The 3-Day Best of Philadelphia

A guide to the best of Philadelphia.

A guide to the best of Philadelphia. Photo © Rhys A., licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Planning a short trip or a weekend getaway? Here’s a guide to the best of Philly, from taking in historical sights like Independence Hall or exploring the murals and museums that make up its top-notch art scene.

Day 1

Any first-time visit to Philadelphia should begin in Old City, where Philly’s most famous historic sights are conveniently located within a few square blocks dubbed Independence National Historical Park.

Have breakfast at The Continental and then head to the Independence Visitor Center. Here, you’ll find information and maps, watch a short historical film, sign up for tours, buy tickets for tour buses, and reserve your free, timed ticket for Independence Hall.

Spend the rest of the morning at the National Constitution Center or take a mural tour in an open-air trolley.

Eat lunch at The Bourse food court, then spend the afternoon visiting the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. If time allows, stop at nearby Franklin Court or the Betsy Ross House.

Old City is filled with restaurants and nightlife, so you have plenty to choose from. Try Amada for exquisite tapas, Zahav for modern Middle Eastern cuisine, or continue to immerse yourself in history with dinner at historic City Tavern Restaurant.

Finish the night with the Lights of Liberty nighttime walking tour, or if you’re ready to return to the present, go bar hopping at the trendy Old City clubs.

Day 2

Spend the day in the Museum District. Walk along the picturesque Benjamin Franklin Parkway and take your pick from the many museums while stopping for photo-ops along the way.

Don’t miss the world-class Philadelphia Museum of Art, and before you run up those famous steps, snap some pictures with the Rocky statue. Visit the stunning, newly-relocated Barnes Foundation, or if you prefer science to art, go to the Franklin Institute or the Academy of Natural Sciences instead.

Have lunch at Darling’s Café or the classy Four Seasons hotel, and stroll behind the Art Museum to see Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center and Boathouse Row.

If time allows, walk a few blocks north to the Eastern State Penitentiary and have dinner at London Grill or one of the other restaurants and bars lining Fairmount Avenue.

Day 3

Begin your day with breakfast at Reading Terminal Market. A few blocks away, explore City Hall, and on weekdays take a tour or ride the elevator to the base of the William Penn statue at the top of City Hall for a spectacular view of the city.

Next, tour the Masonic Temple across the street or the nearby Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Grab lunch at one of the many area food trucks or at Di Bruno Bros. market and take it to Rittenhouse Square for a picnic. Spend the afternoon strolling and shopping on Rittenhouse Row, or visit the nearby Mutter Museum.

In the evening, catch a show at any of the lovely theaters on the Avenue of the Arts. Have dinner at one of the many restaurants in Rittenhouse Square or head to Chinatown. Or—if you somehow haven’t yet, have a cheesesteak already! Tony Jr.’s is a Rittenhouse area favorite, or venture into South Philly for a one-of-a-kind experience at Pat’s King of Steaks.


Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Philadelphia.

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