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Philly Tours Explore History, Art, Food, Bridges & The Supernatural
Visitors to Philadelphia can choose from an assortment of options to explore the region, including those of the air, automotive, audio, culinary, self-guided and water-based varieties. And the sightseeing fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Those who come out at night can join tours that feature behind-the-scenes action and even spirits from beyond. Here’s a selection of tours available throughout the region:
History Lessons By Day & Night:
- The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia – Visitors get an up-close look at historic sites such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall during this 75-minute walking tour. It
Veg Out: Many Philly-Area Eateries Make Vegans, Vegetarians & Gluten-Free Diners Feel Right At Home
Over the past decade, the number of vegetarians in the U.S. has increased from about one in 100 to nearly one in 30, according to polls from the Vegetarian Resource Group and the Vegetarian Times. Veg-loving visitors to Philly have plenty of options from which to choose—upscale white tablecloth restaurants dishing out inventive vegetable creations to casual spots serving up raw foods and gluten-free dishes. Here are some spots worth checking out:
- Vegetable lovers head to Bucks County, where Mike Jackson’s Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille turns out creative, big-portioned vegetarian food (no meat substitutes) in a cozy,
Every Day Is A Good Day To Shop At Farmers' Markets In Philly
Situated amidst richly fertile farmland and home to innovative urban growing projects, Philadelphia is a market-goer’s dream. The open-air stalls dotting the city and countryside—from the bustling energy of the indoor Reading Terminal Market to the gingham-clothed tables of the Phoenixville Market—collectively connect consumers to freshly grown and produced food every day of the week. With many now accepting electronic payments, Philly’s growing roster of markets has made eating fresh, local food a way of life for its residents. Here are just some of the places to find seasonal goodies and support area farms:
- The only
What's In The East Passyunk & Pennsport Neighborhoods?
For years, insiders have flocked to South Philadelphia’s East Passyunk Avenue for its restaurants, particularly its red-gravy Italian spots. The neighborhood surrounding the avenue—a diagonal interruption to Philadelphia’s grid layout—has enjoyed revitalizations in recent years, creating a sort of renaissance for the thoroughfare itself.
Visitors who stroll down Passyunk (pronounced pashunk by those in the know) find eclectic boutiques, coffee shops, gastropubs, excellent Mexican and sushi fare, as well as the amazing Italian eateries that first made this street famous—not to mention the two across-the-street cheesesteak rivals, Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks. Generally, the area known as East...
Brunch: It's Always Sunny-Side Up In Philadelphia
Weekends were made for brunching—chatting with friends, digging into a stack of syrupy pancakes, lingering over a cup of a coffee and/or a Bloody Mary. No one knows this better than Philadelphians, who have a wide array of fantastic brunch options to choose from every Saturday and Sunday. Whether the craving is for a prix-fixe menu offering foie gras and lobster (Lacroix), a Latin feast of plantains and agua fresca cocktails (Rosa Blanca) or fresh granola and locally grown berries (Talula’s Daily), Philadelphia foodies have plenty of go-to spots for a late-morning or early-afternoon...
Meatballs Roll Into Philly In A Big Way
On top of spaghetti, covered with cheese, tucked into a roll, grilled on a skewer—meatballs in all forms abound in Philadelphia, and not just in South Philly, the city’s largely Italian enclave. There are traditional Italian versions with gravy (Villa di Roma, for starters), Vietnamese pork balls in noodle soup (Vietnam), vegetarian tofu-ball sandwiches (Magic Carpet) and luxuriant rounds of short-rib hand-rolled by celebrity chefs (Barbuzzo). Here’s a look at some of the most memorable meatballs in the region:
- Repeat winner of the Golden Meatball Challenge between South Philadelphia and
2015: The Year Of Craft Beer In Philly
As home to the world’s original and biggest craft beer week—Philly Beer Week—Philadelphia sets a high bar for beer events. In the city and suburbs, beerific happenings take place all year long that draw hundreds and thousands of beer lovers. Here’s a look at some of the oldest, largest, quirkiest and most popular celebrations of artisanal suds slated for 2015:
- Called “one of the top 10 beer festivals in America” by Forbes Traveler, the Philly Craft Beer Festival returns under tents at the Philadelphia Navy Yard with more than 75 national and international breweries, food trucks
Willkommen To Philly: Four New Exhibitions Highlight German Culture
Multiple waves of immigration have left an indelible German influence on the Philly area. The multi-venue Celebration of Pennsylvania German Art, beginning in early 2015, will explore this legacy through traditional Pennsylvania German (a.k.a. Pennsylvania Dutch) art forms such as fraktur, letters and documents embellished with motifs such as birds and flowers.
