Cobblestoned streets, historic churches, art galleries, and trendy restaurants await in Old City, one of Philadelphia’s most charming neighborhoods. As one of the earliest settled areas of Philly, Old City packs centuries of history within its small grid of streets. Today, Old City artfully blends the old and the new – 18th century landmarks rub shoulders with modern art spaces, alluring boutiques, and lively nightlife hotspots. For a taste of colonial Philadelphia, head straight for Independence Statewide Historic Park and its crown jewels – Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. These sites transport you back in time to the days when the Founding Fathers gathered here to debate and eventually sign the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. Costumed guides and authentic period details like oil lamps really bring the history to life. Lovers of art and design will feel right at home in Old City. Cutting-edge galleries like the Clay Studio showcase both local talent and internationally renowned artists. Stop into shops like Art in the Age for beautifully crafted furniture, home goods, and spirits distilled on-site using historic methods. And iconic public art like Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE sculpture and Isaiah Zagar’s whimsical mosaic murals adorn walls around the neighborhood. Ready for a bite? Old City eateries run the gamut from centuries-old Irish pubs to modern Israeli spots reflecting Philly’s diverse cultural fabric. Grab a craft brew and burger made with beer cheese sauce at Khyber Pass Pub, or enjoy creative small plates incorporating Middle Eastern spices at Zahav. And satisfy your sweet tooth with doughnuts in inventive flavors at Federal Donuts, a neighborhood favorite. Though small in size, Old City packs a punch when it comes to arts, culture, food and drink. Its walkability and charm make it a quintessential Philadelphia experience.
Nestled between the Schuylkill River and Center City, Fairmount offers Philly residents and visitors the best of both worlds – neighborhood charm with easy access to downtown. Tree-lined residential blocks, indie boutiques, cozy cafes, and stunning parkland define the laidback vibe of this historic area. At the heart of Fairmount lies the verdant oasis of Fairmount Park, one of the largest urban green spaces in the country. Spread across 9,200 acres, options for outdoor recreation abound – hiking and biking trails, lush gardens, scenic boat rides on the Schuylkill River, and over a dozen playgrounds. Historic homes like Mount Pleasant and Strawberry Mansion host guided tours for a peek into the lives of early Philadelphians. Kids will love the Smith Memorial Playground and its creative play spaces, or revel in the free admission policy of the Please Touch Museum. Just steps away from Fairmount Park, the famed Museum Row offers an artistic feast for the senses. World-renowned institutions like the Philadelphia Museum of Art – home to the iconic “Rocky” steps – and the Rodin Museum attract culture lovers from around the globe. Stop into the Barnes Foundation to admire their impressive collection of Renoirs, Cezannes and Matisses. And the Philadelphia Zoo delights visitors of all ages with encounters with over 1,300 animals. Fairmount also entices with a stellar food and drink scene. Local outposts like Bar Hygge and Standard Tap set the laidback vibe, while elegant eateries like Frida and Amis satisfy cravings for inspired Mexican and French cuisine, respectively. And no visit is complete without sampling the scrumptious butter cake that Flying Monkey Patisserie has perfected. With leafy parks, riverside trails, museums, boutiques and restaurants to please all palates, Fairmount provides the ideal blend of urban excitement and neighborhood tranquility.
Home to world-renowned educational institutions, University City brims with youthful energy and a progressive spirit. Situated along the Schuylkill River and encompassing the campuses of the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, this dynamic neighborhood buzzes with activity day and night. Students and scholars flood University City’s sidewalks, fostering a vibrant cultural scene. Start your explorations at the bustling 30th Street Station, an iconic Beaux-Arts structure and major transportation hub. Check out the railway’s massive 93-foot tall waiting room capped with a cathedral-like ceiling. Then dive into the artistic action at the Institute of Contemporary Art with its cutting-edge exhibits. Science reigns supreme at the Franklin Institute – climb aboard a World War II submarine, view space through a giant telescope, and see live demonstrations by expert staff. Don’t miss the state-of-the-art Planetarium with its immersive astronomical experiences. Ready to people-watch and shop? Head straight to the blocks around Penn’s campus, where you’ll find coffee shops and casual eateries interspersed with used bookstores, vinyl record havens, and affordable vintage threads. Grab a crispy dosa for lunch at local favorite Tiffin before browsing feminist and counterculture literature at Wooden Shoe Books. As evening approaches, hit performing arts meccas like the Annenberg Center and then dance the night away at local institutions like Raven Lounge. University City truly comes alive when school is in session. But its world-class cultural offerings make it a rewarding place to visit any time of year. Looking for that quintessential blend of youthful energy, progressive ideals and artistic expression? You’ll find it all here in Philly’s University City.
