Wanderlust {Philadelphia}

We are headed to Philadelphia this fall and, while I have our itinerary pretty well outlined, I always love checking in with YOU to make sure we haven’t missed anything!

We have this on our radar:

  • Independence Hall
  • National Constitution Center
  • Reading Terminal Market
  • Eastern State Penitentiary
  • Museum of the American Revolution
  • Bestey Ross House
  • City Tavern Dinner

I’m still looking for a few more meal recommendations and definitely a cheesesteak recommendation!

We love American history and adventure and are game for pretty much anything. If there’s anything you think I should add to our list, or if you have any insight on the things already on our list, I’m all ears!

We will send part of our time in King of Prussia (hello, pink palace) so if there’s anything to do, see or eat in that area I’d love to know that as well.

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28 thoughts on “Wanderlust {Philadelphia}

  1. I attended a conference at the Barnes Foundation and was able to tour the museum afterwards. I am by no means an art nerd, but it was very cool to be so close to Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, etc… It is also a few blocks over from the Rocky stairs to balance out all of the art and culture. ;)

    1. I agree! Also, the Mint if you haven’t toured one. Oh, and Betsy Ross’ house and Ben Franklin ‘s Post Office. Fun trip- enjoy!

  2. Since you’re heading to King of Prussia, I’d also check out Valley Forge Park which is only a few miles away. Sounds like you’re hitting the KoP mall which has fantastic shopping and every store you’d ever dream of. There are a ton of great restaurants in the area – be sure to check out the Town Center next to the mall. And while you’re in the area, please come and redecorate my house!!

  3. You’ll have a great time! There is also a US Mint within walking distance to all the historical stuff. You might enjoy that if it’s open and running during your visit. The Liberty Bell was the only place where you may need to go early before the line gets too long. We visited a couple of years ago. Philadelphia is a very friendly, walkable city, but there are quite a few hobos, etc.

  4. We visited this summer and loved it! We did all of the items on your itinerary but Eastern State. Valley Forge is right next to King of Prussia. We did a tram tour there and the visitor center has a short intro film to watch. The Philadelphia Mint is interesting (and free!) and right in the middle of the historic area.

  5. I live right outside of Philly and went to college in the city. Welcome!

    Check out Elfreth’s Alley. It’s right near Independence Hall. The houses date back to the 1700s. Spruce Street Harbor Park is open seasonally. Boathouse Row is really pretty, especially at night when it’s all lite up. My kids love the Franklin Institute. It’s a science museum. Chickie’s and Pete’s is our favorite sports bar. There are a few locations, we like the one by the sports stadiums the best. If you go make sure to try the crabfries. Ralph’s is a really good Italian restaurant with a lot of history. Geno’s and Pat’s have been rivaling it out for the best cheesesteak for years. They are right across the street from each other. Personally I think Tony Luke’s has the best cheesesteak. You’ll also be able to find a really good one at Reading Terminal.

    King of Prussia has just about every store and restaurant. Valley Forge National Park is very close by and free. It was a winter encampment during the revolutionary war. We usually pack a picnic lunch when going. There are bike rentals there too. Wawa is our local convenient store. They are everywhere. The food isn’t good (I guess it’s good for a convenient store) but the kids love going there. It’s probably the name:) Hope you enjoy!

    1. Jen has some great advice. I live in West Chester. I recommend Valley Forge and also a trip to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square. Not sure when your trip is but check into the fountain and fireworks show at Longwood. King of Prussia Mall is impressive but it’s just a high priced mall.

  6. I’m a reader from Bucks County PA and I would recommend swapping a visit to King of Prussia for some time in Bucks County especially if you have a car. It’s bucolic and Fall is a beautiful time to visit. There are quaint towns like New Hope and Doylestown, covered bridges, apple orchards and just endless restaurants and beautiful country roads.

    1. Great tip. We will be in KOP for lacrosse games one day. :-) I like to see one or two and then Whit and I go find something else to do. I’ll look at our schedule and see about Bucks though! We will have a car.

  7. I live outside of Philly as well and agree with the previous great suggestions.
    Definitely run the Art Museum steps and The Rocky statue is right there.
    The Mutter Museum in the College of Physicians is full of medical oddities and my family loves going there.
    Victor Cafe in South Philly is a fun old time Italian restaurant where the waiters sing opera.. a lot of fun and pretty good food
    I like Jim’s steaks on South Street and Mama’s on Belmont Ave(on the way to K of P) for cheesesteaks.
    You must stop at JG SkyHigh in the new Four Seasons for cocktails with Honey. Amazing!
    Definitely stop at Valley Forge(won’t take long) and the new Town Center.
    Terrain and Anthropologie at Devon Yards which is only a few miles from K of P is also a nice shopping side trip

  8. We spent part of spring break in Philly! Your list has most everything we did. For meals, I highly recommend the pork sandwich from DeNic’s in Reading Market. As for cheesesteak, I’m 100% a Pat’s king of cheesesteak girl. It’s been awhile but Amada is great for Spanish tapas. City Tavern is always fantastic. A stop in Chinatown for a meal may be something to add to the list.

