I've been living in Philadelphia for six years now and every month I learn about awesome hidden spots, great deals, and annual events. I've pulled together the top 10 things that I wish I'd known sooner so that you don't have to figure it out on your own!
1. Yards Tasting Room & Tours
You'll find Yards beers all over Philadelphia on tap, but did you know that they brew their beers within walking distance of the subway? The Yards Brewery is a great place to go on a weekend for a bite to eat and a beer, but it's also my go to place to bring out of town visitors. They have free tours on Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 4 PM (Free!) with some FREE beer samples. Just remember to get there early (before 2) as they usually fill up for the day by then. Here are directions to the Yards Tasting room, a quick walk from the Spring Garden stop.
2. Walking / Biking / Running the Ben Franklin Bridge
The Ben Franklin Bridge is not just for cars! You can walk, bike and run this bridge on both sides (there's a path) but be warned it isn't as easy as it looks. The picture above is a view from the bridge during the Tall Ships Festival in 2015. This is a great 3 Mile round trip excursion on a beautiful Spring, Fall or Summer day. If you get too tired to make the trek back, the New Jersey PATCO line runs back from Camden.
3. Camden Waterfront
While you're over in Jersey after walking across the bridge, why not enjoy the Camden Waterfront? Camden gets a bad wrap, but there are some fun, lesser known activities on the other side of the river and lots of new things being built each season. Some of my top picks are the Camden River Sharks Baseball, who's stadium has the Philadelphia skyline as the backdrop and whose tickets are much cheaper than the Phillies. The Camden Adventure Aquarium is also not to be missed -- they have a Shark Tunnel and penguins! The Riverlink Ferry will bring you back to Philly after a day of activities in Camden for $7.
4. Philadelphia 76ers Game
If you talk to my friends they'll be quick to tell you how much I don't like basketball but I have a soft spot for 76ers games. The tickets are probably the most affordable of the Philadelphia sports teams, but the experience is top notch. From the Flight Squad doing slam dunk's off of trampolines at half time, to the cheerleaders doing dances to Wild Wild West (Will Smith is a part owner of the Sixers), and singing the "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Sixers" song, the Sixers' games are a ton of fun for $10.
Friends who come to visit me in Philadelphia are always blown away by the amount of BYOBs (Bring Your Own Bottle) in the city. From champagne for Brunch (Green Eggs and Little Spoon) to low key sushi or thai (Crazy Sushi and Erawan Thai) to an upscale Italian meal (Modo Mio), Philly allows you to bring your own wine or beer to most restaurants without a corkage fee, meaning more of your money will go towards a delicious meal. A great place to check if your chosen restaurant is BYOB is on Yelp.
6. Philly Websites
Not a physical place in Philly, but these two websites have provided me with so many last minute ideas of things to do. The first is UWishUNu which is a website you'll want to check out on a Friday to see what festivals, plays, and art exhibits are happening in and around the city that weekend. The other website I suggest is Meetup.com which has meetup groups for all types of hobbies. For example, I'm part of running groups, book clubs, and philosophical groups on meetup.com. This is a great resource for people new to the city!
7. $10 Train to Atlantic City
Who wants to drive to AC when you can just hop on a train for $10? This leaves right from 30th Street station and drops you a few blocks from the boardwalk in Atlantic City and right in the middle of the AC outlets. This means you can take a quick day trip to AC when the mood strikes you and hang out at the Landshark bar, play a few table games, and get some seafood at Wonder Bar before taking the train back with no worry of traffic.
8. Philadelphia Flower Show
While a flower show may bring up images of potted plants for sale and a boring conference, it is not that at all! The Philadelphia Flower Show is held annually and involves over the top landscapes, garden sculptures and floral creations that all match the yearly theme -- which this year is National Parks. The 2016 Flower Show is March 6th through the 13th and I highly suggest the themed nights like Ladies Night. More info can be found here.
9. The Mütter Museum
While The Franklin Institute, The Philadelphia Art Museum and the Barnes Foundation are all high on my list to visit, the Mütter Museum is one museum off the beaten path that I wish I knew about sooner! This museum houses a number of medical oddities from a human skull collection to Einstein's brain. This is also a museum I bring my out of town friends to (especially those in the medical profession) and it's always a hit.
10. Philly Sport and Social Club (PSSC)
When you're looking to get your fill of sports, PSSC is the go to for leagues in the city. What's great is they have a huge range of sports, locations throughout the city (art museum, south philly, nolibs, university city), both co-ed and single sex leagues, and the leagues run on weekdays as well as weekends. Leagues include traditional sports like basketball, soccer, volleyball and hockey, to the less traditional like cornhole, dodgeball, and kickball.
Do you have any favorite things in Philly you wish you had known about sooner?