Our Recommendations

Dennis

Our Recommendations

Neighborhoods you can walk to
Bella Vista is the name of the Italian Market area where you are staying. Walk along the 9th Street Italian Market south from our place and you’ll get different flavors of the market. As you head south of Washington Avenue, you’re now in South Philadelphia with a heavier Hispanic influence on the market. Where 9th Street meets Passayunk Ave, walk along Passayunk to get a flavor of a completely different community.
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Bella Vista
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Bella Vista is the name of the Italian Market area where you are staying. Walk along the 9th Street Italian Market south from our place and you’ll get different flavors of the market. As you head south of Washington Avenue, you’re now in South Philadelphia with a heavier Hispanic influence on the market. Where 9th Street meets Passayunk Ave, walk along Passayunk to get a flavor of a completely different community.
Passayunk is a street in South Philly that is becoming more and more trendy, lined with all kinds of interesting shops, restaurants, and bars. It’s probably the fastest changing part of the city, and now is really known as its own neighborhood (East Passayunk). Gino’s and Pat’s cheesesteaks are tourist attractions of their own right in this area and have the original rivalry of cheesesteaks.
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Passyunk Square
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Passayunk is a street in South Philly that is becoming more and more trendy, lined with all kinds of interesting shops, restaurants, and bars. It’s probably the fastest changing part of the city, and now is really known as its own neighborhood (East Passayunk). Gino’s and Pat’s cheesesteaks are tourist attractions of their own right in this area and have the original rivalry of cheesesteaks.
When instead you walk north along 9th St from our house, you’ll find yourself in a neighborhood called Washington Square West, more frequently called the Gayborhood. There are many shops to check out in this area, and too many brunch places to name. Pennsylvania Hospital here is the oldest hospital in the country. Washington Square itself is an old park with historic army memorials.
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Washington Square West
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When instead you walk north along 9th St from our house, you’ll find yourself in a neighborhood called Washington Square West, more frequently called the Gayborhood. There are many shops to check out in this area, and too many brunch places to name. Pennsylvania Hospital here is the oldest hospital in the country. Washington Square itself is an old park with historic army memorials.
Walking further north (and west) and you’ll end up in Center City. Obviously there are a lot of things to do here that city-dwellers would enjoy. We’d recommend stopping by Reading Terminal Market, the country’s oldest farmer’s market that is now in the old central railroad station. There’s lots of good food and shops here that are actually catered to locals and not a tourist trap – Beiler’s donuts is a must. We’d also strongly recommend going to the Chinatown Arch and exploring Chinatown for a bit. Tons of good food and very much a thriving enclave of the city. City Hall is at the crossroads of Market St and Broad St. It is one of the most stunning buildings in the country and at one point was actually the tallest building in the world, before New York began building the tall skyscrapers. It is still the largest government building in the country, larger than the US Capital. There is a very heavy and large statue of William Penn at the top of the building and has a fascinating history (look up the “curse of William Penn.” Across from City Hall is LOVE Park, with the famous “LOVE” display to take pictures in front of. West of City Hall is where the density really increases, with tons more businesses. Walnut St and Chestnut St are the major high-end commercial streets of the city. Benjamin Franklin Pkwy is known as the Museum District for obvious reasons, with many wonderful and world-class museums (specifically check out the Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, plus you can run up the stairs like Rocky Balboa). Rittenhouse Square is a beautiful park surrounded by high-rises and a source of vibrancy in the city. From Rittenhouse Square, explore the Fitler Square neighborhood by following Spruce Street and its beautiful brownstone homes down to the Schuykill River with the river trail. This trail follows the river for many miles past the city borders.