Escape the city bustle amidst the leafy streets and stately stone mansions of Chestnut Hill, one of Philadelphia’s most exclusive residential enclaves. Anchored by the Greensward, a bucolic square of 10 acres of lush green space, Chestnut Hill transports you to another time with its charming cafes and boutiques housed in historic buildings. Despite its small size, Chestnut Hill packs a surprising amount for visitors to eat, see, and experience. The prized Chestnut Hill College campus, occupying 75 acres, provides a relaxing oasis. Stroll past collegiate Gothic buildings, duck into the campus art gallery, or admire the Japanese gardens that explode with cherry blossoms in spring. Grab a made-to-order sandwich at McNally’s Tavern, a fixture since Prohibition that still retains its old-time character. Peruse three floors of antiques, vintage jewelry, and collectibles at the Chestnut Hill Antiques Mall before checking your look in their photo booth dressed up like an antique car. Next, climb the 94 stone steps leading to the 200-foot-tall Chestnut Hill Tower and be rewarded with panoramic views of northwest Philadelphia. The serious shopper will appreciate Chestnut Hill’s high-end stores, like Anthropologie which started here and maintains its corporate headquarters. Satisfy your sweet tooth with creamy gelato at Bredenbeck’s before browsing the farmer’s market for seasonal produce and artisanal treats. As the sun sets, Chestnut Hill comes alive with intimate live music venues and cozy BYOBs serving contemporary American fare. Catch rising folk musicians at The Twilight Cafe or a rotating selection of local beers at Iron Hill Brewery. End the night sipping cocktails and snacking on flatbreads fireside at The Dark Horse Inn, a 200-year-old watering hole once frequented by revolutionary war soldiers. With its old-world charm, vibrant shopping and dining, and easy access to outdoor green spaces, Chestnut Hill offers a welcome break from Philly’s urban pace. Meandering this neighborhood’s winding streets transports you to another time.
Experience Philly’s hipster side in Fishtown, an edgy-chic neighborhood filled with indie galleries, inventive eateries, and dive bars with local flair. Situated along the Delaware River, this former blue-collar district serves up an artsy, eclectic vibe. Wander along Frankford Avenue to uncover Fishtown’s creative side. Venture inside Watts Works Art Studio to peruse affordable artwork while watching resident artists at work in their studios. Nearby, The Fillmore breathes new life into a 150-year-old fish market, featuring trippy black light art installations. Stop for a refreshing cider at Cider Corps before getting inked at classic local tattoo parlor Riverside. Fishtown really shines through its phenomenal food and drink. Kick back with creative cocktails and New American small plates at Suraya, set in a former garage. For authentic Vietnamese flavors, grab a steaming bowl of pho or banh mi sandwich at Huong Viet. Satisfy late-night cravings at Pizza Brain, home to the world’s largest collection of pizza memorabilia. And don’t miss Milk Jawn, serving creamy soft serve concoctions with a hip-hop soundtrack. Fishtown draws a youthful crowd, especially once the sun goes down at hotspots like barcades Punch Line Philly and Garage. Catch a local band or comedy show at underground venues Johnny Brenda’s or The Barbary. You can easily bar hop between watering holes like bottle shop Kraftwork and wine bar Laurel without ever leaving the neighborhood. Gritty, artsy and unapologetically cool, Fishtown offers an enticing mix of dive bars, concert venues, indigenous eats and creative makers. This is Philly at its most raw.