These exhibitions are just the beginning of the Pennsylvania German experience. Visitors can find a rich store of German culture in the Philadelphia region: the customs of the Amish, the historic grounds in Germantown and top restaurants serving bratwurst.
Here are just a few suggestions for a German-themed...
Good Food And Doing Good Are Both On The Menu In Philly Restaurants
Having already given the city their brilliant talents, several of Philadelphia’s restaurateurs and food purveyors also give back for the greater good of the community. And while Jose Garces and Marc Vetri have both established foundations that make an impact, Philadelphia diners have a chance to show their generosity as well. At Rosa’s Pizza, for example, patrons can pay an extra dollar for a slice of pizza for someone less fortunate. This pay-it-forward approach even caught the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, who recently featured the shop on her show.
Here’s the scoop on those in the Philly food scene paying...
What's In The Old City Neighborhood?
Located just next to Independence Mall, where the country’s Founding Fathers declared liberty and built a free nation, Old City still boasts charming cobblestone streets and plenty of 18th-century charm—along with an independent streak that’s evident in everything from its owner-operated shops to its edgy art scene.
Its proximity to the Liberty Bell, Penn’s Landing and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge make Old City a favorite for out-of-towners as much as for the residents who call it home. People love the neighborhood for its fashionable boutiques, great restaurants, eclectic galleries and theaters and vibrant nightlife. Especially popular are First...
The Philly Cheesesteak: Two New Videos Give The Mouthwatering Scoop On This Iconic Sandwich
Here in Philly, the cheesesteak is a civic icon, tourist draw and cultural obsession, and now two short new videos created by VISIT PHILADELPHIA® show how to order this iconic sandwich and what makes it so great. The videos are on view at visitphilly.com/cheesesteaks, where visitors can read about the history of the often-imitated sandwich and find a list of the top 10 spots to get authentic Philly cheesesteaks.
“Every successful destination needs a few strong brands, and the cheesesteak is undeniably one of ours,” said Meryl Levitz, president & CEO, VISIT PHILADELPHIA. “We want to do everything we...
In Philadelphia, Cooking Classes, Demo Kitchens On The Rise
Sure, it’s satisfying to enjoy an incredible meal in one of Philadelphia’s restaurant gems, but learning how to recreate said incredible meal at home is equally appealing for many. With demo kitchens on the rise in Philadelphia, there are countless options for culinary education—often served up with dinner and drinks. From the butchering classes at Kensington Quarters and Wyebrook Farm to the celebrity chefs demonstrating their skills at COOK to vegan and gluten-free baking workshops at P.S. & Co., there’s a lesson for eaters of all tastes. Here are some of the region’s best ways to satisfy hunger and curiosity:...
Craft Distilleries Revive Pennsylvania's Pre-Prohibition Tradition
In just over two years, craft distilling has boomed in the Philadelphia region, helping to restore Pennsylvania to its once-prominent place in the national distilling conversation. Until Prohibition wiped out the state’s distilling industry, Pennsylvania housed the country’s densest cluster of homespun and commercial whiskey producers, beginning with some of the country’s earliest settlers.
In 2011, Pennsylvania’s government passed reforms that allowed distillers to offer tours, samples and sales on-site. These new laws opened up the craft to would-be distillers who now proudly produce and sell small-batch spirits from Philadelphia. Here’s a look at the region’s distilling pioneers:
Philadelphia's Chocolate Exhibit Unwraps The Treat's Origins
One of the most delicious exhibitions ever to hit Philadelphia is tempting taste buds all around town. Chocolate: The Exhibition, on view at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University through January 24, 2015, uses interactive displays, special programs and tasting events to trace chocolate beginning with its rainforest origins. After learning the backstory on chocolate, visitors can sample the many ways that Philadelphia chocolatiers, mixologists, pâtissiers and others have transformed the cocoa bean into a delight for the senses.