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Center City
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Walking further north (and west) and you’ll end up in Center City. Obviously there are a lot of things to do here that city-dwellers would enjoy. We’d recommend stopping by Reading Terminal Market, the country’s oldest farmer’s market that is now in the old central railroad station. There’s lots of good food and shops here that are actually catered to locals and not a tourist trap – Beiler’s donuts is a must. We’d also strongly recommend going to the Chinatown Arch and exploring Chinatown for a bit. Tons of good food and very much a thriving enclave of the city. City Hall is at the crossroads of Market St and Broad St. It is one of the most stunning buildings in the country and at one point was actually the tallest building in the world, before New York began building the tall skyscrapers. It is still the largest government building in the country, larger than the US Capital. There is a very heavy and large statue of William Penn at the top of the building and has a fascinating history (look up the “curse of William Penn.” Across from City Hall is LOVE Park, with the famous “LOVE” display to take pictures in front of. West of City Hall is where the density really increases, with tons more businesses. Walnut St and Chestnut St are the major high-end commercial streets of the city. Benjamin Franklin Pkwy is known as the Museum District for obvious reasons, with many wonderful and world-class museums (specifically check out the Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, plus you can run up the stairs like Rocky Balboa). Rittenhouse Square is a beautiful park surrounded by high-rises and a source of vibrancy in the city. From Rittenhouse Square, explore the Fitler Square neighborhood by following Spruce Street and its beautiful brownstone homes down to the Schuykill River with the river trail. This trail follows the river for many miles past the city borders.
If you decide to venture across the Schuylkill River, you’ll find yourself in West Philadelphia. Things are very different since the Fresh Prince of Belair was last there. You’ll first be in a part called University City because it is home to many universities, including the campuses of University of Pennsylvania and Drexel, and several top hospitals including the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). If you go further along Baltimore Avenue, you’ll find some truly wonderful African food of all types. The Spruce Hill neighborhood is known for its gorgeous Victorian homes.
West Philadelphia
If you decide to venture across the Schuylkill River, you’ll find yourself in West Philadelphia. Things are very different since the Fresh Prince of Belair was last there. You’ll first be in a part called University City because it is home to many universities, including the campuses of University of Pennsylvania and Drexel, and several top hospitals including the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). If you go further along Baltimore Avenue, you’ll find some truly wonderful African food of all types. The Spruce Hill neighborhood is known for its gorgeous Victorian homes.
Things are very different if you go east from our home. The Queen Village neighborhood around Bainbridge and 4th St has a particular colorful and upbeat feel to it that will draw you in to its many small shops, restaurants, and bars. This area and along South St in particular is filled with life at night. South St is the main street of the area with an 1960s-old-school feel to it and is home to the Philadelphia Magic Gardens, which are a must-see.
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Queen Village
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Things are very different if you go east from our home. The Queen Village neighborhood around Bainbridge and 4th St has a particular colorful and upbeat feel to it that will draw you in to its many small shops, restaurants, and bars. This area and along South St in particular is filled with life at night. South St is the main street of the area with an 1960s-old-school feel to it and is home to the Philadelphia Magic Gardens, which are a must-see.
Old City is as the name suggests: the oldest and most historic part of the city. The area around Independence Hall is worth checking out to say that you’ve been there, but it is all essentially a monument right now. East of Independence Hall is the more “modern” version of the Old City, with lots of galleries and small little streets to explore. Elfreth’s Alley is the oldest residential street in America and is worth visiting. Tons of museums that people actually like, and many of them are free. Spruce Street Harbor Park is along the Delaware River and in the summer has many food trucks and hammocks to lounge around in. It’s a beautiful park. Just north of it is Race Street Pier with a waterfront promenade with soaring bridge views.
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Old City
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Old City is as the name suggests: the oldest and most historic part of the city. The area around Independence Hall is worth checking out to say that you’ve been there, but it is all essentially a monument right now. East of Independence Hall is the more “modern” version of the Old City, with lots of galleries and small little streets to explore. Elfreth’s Alley is the oldest residential street in America and is worth visiting. Tons of museums that people actually like, and many of them are free. Spruce Street Harbor Park is along the Delaware River and in the summer has many food trucks and hammocks to lounge around in. It’s a beautiful park. Just north of it is Race Street Pier with a waterfront promenade with soaring bridge views.
