Philly is a fantastic food town. Visit once and you’ll definitely be craving a return trip for more of its Jewish delis, Italian bakeries, cheesesteaks, and award-winning vegan restaurants. We went to Philly for the first time last fall. We ate our way through town, with some breaks for checking out historical sites.
Things to do
Liberty Bell – No tickets are necessary to check out the famous Liberty Bell. You can either stand in line to go into the modern museum (it moves quickly), or you can admire the bell through the window on the side of the building.
Independence Hall – You must take a tour to see inside of Independence Hall. Tickets are free, but you have to get them ahead of time. Check early in the morning to see if there are any available will-call tickets.
Reading Terminal Market – This is a must if you love food. See more here.
Where to eat and drink
There are many options to try different Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches in Philadelphia. We attempted to try Campo’s, but the line was around the block, and we won’t wait in long lines for food. Instead we went Sonny’s Famous Steaks. It was so good, we went the next day! They were busy both days, but there were no lines to worry about, and it’s within walking distance to a lot of the major downtown landmarks.
High Street on Market– Their breakfast sandwiches are out of this world. Try the Hickory Town with Lancaster Bologna, Amish horseradish cheddar, gherkin mayo, and fried red onion, or the Reuben on Rye made with pastrami, kraut, and Russian dressing. They’re just around the corner from the Liberty Bell, so it’s a great spot for breakfast or lunch.
Walnut Street Cafe – This restaurant is adorable, filled with marble and gold and is one of the hottest restaurants in Philadelphia right now. We wanted to like this place, we really did. We had heard that the pastries were amazing, but we stopped in for coffee and pastries and left disappointed.
Vedge – We thought this was a vegetarian restaurant, but it’s actually 100% vegan. We were pleasantly surprised by the amazing food they served. How do you make fondue without cheese? Well they’ve figured out how to make it (the answer is Rutabaga) and it’s delicious! See more from our visit here.
Termini Brothers – Go here for Italian bakery and pastries in Philadelphia. The cannoli’s are spot-on and their Italian rum cake is something we’ve found at very few places. Visit the original location, or grab a cannoli for dessert after a sandwich at the Reading Terminal Market. See more on our experience here.
Vernick – Here’s where you’ll want to go for more of a fine dining experience. If you want a different experience, check out the chef’s counter downstairs or sit at the bar with a glass of bubbles. See more form our visit here.
Federal Donuts – Hand-crafted gourmet donuts. Choose from hot fresh donuts (which typically take a few minutes to prepare) or fancy doughnuts (that are ready to go). Flavors rotate but include (at times) blueberry pancake, cookies and cream, and peanut butter malt. If it’s lunch time, try their chicken sandwiches. Also check out their book, Federal Donuts: The (Partially) True Spectacular Story.
Rooster Soup Co. – Stop here for a cup of matzo ball soup and support the local community via Broad Street Ministry’s Hospitality Collaborative. Started by Federal Donuts as a crowdsourcing restaurant, they use bones from the sandwiches to make the stock and create amazingly simple heartwarming food.
Philadelphia Distillery – This is one of the best places to find craft cocktails in Philadelphia. You can also schedule a distillery tour to learn how the spirits are made. See more from our visit here.
Rival Bros Coffee – One of the local roasters in Philadelphia, you’ll see their coffee not only served in their own (adorable) cafes but also in restaurants around the city of Philadelphia.
Thank you to Alaska Airlines for sponsoring this guide.