The best of Philadelphia! This 4 day trip in Philadelphia is a mix of American history, art, gardens, great food and fun neighborhood restaurants. Plus, a quick day trip by train to NYC.
Highs & Lows
Philadelphia has so much American history and charming streets.
It hit 92 degrees one day.
I moved to Philadelphia at the end of 2021. This is my favorite itinerary for 3-4 days in Philadelphia. Some favorite excursions include walking the Old City and learning more about American history, visiting the many city parks and squares, and snacking through the famous Reading Terminal Market. Plus, a side trip to the incredible, Longwood Garden, a visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and then squeezing in a quick day trip to New York City.
I like to start at Reading Terminal Market where hundreds of vendors sell everything from fresh meat and veggies to cheesesteak sandwiches, and Amish baked goods. This is one of the largest and oldest markets in Philadelphia.
Next, a walk through Old City which is the "birthplace of America". So many important events took place in the founding of the U.S.. Must see stops:
1. Liberty Bell (skip the line and view the bell through the window at the end of the building).
2. Independence Hall, where the continental congress declared the declaration of independence from England and debated the constitution.
3. Carpenter's Hall
4. Christ Church
5. Betsy Ross House
6. Museum of the American Revolution.
7. Elfreth's Alley is located at: 126 Elfreth's Alley. This very charming street is one of the oldest and best preserved in the city. Dating back to 1706.
8. Wander south through society hill. You can make your way to 3 Bears Park which the surrounding neighborhood is charming.
We then take a 10-minute Lyft over to the Rittenhouse neighborhood for an early dinner. After dinner, we walk through Rittenhouse Square which is the city's liveliest park. We then make our way over to Delancy Street. Delancy Street is a beautiful historic street in the area. We then continue towards Fitler Square which is a small city park with restaurants nearby and then onto Schuylkill River Park for the river and sunset view.
On another day, a trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a must. The building and park surrounding it are worth the walk from Center City. Also, the art curation is world-class. Of course, the "rocky steps" is a great photo op which was made famous by the movie Rocky. You'll still see people running up the steps as part of their workout!
After the museum, it's an easy walk to the adjoining sculpture garden and then onto Fairmont Park and up to Boathouse row where it's fun to see the rowing clubs.
NYC is just 90 minutes by train from Philadelphia. You can catch an Amtrak train at the 30th Street Station. Tickets are approximately $50 each way and there are usually several trains a day to NYC. While 1 day certainly isn't enough time to see everything, it is a fun day trip. Some highlight spots are Times Square, West Village, The High Line Park, Central Park, and the East Village.
Longwood Gardens is about an hour's drive from the city of Philly. There are over 1,000 acres of the most beautiful gardens which were founded by Pierre S. du Pont over 100 years ago. A must see here is the conservatory. It's a huge indoor space which apparently they update all throughout the year. I've visited in the winter, and while some of the gardens do not have blooms, the conservatory is filled with incredible plants and flowers. There is also a restaurant on site which is lovely. I highly recommend spending at least a 1/2 a day here.
Q & A
Restaurant recommendations?Philadelphia: Parc, The Love, a.kitchen + bar, and Barclay Prime, are all upscale near Rittenhouse. Morimoto, Talula's Garden, and Buddakan near Old Town. Suraya is incredible and located in the Fishtown neighborhood. Reading Terminal Market has lots of great affordable food options.
Tips you would give a friend?I would suggest hiring a guide for a historic tour of Old City. Their storytelling and knowledge really enhance the experience.
Packing tips?Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a hat if it's warm/sunny. Plan to dress up a bit for the nicer restaurants.
Transportation Tips?The city of Philadelphia (and NYC) is very walkable, and it's easy to get an Uber/Lyft. You will need a car to get out to Longwood Gardens. I rented a car for the day via Turo.
Booking details?I booked the Hyatt Centric City direct. For tours, I've used GetYourGuide and Tours By Locals.