Spend a Day in Philadelphia's Old City

Beyond the history, discover the other gems Old City is home to, from local boutiques to a world record-holding restaurant.

Old City has always been known for its history (it’s where William Penn first settled when coming to Philly). And considering it’s home to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the Betsy Ross House (among others), it makes sense as to why. But beyond the mainstays, Old City is filled with small boutiques selling global designers, quaint coffee shops offering organic brews, innovative menu items at restaurants and museums that even locals have never stepped foot in. To help you sort out your day, here’s a handy guide to one day in Old City, Philadelphia.

Old City Streets

Coffee

Fuel your day with a visit to Menagerie Coffee. Find a full espresso bar, hand-poured coffee and small bites inside a cozy atmosphere on Third Street. Plus, they offer 20-ounce (bigger than average!) iced coffee cups for the days you need an extra push. 18 S. Third St., Philadelphia

Do you often feel that 3 pm slump? After shopping the boutiques (see below for our favorites), make a pit stop at United by Blue. This coffee shop and clothing store hybrid is the flagship location for the small company. Grab a cup of organic coffee and pick up a few gifts for friends all in one stop. 144 N. Second St., Philadelphia, 215.278.7746

Menagerie Coffee

Museums

We fully encourage first-time visitors to hit the classics—no visit to Philly is complete without seeing the Liberty Bell up close. But, if you’re enjoying the city again or your schedule allows for more time, we suggest the Benjamin Franklin Museum. A bit off the beaten path, the cobblestone walkway creates an instant feel of going back in time. Interact with the surprisingly large museum full of everything you’ve ever wanted to know about our founding father. 317 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, 267.514.1522

At any point in your day, take a short break to wander into the Chemical Heritage Foundation. This free (!) museum is just around the corner from Independence Hall and gives visitors a glimpse at the history of chemistry. 315 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, 215.925.2222

Benjamin Franklin Museum

Lunch

Named after Alexander Hamilton, The Little Lion (Hamilton's nickname) is a bright and airy restaurant ideal for lunch (or brunch). Sandwiches, salads and small plates round out the menu, but we suggest ordering anything with short rib—it’s what they have become known for. 243 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, 267.273.0688

The Little Lion

Shopping

Old City may be known around the country for its history, but to locals it’s known for shopping. Find personalized gifts and bamboo clothing at Scarlett Alley, indie designers and home décor at Vagabond, Philly-themed gifts and cheeky cards at Philadelphia Independents, wine and wine accessories at Pinot Boutique, Israeli designs and a body-positive approach at My Little Redemption, toys for kids of every age at Momo’s Tree House, vintage finds at Goods Vintage and so much more.

Plus, as an added bonus, Old City is full of galleries—if you’re splurging for a new piece of art, start your search at Bluestone Fine Art Gallery, where you’ll find original works by contemporary and traditional artists. 72 N. Second St., Philadelphia, 856.979.7588

Pinot Boutique

Happy Hour

Nick’s Bar and Grille will give you a true taste of Philly—without the price tag. Get $1.75 domestic drafts and $5 appetizers Monday through Friday from 4 pm-7 pm. 16 S. Second St., 215.928.9411

If you’re looking for something a bit classier, head to Farmicia, where half-priced cocktails and a special bar menu (think cheese plates, burgers and special fries) are offered from 5 pm-7 pm, Tuesday through Friday. 15 S. Third St., 215.627.6274

Nick's Bar and Grille

Dinner

Not many people can say they’ve dined in a restaurant that’s featured in the Guinness Book of World Records, but if you go to Panorama for dinner, you can. Winning the world record for the most wines on tap, this upscale spot on the ground floor of Penn’s View Hotel also serves wine flights, Northern Italian dishes and ice cream from another Old City favorite, Franklin Fountain, for dessert. 14 N. Front St., Philadelphia

Panorama

Jessica Tzikas
About the author

Jessica serves as the Philadelphia editor for Where. Hailing from sunny South Florida, Jessica found herself itc...