How to Do Philadelphia Like a Local

We asked 5 local tastemakers for their short list of things to do that capture the city's unique flavor.

What could be more lovely than spending a few days exploring a city with the word “love” in its nickname? Well, some might say a couple’s spa retreat in Aspen or a stroll through Italy’s Garden of Ninfa might be, but hey, Philadelphia can compete. We treat you to the adventurous ideas of five notable, local Philadelphians who adore many things about their native city. Get out and explore the City of Brotherly Love with these picks for the best things to do.


“My favorite thing to do [in Philadelphia] is the Parkway loop. Start at City Hall, then Sister Cities Park, the Free Library, the Barnes, the Rodin Museum and Philadelphia Museum of Art. [It’s a] great spot for runners, walkers and culture buffs.”

—Wendy Smith Born, co-founder, Metropolitan Bakery

Philadelphia's City Hall


“The Mural Arts Program has beautified the city and created programs that bring art to all neighborhoods. People come from around the world to see it. I am proud to have this treasure in Philly.” 

Joan Shepp, fashion icon and shop owner

Meg Saligman’s “Philadelphia Muses” at 13th and Locust streets


“My favorite places are Caribou and Zinc, [and] they’re both close by [St. Stephen’s Theater]. Zinc is quiet and intimate, while Caribou is lively. Both have and have excellent food and menus with a lot of variety, but they do everything well and have their own strong personalities.”

—Charles McMahon, artistic director, Lantern Theater Company


“For me, a great day in Philly is spent on the waterfront. Sure, our brewery is on the banks of the Delaware, but so is Race Street Pier, Spruce Street Harbor Park, FringeArts, Winterfest and Summerfest skating rinks, The Seaport Museum, Penn’s Landing. It’s one great destination after another. It doesn’t hurt that you can pause for a beer at most of those spots, too. And after a day on the waterfront, I’d recommend a true taste of Philly’s (and our nation’s) rich history at City Tavern in Old City. Dine and imbibe the way our forefathers did. Huzzah!”

—Tom Kehoe, founder/president/brewmaster, Yards Brewing Co.

Race Street Pier


“I love going on walks and avoiding all the main streets—there are so many surprising and beautiful little ones—Van Pelt, Panama, Manning, Chadwick, Clinton, Camac. The list goes on.”

—John Wind, jewelry designer, John Wind Maximal Art

Tree-lined street in Philadelphia

Leigh Harrington
About the author

Leigh formerly served as the Boston editor for Where and was the br...