Food scene close to our home
The oldest Italian restaurant in the US, just down the street.
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Ralph's Italian Restaurant
760 South 9th Street
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The oldest Italian restaurant in the US, just down the street.
Delicious Italian food and sometimes they have homemade cannolis.
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Villa di Roma
936 South 9th Street
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Delicious Italian food and sometimes they have homemade cannolis.
A no-frills Mexican taco restaurant with an inspiring backstory featured on Netflix’s Chef’s Table.
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South Philly Barbacoa
1140 S 9th St
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A no-frills Mexican taco restaurant with an inspiring backstory featured on Netflix’s Chef’s Table.
Our favorite tacos in the city, and it happens to be right next to our house. It’s slightly overshadowed by South Philly Barbacoa because of Netflix.
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Blue Corn
940 South 9th Street
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Our favorite tacos in the city, and it happens to be right next to our house. It’s slightly overshadowed by South Philly Barbacoa because of Netflix.
Famous for their sausage (also on Queer Eye!). They have comfortable outdoor seating that is heated in the winter.
Fiorella pasta bar
817 Christian Street
Famous for their sausage (also on Queer Eye!). They have comfortable outdoor seating that is heated in the winter.
One of the more famous pizza places in the city. They only take orders if you call ahead and are cash and pickup only.
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Angelo's Pizzeria South Philly
736 S 9th St
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One of the more famous pizza places in the city. They only take orders if you call ahead and are cash and pickup only.
Delicious Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches with alcohol, and really good outdoor seating options. This area often comes alive on weekend nights.
Banh Mi and Bottles
712-14 South St
Delicious Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches with alcohol, and really good outdoor seating options. This area often comes alive on weekend nights.
An authentic and delicious Indian food place, among the best in the city.
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Indeblue Restaurant and Bar
205 South 13th Street
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An authentic and delicious Indian food place, among the best in the city.
A unique Greek restaurant that looks like you’re walking into a regular home. BYOB.
Effie's Restaurant
1127 Pine Street
A unique Greek restaurant that looks like you’re walking into a regular home. BYOB.
Literally ranked the top restaurant in America. Reservations are required, though it is somewhat easier to get in if you sit at the bar. It is a modern Israeli restaurant.
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Zahav
237 Saint James Place
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Literally ranked the top restaurant in America. Reservations are required, though it is somewhat easier to get in if you sit at the bar. It is a modern Israeli restaurant.
Beautiful décor and delicious farm-to-table food in an affordable setting. Reservations are a plus as there is often a line, and there is a ton of outdoor seating as well (heated in the winter). The avocado toast is worth it alone.
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Talula's Garden
210 West Washington Square
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Beautiful décor and delicious farm-to-table food in an affordable setting. Reservations are a plus as there is often a line, and there is a ton of outdoor seating as well (heated in the winter). The avocado toast is worth it alone.
An Italian restaurant inspired by the Amalfi coast in a semi-fancy location.
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Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti
Walnut Street
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An Italian restaurant inspired by the Amalfi coast in a semi-fancy location.
Together with Pat's, these two are the old classics for cheesesteaks. They’re across the street from each other and build up a rivalry and cult following.
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Geno's Steaks
1219 South 9th Street
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Together with Pat's, these two are the old classics for cheesesteaks. They’re across the street from each other and build up a rivalry and cult following.
Together with Geno's, these two are the old classics for cheesesteaks. They’re across the street from each other and build up a rivalry and cult following.
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Pat's King of Steaks
1237 East Passyunk Avenue
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Together with Geno's, these two are the old classics for cheesesteaks. They’re across the street from each other and build up a rivalry and cult following.
An interesting ice cream shop (and coffee shop) that makes rolled ice cream from scratch.
Roly Cow Creamery
1647 E Passyunk Ave
An interesting ice cream shop (and coffee shop) that makes rolled ice cream from scratch.
A high-end Dutch restaurant that is surprisingly delicious. Who ever heard of high-end Dutch food?
