DSC_3077

Exploring the City of Brotherly Love

A woman exploring Philadelphia in a day

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is definitely an underrated big city in the United States. There are so many things to see and do for people of all ages! With only a two-hour drive from New York City, Philadelphia is the perfect destination to explore for a day, weekend or long weekend if you are traveling around the East Coast or live in the tri-state area.

The last time I was in Philly was when I was a preteen, so it was nice to go back as an adult (in April 2018) and get to see and do everything I haven’t experienced yet.

If I had to compare Philly to another U.S. city, I would definitely say it is very similar to Boston as it features Federal-style architecture, cobblestone streets, a waterfront, beautiful parks, great food and tons of history!

Murals to explore during a day in Philadelphia

If you are also visiting the New York City area, I highly recommend making a day trip down to Philadelphia. Check out the perfect day trip itinerary that my friends and I followed during our time in Philadelphia.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

A Day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Traveling to Philadelphia:

Downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Since I traveled to Philly during a day trip from Northern New Jersey, I ended up taking my own car.

If you aren’t doing a day trip, you could rent a car if you aren’t traveling too far (or even if you’re doing an East Coast road trip) or you could fly into Philadelphia International Airport. (You could find cheap flights to Philadelphia through Skyscanner.)

Philadelphia also has great public transportation to get around the city. Once my friends and I made it to Philly, we were able to walk to all of the places we visited and also took Uber. (The weather was gorgeous when we visited in April.)

Traveling to Philadelphia from NYC can be easily done directly through the Amtrak train. For a more budget option, you could take the NJ Transit train from New York’s Penn Station to Trenton, NJ and then transfer to Pennsylvania’s SEPTA train that will take you straight into Philly.

Looking for an RV for your next trip, reserve here!

Where to Stay in Philadelphia:

Throughout the city of Philadelphia are numerous hotels to suit all budgets. There are also a plethora of Airbnbs as well as Vrbos!

Below are a list of hotel recommendations in Philadelphia:

Luxury Hotel Suggestion: Four Seasons Philadelphia

Boutique Hotel Suggestion: Lokal Hotel Old City

Mid-Budget Hotel Suggestion: Penn’s View Hotel

Budget Hotel Suggestion: Club Quarters Hotel

A Day in Philadelphia:

When you do a day trip in Philadelphia, you will find that there is something fun for everyone! Below are my personal favorite suggestions:

Stroll around Rittenhouse Square:

After my friends and I arrived in Philly, we parked our car in the Rittenhouse Square area.

I loved this area because it featured adorable houses and buildings, numerous coffee shops and eateries as well as a beautiful park to stroll around in.

Strolling through Rittenhouse Square during a day in Philadelphia

As we walked around the park, we spotted sunbathers, students, readers, families, couples, friends and cute puppies! There are also several fountains, cherry blossom trees (during spring), flowers and cute benches to relax.

At night, the park lights up with beautiful Christmas lights. It is truly a magical area!

Exploring the Streets of Philadelphia:

We all could not wait to see the famous Philadelphia Magic Gardens! Since the gardens were a little bit of a walk from Rittenhouse Square, we decided to fully savor the day and enjoy everything the streets of Philly have to offer.

The Atlas of Tomorrow: A Device for Philosophical Reflection

On our way, we ran into The Atlas of Tomorrow: A Device for Philosophical Reflection. This is a beautiful and interactive installation (and piece of art) that translates the I Ching into a tool to help the public examine their lives in the current moment.

As people pass by, they are welcome to think of a question or situation in their life where they see clarity and then turn the wheel. When the wheel stops spinning, it lands on a number and the person could view the trusted guidance in one of the 64 stories posted on the wall.

It was interesting and we had a lot of fun figuring out our lives. Artist Candy Chang created this wonderful work of art!

A woman learning about The Atlas of Tomorrow: A Device for Philosophical Reflection

In addition to The Atlas of Tomorrow: A Device for Philosophical Reflection, you can view other amazing street art and murals in Philadelphia.

Some of the most iconic street murals in the Rittenhouse Square/Washington Square West area are the St. Nick, ‘Bird Feed’ and ‘Nativ Nteligence’.

