‘Philadelphia: 24 hours in the City of Brotherly Love has been written by Kristin Naylor.
There is a lot to love about the city of brotherly love. Philadelphia is diverse, beautiful, has a rich history, and has some of the most loyal sports fans there ever were. Exploring the nation’s first capital could take days on end but if you only have a day with the kiddos, keep reading for our top picks!
Where to Start?
It’s an easy choice on where to start your day – Sabrina’s for sure. What’s not so easy, deciding what to eat. This quirky spot is full of charm and loved by many, mainly for their brunch. Reservations are accepted for dinner only, so go a tad early if you can. The stuffed Challah French Toast is always divine and easily feeds two, the flavorful huevos rancheros is a more savory option. Sabrina’s is eco-friendly, vegan friendly, and has multiple locations around the city.
The Must-See List
The Please Touch Museum will be the highlight of your kids’ trip. It is best for ages 1-8 and it is not overrated. You won’t get through all of it in 2-3 hours but if that’s all you’ve got then pick what your kids like best. The giant water table, blasting rockets to “outer space” and the almost-for-real grocery store top the list. The Franklin Institute is just as spectacular and better for slightly older (ages six and up) as well as big (adult) kids.
If you’re itching to see a few historical sites of Philadelphia head to the Historic District and snap a family photo in front of the Liberty Bell and Independence Mall.
What’s for Lunch?
Hit South Street for lunch! Among the vibrant sights and sounds of South Street, you’ll find a rivalry of the ages – Pat’s or Geno’s. We’re talking cheesesteaks of course. If you can hit up both spots, do a taste test and decide for yourself which is best! The diehards order them “wit wiz,” (translation: with cheese wiz). But even if you skip the wiz you 100% must eat a cheesesteak in Philly.
After lunch, grab water ice at Siddiq’s. Water ice is a frozen treat made from water, sugar and some sort of flavoring — usually fruit. It is firmer than a slushy, softer than sorbet, and smoother than granita. Ahhh – refreshing and delicious!
A Not So Hidden Gem
Sometimes kids need options, especially when it comes to eating. Reading Terminal Market will not disappoint. As one of the nation’s oldest and largest public markets, it is still one of the greatest public markets in the country today.
There are upwards of 70 independently-owned small businesses representing a wide array of nationalities and cuisines. It’s a fun and casual atmosphere in the middle of the city, sure to be a hit with your gang. Try a whoopie pie at Flying Monkey, apple dumplings at Dutch Eating Place, and for the brave ones, try scrapple at Down Home Diner.
Take a Chill
To relax a bit, if the weather is good, take a stroll along Penn’s Landing or Philly’s iconic boathouse row. Penn’s Landing marks the spot where William Penn first arrived in the New World. Today, the promenade has green space to spread out, a busy riverfront, and hosts events of all kinds.
Walkers, joggers, bikers, and families all enjoy a stroll along Boathouse Row. Local boating clubs take great pride in their historic 19th-century boathouses – they are most stunning at night, all lit up.
Time for Dinner
There are too many tempting places for dinner, it’s hard to go wrong. Try Steven Starr’s Continental. The space is modern and the ambiance is A+.
Continental’s family-style global cuisine with a far-out flair is easy with a group – there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss the french onion soup dumplings and cheesesteak egg rolls. (Parentals deserve a retro cocktail after a long day!)
The Best of The Rest
Philly is a big city and there’s so much we didn’t mention above. Here are a few more ideas worth noting:
Adventure Aquarium – 15,000 aquatic animals, including the largest collection of sharks in the Northeast, hippo haven, and a shark bridge in Camden, NJ, across the river from downtown Philadelphia.
Longwood Gardens – One of the premier horticulture display gardens in the US that hosts native and exotic indoor and outdoor jaw-dropping horticulture beauty located in Kennett Square, PA.
Philadelphia Art Museum – A landmark building, world-renowned collection, and the “Rocky” steps. Enough said.
Eastern State Penitentiary – Known for its grand architecture, strict discipline, and inmate Al Capone, this was the world’s first true penitentiary.
Smith Memorial Playground – This (free) play space for children boasts a ginormous “play mansion,” a 44-foot wooden slide, and spinning jungle gyms.
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