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Trip List by hipworldtraveler

The Philly Experience

24 Jul 2006  I live here, so take my word for it! My great great grandparents got off the boat from England at the Washington Street Wharf and most of the family never felt the need to leave!
4.5 of 5 bubbles based on 13 votes

The Best of Philly

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Philadelphia
  • Category: Best of
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Shopping, Active/Outdoors, Never been before, Repeat visitors
  • Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Singles, Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Large groups, Seniors, Students, Budget travellers
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Beau Monde
    Beau Monde, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Who knew there could be such a wide range of crepes available? Gorgeous venue, fabulous food. What I recommend:
    Grilled Pear salad
    Broccoli, chicken & Cheddar crepe
    Asparagus, chicken and red pepper coulis crepe
    Any and all dessert crepes--don't leave without trying one! Yum!
    6th & Bainbridge, near fabric row

  • 2. Famous 4th St. Deli

    My family can't get over this place! First of all, it's a cute, quirky Jewish Deli--all black and white with windows along the street. When you get to your table, the waiter will bring you a carafe of sparkling water (free), a sample of Motzo ball soup (free) a basket of bread (Free) and a plate of pickles and sour kraut (free). If you still have room for food, SHARE! The sandwiches are huge! We didn't know this the first time we went and ended up taking most of the food home and eating it for the next 4 days! After you eat, they will bring you a warm chocolate chip cookie (free). You will have to get your dessert to go. But it will be worth it because they slide out those cake trays and whack off a huge slice that you will have to eat off a 12 inch dinner plate! Personally, I like the linzer tarts best.

  • 3. Criniti Pizzeria & Restaurant

    Criniti moved a year or two ago to an abandoned church two doors down from the old restaurant. This has been a family favorite for us for 20 years. Every single time I go there, I order the baked cheese cavatelli. I always taste my companions' entrees and I've never tasted something I didn't like, but cavatelli was the first thing I ordered there as a tiny child and it was so good I never looked back! I guess my next favorite would be the penne al vodka. They'll bring you marinated mushrooms and a basket of bread that is worth thumbing your nose at Dr. Atkins for. It is the best bread in the world! When I was away at college, Crinitis would always be my first outing when I go home. HAD TO HAVE THE BREAD! This is a perfect place for lunch or dinner (get dessert somewhere else) and a genuine South Philly local experience. The owner is very charming and the wait staff will call you hun. Remember: it's not "sauce" here, it's "gravy."

  • 4. The Continental Midtown

    This is not to be missed. Steven Starr is a restaurant genius. All of his venues are worth a visit. The Continental (midtown, not old city) is my favorite. You will know it from the six foot olive with a toothpick over the door. The first floor looks like an airplane because the seats look like old airplane seats at tables. The second floor has the bar and tables for two where the chairs are basket swings hanging from the ceiling. The ceiling is covered with green shag carpet. The bar area has these weird, futuristic stuffed animals to sit on at little tables. There is a roof with fire pits with benches surrouding. You can only get to the roof from outside under the arrow where there is a little door. The elevator man will take you up. On nice nights, its a long wait. The lobster Mac & cheese can't be missed.

  • 5. Lorenzo's Cheesesteaks

    As a local, I must say this: avoid Pat's and Geno's cheesteaks because those are for tourists. You need to see the Italian Market anyway, so grab one at Lorenzo's. It's where the neighborhood goes. There is a walk up window or you can sit inside. If you sit at the counter, you can watch them make your cheesesteak. In my opinion, the only good cheesesteaks are made with provolone, not whiz. When you leave Lorenzo's, go left out of the door and down Christian a few blocks until you get to Isgro pastries. You will be amazed. Just follow your nose.

  • 6. Moshulu

    Very luxurious, fairly expensive, but worth it if you want to treat yourself to a gourmet meal in an unusual setting. Read the chapter on the Moshulu in Ghosts of Philadelphia before you go. You will be creeped out, but in a fun way!

  • 7. Isgro Pastries

    You have to see it to believe it. Almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

  • 8. The Ritz Carlton Dessert Buffet

    You have to do this. You just haven't lived until you do. Don't worry, in Philly, you can walk it off. Also, in winter they have a hot chocolate bar for $6 or something. YOu can add everything from white chocolate to raspberries.

  • 9. Italian Market

    Wander around and sample some cheeses. They have a provolone so sharp it makes me cry. My favorite store is the Spice Corner. Go in if only for a sniff! They have teas, coffees and spices.

  • 10. Macy's on Broad Street

    This used to be John Wanamaker's department store when my great great grandparents shopped there, until I was a little kid. Then it became Lord & Taylor, and when my children shop there it will be Macy's. But what has always stayed the same is the architectural gem that it is (you've never seen a store this gorgeous) and the fact that it has a magnificent pipe organ that they play every hour. Don't miss the light show at Christmas. It is a magical experience for the kid in all of us. The locals sprawl out on the floor in the middle between jewelry and shoes every hour to watch the lights and music show.

  • 11. Indpendence Hall & Liberty Bell

    Free. Get your tickets across the street at the visitor's center.

  • 12. Ghost Tour of Philadelphia

    Not demonic or anything, but very informative with local lure, legend and history! Guides are friendly and knowledgeable. Takes place in beautiful Old City and Society Hill. A little pricey, but worth it. It won't scare the kiddies.

  • 13. Water Ice

    If you're here in summer, you can't leave without a water ice. My inlaws wanted to get one every time we passed a water ice establishment, which is quite frequent in Philly, especially South Philly. Mango's my favorite.

  • 14. Philly Phlash

    This purple fake trolley on wheels is a great, cheap way to get around to all the Must Sees in Philly. Even if you just want to ride it through from start to phinish, it will give you an idea of what the city has to offer and it will only cost you a buck.

  • 15. Philadelphia Museum of Art

    I beg 2 things of you:
    #1: Do not run up the steps Rocky Balboa style because that really annoys us.
    #2: Don't think that this museum just has paintings hanging on walls.
    It has so much more to offer. The building itself, for example, is a greek revival masterpiece. If you go on Sunday between certain hours, its free. There are halls of antique furniture, suits of armor, Grace Kelley's wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses, and accessories; and entire buildings and rooms inside. You can easily spend all day here. While you're there, step into the gazebo outside and enjoy the view. Then walk down along the waterworks and enjoy the view of boathouse row. Step out onto the rocks along the gazebo, which are actually shist, and you can have your picture taken standing on a pile of shist, which is always a good laugh. This is the first stop for the Phlash.

  • 16. Penn's Landing Ice Skating

    SO fun if you're here in winter: outdoor iceskating alongside the river! Go inside and warm up with hot chocolate and karaoke if you get tired.

  • 17. SEPTA (public transit system)

    Here's the link for all you need to get around: busses, trollies, bendy busses, subway and regional rail lines. Tokens are $1.55. Buy a daypass if you're going lots of places or use the Phlash.

  • 18. Bellevue Stratford Hotel

    This is a gorgeous, historically significant luxury hotel with a food court and high end shops. Even if you don't stay here, it's worth a peek. Also in Philadelphia Ghost Stories.

  • 19. Mutter Museum

    A family favorite, this museum of medical oddities is sure to amuse. Don't go if you're pregnant or it will freak you out all the stuff that could go wrong with your baby. The collection of things swallowed and inhaled will amaze you, as will the enlarged colon and the soap lady. As seen on the travel channel's 10 creepiest places on earth.

  • 20. DiBruno Brothers Cheeses

    I prefer the Rittenhouse Square market, my husband prefers the tiny store in the Italian Makret. Go to both.