By: Jesse Fairfax
New York is generally considered the absolute mecca for east coast living, but upon crossing the Ben Franklin Bridge leaving New Jersey, there lies another metropolis in Philadelphia. An often overlooked hotbed for engaging happenstance, the city has birthed celebrities like Bradley Cooper, Will Smith, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Joey Lawrence, Eve, Pink, Jill Scott, comedian Kevin Hart, ?uestlove and The Roots.
Film buffs may recognize Philly as the backdrop for some of director M. Night Shyamalan’s movies and for Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky movies. Whether you’re making the trip from the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic by car, or flying in from somewhere across the country, the trip will definitely be worth your while!
Here are the Top 7 places I have enjoyed during my soon-to-be four year in tenure in Philadelphia, a place with a distinct culture unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been.
1) Silk City Diner Bar and Lounge – 435 Spring Garden Street
Silk City is commonly considered a nightlife party venue where world-renowned DJs like DJ Spinna and hometown heroes King Britt and ?uestlove spin, as well as a spot where you can catch a good music show on the right evening. But Silk City’s quirk lies in the fact that it’s attached to a restaurant with an array of delicacies that will suit any palette.
2) Rittenhouse Square Park – 18th Street & Walnut Street
Rittenhouse Square is considered a cultural haven of Center City (aka our “downtown”), but the park is a special place in that it offers a brief reprieve from city life while you’re still in the midst of the metropolitan experience. This is a great place for families, dates, or just plain old sightseeing if you don’t have the time to make it to my next selection…
An experience in itself, Fairmount Park is a sprawling environmental landmark with streams, woods (including over 1000 cherry blossom trees), meadows and wetlands comprising 63 regional and neighborhood parks. Taking up 10% of Philadelphia’s land, you’d never even guess it was here, and upon visiting you can easily forget that you’re still in a city with two million people.
4) Reading Terminal Market – 12th Street & Arch Street
Reading Terminal Market is a farmer’s market where you can find everything from fresh local meat and vegetables to foreign foods, desserts, arts and crafts, a bookstore and more! You can also visit Delilah’s, Oprah Winfrey’s choice for soul food!
Just a few minutes walk from the Liberty Bell, Penn’s Landing offers a beautiful view of the Delaware River. There is always something fun to do at the various facilities, from cultural festivals in the summertime to ice skating in the winter. You can enter the waterfront from multiple places downtown, including South Street.
Of course South Street is another famous Philly attraction, and I’d be remiss not to mention a preferred cheesesteak place! Mine happens to be Ishkabibble’s (337 South Street, btwn 3rd & 4th Streets).
6) The Piazza at Schmidt’s – 1050 North Hancock Street @ Germantown Avenue
The Piazza is a collection of art galleries, boutiques and restaurants surrounded by luxury apartments and office space. There is a huge outdoor screen showing our city’s sporting events, as well as a performance stage and 80,000 square feet of open space! This is a place people love to convene on evenings and weekends.
7) Philadelphia Museum Of Art – 26th Street @ Benjamin Franklin Parkway
This is more than a “place to visit” in town. People travel from all over the world to see this museum’s exhibits! It houses over 225,000 pieces, and has featured special exhibits from artists such as Paul Cezanne, Salvador Dali and Frida Kahlo.
The museum is recognized in pop culture for its huge stairs, which became legendary in the classic Rocky movies. A bronze statue of Sylvester Stallone’s character Rocky Balboa now stands just to the North of the steps!