Historic District and Waterfront
When people call Philadelphia the Cradle of Liberty, they’re really talking about the blocks adjacent to the Delaware River that make up Old City and Society Hill. This was the heart of colonial Philadelphia, where patriots declared independence from Britain and crafted the Constitution. Today, it is known for quaint tree-lined streets, trendy boutiques and art galleries, Not to mention some of the city’s most bustling nightlife.
Like your morning java with a side of social consciousness? Try the organic coffee from United by Blue. The coffeehouse is located in a retail store selling responsibly crafted outdoor apparel. For every product sold, United by Blue removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways through company-organized and hosted cleanups.
144 N. Second St.
Quick Tourist Moment
Colonial Homes and Streets — Wander the little streets of Society Hill and glimpse slivers of early America around every corner. Or immerse yourself in colonial charm on Elfreth’s Alley, America’s oldest continuously inhabited street. Imagine partying with Ben Franklin and John Adams with a visit to the Powel House. George Washington may not have slept under its roof, but it’s said that he and Martha cut a mean rug on its dancefloor.
Between Front and Second streets
244 S. Third St.
Longwinded speeches. Squabbling delegates. Political posturing. The 2016 Democratic National Convention has nothing on the Second Continental Congress. Visit Independence Hall to see where America’s great experiment in democracy all began. Then document it all with a selfie by the Liberty Bell.
Independence National Historical Park Visitor Center
Sixth and Market streets
Beat the summer heat on the Philadelphia waterfront. Strap on roller skates at the Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, or practice your putt at minigolf (each of the nine holes is designed by a local artist and constructed using recycled materials). Head south along the river to Spruce Street Harbor Park’s urban beach to try your hand at arcade and lawn games (the life-sized chess set is a crowd pleaser). Stroll the boardwalk and sample food from Philly favorites Chickie’s & Pete’s and Federal Donuts. Or just relax in a hammock or net lounge suspended 4 feet above the water.
Blue Cross River Rink
101 S. Columbus Blvd.
Spruce Street Harbor Park
South Columbus Boulevard and Spruce Street
Topping “best of” lists since it opened, High Street on Market boasts an impressive pedigree. Co-owners Ellen Yin (whose nearby Fork led the ’90s revitalization of Old City) and Eli Kulp (one of Food and Wine’s Best New Chefs of 2014) offer an ambitious farm to table menu. And head baker Alex Bois received a nomination for James Beard’s Rising Star Chef last year. To get the full experience, share a selection of small plates and “daily breads and spreads.” And consider it your patriotic duty to sample the United States-centric wine list.
308 Market St.
The historic site of Philly seafood institution, Bookbinders, has new life as Iron Chef Jose Garces’ Olde Bar. The clubby bar and leather booths are as inviting as they were when Frank Sinatra held court in booth 25. The specialty is still seafood (don’t miss the outstanding raw bar) and a menu of classic cocktails will make you wish you had time to try them all.
125 Walnut St.
In a city that does historic better than anyone, Franklin Fountain’s nostalgic take on an old-timey ice cream parlor is in a league of its own. Owners Ryan and Eric Berley are passionate about recreating an 1890s soda fountain, right down to the period-perfect staff who scoop hand-crafted flavors. Follow @FranklinFtn on Facebook or Twitter for updates on the flavors of the month. A few doors down the brothers’ equally quaint Shane’s Confectionery is the place to pick up a sweet souvenir.
116 Market St.
110 Market St.
Looking for a casual, outdoor spot to while away a pleasant hour or an entire evening? Look no further than Independence Beer Garden. An oasis or of greenery and recIaimed wood, IBG exudes effortless informality. Settle into an Adirondack chair and order a refreshing draft from the all-American beer list or challenge your friends to a game of cornhole.
100 Independence Mall West
Dress to impress for Hotel Monaco’s rooftop Stratus Lounge. Once beyond the velvet rope, skyline views take a backseat to the see-and-be-seen crowd. With bottle service and celebrity DJs, Stratus gets more than its share of high-flying VIPs. Got champagne tastes and a beer budget? No worries. Prosecco, wine and domestic beers are just $5 during happy hour, or splurge with a $10 specialty cocktail.
433 Chestnut St.