  9. I remember visiting the Liberty Bell and the mint. Only get your Philly cheese steaks at places where you can’t sit. I think Jimmy’s was the name…sooo good. And Philadelphia has these ice cream thingies called gellato and they are addictive! Have fun <3

  10. When you go to Independence Hall, be sure to bring a $2 bill and compare the back with the room you’re standing in. So cool!!

  11. Glad other readers suggested going to Valley Forge Natl Park since you will be right in the area. There are lots of great places to eat and shop at the Reading Market Terminal. I am sure you will see some Amish there as they sell lots of their wares and food there. Have a great trip to Philly!

  12. We went to Philly Memorial Day weekend (to see Billy Joel). We stayed in Center City. My favorite part of trip was renting GoBikes and riding around early – like before 10 and getting off the beaten path. Penn & Boathouse row can be pretty stroll.
    We ate lots of good food from the stalls at the Market. And ate at (now) longest running Italian restaurant for dinner -Ralph’s (old school red sauce) Get pack to you. Not a cheesesteak fan but when in Rome…Jim’s! Cute hood boys can walk around while you wait online;)

    Watch Silver Lining Playbook! Philly eye candy

  13. I went to Philly for maybe 4 hours one time- and spent half that time in the Mutter Museum of Medical Oddities. It’s VERY cool.

  14. We are from South Philly and now live right outside the city but we are still there every weekend. Forget Jim’s steaks – way overrated in our opinion. Best Cheesesteak and Roast Pork Sandwiches you can get are from John’s Roast Pork (14 Snyder Ave). Don’t be intimidated by the outside – I promise you they are worth it!
    You definitely have to stop by the Rocky statue and run the steps and if you can stop through the Italian Market (9th & Christian Streets), that’s always a fun experience! KOP now has a Founding Farmers Restaurant – we loved the one in DC. Fun cocktails and food.
    I have a ton of Philly restaurant recommendations if you need any others! :-)

  15. My husband’s company is based in Philadelphia & he believes Dalessandro’s Steaks and Hoagies has the best cheese steak. Also Grace Kelly’s childhood home is in Philly…

  16. Ohh how exciting!! I went to school in Philly so I have some local spots I enjoy! i LOVEEE any restaurant by Stephen Starr. My favorite restaurant is Parc- it is downtown right next to Rittenhouse Square park. The food is soo good! I love getting burgers there but everything else is amazing for any time of day! It is also a favorite for brunch. It has a French feel with outdoor seating. If you are wanting sushi then go to Pod – it is over by the Penn campus. it is really cool and futuristic looking inside and the food is on a conveyer belt. Another one that a lot of people like is The Continental on chestnut street- it has asian fusion food, cool decor and lots of cool specialty drinks

    Reading Terminal Market- get the homemade cookies at Famous 4th street cookie company!! The chocolate chip ones are SOO good! sometimes they give away cookies for free. There are so many good food options here. You really can’t go wrong! I really enjoyed the sandwiches sold at Dinic’s as well!

    The two big cheesesteak places in Philly that rival each other are Geno’s and Pats. They are across from each other. they’re pretty touristy haha. they’re not really my thing tbh but people in the area LOVE it haha. To me the cheese tasted like cheese whiz on it. I really cant tell a difference between the two places tbh! Haha. They do sell them at Reading terminal so you can try them there as well!

    Independence Hall and Betsy Ross House is in the “Old Town” area- it’s a really pretty historic district with cobblestones and old historic homes so it’s nice to walk around!

    Also Tory Burch and Grace Kelly are originally from the Mainline area in Philly. there’s a lot of beautiful homes if you go by the mainline area if you have time to just drive around

    I will comment more if I think of anything else! Enjoy!!!

  17. oh also!! The philadelphia museum of art is fun to go to! if you dont have time to go inside, then something that is fun to do is run up the crazy ton of stairs in the front and then do the Rocky pose for a pic. there is also a statue of Rocky there by the museum. it is famous from the movie Rocky bc the steps is where he ran in the movie!

    also Slice pizza downtown is a local spot of mine that i loved when i lived there. Soo good! I would get the pepperoni but its all good there. They’re quick and its good if you want a quick bite to eat on the go.

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