I spent the weekend visiting my cousin in Philadelphia, cooing at kittens in storefronts, drinking copious amounts of coffee in adorable coffee shops, dancing my ass off to the Top 40 radio hits of Nicki Minaj and Pitbull, walking in the wrong direction for 10 blocks in search of a bar I spent less than five minutes in and so much more.Check out my stitched-together guide to doing Philly in 48 hours.
Arrive in Philly (on the Megabus, in my case) and drop your bags. (No crash pad? Be a high roller and try the Le Meridian or Four Seasons, both around Logan Square, Love Park and the dark Rodin Museum.)
Noon â€“ 2p.m.
Head over to Kildareâ€™s Irish Pub on Manayunkâ€™s Main Street for an authentic brunch from the Emerald Isle, complete with bangers, rashers, mash and eggs, served in the skillet on top of a helping of pepper-sauteed home fries. Â Top it off with a spicy Bloody Mary.
2p.m. â€“ 5p.m.
Take an eight-mile drive south on the Schuylkill Expressway to LOVE Park and snap an obligatory photo with the artsy structure. Stroll down the tree-lined South 16th Street, turning on Walnut Street for a taste of Philadelphiaâ€™s wealthiest address, Rittenhouse Square, sporting ornamental ironworks, ancient Greek statues, art galleries, boutiques and parkland.
6 p.m. â€“ 8 p.m.
Bus it over on the 21 or drive the three miles to University Cityâ€™s Distrito Restaurant, a modern interpretation of Mexico City, where spicy salsa, fresh ceviche, medium-rare carne asada strip steak and tequila tickle your taste buds â€“ courtesy of owner and Iron Chef winner, Jose Garces. The vibrant food matches the polychromatic dÃ©cor, complete with pod-shaped booths, a lucha libre mask wall and a porch swing.
Stick with Distrito, which transforms into a hopping party destination with lively Latin rhythms and a spectrum of blue agave harvest varieties from the Cabo Wabo to the Patron. Or, jump in the car and head to Manayunkâ€™s Sapphire Lounge, where the, somewhat young, crowd gets down to the hottest radio hits on the neon dance floor â€¦ if youâ€™re into that sort of thing.
Letâ€™s face it â€“ after a night like that, youâ€™re going to need your beauty sleep.
Noon â€“ 2p.m.
Regardless of where you bed down for the night, every visitor should check out the quaint Crossroads Coffee shop in Manayunk, where locals set up shop with laptops and sip hit-the-spot chocolate Frappucinos. Meanwhile, the hippy wait staff takes their time preparing house-made breakfast sausages on toasted oversize whole grain bread slices and your choice of melty cheese (American, swiss, provolone, feta, goat, cooper, cheddar), plus an egg. Did somebody say hangover cure?
2p.m. â€“ 5p.m.
Walk off the food coma on Phillyâ€™s eclectic South Street (a good 10-mile drive from Crossroads), which runs perpendicular to the Pennâ€™s Landing pier, a small, but popular waterfont. South Street boasts over 300 shops, bars and restaurants, not to mention the most colorful collection of graffiti-style awnings in the city. Knick-knacks, head shops and specialty clothing stores abound.
5p.m. â€“ 6:30p.m.
Say your farewells at Johnâ€™s Bar & Grille on South Street â€“ a family-owned bilevel indoor/outdoor affair. Its claim to fame is being the original home of Larry Fine, one of the Three Stooges, and its consistent draw remains the ultra-friendly service and 20-plus beer-loverâ€™s draft varieties, along with countless bottled chart-toppers like Chimay (blue), Unibroue ephemere apple and Stone Brewingâ€™s Arrogant Bastard.