A Day In and Around Center City, Philadelphia
A Day In and Around Center City, Philadelphia
October 1, 2020
City Center is the heart of Philadelphia, full of museums, outdoor experiences, and top-notch eateries. This one day driving and walking tour in and around the neighborhood will take you to some of the city’s best museums, for delicious bites, a stroll along the river, and boutique-hopping. To see where visitors and locals alike are going, use #OurTurnToTourist.
To help combat the spread of Covid-19, some venues below may be closed or by appointment or reservation only. Note that masks are required in all venues except when you’re eating.
Things are changing rapidly. We do our best to update openings, closures, and hours. All information published below was correct at the time of writing.
east passyunk av
Singing Fountain, East Passyunk Avenue. Photo by K. Kelly, courtesy of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
If it’s a weekend, go to High Street Philly from 9am for a breakfast sandwich on their chewy house-made bread, or go savoury with a sourdough pie topped with lancaster county corn, arugula, goat cheese, and lemon. Eat outdoors, or get takeaway and walk four blocks to leafy Washington Square.
high street philly
High Street Philly. Photo courtesy of High Street Philly
Bower Café. Photo courtesy of Bower Café
MICHELIN Travel Guides -- Museum of American Revolution, Philadelphia
Museum of the American Revolution. Film courtesy of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
MICHELIN Travel Guides -- African American Museum, Philadelphia
The African American Museum in Philadelphia. Film courtesy of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
- The collection at PAFA (Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts) encompasses 16,000 pieces, from 18th-century masters to Kehinde Wiley, who painted a portrait of President Barack Obama for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. The museum does a fantastic job of showcasing the work of female artists, those in the LQBTQ+ community, artists of color, and artists outside of major American art hubs.
pennsylvania academy of fine arts
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Photo by B. Krist, courtesy of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
- Modern European paintings, beautiful Navajo jewelry and Zuni water jars, and carved masks from Côte d'Ivoire and copper sculptures from Benin are just a few of the striking pieces in the Barnes Foundation’s extensive collection.
The Barnes Foundation. Photo by Sean Murray, courtesy of the Barnes Foundation
The Bourse. Photo by Neal Santos, courtesy of The Bourse
From here, it’s decision time: do you want to continue strolling in nature, or peruse Philly’s independent boutiques? Depending on the time, you might be able to do both.
MICHELIN Travel Guides -- Schuylkill Boardwalk, Philadelphia
Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk. Film courtesy of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
If it’s greenery you’re after, hit the Schuylkill River Trail and walk the two miles from Azalea Garden to the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk. Stop at one of four scenic overlooks for a postcard-perfect view of the Philadelphia skyline.
If you’re more inclined toward shopping, here are a few places to go:
- Atomic City Comics: Graphic novels, manga, new and back-issue comics, and toys and games fill the shelves at this Society Hill favorite. Atomic is surrounded by other bookstores, and bibliophiles will be in heaven. Visit Wooden Shoe Books, Mostly Books, Garland of Letters, Black and Noble, Brickbat Books, and Headhouse Books. Drive 10 or walk 20 minutes from Center City.
- The Sable Collective: Women’s jewelry, clothing, accessories, home goods, beauty and wellness products, and books are on offer here, from a straw fan made in Bolgatanga, Ghana to cowrie shell cuffs in brass. In Center City
- Damari Savile: Made-to-measure suits that’ll have you looking ultra dapper. Right on Washington Sq. Walk 10 minutes from Center City.
- Blue Sole Shoes: Find footwear to go with your smart new suit at this Rittenhouse Square shop. Drive 10 minutes or walk 23.
Mostly Books. Photo courtesy of Mostly Books
Brickbat Books. Photo courtesy of Brickbat Books
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. Photo by R. Kennedy, courtesy of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
While you’re down at the bookstores, visit Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (book in advance), a non-profit immersive mixed media space made of mosaics. Isaiah Zagar’s living gallery is covered in bottles, bike wheels, folk art, and handmade tiles, spanning two indoor galleries and a sculpture garden.
Midtown Village. Photo by J. Fusco, courtesy of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
Where to Stay:
Roost Rittenhouse: Roost is a collection of three stylish, modernist-inspired extended-stay boutique hotels in Philly. Stay for a night, a week, or a month. It’s meant to feel homey and indeed, the spaces do, with real plants, patterned rugs, and contemporary artwork. Each of the 27 apartments is furnished with modern pieces from Design Within Reach and kitted out with Apple TVs and REVO stereos. There’s a bike share program, a library...you might just want to move in.
Roost Rittenhouse. Photo by Tablet
Going to New York? Visit Long Island or the Hudson Valley.
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