For our first ever multi-tiered 24-hour city guide, we have the writers behind Free People’s blog, BLDG 25, sharing their ideal 24 hours around the eclectic city of Philly. From an assortment of restaurants, boutiques, bars and even some yoga, these ladies take us on an extensive tour of the Philly area. If you have a short 24 hours in the city of brotherly love, do yourself a favor and check out this guide (you can even take it on the go with the DS App)! –Stephanie
Read the full guide after the jump…
JANA – Fishtown
Jana: If you would have asked me five years ago where I pictured myself living after college, Philly wouldn’t have even crossed my mind. But, here I am, and this city keeps surprising me every day. I’ve fallen in love with my neighborhood and the people and places that inhabit it. I get excited at the fact that I can walk right out my door and be steps away from some of my favorite spots. Living here definitely feels right for the time being.
9 am: Nothing better than starting the day off with some yoga! I recently visited Nosara, Costa Rica for our Pura Vida getaway where I was introduced to the practice. I immediately felt the benefits, and ever since coming back home, I’ve been searching for a studio that lets me explore various traditions as I figure out which is the best one for me. Amrita Yoga offers a beautiful, peaceful space and a pretty hefty schedule of different yoga styles.
11 am: After a soothing morning yoga session, I’m usually starving. If I had to pick one place for a nice brunch in Northern Liberties, it would probably be Honey’s Sit n’ Eat. They whip up amazing home-cooking style food, specializing in American and Southern style dishes. They don’t take reservations and it gets crowded on weekends, but trust me, it’s worth the wait. I absolutely love their latkes with sour cream and applesauce. If you end up going during a weekday, they offer $3.99 breakfast and unlimited coffee before 9 am. Whenever we have something special going on, I love stopping by for a quick bite with my team before we head to work. Some coffee to go, please!
1 pm: Jinxed has to be one of my favorite home décor stores. They have multiple locations throughout the city, but the one in Northern Liberties was their first and by far the best. You can walk into this store any day and find something new. The owners collect lovely pieces from strange locations, secret auctions, clean-outs of old Philly properties, as well as pick-through collections that are hundreds of years old. Walk into this spot and you will be sure to find a surprising treasure to add some unique flair to your home.
2 pm: As a BLDG 25 blogger, I’m constantly on the pursuit for inspiration to keep my perspective fresh and spark my creativity. At this time, I’m probably off to do a shoot somewhere. One I recently did was at Farm 51, a place I was especially inspired by. Their urban farm has done some great things for the neighborhood and I really respect them for creating what they’ve built. Every inch is beautiful and full of creativity. They have chickens, dogs, rabbits, succulents, vegetables and flowers everywhere.
4 pm: The Franklin Flea Market is a curated seasonal market where local vendors sell everything from vintage goods and handmade pieces, to repurposed furniture and delicious, tasty bites. My ideal weekend involves strolling along the market and finding little gems to take home with me, or to use in a future post. Make sure to check out their website, as dates and locations may vary.
8 pm: El Bar is my go-to nighttime spot! Right around the corner from my house, you’ll probably find me at this local favorite on a Friday night. The ambiance is casual and they have an awesome backyard area where we love to hang out when the weather is nice. Please come say hello if you see me hanging out!
JULIA – Old City
Julia: I was born and raised in Philadelphia and no matter where I am, this city will always be home. Philly is a gritty, soulful place, and that’s what I love so much about it. I think anyone who is from here carries with them a great deal of pride in calling this city home. Despite one year spent in SF, I’ve always lived in Philly, so I know this place like the back of my hand – from Fairmount, where I grew up, to Center City, to West Philly, and now Old City where I’ve lived for about four years.
9 am: Stopping by Café Ole starts my day off right. Right around the corner from my place, this charming coffee house is a local staple. My standard is iced coffee but if you love chai, you have to check out their amazing assortment. Apart from the obviously yummy coffee, this pet-friendly spot has delicious Israeli food and their daily soups are a must!
10 am: Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m obsessed with music, and they are right. I can get lost in a record store for hours. a.k.a. music is Philly’s largest independent record store and I love that they are only a few blocks away from home – but when I’m looking to score a used find, I’ll make the trek to Center City’s Long In The Tooth. I’ve found some of my favorite gems here.
11 am: If you’re in the mood for boutique shopping, check out Vagabond. Their store offers a really cool artsy vibe with a touch of vintage. My favorite thing about this boutique is the vintage selection all the way at the back of the store. I’ve found some beautiful pieces from their vintage finds over the years.
3 pm: One of my favorites, Moon + Arrow is an environmentally conscious boutique in Queen’s Village that is definitely worth a visit. They have an incredibly well-curated selection of artisan goods, home wares, vintage apparel, and handmade garments. Owner Chelsea Pearce makes and sells her own jewelry collection that always catches my eye.
