor labyrinth of some of the coolest mirror mosaic pieces that stretches three city blocks, as well as a museum and community art space with so many unique touches and picturesque spots. You’ll find splashes of mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar all around Southern Philly too! I loved exploring the many quaint and quirky neighborhood blocks, especially Washington Square West.

An Insider's Guide to Philadelphia   An Insider's Guide to Philadelphia

An Insider's Guide to Philadelphia

City Hall Tower & Observation Deck

The most popular observation deck in Philadelphia  is the One Liberty Observation Deck… but we decided to check out the observation deck inside the City Hall’s tower and found it to be stunningly beautiful and more of an authentic, less touristy experience. With a small space and 360 degree views all the way to Jersey, this desk is the perfect place to catch the sunset at golden hour.Bring your cameras for this one!

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Rittenhouse Square

Take a stroll around one of Philadelphia’s most beloved parks! The Rittenhouse Square area of the city is surrounded by old trees, historic architecture and… my favorite find, Anthropologie’s flagship store. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I explored the store decked out in holiday garb!

An Insider's Guide to PhiladelphiaAn Insider's Guide to Philadelphia

An Insider's Guide to PhiladelphiaAn Insider's Guide to Philadelphia

30th Street Station

Whether you arrive in Philly via train or not, a stop to the city’s gorgeous train station is worth it, in my opinion! I’ve never seen a more elegant look to a buzzing train stop. Soak it in and observe the hustle and bustle.

An Insider's Guide to Philadelphia

Where to Eat

Suraya

These Lebanese eatery stole my heart with its refreshing and authentic dishes with a twist. It’s been voted Philadelphia’s Restaurant of the Year, and I can truly see why! It’s not only a restaurant serving up creators Nathalie Richan and Roland Kassis’s genius recipes (the restaurant is named after their grandmother), but also a market celebrating the best grab and go bites from around the world. I loved their restaurant’s menu! Each dish was classical and modern, as well as their cocktails – all named after the beautiful words of Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran!

The Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar

This timelessly styled, stainless steel diner is so much more than meets the eye. You’ll find a brunch menu with trendy choices just as much as the classics, served up with some of the best martinis in town. It’s the perfect place to pop in for a drink in between exploring!

The Dandelion

I was enamored with this pub’s exteriors! Isn’t it just darling? There are so many European influences around Philadelphia… but this one took the cake. The Dandelion is a British-style pub located right in the heart of the Rittenhouse Square area.

An Insider's Guide to Philadelphia

The Love

Owned by some of Philly’s most renown restauranteurs, The Love is a bilevel restaurant and bar with communal style country tables, serving up fresh wine, ciders and more. It’s got such an energy to it that I loved!

An Insider's Guide to Philadelphia

Parc

A taste of France right in Philly! Parc has one of the best views of the Rittenhouse’s park area, and it’s a great place to pop in for a warm bite or a toast of champagne. The menu is all so chic, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into Paris’s Forgotten Era.

An Insider's Guide to Philadelphia

Kanditori

I loved this little coffee shop! Filled with Swedish influences, Kanditori feels like a local, neighborhood coffee spot with some of the best Scandi pastries too.

An Insider's Guide to Philadelphia


I fell in love with Philly after just a few short days, and I hope more travelers consider a trip into America’s birth place! Philly’s attitude, its historic sights and amazing culinary scene will have me coming back for more, I’m sure!

Stay sponsored by Hotel Tonight.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. All opinions are my own.

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