Drive      Fly      Stay      Login    Signup



What is there to do in Philly besides eat cheese steaks?

My bf just surprised me with plane tickets to Philly next month!!  We're going to be staying at an inn in Center City for 5 days and I'm mega stoked because this will be the first time I'll visited as an adult (last time I was there I was 11).

The only thing I really remember about Philly is Geno's, so what other restaurants, bars and attractions should we see?  Our limitation is that we're on a lower end budget, so nothing too fancy (like $30-$40 meals max), but we do want to experience what Philly has to offer.  We hadn't planned on renting a car so what is public transportation like?  Should we rent a car?

14 Answers

answered first by
Peter from Los Angeles

You really can't leave Philly without running the Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It's fun and it's free!

One of the coolest things in Philadelphia is Philadelphia's Magic Gardens. It only costs 7 dollars for admission and has a whole lot of interesting and unique mosaic art pieces to check out.

Since you're going with your boyfriend, you can be cheesy and take photos under the "LOVE" sculpture in Love Park. Also free!

If you're down to watch an NBA game, the 76ers (who lost to my Clippers by 45), you can go watch a game at Wells Fargo Center for super cheap. One fan recently bought 18 tickets for 72 cents.

If 5 days is too much in Philly, you could always hop on the Megabus and check out another city for 15 dollars or so per ticket one way and it leaves and arrives around the corner from 30th St Station.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Rocky Steps (attraction)
  2. Philadelphia Museum of Art (attraction)
  3. Philadelphia's Magic Gardens (attraction)
  4. Love Park (attraction)
  5. Wells Fargo Center (attraction)
  6. 30th St Station (attraction)
9 thankscomments (1)

answered by

Hi Hannah,

Take the train to Center City. It's very convenient. The best way to get around is to take the Septa subway or walk.

If you are in Old City visiting the historical sites, I highly recommend eating at the cafe Wedge and Fig on N. 3rd street for lunch or dinner. Center City in the Rittenhouse area has many bars and restaurants, Triais great and affordable for beer, wine and some small bites. I'd recommend also walking down to the  9th Street Italian Market - Philadelphia, Paesano's Philly Style makes amazing sandwiches.

If you enjoy museums and art, I'd check out the  Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Barnes Foundation and Philadelphia Museum of Art


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Wedge and Fig (restaurant)
  2. Rittenhouse (neighborhood)
  3. Tria (attraction)
  4. 9th Street Italian Market - Philadelphia (neighborhood)
  5. Paesano's Philly Style (restaurant)
  6. Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Barnes Foundation (attraction)
  7. Philadelphia Museum of Art (attraction)
7 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Sherri from United States

If you like arcade games, check out  Barcade located 1114 Frankford Avenue.  It's located down the street from SugarHouse Casino which is located at 1001 N Delaware Avenue.  Barcade has a lot of old school arcade games for $.25 a game.  The have a food menu and can make just about any drink you want.  If you are staying near the Market-Frankford Line train you can take the train heading towards Frankfordand get off at the Girard Station.  It's about a 5 minute walk to Barcade.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Barcade (attraction)
  2. SugarHouse Casino (attraction)
  3. Frankford (attraction)
  4. Girard Station (attraction)
6 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Heather from Levittown

You must check out PYT. They have ridiculously crazy and outrageous, yet delicious burgers. They're in the Piazza at 1050 North Hancock Street. For breakfast/brunch, I would suggest going to Green Eggs Cafe at 1306 Dickinson street. They have excellent French toast. For fun, the Duel Piano Bar at 1420 Locust street is fun. You can give $1 and write down the name of any song and they'll play it for you. Hope that helps!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. PYT (restaurant)
  2. Green Eggs Cafe (restaurant)
  3. Duel Piano Bar (attraction)
5 thankscomments (1)

answered by
beshou from Washington, DC

You'll love philly! Geno's is overrated. Make sure to visit South Street and grab a cheese steak and fries at Ishkabibble's Eatery. Philly is also very easy to get around on foot or train (the EL). Visit Reading Terminal Market and buy some fresh produce or grab a cannoli from Termini Brothers Bakery.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. South Street (attraction)
  2. Ishkabibble's Eatery (restaurant)
  3. Reading Terminal Market (restaurant)
  4. Termini Brothers Bakery (restaurant)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Kathleen from Milford (Delaware)

