I wish I could spend at least two weeks in this lovely city just eating my way through all of the delicious bites it has to offer but unfortunately, all I had was a weekend with two short days. It is truly a city for foodies and during the 36 hours in Philadelphia, expect to put yourself into a food coma or two. Don’t worry it’ll be one of the best food comas of your life.
It’s possible to get a quick taste of Philly in 36 hours so if you don’t have any vacation days left or simply don’t have the time to devote more to this gorgeous city, book a flight leaving Friday afternoon and come back Sunday afternoon, just in time to prepare for your week ahead. (Check out these one day itineraries for more short trips)
Please note, you need to get reservations for the dinner spots in advance. If you don’t want to eat dinner too late, make sure you book at least a couple of weeks ahead!
Getting there, 6 PM
Land at Philadelphia airport by early evening and take a quick uber/lyft into the city
Get Pretty for the Evening, 6:30 PM
Stay at a spot near Rittenhouse square since that is most central spot to this itinerary. Another notable mention is to stay near the Italian Market, a beautiful and quiet area that is a short uber away
Secrets and Debauchery, 7:30 PM
Head to Franklin Bar for a drink in this speakeasy. The bouncer will ask if you want to go upstairs or downstairs and you want to go downstairs, trust me. You’ll be led into this subterranean bar that will instantly transport you to the 20’s where you, Jazzy baby, and your Jelly Bean can grab a delicious cocktail before dinner in this speakeasy that was the front for America’s largest alcohol running ring during the prohibition. If you’re a fan of bourbon, go for the Midnight Garrison. You will not be disappointed.
Veg Out, 9 PM
A 15 min walk or short uber away, is one of Philadelphia and the United States’ best Vegan restaurants, Vedge. This spot defies stereotypes and satiates taste buds of all kind, so even if you are not a vegan or vegetarian, this restaurant will blow your mind. My recommendation?
- Rutabaga fondue – soft pretzel served with a fondue dip that will have you weak at the knees and in disbelief that this isn’t cheese
- Eggplant Braciole – eggplant stuffed with heaven and served with a pesto type sauce
- Campfire potatoes – simple yet mind blowing
- Gold cauliflower – if you like a little kick, these cauliflowers are served in a thick spicy gravy and are mouthwateringly delicious
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth, 10:30 PM
Your next and final stop of the night is Capogiro’s for some gelato. There are multiple locations in Philadelphia and one conveniently located just a few minute walk from Vedge. Try a couple of scoops of some of the finest gelato.
Bagels and Coffee, 9 AM
Head to Gleaner’s Café in the Italian Market for a quick breakfast of bagel sandwiches and delicious coffee. Don’t be fooled by the small and modest interior, their bagel sandwiches are both large and filling and you’ll find yourself craving them even after you leave Philly
Where History was Made, 10 AM
Now it’s time for you to view the historic sites of Philly and your first stop is the Independence Visitor Center where you can get information on the numerous historic sites that Philly has to offer. You can purchase a ticket for a hop on hop off bus, a carriage ride, a walking tour, etc. If you want to stick to the basics, grab a free ticket to the Independence Hall, the site where the Deceleration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed, at the visitor center. There are timed entrances for this tour and if you arrive early you’ll be able to secure a good time otherwise, you can reserve in advance for a fee of $1.50 a ticket online.
While you wait to go into the Independence Hall, check out the Liberty Bell and see the bell that was transformed into an extraordinary symbol of liberty. Tickets to the National Constitution Center are also available in the visitor center. If the special exhibit the Rise and Fall of Prohibition is still on tour, it’s worth the extra $3.00 to tour this exhibit
Food Galore, 1:00 PM
Brace yourself for one of the most chaotic yet mind-blowingly awesome markets I’ve ever been to, the Reading Terminal. I recommend getting small bites from as many vendors as you can possibly stomach and even saving some for later! Some of your stops should include:
- Beilers for donuts
- Beck’s Cajun Café for fried mac and cheese balls
- Nanee’s Kitchen for spinach and feta samosas
- Famous Franks a Lot -for fried polish pierogi
- Famous 4th Street Cookie for the best cookies ever
- Melter Skelter for grilled cheeses of all kinds
Rittenhouse Square, 2:30 PM
Time to work off some of that food, head to the Rittenhouse Square to see this beautiful square and maybe sit on one of the benches and eat some of your leftovers. Then walk around the surrounding streets for some great shopping.
South Philly Cheesesteak, 4:00 PM
Yes, I realize you ate your way through the Reading Terminal but you only have 36 hours, so you need to eat a cheesesteak. Your next stop is John’s Roast Pork, known by locals as one of the best cheesesteaks spots in Philadelphia. They also have more than cheesesteaks so you can take your pick of other sandwiches or sides such as fries and mozzarella sticks if you aren’t feeling a cheesesteak. Although, this is one of the reasons you came to Philly so don’t be silly.
Drink Before You Dine, 7:30 PM
Last night was all about classy drinks, but tonight head to a dive bar, Tattooed Mom. They have extremely reasonably priced cocktails as well as plenty of beers on tap. If you can possibly stomach it, they have some fantastic vegan fare and appetizers but you really don’t want to spoil your dinner. Be sure to check out both floors.
Eat Your Heart Out, Seriously, 8:30 PM
Get ready for one of the most stunning restaurants with food that is extremely aesthetically pleasing and absolutely scrumptious. Your last stop for the night is Talula’s Garden and I highly recommend you go all out. Why not? You’re leaving tomorrow anyways. If you’re a vegetarian, just tell the waitress what kind of flavors you like and let the chef work his magic and trust me, you will be more than pleased with the outcome.
One Last Meal, 11 AM
Even if you have to eat earlier, you want to get this last meal in. Your final stop on your 36 hour journey is Sabrina’s in the Italian Market. Go ahead and indulge, no one is judging. In fact, they’re probably all jealous of you.
After 36 hours, you got a great taste of Philadelphia and we know you’re craving for more so start planning your return trip! Comment below with some of your favorite spots in Philly.
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