A Day WELL Spent in Philadelphia
I’ll be celebrating two years as a Philadelphian in January 2019 (fly, Eagles, fly!). Prior to moving, I had visited the City of Brotherly Love once. After a year and a half, there is still so much I need to explore, including the iconic Philadelphia Art Museum (I know, I know). My preference, though, is going to a hidden gem and discovering the weird side of Philly, which you will see in my recommendations.
Keep reading for your guide to a day WELL spent in Philadelphia.
8 a.m. Morning Run to the Riverfront
I’ve become a morning runner. I didn’t think I could do it, but here we are. It took moving to a big city for it to happen. Running through Philadelphia’s streets is a joy—but only when nobody else is on them. Anything other than early morning is trying to run through a traffic jam, so I crave the mornings when it’s just me, the city and other runners. My usual path takes me to the Delaware River waterfront. I love running by the old boats and submarine, and being near water always makes me happy.
9 a.m. Coffee and Breakfast at La Colombe
More specifically, a Draft Latte at La Colombe. The coffee shop puts its lattes on nitro, which makes the cold-served drink come out smooth, frothy and makes you feel like you’re drinking a milkshake. Add in a splash of house-made simple syrup and you’re good to go. Bonus: The company founder is a well-known philanthropist and social change advocate, who pushes for livable wages.
9:30 a.m. Cannolis at Isgro Pastries
Okay, I know it’s not ideal to eat sugar so early in the morning, but there is no way to pass up a cannoli from Isgro Pastries. (Its website is literally bestcannoli.com.) The bakery has been a South Philly staple since the 1920s and is right around the corner from the Italian Market. Pick up a cannoli to eat now, and some cookies to save for later (*wink, wink*).
10 a.m. A Visit to the Mutter Museum
The Mutter Museum is my favorite attraction in Philly. It may be a little too macabre for some, but for those with an interest in physiology, this museum is the best of its kind. The two-floor museum has thousands of medical specimens, from a mummied woman called “Soap Lady” to Grover Cleveland’s jaw tumor.
Noon Lunch at Govinda’s Vegetarian
Before I moved to Philadelphia, the city I lived in had one vegan restaurant—and it closed. Being in Philly gives me more options for food. Vegan and vegetarian options run from fast food to upscale dining, which completely blew my mind as I was discovering the city. My favorite place for vegan cheesesteaks is Govinda’s, which is all vegetarian and has the best chicken cheesesteak I have ever had.
1:30 p.m. A Visit to Eastern State Penitentiary
I’m sure you can tell by now that I’m into creepy things. The Eastern State Penitentiary does a great job of providing information about the penitentiary and the prison industrial complex while keeping it creepy. The audio tour is narrated by Steve Buscemi—a nice bonus for pop-culture fans—and the curators decided to keep the penitentiary in ruins, only providing necessary updates. One tip I have is to dress for the weather. The penitentiary is not heated and there are many outdoor parts of the tour.
5 p.m. A Stroll Through Old City
Philadelphia is a very walkable city, but when you have somewhere to be, it’s easy to ignore your surroundings. Start off your Old City tour by walking through Washington Square, where you’ll see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. From there, you can walk through the park behind Independence Hall and head toward where the Liberty Bell is housed. Wander around and you’ll also see the Betsy Ross House and the foundation of Ben Franklin’s home. As a bonus, you’ll automatically add thousands of steps to your day.
7 p.m. Dinner at Urban Village Brewing Co.
I’m going to be upfront and say I’m a little biased: My husband is a manager and assistant brewer at Urban Village. I can’t help it, though. I’m a sucker for good beer and pizza, and as a bonus? I love visiting with the staff and am proud to bring my family and friends in to show off. The owner comes up with the beer ideas and my husband helps the head brewer move production along. It’s always cool to bring people in to have beer and tell them my husband helped make it. As for the food, I love every vegetarian option on the menu, but go for some homemade, whipped ricotta and a pizza—any pizza, really. The owner’s sourdough crust recipe will change the way you enjoy pizza.
8:30 p.m. Indoor Putt Putt at Keystone Mini Golf
It’s a little rough around the edges, but that’s what makes Keystone’s mini golf so fun. The set up utilizes vintage putt-putt props and has a BYOB option. The vibe is laid back and noncompetitive, making it easy to relax and have a good time, no matter your final score. If you’re not into mini golf, there’s also an arcade option.
10:30 p.m. Night Cap at Franklin Mortgage & Investment
Every time visitors come into town, my husband and I put Franklin Mortgage & Investment as top priority for loved ones. The bar is speakeasy style with high-end, craft cocktails. This isn’t a four-drink bar, though (unless you want to drop $60 on four drinks). Franklin’s interior is sleek and sexy, adding an extra layer to your experience. Grab a drink, sip and feel fancy for an hour.
Want more WELL days and city tours? Check out our full series.