Well, Philadelphia is where America started so there is a whole bunch of history there!  An easy day can be spent walking around the historic area.  Start getting a general feel for the area by visiting this site.  When you get to the city, head for Independence Visitor Center at 6th and Market Streets, Philadelphia. From there you can go to National Constitution Center or just walk around.  You can see the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross's house and much more.  If history isn't your thing you may like  Reading Terminal Market and  Comcast Center in the business area, not too far from the historic area.  Have fun!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Independence Visitor Center (attraction)
  2. National Constitution Center (attraction)
  3. Reading Terminal Market (attraction)
  4. Comcast Center (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Mandy from Philadelphia

If you're sticking to the city, no need for a car. There is a subway that can get you near most places you'll want to go. Some favorite areas are  Rittenhouse which is near 18th and Walnut. There is plenty of shopping and many restaurants between there and around 12th/13th streets if you stick near Walnut/Chestnut/Spruce streets. My Favorite Restaurant:  Tria which has three locations: 18th & Sansom, 20th & Walnut and 12th and Spruce. Great for drinks and snacks. 

If you like museums,  Philadelphia Museum of Art is great, as well as  The Franklin Institute. If you want a seriously weird museum and have a strong stomach,  Mütter Museum would be it! It has a bunch of interesting medical maladies displayed.

Chinatown is great for cheap, fast food.  Dim Sum Garden is a favorite and usually has a long line. 

Definitely check for restaurants that might interest you & have fun!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Rittenhouse (neighborhood)
  2. Tria (attraction)
  3. Philadelphia Museum of Art (attraction)
  4. The Franklin Institute (attraction)
  5. Mütter Museum (attraction)
  6. Chinatown (attraction)
  7. Dim Sum Garden (restaurant)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Nell from Philadelphia

You don't need to rent a car the septa train from the airport right into downtown philly. Everything is walkable or a train ride away.

2 thankscomments (1)

top answer by
Thom from Philadelphia


It helps to know your other interests, but I also like to travel on a budget so I have ideas.  Public Transit  is easy and will get you to good places.  You can depend on getting most places east & west by traveling on the Market/Frankford El (Blue line) and north-south on the Broad Street Line (Orange).  Don’t recommend going north unless you know what you are doing.  Center city (look up boundaries) is very safe.   Here are my known favorite cheap/free places that even  some Philadelphians don't know about:

Touristy not to miss:

Rittenhouse Square – Great park to hang in and the surrounding neighborhoods are beautiful to hang out and walk in.  Starbucks at 17th and Spruce is one of my favorite in the world that I have visited.  Nice vibe and they can make any coffee individually that Starbuscks sells on their Clover machine (not found everywhere).

Philadelphia Museum of Art - One of the county's best

Reading Terminal Market - I've lived in Philly region since 1983 and still haven't eaten my way through all this place has to offer. Great Mexican, Amish, Middle Eastern and Diner food.  Try cookies, coffee, snacks.  Great for breakfast or lunch.  Saturdays are mobbed.

9th Street Italian Market - Philadelphia - Grittier but an awesome experience.  Go to Fante's, Di Bruno Bros., Claudio's and Sarcone's Bakery.  Just enjoy sites and sounds.  I just discovered an olive oil and vinegar store (sounds weird!) Try it; you can sample anything in store. Visit Saturday.

Walnut Street Shopping: Between 8th and  22nd streets.  Visit Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie (they started in Philadelphia) and anything else that looks interesting.

Chinatown – Not as big or interesting as NYC’s Chinatown but there are some gems.  Cheap eats in Chinatown:

Chinese: Lee How Fook ($)

Chinese: Tasty Place  ($) for the really adventuresome!  In a basement supermarket that is only found by going in and down the steps accessible from 11th street and another one on Race street.  Proportion is huge for the price, very tasty (little greasy) but light on sauces.   The service is awesome, restaurant is cleaner than the grocery store but is still divey.