Visit the Philadelphia Magic Gardens:

A group of women exploring Philadelphia in a day trip

As we made our way closer to the Philadelphia Magic Gardens on South Street, we started to see beautiful mosaic wall art along the buildings. (Overall, seeing the Philadelphia Magic Gardens is a MUST during a day in the city!)

A woman enjoying a day in Philadelphia

Once I started seeing all of the shiny knick-knacks, I knew we were heading in the right direction!

When we finally reached these dreamy gardens, we bought our tickets (they are $10 USD per person and you could purchase them the day of or in advance).

A woman admiring the talent at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens

Since the gardens get a bit crowded on the weekends, we were given a time slot of when we could go in and start wandering. Luckily, we only had to wait around a half hour and what is nice about the Magic Gardens is that there is a whole gallery on the side of their building for you to admire that feature stunning street art and gorgeous wall mosaics.

A woman walking down the stairs at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens during a day trip

To date, the Philadelphia Magic Gardens are the largest work of art created by the talented mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar.

Two women enjoying a day trip to Philadelphia by exploring the Philadelphia Magic Gardens

The beautiful gardens span three city lots and include indoor art galleries and an outdoor maze. My friends and I had a great time walking through this magical place. It was also the perfect spot to take incredible and artsy photos!

The art installations at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens

The mosaics are made up of everything from kitchen and floor tiles to bike wheels as well as Latin-American art to china plates. You can’t go to Philadelphia without seeing this amazing gallery!

Savor Delicious Food in Philadelphia:

A coffee and gelato shop sign in Philly

Just like every other city in the U.S., Philadelphia has a plethora of amazing options to choose from when it comes to checking out the foodie scene.

One place that was highly recommended to me was Reading Terminal Market. If you read my blog post on Seattle, it is easy to say that Reading Terminal is very similar to Pike Place Market – an indoor farmer’s market and foodie haven.

In addition to amazing food stands, Reading Terminal in Philly offers an incredible selection of Pennsylvania-grown produce, locally-sourced meats, fresh seafood, cheeses, baked goods and confections.

Just like Pike Place, you could also find fresh-cut flowers, cookbooks, table linens and so much more at Reading Terminal. Even if you don’t eat at Reading Terminal during your day in Philadelphia, it is still a great place to walk around in. (Reading Terminal is also similar to TimeOut Market in Lisbon.)

Located in the Center City of Philadelphia are a bunch of great restaurants, cute outdoor cafés, awesome gelato shops and more.

My friends and I enjoyed lunch in the sun at a wine bar and pizzeria called Zavino. In addition to where we ate, there are so many other great dining spots to enjoy a meal in the heart of Philly.

Some other recommendations are El Vez for Mexican, Sampan for Thai, Vetri Cucina for Italian and Fogo de Chaõ for Brazilian.

After enjoying delicious pizza and wine, we went across the street to grab a refreshing dessert at Capogiro Gelato Artisans. At this wonderful gelato place, I enjoyed a hazelnut chocolate dessert and my friends had the mojito flavor. It was delicious!

Learn American History in Philadelphia:

An historical building in Philadelphia

When we were finished eating, we were so full that we had to walk everything off.

Since it was mid-afternoon, we decided to walk towards the water so that we could enjoy the views and relax. As we walked east towards the Delaware River, we ran into Philadelphia’s Historic District.

It was so nice to stroll through the cobble-stoned streets of Elfreth’s Alley as well as see the iconic Independence Hall and Liberty Bell! There are also other cool historical buildings in the area that you could admire.

Click here to discover some great historic tours in Philadelphia that you could take during your day trip.

Relax on the Delaware River:

A woman enjoying a day trip in Philadelphia

Before we ended our day in Philly, we enjoyed the rest of the evening along the beautiful Delaware River at Morgan’s Pier.

This fun pier is considered to be Philadelphia’s backyard during the warmer months. This waterfront biergarten allows people to enjoy a gorgeous day in Philadelphia while sipping on a refreshing drink.

While we were at Morgan’s Pier, we enjoyed watching boats sail along the water, admired the views of the iconic Ben Franklin Bridge that goes from Pennsylvania into New Jersey and to top it off, our waitress even gave us blankets to keep warm when the temperature began to drop.

