While we Philadelphians might be known for our aggressive sports fandom and proclivity toward a steak “whiz wit” on a fresh Amoroso roll, the City of Brotherly Love offers so much more. With the largest collection of Rodin sculptures outside of Paris and one of the most lauded orchestras in the country—not to mention the “best pizza in America” —Philly is an underappreciated cultural hot spot.
From gorgeously curated specialty shops and an electric food scene to an impressive public collection of Picassos and a vast library of American history, this town, my hometown, is a place worth visiting. Below, the best places to stay, see, shop, and eat in the 215.
Where to Stay
A bevy of options both new and old abound when it comes to lodging in Philly. Lokal Hotel, an up-and-coming design-driven spot located in the heart of historic Old City, offers only six suites. Each room is highly curated to the Philadelphian experience with locally sourced artisan goods!
Hotel Palomar is another eclectic (and eco-friendly) offering, housed in a former 1920s Art Deco building just blocks from Rittenhouse Square. Its sister spot, Hotel Monaco, is another funkily outfitted space with great service situated not far from Lokal in the historic district—close to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Betsy Ross House. It also happens to be pet-friendly, so Fido can run up those Rocky steps with you too, if you feel so inclined.
In search of luxe five-star glamour? The recently restored Rittenhouse Hotel and Spa has been a mainstay in the area since the dawn of time, with exceptional service and a delectable massage menu to boot.
What to See
You can’t tackle all that Philly has to offer in 48 hours; there’s just too much to do. On the museum front, the recently relocated Barnes Foundation boasts one of the most impressive collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and early modern paintings in the world. Including significant works by Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, and Rousseau, the Center City campus, built in 2012, is a must-see.
Equally as special is the arboretum located at the Barnes’s original home in Merion, Pennsylvania, nestled in the heart of Philadelphia’s suburban Main Line.
Similarly, the Rodin Museum and Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) offer exceptional exhibits and historic pieces, including The Thinker, the famous bronze Rodin sculpture. Be sure to walk down to Boathouse Row, behind the PMA. Particularly in the springtime, when crew season is in full swing, it’s a perfect spot for a picnic.