Vietnamese: Vietnam Restaurant ($$)

Chinese Noodle Soup (Like Pho): Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House ($)

Any Chinese Bakery: Highly recommend Chinese Butter Buns!

Lesser Traveled Path:

Northern Liberties – Great neighborhood to stroll in daylight/late afternoon.  Easily accessible from the Frankford El (blue subway). Start at the Piazza (feels like Italy) and work your way walking around the artsy neighborhoods.  Lots of restaurant choices.  A family favorite is Dmitri's (Greek Seafood) for really nice meal on the casual dining side but more expensive.  There are plenty of other choices for bars.  I’m a beer geek and love the Foodery for singles and great sandwiches.  If neighborhood starts to look sketchy, return the way you came from.

Ortliebs – Used to be a jazz house but now features other small stage musical gigs.  Great vibe, decent food.  Go more for experience and atmosphere.

World Cafe Live - Music/food venue.  Has free at noon concerts.  Check website for schedule and tune in to World Cafe on internet radio WXPN.

Loews Hotel Philadelphia – For the best free views of the city in all directions.  This is near Reading Terminal Market.  You can enter the hotel and go straight to elevators and take to 33rd floor.  Walk around and enjoy the views.  There is temporary restaurant in the observatory. Ask to look at view.  I visit at lunch sometimes to look around and don’t get food.

Old City District – neighborhood between Northern Liberties and the Historic district.  Art galleries galore.  Fun to poke around and has some good casual cafes and bars.  The first Friday nite of the month all the art galleries are open and there are lots of people.  It has a great vibe.

Curtis Institute Of Music: Near Rittenhouse has free student recitals.  Check website for schedule.  These are mostly up & coming classical musicians (I have also seen Jazz here)

My favorite eats for $30 and under:

Food Truck Gyros: Almost anywhere in the city that sells them is awesome.  I think they put crack in the Tatziki sauce J it’s so good!

Manakeesh Cafe Bakery – Lebanese pita with unearthly toppings ($). In west Philadelphia near the University of Pennsylvania.  Worth the trip and easy access from the El (blue subway).  Explore university area if you go here.  Don’t travel any farther west only walk east and during the day.

Monk's Cafe ($$): Best burgers, frites, mussels and of course beer.

Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant ($): Go for the handcrafted beer brewed on site.  Same owner as Monks.

Dmitri's ($$): In Northern Liberties and also on Fitler Square.

Jake's Sandwich Board: Pork Sandwiches! ($)

Pat's King of Steaks ($) the original.  Across from Ginos.  My favorite to take first-timers to.

Jim's Steaks ($): on South Street.  You always get a show here!

Honey's On South ( South Street) ($): Awesome breakfast and great, great vibe. Also has place in Northern Liberties.

Dahlak – Spicy hot Ethiopian/Eritrean food that you eat with hands.  So good!

XIX ($$ for cocktails/drinks;$$$for dinner):  Top of the Hyatt – Bellevue; beautiful, minimal atmosphere with views.

Fat Salmon ($$): Great lunch place.  Japanese food, minimalist interior.

Buddakan ($$):  One of few Steven Starr  restaurants I can afford…and only for lunch.  His restaurants are very dramatic spaces and food  is always great!  The portions are family style, so one entrée feeds two.  At lunch you should be able to experience alcohol on budget.

El Vez ($$) – Steven Starr Mexican; great funky décor, great drinks, great fresh food.

Parc Brasserie on Rittenhouse Square ($$) – Steven Starr restaurant.  Food is French and good. Go here if weather is great.