Overall, if you visit Philly during the spring, summer or fall seasons, Morgan’s Pier is a great place to have some fun with friends in the city!

Coffee in Philadelphia:

Before we departed the city, we headed back to Rittenhouse Square (where my car was parked) to grab a cup of coffee to fuel up before we drove back to North Jersey.

Even though there are hundreds of amazing coffee shops in Philadelphia, we ended up grabbing cappuccinos and espressos at an adorable Italian café called Alice. The coffee that we enjoyed at this great café was amazing and it was the perfect way to end our day trip in Philadelphia!


A woman at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens

I hope you all enjoyed reading my city guide to Philadelphia and that it helps you plan the perfect day trip while you are visiting the East Coast.

If you have any questions regarding my day trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, please feel free to reach out to me through email at [email protected]

Make sure to pin this post if you find it useful!

A Day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Basic Facts of the United States:

Currency: United States Dollar, Capital Washington D.C., PA State Capital: Harrisburg, Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time

Click here to join my private blog sharing Facebook group.

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

Shop my Philly Look:

Related posts

Amalfi Coast Itinerary for 5 Days

An itinerary for Southern Italy is not complete without including the Amalfi Coast. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site,...

Rome Bucket List for Your First Time

Photo By Emil Garabey Rome, Italy is a fascinating city that is filled with bucket list, must see places! Founded...

Puglia Itinerary for 4 Days

Apulia, or Puglia, is a special and unique region in Italy that should not be overlooked when you visit the...

3 Comments

  1. […] too far from where I live. Last weekend, I made a day trip with my friends to Philadelphia (click here to read my blog post on Philly) and to follow that, I explored Mystic, Connecticut this past […]

    • Cosette on March 6, 2021 at 4:42 am

      I’ve been way to short a time in Philadelphia. We only went to the Rocky stairs and had a short stroll. The street art sounds and looks great.

      • Taylor Deer on March 6, 2021 at 8:56 pm

        Philly is definitely a great city to explore on a nice day if you have the time. I still have a lot to see there. 🙂

Leave a Comment





DSC_3077

Exploring the City of Brotherly Love

A woman exploring Philadelphia in a day

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is definitely an underrated big city in the United States. There are so many things to see and do for people of all ages! With only a two-hour drive from New York City, Philadelphia is the perfect destination to explore for a day, weekend or long weekend if you are traveling around the East Coast or live in the tri-state area.

The last time I was in Philly was when I was a preteen, so it was nice to go back as an adult (in April 2018) and get to see and do everything I haven’t experienced yet.

If I had to compare Philly to another U.S. city, I would definitely say it is very similar to Boston as it features Federal-style architecture, cobblestone streets, a waterfront, beautiful parks, great food and tons of history!

Murals to explore during a day in Philadelphia

If you are also visiting the New York City area, I highly recommend making a day trip down to Philadelphia. Check out the perfect day trip itinerary that my friends and I followed during our time in Philadelphia.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

A Day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Traveling to Philadelphia:

Downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Since I traveled to Philly during a day trip from Northern New Jersey, I ended up taking my own car.

If you aren’t doing a day trip, you could rent a car if you aren’t traveling too far (or even if you’re doing an East Coast road trip) or you could fly into Philadelphia International Airport. (You could find cheap flights to Philadelphia through Skyscanner.)

Philadelphia also has great public transportation to get around the city. Once my friends and I made it to Philly, we were able to walk to all of the places we visited and also took Uber. (The weather was gorgeous when we visited in April.)

Traveling to Philadelphia from NYC can be easily done directly through the Amtrak train. For a more budget option, you could take the NJ Transit train from New York’s Penn Station to Trenton, NJ and then transfer to Pennsylvania’s SEPTA train that will take you straight into Philly.

Looking for an RV for your next trip, reserve here!

Where to Stay in Philadelphia:

Throughout the city of Philadelphia are numerous hotels to suit all budgets. There are also a plethora of Airbnbs as well as Vrbos!

