Philadelphia soft pretzels are an iconic part of the city’s food scene. Philadelphia is a foodie town: cheesesteaks, soft pretzels and roast pork sandwiches are local favorites. There’s plenty of fine dining options in the City of Brotherly Love, if that’s your thing. But street foods that are sometimes messy, sometimes indulgent and always delicious seem to satisfy so much more, at least for me. And it’s said that Philly eats six times more pretzels per year than the average American. So where can you get the best soft pretzel in Philadelphia? I went on a soft pretzel adventure to find out!
Traveling is stressful enough as it is, so I wanted to share some of my favorite Philadelphia tips and recommendations as a born and bred local. The City of Brotherly Love richly rewards visitors. There are countless museums, restaurants, and shops. The sports fans are diehard, to put it lightly. Renaissance man Benjamin Franklin, artist Mary Cassatt, and actor Kevin Bacon all have walked the streets and called the city home at one time or another. There’s history no matter what period of the past interests you. Get to know Philly with these local favorites.
While there’s no shortage of fun places to explore within the city, the list of Philadelphia day trips you can take is long and varied. Within only a few hours you can be up in the mountains or “down the shore” with your toes in the Atlantic Ocean. The arts, food, history, the great outdoors, or shopping: there’s a place to steal your heart just outside of Philadelphia if only just for a day.
You know spring is near when the Philadelphia Flower Show rolls into town. Each year the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) hosts the wildly popular show downtown at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. For 2018, the show is tackling the theme of water. This precious and limited resource is highlighted in some interesting and unexpected ways. But, as the Philadelphia Flower Show demonstrates this year, conserving water doesn’t mean you have to forgo a beautiful garden.
(Update: Looking for the 2019 Flower Show? I have you covered!)
On a rainy and snowy late winter day, a date for afternoon tea and a meal at A Taste of Britain is the perfect way to spend a day. Or, really, any day if you ask me. While cities are known for having restaurants and shops that cater to all tastes, it’s actually Philadelphia‘s nearby suburb of Wayne where you’ll find this charming tea room. And be assured that A Taste of Britain is more than “just” a place for tea.
The Mummers are one of those distinctly Philadelphia traditions that can be difficult for outsiders to understand. It’s like scrapple or booing Santa Claus at a football game. Each year on New Year’s Day the Mummers Parade takes place. Weather permitting, this community of sequins-wearing, string band dancing and playing group strut their stuff through Philly starting at city hall and then preceding down Broad Street towards South Philadelphia. And in true Philadelphia fashion, either you love them or you hate them.
The Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia has officially made my husband and me into opera fans. When the Academy of Vocal Arts kindly offered tickets to see one of their two upcoming operas in German I was instantly excited. When it comes to language learning I’m willing to try just about anything. Soap operas, romantic comedies — even if I don’t enjoy it in English, I’m willing to try. But this sounded like a lot of fun. And it also happened to coincide with our anniversary and made the perfect date. In the end, it was the Academy of Vocal Arts’ production of Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold that really wowed us.
The classics never go out of style. Just ask Paul McCartney’s accountant. And those classics come in all styles and forms. Take art, for example. Philadelphia lawyer and art collector John G. Johnson fell in love with the Old Masters and you can’t get much more classic than that. Johnson collected the Old Masters and then some. He acquired everything from Renaissance masterpieces to impressionist classics. And now through February, art lovers can visit a special exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art dedicated to the collection, which is celebrating its centennial. I recently got a peek at the splendid exhibition as part of the museum’s members’ preview.
Earlier this week, after 18 days of rowdiness, revelry and more beer than you can shake a stick at, the original Oktoberfest celebration in Munich, Germany came to a close. But most of us can’t make it over to Bavaria to celebrate. Philadelphia‘s Brauhaus Schmitz has come up with the next best thing: an Oktoberfest celebration to entice partiers from around the region. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at Brauhaus Schmitz Oktoberfest, which runs Friday, October 6th through Sunday, October 8th, 2017.
As Philadelphia‘s Benjamin Franklin Parkway kicks off its 100th anniversary, the city is spending the next year celebrating. And right now Fireflies are pedaling up and down the boulevard that is home to so many fantastic museums: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rodin Museum, Barnes Museum, Franklin Institute and more. That’s right — pedaling. Each Firefly is a pedicab covered in cheery Chinese-style lanterns. It’s all part of an art installation by artist Cai Guo-Qiang. And until October 8th, visitors can get involved by taking a free Fireflies ride!
History buffs won’t want to miss Philadelphia because, as you may know, the city played a rather key role in the founding of the country. In the city’s Old City neighborhood, you can see important sites of historic Philadelphia, like the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Constitution Hall. It’s a traveler’s delight because many of the most important and interesting historic attractions are free and allow you up-close access. You can easily get it all in within a single day. So strap on your walking shoes and let’s get going. Here’s my guide to a day in Philadelphia for history buffs!
It doesn’t matter if you prefer modern art, impressionism, or street art, there is so much on offer when it comes to the Philadelphia art scene. Philadelphia has been the home and inspiration for countless artists such as Thomas Eakins, Alexander Calder (both Milne and Stirling), and Robert Crumb. The galleries and collections in the city are also incredibly impressive. This is both in terms of quantity and quality. Then add in the public works, like Philadelphia mural arts, and you get an idea of how rich and diverse the city is.
If you only have a single day to see and experience the city and you love art, here is my travel guide and itinerary for Philadelphia art.