Experience Philly’s vibrant Italian culture and mouthwatering cuisine in Bella Vista, the city’s Little Italy district. Situated just south of Center City, Bella Vista packs generations of Italian heritage into an eight-block stretch. Today, new residents and businesses mix seamlessly with old-timers, creating a perfect blend of tradition and modern flair. No trip to Bella Vista is complete without indulging in la dolce vita. Meander along the outdoor stalls of the Italian Market, famously featured in the “Rocky” movies, overflowing with produce, cheese, cured meats, and homemade pastas. Grab a classic cheesesteak or chicken cutlet sandwich at family-owned George’s before browsing two levels of imported Italian goods at Talluto’s Authentic Italian Foods. Sit down for red-sauced classics at cozy BYOBs Ristorante La Locanda or Mr. Martino’s Trattoria. Or go upscale at Townsend, an airy French-Italian spot housed in a former luggage factory. Beyond the fantastic food, Bella Vista entices with specialty boutiques selling everything from hand-rolled cigars at Holt’s to imported Italian linens at Di Bruno Bros. Gaze at Baroque statues and fountains in the Palumbo Recreation Center, a pocket park modeled after an Italian piazza. Don’t miss the striking murals depicting Italian immigrants that colorfully decorate several neighborhood buildings. And save time for dessert – flavorful gelato, delicate pastries and perfect cannoli await at local institutions like Termini Brothers Bakery, Isgro Paticceria and Caramiello’s Gelato. Open since 1904, Ralph’s Italian Restaurant still makes some of the city’s best water ices. Bella Vista brings Philly’s Italian heritage to life through mouthwatering cuisine, bustling markets, Old World shops and historic architecture. Mangia!
Just 10 minutes from Center City, Manayunk offers the perfect blend of big city convenience and small town charm. Set along the Schuylkill River, this lively district impresses visitors with its vibrant Main Street lined with trendy boutiques, buzzing restaurants and happening bars – all fueled by an artsy, youthful vibe. Outdoor enthusiasts flock to Manayunk for its enviable location near the cynwyd Heritage Trail and Schuylkill River Trail, popular pathways offering miles of green space for running, walking, and cycling. Rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from Manayunk Kayak Club and explore the river. Hone your yoga practice at Yoga Habit Studio before refueling on superfood smoothies at The Juice Merchant. Hungry? Taste your way along Main Street, where you’ll find everything from classic pub grub and build-your-own rice bowls to upscale sushi. Chow down on cheesesteaks, hoagies and wings at old-school Lucky’s Last Chance before a pint at stellar craft beer bar The Foodery. Continue on to Laser Wolf for experimental cocktails and globally inspired small plates, or Bar Hygge for farm-to-table fare in an industrial-chic space. After dinner, keep the good times rolling by bar hopping along Main Street – DJ’s spin crowd-pleasing hits at Winnie’s Manayunk and Conor O’Neills, while Gravity Espresso & Wine Bar and Craft Beer Outlet keep the drinks flowing into the night. Catch live local bands and stand-up comedy at The Grape Room. Or head to Canal Club, a massive dance club drawing 20-somethings from across the city. Edgy, laidback and undeniably fun, Manayunk provides the ideal playground for Philly-area adventure seekers, creatives and night owls.
Book a Bus With Us
There you have it – a quick tour through some of Philadelphia’s can’t-miss neighborhoods for locals and visitors alike! Ready to explore them for yourself? Make getting around this sprawling city easy by booking a charter bus rental with Charter Bus Company Philadelphia. Our modern fleet, professional drivers and customized routing ensure that your group will arrive at every stop right on time. And you’ll ride in total comfort, with amenities like plush seats, climate control, USB chargers and free WiFi to keep everyone connected and entertained. Whether you need transportation for a school field trip, corporate event, family reunion or nights out on the town with friends, Charter Bus Company Philadelphia has your group covered. Our team is available 24/7 to provide a free, no-obligation quote to meet your group’s needs and budget. Then you can relax, enjoying Philadelphia’s sights, tastes and experiences while we handle the driving! Don’t wait to make incredible memories in Philadelphia – call 267-479-7355 or request your free quote online now to reserve your charter bus rental!