Below are a list of hotel recommendations in Philadelphia:

Luxury Hotel Suggestion: Four Seasons Philadelphia

Boutique Hotel Suggestion: Lokal Hotel Old City

Mid-Budget Hotel Suggestion: Penn’s View Hotel

Budget Hotel Suggestion: Club Quarters Hotel

A Day in Philadelphia:

When you do a day trip in Philadelphia, you will find that there is something fun for everyone! Below are my personal favorite suggestions:

Stroll around Rittenhouse Square:

After my friends and I arrived in Philly, we parked our car in the Rittenhouse Square area.

I loved this area because it featured adorable houses and buildings, numerous coffee shops and eateries as well as a beautiful park to stroll around in.

Strolling through Rittenhouse Square during a day in Philadelphia

As we walked around the park, we spotted sunbathers, students, readers, families, couples, friends and cute puppies! There are also several fountains, cherry blossom trees (during spring), flowers and cute benches to relax.

At night, the park lights up with beautiful Christmas lights. It is truly a magical area!

Exploring the Streets of Philadelphia:

We all could not wait to see the famous Philadelphia Magic Gardens! Since the gardens were a little bit of a walk from Rittenhouse Square, we decided to fully savor the day and enjoy everything the streets of Philly have to offer.

The Atlas of Tomorrow: A Device for Philosophical Reflection

On our way, we ran into The Atlas of Tomorrow: A Device for Philosophical Reflection. This is a beautiful and interactive installation (and piece of art) that translates the I Ching into a tool to help the public examine their lives in the current moment.

As people pass by, they are welcome to think of a question or situation in their life where they see clarity and then turn the wheel. When the wheel stops spinning, it lands on a number and the person could view the trusted guidance in one of the 64 stories posted on the wall.

It was interesting and we had a lot of fun figuring out our lives. Artist Candy Chang created this wonderful work of art!

A woman learning about The Atlas of Tomorrow: A Device for Philosophical Reflection

In addition to The Atlas of Tomorrow: A Device for Philosophical Reflection, you can view other amazing street art and murals in Philadelphia.

Some of the most iconic street murals in the Rittenhouse Square/Washington Square West area are the St. Nick, ‘Bird Feed’ and ‘Nativ Nteligence’.

Visit the Philadelphia Magic Gardens:

A group of women exploring Philadelphia in a day trip

As we made our way closer to the Philadelphia Magic Gardens on South Street, we started to see beautiful mosaic wall art along the buildings. (Overall, seeing the Philadelphia Magic Gardens is a MUST during a day in the city!)

A woman enjoying a day in Philadelphia

Once I started seeing all of the shiny knick-knacks, I knew we were heading in the right direction!

When we finally reached these dreamy gardens, we bought our tickets (they are $10 USD per person and you could purchase them the day of or in advance).

A woman admiring the talent at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens

Since the gardens get a bit crowded on the weekends, we were given a time slot of when we could go in and start wandering. Luckily, we only had to wait around a half hour and what is nice about the Magic Gardens is that there is a whole gallery on the side of their building for you to admire that feature stunning street art and gorgeous wall mosaics.

A woman walking down the stairs at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens during a day trip

To date, the Philadelphia Magic Gardens are the largest work of art created by the talented mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar.

Two women enjoying a day trip to Philadelphia by exploring the Philadelphia Magic Gardens

The beautiful gardens span three city lots and include indoor art galleries and an outdoor maze. My friends and I had a great time walking through this magical place. It was also the perfect spot to take incredible and artsy photos!

The art installations at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens

The mosaics are made up of everything from kitchen and floor tiles to bike wheels as well as Latin-American art to china plates. You can’t go to Philadelphia without seeing this amazing gallery!

Savor Delicious Food in Philadelphia:

A coffee and gelato shop sign in Philly

Just like every other city in the U.S., Philadelphia has a plethora of amazing options to choose from when it comes to checking out the foodie scene.

One place that was highly recommended to me was Reading Terminal Market. If you read my blog post on Seattle, it is easy to say that Reading Terminal is very similar to Pike Place Market – an indoor farmer’s market and foodie haven.

In addition to amazing food stands, Reading Terminal in Philly offers an incredible selection of Pennsylvania-grown produce, locally-sourced meats, fresh seafood, cheeses, baked goods and confections.