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Noord
1046 Tasker Street
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A high-end Dutch restaurant that is surprisingly delicious. Who ever heard of high-end Dutch food?
Square slices of pizza that have developed into a bit of a cult following. Pickup only. They decide to close whenever they run out of pizza ingredients, whatever that really means, so order early!
Square Pie
801 E Passyunk Ave
Square slices of pizza that have developed into a bit of a cult following. Pickup only. They decide to close whenever they run out of pizza ingredients, whatever that really means, so order early!
Quite possibly the best cheesesteaks in the city, located in its original 1950s diner location on South St.
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Jim's Steaks
400 South St
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Quite possibly the best cheesesteaks in the city, located in its original 1950s diner location on South St.
Wonderful Turkish food.
Isot Turkish Cuisine
622 S 6th St
Wonderful Turkish food.
Wonderful Turkish food.
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Marrakesh
517 South Leithgow Street
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Wonderful Turkish food.
As the title suggests. This is universally known to everyone as THE place to go for Chinese dim sum.
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Dim Sum Garden
1020 Race Street
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As the title suggests. This is universally known to everyone as THE place to go for Chinese dim sum.
This bakery and coffee shop has a very special place in our heart. It is our go-to “I know what will make us happy” place. Their drinks are delicious and they allow you to lounge around inside without any rush. There are two locations: one in Chinatown (the original) and a new one on South St in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood.
A La Mousse
145 N 11th St
This bakery and coffee shop has a very special place in our heart. It is our go-to “I know what will make us happy” place. Their drinks are delicious and they allow you to lounge around inside without any rush. There are two locations: one in Chinatown (the original) and a new one on South St in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood.
Get a reservation, because this is a very popular place. It’s a beautiful space with bars, New American cuisine, and a bowling alley in the basement. They have great outdoor seating options.
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Harp & Crown
1525 Sansom St
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Get a reservation, because this is a very popular place. It’s a beautiful space with bars, New American cuisine, and a bowling alley in the basement. They have great outdoor seating options.
People die for this bake shop.
The Bakeshop on Twentieth
269 South 20th Street
People die for this bake shop.
One of the best known Mexican restaurants in the city, in a prime location.
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El Rey
2013 Chestnut Street
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One of the best known Mexican restaurants in the city, in a prime location.
Delicious Ethiopian food.
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Almaz Cafe
140 South 20th Street
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Delicious Ethiopian food.
A board game bar that we particularly love.
Queen & Rook Game Cafe
607 South 2nd Street
A board game bar that we particularly love.
Hiking
The biggest urban park in the country. There are miles and miles of trails, as well as open space to picnic.
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Fairmount Park
Reservoir Drive
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The biggest urban park in the country. There are miles and miles of trails, as well as open space to picnic.
A beautiful park with plenty of hikes that are technically within the city and feels like you’re far outside of it.
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Wissahickon Valley Park
Valley Green Road
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A beautiful park with plenty of hikes that are technically within the city and feels like you’re far outside of it.
About 25 minutes by car to the southwest. Moderate hiking through the woods and plenty of trails to choose from.
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Ridley Creek State Park
1023 Sycamore Mills Road
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About 25 minutes by car to the southwest. Moderate hiking through the woods and plenty of trails to choose from.
Fishtown and Northern Liberties
These are two new up-and-coming neighborhood that have a hipster vibe to them. Some of the best bars, breweries, and restaurants in the city are popping up there. You may want to Uber or drive there for a good night out.
One of the most loved restaurants in the city. Semi-formal, with a beautiful outdoor seating area. The food is truly delicious Mediterranean food.
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Suraya
1528 Frankford Ave
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One of the most loved restaurants in the city. Semi-formal, with a beautiful outdoor seating area. The food is truly delicious Mediterranean food.
The typical incredibly popular brunch place.
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Front Street Cafe
1253 N Front St
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The typical incredibly popular brunch place.
A big German-style beer garden
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Frankford Hall
1210 Frankford Avenue
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A big German-style beer garden
Barbecue mixed in with a beer garden
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Fette Sau
1208 Frankford Avenue
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Barbecue mixed in with a beer garden
Another contender for best cheesesteaks.
