(What to Do In) Philadelphia

Hint: It's not running up the Rocky steps and waiting in line to see a gigantic crack in a Bell.

I tell people I'm from Los Angeles, but I'm actually from Orange County - it's easier than explaining OC's proximity to LA. Even more 'actually', I'm from Pennsylvania, but I spent age 10 and up in California, so I'm grandfathered-in to being a Californian. Why am I telling you this? Well, because Philadelphia has a warm little spot in my heart - a mix of nostalgic memories of the weather I grew up around (that humidity UGHHHH) and a fresh perspective I have on the city. 

Tourists come to Philly to wait in long lines for Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and to jog up the Rocky steps. Feel free to do all these things - but if you've got time to hang out, here's some shit worth doing: 

ToDo LocalTourist

Philadelphia Museum of Art - I can spend ages in the modern art collections; the Cy Twombly pieces are pretty mesmerizing. Also the Rocky Balboa steps are in front of this building - sooooo two birds with one stone. 

'Hood: Spring Garden

Spruce Street Harbor Park - If it isn't the dead of winter, this little stretch of park next to the Delaware River is more like an Urban Beach. String lights and hammocks line the sidewalk along the water; yummy semi-permanent food stalls and places to get booze are here too. My favorite part has to be the nets that stretch out over the water, where you and your friends can lounge with beverage in-hand. It's Philly's version of a beach chair, and it's fucking great. 

'Hood: Penn's Landing

Eastern State Penitentiary - If you aren't against the mildly creepy, a tour of this former prison is worth it. Built in 1829, this prison revolutionized fair treatment of inmates; it was home to Al Capone at one point. Currently, it looks dilapidated, post-apocalyptic and rad. Tree roots are busting through walls and pockets of sunlight stream into dark cells...

'Hood: Spring Garden

Rittenhouse Square - a lush, perfectly square patch of green in the middle of downtown Philly. Hang out here with a coffee before wandering down "Rittenhouse Row" for the more mainstream shopping experience (there are over 200 shops).

Vagabond / Philly, PA / USA

LocalTourist Shopping

Vagabond - My favorite store in the whole city! Modern clothing + accessories (think Rachel Comey, Black Crane), plus select vintage merchandised in minimal, dreamy ways. 

'Hood: Old City

Moon + Arrow - handmade, vintage and environmentally-conscious clothing, apothecary and home goods. I.E. natural beauty products, modernist handmade jewelry, and wall hangings. Gives major California vibes - it's tough to walk away without bringing something home.

'Hood: on Fabric Row in Queen Village

Goods Vintage - small shop with hand picked vintage - everything from buttons to band tees and plenty in between.

'Hood: Old City 

Philadelphia, PA /USA

Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction - You know the hipsters with bushy beards and Warby Parker glasses who spend all their free time wood working and making bespoke cocktails with obscure mixers? They come here to shop. Stop being embarrassed about it and visit - this boutique is great inside! 

'Hood: Old City 

Select Shop 215 - perfectly curated home, stationary, apothecary and accessories. Useful, everyday items but much, much cooler. This shop also reminds me of home...it's Philly's answer to Poketo in Los Angeles.

'Hood: Old City

Omoi Zakka Shop - tinier, sister shop to Select Shop 215; this boutique is much more focused on neat stationary (tons from Japan!), modern jewelry and colorful kitchen accessories. CUTE.

'Hood: Rittenhouse / Downtown 

Halloween - I'm OBSESSED. If you'd never heard of it you'd never find it...you have to be buzzed in by a very old doorbell, and there is a strict "no phones allowed" rule. Why? Because this is the most perfect vintage jewelry store on earth. Wall to wall glass cases of gold, silver, jewels, precious stones, all grouped by type or theme - and there's a loft floor with even more jewelry! It has a magical interior - like a treasure-filled pirate ship, or maybe something out of Harry Potter. Yes, you can afford to shop here - next to every $400 item is something closer to $30. The staff is friendly and willing to teach you about precious jewels without making you feel like an ass, too. Henri David (the owner) is nice, funny and always helpful. He's also a celebrity in the neighborhood; he hosts the Henri David Halloween Ball every year!

'Hood: Gayborhood (officially called Washington Square West)

Wondering what to eat + drink in Philly? We got you right here.

Read More...