Just like Pike Place, you could also find fresh-cut flowers, cookbooks, table linens and so much more at Reading Terminal. Even if you don’t eat at Reading Terminal during your day in Philadelphia, it is still a great place to walk around in. (Reading Terminal is also similar to TimeOut Market in Lisbon.)

Located in the Center City of Philadelphia are a bunch of great restaurants, cute outdoor cafés, awesome gelato shops and more.

My friends and I enjoyed lunch in the sun at a wine bar and pizzeria called Zavino. In addition to where we ate, there are so many other great dining spots to enjoy a meal in the heart of Philly.

Some other recommendations are El Vez for Mexican, Sampan for Thai, Vetri Cucina for Italian and Fogo de Chaõ for Brazilian.

After enjoying delicious pizza and wine, we went across the street to grab a refreshing dessert at Capogiro Gelato Artisans. At this wonderful gelato place, I enjoyed a hazelnut chocolate dessert and my friends had the mojito flavor. It was delicious!

Learn American History in Philadelphia:

An historical building in Philadelphia

When we were finished eating, we were so full that we had to walk everything off.

Since it was mid-afternoon, we decided to walk towards the water so that we could enjoy the views and relax. As we walked east towards the Delaware River, we ran into Philadelphia’s Historic District.

It was so nice to stroll through the cobble-stoned streets of Elfreth’s Alley as well as see the iconic Independence Hall and Liberty Bell! There are also other cool historical buildings in the area that you could admire.

Click here to discover some great historic tours in Philadelphia that you could take during your day trip.

Relax on the Delaware River:

A woman enjoying a day trip in Philadelphia

Before we ended our day in Philly, we enjoyed the rest of the evening along the beautiful Delaware River at Morgan’s Pier.

This fun pier is considered to be Philadelphia’s backyard during the warmer months. This waterfront biergarten allows people to enjoy a gorgeous day in Philadelphia while sipping on a refreshing drink.

While we were at Morgan’s Pier, we enjoyed watching boats sail along the water, admired the views of the iconic Ben Franklin Bridge that goes from Pennsylvania into New Jersey and to top it off, our waitress even gave us blankets to keep warm when the temperature began to drop.

Overall, if you visit Philly during the spring, summer or fall seasons, Morgan’s Pier is a great place to have some fun with friends in the city!

Coffee in Philadelphia:

Before we departed the city, we headed back to Rittenhouse Square (where my car was parked) to grab a cup of coffee to fuel up before we drove back to North Jersey.

Even though there are hundreds of amazing coffee shops in Philadelphia, we ended up grabbing cappuccinos and espressos at an adorable Italian café called Alice. The coffee that we enjoyed at this great café was amazing and it was the perfect way to end our day trip in Philadelphia!


A woman at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens

I hope you all enjoyed reading my city guide to Philadelphia and that it helps you plan the perfect day trip while you are visiting the East Coast.

If you have any questions regarding my day trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, please feel free to reach out to me through email at [email protected]

Make sure to pin this post if you find it useful!

A Day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Basic Facts of the United States:

Currency: United States Dollar, Capital Washington D.C., PA State Capital: Harrisburg, Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time

Click here to join my private blog sharing Facebook group.

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

Shop my Philly Look:

3 Comments

  1. […] too far from where I live. Last weekend, I made a day trip with my friends to Philadelphia (click here to read my blog post on Philly) and to follow that, I explored Mystic, Connecticut this past […]

    • Cosette on March 6, 2021 at 4:42 am

      I’ve been way to short a time in Philadelphia. We only went to the Rocky stairs and had a short stroll. The street art sounds and looks great.

      • Taylor Deer on March 6, 2021 at 8:56 pm

        Philly is definitely a great city to explore on a nice day if you have the time. I still have a lot to see there. 🙂

Leave a Comment





Related posts

Amalfi Coast Itinerary for 5 Days

An itinerary for Southern Italy is not complete without including the Amalfi Coast. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site,...

Rome Bucket List for Your First Time

Photo By Emil Garabey Rome, Italy is a fascinating city that is filled with bucket list, must see places! Founded...

Puglia Itinerary for 4 Days

Apulia, or Puglia, is a special and unique region in Italy that should not be overlooked when you visit the...