Quick & Complete City Guide to Philadelphia, PA

The City of Brotherly Love as it is well known to be, Philadelphia, PA is a very lively and urban place to visit when you head on over to the U.S of A.

I grew up a little less than an hour from this upbeat craziness that this city is filled up with, and whenever I wanted excitement or something to do this place knew just what to put on my agenda.

And just as this city has given me quite a few amazing memories I want to give you a taste of what this city has to offer when you come to visit!

beautiful sunset over Philadelphia

Where to Stay

Most times when I needed a hotel, I chose Marriott for its convenience and cleanliness – hallmarks of the brand. Of course, you’re also paying a premium for it – but it’s worth it if you can afford it.

A local’s tip – a lot less known, is the Oakwood Philadelphia. Here, you can find nice apartment-styled accommodation where you can cook your own food and feel right at home.

The pricing ranges from a little less than a hundred up to two hundred a night but depending on your length of stay or how comfortable you want to be, determines how much you should pay.

Overall though, there are tons of hotels located around University St. that offer great views and exceptional convenience to lots of shopping, food, and attractions. I recommend checking the best rated offers here and choosing the one that fits your budget/requirements.

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Where to Eat

Philadelphia is synonymous with the cheesesteak, and I recommend not missing out on this iconic dish.

Now, there are a few different places I suggest but no matter what it says on the menu, go for the onion and pepper-filled, cheesy, and greasy dripping cheesesteak that Philadelphia is known for!

  • Pat’s King of Steaks – This place is really as original as you can get, coming from the Olivieri family (dubbed as the inventors of the steak sandwich in 1930). What started out as a simple stand at the corner, eventually turned into one of the most famous cheesesteak shops around the world. However, they didn’t let that get to their head and you can still find Pat’s on the same corner, serving the same cheesesteak, ran by the same family since all this time. Open 24/7 and marked here on Google Maps.
  • Geno’s Steaks – Just across the street from Pat’s King of Steaks, we have Geno’s Steaks that offers a friendly rivalry, also open 24/7. With 40 years of history, you know they’re good – so do try this place out. Marked here on Google Maps.
  • Jim’s Steaks – If you see a long line coming from 4th and South St, there’s a reason, it’s Jim’s time! Personally, I like this restaurant the best for the whole atmosphere that it provides. There are a few different locations but the South St. one (here) is where you’ll find the grand history that is always so nice to catch up on.

Of course, for a city that’s as large and impressive as Philadelphia, there’s a lot more than the Philly cheesesteak.

There are tons of amazing restaurants covering all cuisines, offering amazing experiences and available for all budgets. But the three ones above should be great for starting to scratch the surface.

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What do to

What’s not to do?! There’s a little something for everyone when you come to The City of Brotherly love, but I will keep things focused on the main experiences you must enjoy here.

Fountain of Eternal Youth in Philadelphia
The Fountain of Eternal Youth in Philadelphia, one impressive attraction

Explore Philly’s Rich Sports Culture

Philadelphia is a city of passionate sports fans. Whether you’re catching a Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park or cheering on the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center, the energy is infectious.

Don’t miss a visit to Lincoln Financial Field to witness the Eagles in action, and also consider Wachovia Spectrum. If a game isn’t on, consider a tour of these stadiums, which can prove to be equally impressive.

As for catching a concert, if you browse online for events at those stadiums you are sure to find a big-hit in that department.

Discover the City’s Museums

Philadelphia has a long history, as it was one of the very first states in the US, so the amount of facts and historical information that you can find here is truly mind-blowing.

A few of my favorites are: The Franklin Institute, Please Touch Museum (perfect for families, encouraging children to interact with displays), National Liberty Museum, and The National Constitution Center.

The area is also home to one of the scariest attractions in the US, so if you can travel a bit, I recommend considering visiting it too.

Experience the Nightlife

This is where things get interesting and Philly definitely has a vibrant nightlife when it comes to clubs and things to do at night. However, please stay within the lighted and crowded areas (aka no dark back alleys) because as much as I love this city, crime is kind of an issue in certain areas.

But on the brighter side, clubs like 32 Degrees, Bleu Martini, and Bamboo Lounge will rock your night away with the hottest music and widest selection of drinks to make your stay in Philly definitely one to remember and are are perfect for experiencing Philly’s trendy side after dark.

Also read: 10 Must-Do Activities for First-Time Visitors in Houston, Tx

Philadelphia PA at night

A few “must see no matter what” attractions now. You probably know about them already, because they are famous landmarks – but I just have to share them to make sure you don’t miss them:

Liberty Bell & Independence Hall

No visit to Philadelphia is complete without seeing the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were debated and adopted. These iconic symbols of freedom are paradigm for understanding American history.

Philadelphia Museum of Art & Rocky Steps

Art enthusiasts and movie fans alike will enjoy the Philadelphia Museum of Art, not just for its vast collection, but also for the famous Rocky Steps. Snap a photo at the top just like Sylvester Stallone!

Reading Terminal Market

For a taste of local flavors and a bustling atmosphere (more than the sandwiches!), head to Reading Terminal Market. This historic market offers an array of foods from local vendors, ranging from Pennsylvania Dutch specialties to international cuisines.

City explorer’s tip – See if you know these fun facts about Philadelphia:

  • The Philadelphia Zoo was America’s first. After all it was founded by Mr. Benjamin Franklin himself.
  • Philadelphia was actually America’s capital for 10 years and home to the first presidential mansion.
  • Although cheesesteaks are well-known as Philly food, soft pretzels and TastyKakes (an East Coast sensation) are from here too.

Recommended reading: Top 10 Most Romantic Cities in the US

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Philadelphia PA city guide Pinterest Pin

For a refreshing escape within the city limits, consider a visit to the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum.

Just a short drive from the city center, this 1,200-acre oasis boasts the largest freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania. Despite its proximity to the airport, the natural beauty offers a peaceful contrast to urban life.

Explore over 8 miles of hiking trails where history echoes the steps of George Washington and his soldiers. It’s a perfect spot for those looking to connect with nature and history away from the bustling city.

Insider Tip: Don’t miss the Mütter Museum for a truly unique glimpse into medical history with its collection of anatomical specimens, or grab a bite at the hidden gem, El Vez, for some of the best Mexican food in the Midtown Village.

(Nomad Not Mad’s Note: To make sure that this article is as accurate as possible, it was commissioned to and written by freelancer Jennifer Bell, born and raised in Philadelphia).

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