Great Escapes: Our Guide to Philadelphia, PA

Planning a getaway? Check out Philadelphia, PA, an art-filled, surprising, and unapologetically itself destination.


Picture this: You, on vacation, high-fiving the Phillie Phanatic.

Photo by Sarah Leonhardt

Table of Contents

Cuisine, nature, museums, cobblestone streets — not only does Philadelphia have all of the best getaway attractions, I can almost guarantee the city will surprise + delight you, since what they say about us is only half-true. Incredible local delicacies? Holy cheesesteak yes. Mean sports fans? That’s part of the fun.

Why go?

  • Explore the Philadelphia Museum of Art, filled with contemporary, American, and East Asian art, plus run up the famous Rocky steps outside + pose with the Rocky statue.
  • Snap more than a few photos in Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (it’s covered in stunning, glittering mosaic art).
  • Try your hand at getting a reservation at Zahav (here are some tips). The famous Israeli restaurant serves up fluffy, thick Laffa bread, the Pomegranate Lamb Shoulder, and the best hummus in the city.
  • Head to Reading Terminal Market for lunch — it’s a classic for a reason, and is perfect for a group with different tastes or dietary restrictions.
  • Catch a Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park, which not only has all the best grub + beer, but was named the No. 1 ballpark for vegetarian options. Pro tip: Gluten-free folks, head to the stand behind Section 122 for gluten-free hot dogs, cheesesteaks, and beverages.
  • Drink in all the US history you could want by checking out the crack in the Liberty Bell or visiting Independence Hall, where the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed.
  • Visit around the holiday season to ice skate outside City Hall at Dilworth Park’s Winter Wonderland, plus shop the Christmas Village at Love Park.

You’ll heart Philly too after a sunny day spent in the City of Brotherly Love.

Photo by Jesse Steinberg

Act like a local:

  • Food: Must-try local specialties include water ice, cheesesteaks, and if you’re really trying to act like a local, a late-night Wawa run. Bonus: Splurge on the most upscale cheesesteak known to man with Barclay Prime’s $140 Wagyu ribeye cheesesteak.
  • Food: Don’t be surprised when there are soft pretzels for sale at every single ice cream + water ice place you come across. We’d recommend parting with your dollar bill and enjoying every pillowy-soft bite.
  • Outdoors: Take up a favorite local pastime and bike down the Schuylkill River Trail, which extends over 75 miles of Pennsylvania abandoned railroads.
  • Explore: Spend a morning in Rittenhouse Square for coffee shops, dining, shopping, and lounging in the green park.
  • Sports: Wave hi to Gritty, a beloved orange monster and the Philadelphia Flyers mascot, at a hockey game.
  • Sports: Head to a Sixers game and cross your fingers that the other team misses two consecutive free throws in the second half so you win a free Wendy’s Frosty.

Where to stay:

More from RICtoday