Above all, Philadelphia is a walkable city.  Get out and explore and walk.  There are many great parks and green neighborhoods.  If you stay within Center City you should be able to walk day and night without problems.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Rittenhouse Square (attraction)
  2. Starbucks (restaurant)
  3. Philadelphia Museum of Art (attraction)
  4. Reading Terminal Market (restaurant)
  5. 9th Street Italian Market - Philadelphia (neighborhood)
  6. Fante's (attraction)
  7. Di Bruno Bros. (attraction)
  8. Claudio's (attraction)
  9. Sarcone's Bakery (restaurant)
  10. Urban Outfitters (attraction)
  11. Anthropologie (attraction)
  12. Chinatown (attraction)
  13. Lee How Fook (restaurant)
  14. Tasty Place (restaurant)
  15. Vietnam Restaurant (attraction)
  16. Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House (restaurant)
  17. Northern Liberties (neighborhood)
  18. Dmitri's (restaurant)
  19. Ortliebs (attraction)
  20. World Cafe Live (attraction)
  21. Loews Hotel Philadelphia (hotel)
  22. Reading Terminal Market (restaurant)
  23. Old City District (attraction)
  24. Curtis Institute Of Music (attraction)
  25. Manakeesh Cafe Bakery (restaurant)
  26. Monk's Cafe (restaurant)
  27. Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant (attraction)
  28. Dmitri's (restaurant)
  29. Jake's Sandwich Board (restaurant)
  30. Pat's King of Steaks (restaurant)
  31. Jim's Steaks (restaurant)
  32. South Street (attraction)
  33. Honey's On South (restaurant)
  34. South Street (attraction)
  35. Dahlak (restaurant)
  36. XIX (restaurant)
  37. Fat Salmon (attraction)
  38. Buddakan (restaurant)
  39. El Vez (restaurant)
  40. Parc Brasserie (restaurant)
11 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Eva from New York City

So much great info here! One place I dont think anyone mentioned - Federal Donuts Amazing!

Several locations throughout the city. One very near the Walnut Street shopping mentioned in the great post below. 

I bring home their fried chicken to NYC from every trip (they love that I'm bringing food back to NYC!). Owned by Chef Solomonov of Zahav. Excellent doughnuts too. 

The Penn Museum also has unique exhibits. Especially if you have an interest in Latin American culture, Maya ruins and weaving. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Federal Donuts (restaurant)
  2. Penn Museum (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Lorie from Alexandria, Louisiana

I found it very easy to get around philly without a car.  Many of the attractions are within walking distance and we used the hop on and hop off bus tour that made it very convenient to get to all of the sites and cool restaurants.  Go to Redding train station market for the most wonderful deli sandwiches and other delicious treats.

1 thanks

answered by

Lots to do, not crazy about public transit.

Restaurants: Le Viet on 11th St.Rangoon - in chinatown -I think 9th St.

In general check out 9th Street Italian Market - Philadelphia.

Wander South Street (bars, restaurants).

Walnut Street- more upscale stores.If you like beer - Monks Belgian Cafe.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Le Viet (attraction)
  2. 9th Street Italian Market - Philadelphia (neighborhood)
  3. South Street (attraction)
  4. Walnut Street (attraction)
  5. Monks Belgian Cafe (restaurant)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Sarah from Philadelphia

We think you can get around fine on public transportation.  The best cheese steaks are at Tony Luke's at Oregon Avenue which is a bit of a trip to South Philly, but it really trumps Geno's.   Reading Terminal Market has a lot of local color and good offerings.

If you want to eat frugally and save for one big splurge there are a few Top Chefs and Iron Chefs here in Philly.  One meal may cost $100 each, but it is an experience you won't forget.  I like SBRAGA, Ela, and Morimoto for these types of splurges.

If the weather is warm you can spend the day at the Philadelphia Zoo.  The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rodin Museum and The Franklin Institute are all great as well.   South Street between Penn's Landing and about 6th is interesting for an evening stroll.  

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tony Luke's (restaurant)
  2. Reading Terminal Market (restaurant)
  3. SBRAGA (restaurant)
  4. Ela (restaurant)
  5. Morimoto (restaurant)
  6. Philadelphia Zoo (attraction)
  7. Philadelphia Museum of Art (attraction)
  8. Rodin Museum (attraction)
  9. The Franklin Institute (attraction)
  10. South Street (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Tiffany from Corvallis

So I haven't been there yet, but I'm planning my trip next month and am including the United States Mint and the The Liberty Bell.  Both are free.  :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. United States Mint (attraction)
  2. The Liberty Bell (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)

© 2020   ·   View: Full | Mobile
Follow us:      
Questions   ·   Destinations   ·   Drive   ·   Fly   ·   Airports   ·   Stay   ·   Search

Login   ·   FAQ   ·   About   ·   Feedback   ·   Privacy   ·   Terms