5 pm: Taking a long walk is my remedy for some mind clearing. There are few things that I like more (except maybe music) than going for a nice long walk. I love walking along the Delaware River Waterfront to unplug from the world and just be. They host multiple events throughout the year, so make sure you check out their website to see what they have going on.
6 pm: A typical day for me is not complete without a quick stop at Race Street Café. Just down the street from me, I’ve actually made some of my closest friends in the city at this local bar. The staff is amazing, they always have great beers on tap, and their food is a step above your typical bar fare. If you stop by, tell them Julia sent you (and join me for one, because I’ll most likely be stooled up at the bar).
7 pm: As a vegetarian, I love finding new vegetarian restaurants and Farmicia is a favorite. They strive to create a healthy yet creative menu with an emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients in support of sustainable agriculture. An ideal weekend would probably end with dinner at this place with their delicious, organic fare and herbal cocktails.
10 pm: Did I mention I used to be a freelance music writer? At night, you’ll probably find me at a venue like Johnny Brenda’s or Union Transfer. The latter music hall features insane sky-high ceilings coupled with an amazing sound and light system. Dramatic chandeliers and stained glass add to the building’s charm. Johnny Brenda’s is a go-to for after-work drinks or food (they have the best veggie burger in the city, in my opinion), but it’s also an awesome, intimate venue with great sound. Check out their website for a calendar of upcoming performances and if you have the chance to see one of your favorite acts there – DO IT.
JULIE – Dickinson Sq.+ Center City
Julie: A native of New England, I came to Philadelphia from Pittsburgh just a couple of months ago and quickly fell in love with the city I now call home. I’ve made it a point to take in as much of Philly as I can on foot before the snow flies, and usually spend my weekends checking out flea markets, new hiking trails and previously unexplored neighborhoods.
9 am: Since Philly is my new home, I use my weekends to explore the city far and wide, usually on foot. My wanderings have led me to discover some really cool spots including my local coffee shop, Grindcore House. My weekend explorations would probably start with a nice cup of organic coffee and almond milk from this vegan café, which also carries delicious vegan pastries, salads and sandwiches if you’re in the mood for a bite.
11 am: I recently got a new film camera and I’ve taken some of my favorite shots along the Schuylkill River Trail. Although still under construction (it will be 130 miles long once completed), there are currently about 60 miles open for the public to enjoy. I can’t wait until it’s fully completed! I love walking and biking along the Schuylkill Trail, past Philly’s The Water Works Restaurant and Lounge’s breathtaking views and staple Boathouse Row. You can take in some epic views of the city from here.
1 pm: Every Tuesday from 10 am to 1 pm and every Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm, farmers and vendors line the outskirts of Rittenhouse Square Park and make up the Rittenhouse Farmer’s Market. This year-round market offers fresh fruits and vegetables, homemade honey, scrumptious baked and canned goods, as well as meat and eggs from pastured animals. I love the energy of the vendors, always so welcoming and helpful. They will likely offer a personal recipe to make use of your purchased products.
2 pm: I love to cook and fresh ingredients are a must. If I’m unable to find a specific ingredient at the Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market, I head to Greensgrow Farms. This nationally recognized leader in urban farming is also open year-round. Such a unique space, you need to see it to believe it.
4 pm: A Philly staple I discovered through walking the city: Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. Local artist Isaiah Zagar created a unique mosaic art environment that is truly magical. If you can’t make it into this fully mosaicked space (and I highly recommend that you do), you can still see and appreciate Isaiah’s art displayed on the side of South Street businesses and tucked into alleyways throughout Philadelphia.
5 pm: I would then probably head to Pine Street’s Antique Row for some relaxing antique shopping. A lover of vintage, I’ve already found some great gems in the different clothing stores along the row and I love strolling along this beautiful, historic street on a weekend afternoon. Apart from antiques and vintage stores, you’ll find some great book, craft, furniture and music shops, too.
7 pm: Keep walking along Antique Row and you will eventually hit Washington Square West, the home of my favorite restaurant in Philly thus far. Tulula’s Garden brings garden- and farm-inspired food to the city. Their ingredient-driven dishes are created with carefully sourced products and you can really taste the difference. Their menu changes seasonally based on what’s in season, but I can tell you that they make fresh pasta onsite and it’s delicious. I promise you can’t go wrong with anything on this menu.
Other Great Places Worth Noting
We love getting away from the city and being one with nature. This park is close enough but feels like you are completely disconnected from the city and all its buzz. If you hike far enough in one direction there is a secret statue of a Native American that sits in the woods and peers out over the hill. He’s such a hidden gem.
A historic venue, over one hundred merchants and restaurants make up this busy market. There is one amazing stand called The Herbiary where you can find essential oils, dried herbs and anything aromatherapy related. It’s amazing.
Full of stores, restaurants, hotels, galleries and spa-salons, Rittenhouse Row is the home to our Walnut Street boutique, Free People Center City.