Living in Boston, the city of brotherly love has always been one of those elusive destinations that was too far for a day trip, but not quite far enough for a weekend. When the Ritz Carlton offered to have me visit, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to discover a city I had only previously visited on work trips, and haven’t really had a chance to explore.
One of the perks of staying at the Ritz is the fact that you are smack dab in the middle of City Center, meaning you can walk everywhere. There’s a couple of great breakfast spots, coffee shops, and landmarks less than a 15-minute walk away. The most notable landmark is City Hall, which not only boasts some seriously breathtaking architecture, but has a pretty fun history as well. You can book guided tours, or just walk around (and through) the building yourself.
Even if you aren’t staying at the Ritz, it is always a good idea to swing in to see their show-stopping lobby, grab a cocktail at the bar, or even sit down for a tasty meal at Aqimero. The restaurant serves as a perfect place to post up for a business lunch, or enjoy a few snacks before heading out for your evening. I recommend the charcuterie board and the baos.
My trip to Philly wasn’t all vacation, so I did need to find a few spots where I could post up and catch up on my emails. One of the tastiest, and most focus-inducing, discoveries was the oat milk matcha latte from Elixr Coffee on Sydenham Street. They have a decent number of tables, and it really was the best matcha I’ve ever had. Note to self: drink more tea lattes with oat milk — yum! Next, I fueled up over at P.S. & Co. with an açai bowl. If you’re looking to eat and do work, you have to snag one of their window seats, though. They don’t allow laptops in any other part of the cafe.
One of my favorite things to do in any city is explore their street art. Not only does it make for fun photos, but I’m always in awe of the creations that artists manage to achieve on buildings around the city. Philly happens to be known for the wide selection of street art, and it is definitely worth giving yourself half a day to explore. You can find out a ton of information on the Mural Arts Philadelphia website, and they even have tours if you don’t want to build your own itinerary of pieces to see.
Speaking of art, there is an inspiring installation in Philly called the Magic Gardens. I actually discovered this place when I was searching on Pinterest for things to do (and photography) in the city. And, what a gem this was! I am always such an advocate for using Pinterest when exploring new places, and the Philly Magic Gardens experience was no exception. This little nook in the South Street neighborhood took 17 years for artist, Isaiah Zagar to excavate and design – a large portion was done so under the radar. In 2002, the Boston-based owner of the lots discovered Zagar’s installation and decided to sell the land, calling for the work to be dismantled. (Noooooo!) Unwilling to witness the destruction of the now-beloved neighborhood art environment, the community rushed to support the artist. After a two year legal battle, his creation, newly titled Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, became incorporated as a nonprofit organization with the intention of preserving the artwork at the PMG site and throughout the South Street region. 1
Needless to say, this was one of my favorite items on the agenda in Philly, and I’m really glad the installation lives on!
The next day, I woke up and spent the morning in the Club Lounge eating breakfast and responding to emails. Luckily, later in the day I had a chance to connect with a former Boston-based blogger, who is now located in Philly, Jenny from Chocolate & Lace! I’m always so grateful for the community that Instagram cultivates — and am forever inspired and empowered by the creators I get to meet. She suggested we have lunch at Parc in Rittenhouse, which in her words, is the quintessential lunch spot in the city. And, what a tasty lunch we had. I highly recommend the crab & avocado plus the steak tartare to start. I had mussels as my main dish, and was stuffed to the brim by the end of the meal. If you’re interested in snapping pics when you’re dining, make sure you ask for a seat next to the window (or outside in the warmer months).
These were just a few of my highlights in Philadelphia, but I feel confident they’re a good jumping off point if you’re looking to plan a weekend in the city. If you’re in need of other restaurant recommendations, tips on where in the city to stay, or some of my favorite photogenic spots, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or shoot me a DM on Instagram!
Also, want to say a special thank you to the team at the Ritz Carlton, Philadelphia and Visit Philly for making this trip extra special!