Philadelphia is not just a destination for American history buffs, cheesesteak enthusiasts, and would-be Rocky Balboas taking a run at the Museum of Art steps. (Though if you go, by all means.) With acclaimed chefs, world-renowned museums, and a flourishing boutique shopping scene, the City of Brotherly Love is becoming one of the most popular U.S. cities to visit.
Breakfast of Champions
Start the day with breakfast at Sabrina's Café. The challah French toast is worth the wait. From the Callowhill Street location, it's an easy stroll to the posh Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. Along the way, stop by the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial at The Franklin Institute, see blue-chip artists at the Barnes Foundation, or visit the Mütter Museum, if medical oddities are more your thing.
It's Hip to be Square
Once on the Square, a little shopping in in order. Make sure to stop by Ellelauri for stylish clothes and killer accessories. Another must-shop is NINObrand for Bela Shehu's cool, monochromatic designs. And take a spin around Jacques Ferber for a taste of luxury before grabbing lunch. Ellelauri owner Liz Rymar suggests, "stop off at Parc and grab a table outside to have mussels and a glass of wine. It's a great spot to look into the park and people watch." If in need of a little energy boost, visit La Colombe (the coffeehouse originated in Philly), for a caffeine fix. And stroll through the farmers' market, if you happen to be in town on a Saturday.
Next, take advantage of the city's bike share program Indego, and head west. Near the UPenn campus is the Institute of Contemporary Art, the city's preeminent venue for contemporary art and culture. While you're in West Philly, take a peek at Hello World, the chic gift boutique right across the way. An outpost of the revered Federal Donuts is nearby too, so double down on fried chicken and donuts, you won't regret it. Do a little more shopping at the cute and wallet-friendly Bonded Boutique before leaving the area.
Explore Like a Queen
Make the homey Queen Village neighborhood your next stop. This scenic, tree-lined area boasts some of the oldest homes and businesses in the city mixed with new restaurants and shops. South 4th Street, also known as Fabric Row, is full of innovative businesses. A favorite is Moon + Arrow. Don't miss owner Chelsea Pearce's selection of handcrafted jewelry and vintage finds. End your day with a beer and a bite at the Hungry Pigeon for American fare from chef Scott Schroeder and pastry chef/bread specialist Pat O'Malley.
Exhausted yet? Check into the welcoming, whimsical Hotel Monaco and ask for a room with a view of Independence Hall.