- Those who share chocolatier Gail Warren’s philosophy that chocolate is a “necessary luxury” frequent Bridge Street
New Beer Trail Highlights The Craft Brewing Tradition In Philadelphia, America’s Best Beer-Drinking City
One hundred years ago, Philadelphia was known as the greatest brewing city in the Western Hemisphere, or the “Cradle of American Libation,” according to food critic Craig LaBan of The Philadelphia Inquirer. In fact, it was in Philadelphia taverns that the American Revolution took hold.
In the mid-19th through the early 20th centuries, more than 90 breweries operated in Philadelphia proper, and another 100 operated in the city’s environs. One area northwest of Philly, located on the banks of the Schuylkill River near the Girard Avenue Bridge, became known as Brewerytown. As Brewerytown grew, area producers of German-style...
Passion For The Pie: Philly's Pizza Secrets Revealed
A pizza museum; a heart-shaped pie; Sicilian water-moistened dough—and that’s just the tip of the crust, as it were. There’s a world of pizza secrets to explore in the Philadelphia region, from a suburban “speakeasy” to some rightfully picky pizza makers to dough-throwing classes in chefs’ open kitchens. Here are just a few ways to take passion for the pie even deeper:
Quirky Spots & Slices:
- Neapolitan pizza is more than a hobby in Italy—it’s the law. Chef-Owner Joe Cicala of Le Virtù hopes to bring true, certified pies to Philadelphia at his new Brigantessa. He even went to
17 Reasons Philly's Dining Scene Rocks
A richly textured, wonderfully layered dining scene combines history and growth, innovation and tradition, local and global influences. Philadelphia has all of these attributes and more: homegrown bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) spots redrafting the rules of elegant eating; a distinctly local sensibility informed by a fertile food shed; a wildly diverse array of ethnic eats; a nationally lauded vegetarian and vegan culture; and much more. Here are 17 reasons why Philly food scene rocks:
- Just Bring It: The BYOB Phenomenon
Though the bring-your-own-bottle restaurant first emerged in Philly more than a decade ago, a steady stream of brilliant chefs with a do-it-yourself...
Backgrounder: Wineries Near Philadelphia
With geography, climate and growing conditions that mirror those of the Bordeaux Region in France, southeastern Pennsylvania continues to emerge as a major force in America’s wine industry. In fact, Pennsylvania wines as a whole are making steady gains in quality, quantity and recognition. The Commonwealth ranks seventh in the nation for number of wineries; more than 150 wineries operate within its borders, marking more than a 500% increase over 30 years ago. In 2013 alone, Pennsylvania vintners won awards at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, International Women’s Wine Competition, San Diego International Wine Competition, International Eastern Wine Competition,...
Philly's Hotel Bars: Check Out The Scene & The Happy Hours
The Sonesta Philadelphia’s Art Bar opened in July 2014, joining the ranks of cool hotel bars in a city that knows its cool bars. With a stylish interior and an art program courtesy of The Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Art Bar welcomes guests with craft cocktails, beers and wines that complement its modern décor.
The Sonesta isn’t the only property raising the bar. It seems Philadelphia’s hotels are vying for the top bar scene, which means locals and out-of-towners win. On the menu: craft beers, fantastic wines, inventive drinks and delicious bites, plus distinguishing features (skyline views, outdoor dining,...
Philly's Coffee Scene Is Hot & Strong
The wave of coffee enthusiasm is clearly here to stay in Greater Philadelphia. In fall 2014, La Colombe opened a 15,000-square-foot outpost in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood. Housed in a former distillery, the new spot produces rum—yes rum—infused with coffee, in addition to serving food and its signature coffee, of course.
The region’s java scene has been percolating for years now: Cafes roast their own signature beans, baristas specialize in perfectly engineered espressos and coffeehouses use one-of-a-kind La Marzocco machines. From an Australian flat white to a Chemex-brewed cuppa, the possibilities for delicious caffeinating are endless. Here’s a look at...