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Joe's Steaks + Soda Shop Fishtown
1 West Girard Avenue
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Another contender for best cheesesteaks.
Our favorite bar in the city. There are almost 1000 beers lined up in coolers that you pick out yourself and pay for each bottle you take.
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Bottle Bar East
1308 Frankford Avenue
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Our favorite bar in the city. There are almost 1000 beers lined up in coolers that you pick out yourself and pay for each bottle you take.
Coffee shops
A small coffee shop that is the go-to place to quickly pick up iced coffee from our home.
Gleaner's Cafe
917 South 9th Street
A small coffee shop that is the go-to place to quickly pick up iced coffee from our home.
A really cute coffee shop with outdoor seating that makes you feel like you're in Europe.
Anthony's Italian Coffee & Chocolate House
903 South 9th Street
A really cute coffee shop with outdoor seating that makes you feel like you're in Europe.
A very nice-looking coffee shop and a great place to sit indoors to get work done.
Function Coffee Labs
1001 S 10th St
A very nice-looking coffee shop and a great place to sit indoors to get work done.
Markets
Right around the corner on 9th St is the lively Italian Market, the oldest open-air market in the country. The groceries are about half the cost and fresh.
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Italian Market 9th Street
919 South 9th Street
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Right around the corner on 9th St is the lively Italian Market, the oldest open-air market in the country. The groceries are about half the cost and fresh.
About a 10 minute walk on South Street.
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Whole Foods Market
929 South Street
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About a 10 minute walk on South Street.
About a 10 minute walk, in a renovated old railroad station.
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Sprouts Farmers Market
1000 S Broad St
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About a 10 minute walk, in a renovated old railroad station.
Right next to Whole Foods and is a bit cheaper.
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ACME Markets
1001 South St
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Right next to Whole Foods and is a bit cheaper.
In Center City is one of the oldest markets in the country and has great fresh meat and food as well. There are plenty of food stalls to get lunch. This is a must-visit.
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Reading Terminal Market
51 North 12th Street
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In Center City is one of the oldest markets in the country and has great fresh meat and food as well. There are plenty of food stalls to get lunch. This is a must-visit.
Museums
A gorgeous building with a collection that rivals some of the most famous museums. The Rocky Balboa steps are at the front of the building and the back of the building is the starting point for Fairmount Park.
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Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy
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A gorgeous building with a collection that rivals some of the most famous museums. The Rocky Balboa steps are at the front of the building and the back of the building is the starting point for Fairmount Park.
A private collection of impressionist artwork in a beautiful building.
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Barnes Foundation
2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
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A private collection of impressionist artwork in a beautiful building.
Run by the University of Pennsylvania medical school, this museum is a really unique one showing skeletons and organs with crazy diseases from the 1800s and earlier. This is typically the first museum we take visitors to.
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The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
19 S 22nd St
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Run by the University of Pennsylvania medical school, this museum is a really unique one showing skeletons and organs with crazy diseases from the 1800s and earlier. This is typically the first museum we take visitors to.
A sculpture museum with the largest collection of Rodin’s work outside of Paris.
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Rodin Museum
2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
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A sculpture museum with the largest collection of Rodin’s work outside of Paris.
An interactive and family-friendly science museum.
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The Franklin Institute
222 North 20th Street
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An interactive and family-friendly science museum.
One of the top natural history museums of the country.
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The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
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One of the top natural history museums of the country.
Exactly as the title suggests. Frequently has free admission days and is quite highly rated.
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National Museum of American Jewish History
101 South Independence Mall E
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Exactly as the title suggests. Frequently has free admission days and is quite highly rated.
People love this museum highlighting all sides of the American Revolution focused heavily on mannequin displays in a modern building.
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Museum of the American Revolution
101 S 3rd St
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People love this museum highlighting all sides of the American Revolution focused heavily on mannequin displays in a modern building.