Food Bloggers Guide to Philadelphia: Where to Eat, Stay & Play

Food Bloggers Guide to Philadelphia

Over Memorial Day Weekend, I took my first trip to Philadelphia for a family wedding, and decided to head into town early so that I could check out the city, and of course eat alllll the cheesesteaks!

There were so many delicious spots to eat and fun things to do in Philadelphia that I decided to put together a “food bloggers guide” to the City of Brotherly Love, highlighting all of my favorite spots to eat, drink and play!

EAT

I feel like I have to start this section off with the “unofficial official” dish of Philadelphia, the Philly Cheesesteak! While visiting Philly, I felt it was my food blogger duty to try at least half a dozen of the most popular cheesesteaks in the city and report back to you on my favorite!

The real duel in the city comes down to Pat’s or Geno’s, located directly across the street from each other in South Philly, these two cheesesteak spots have been dueling it out for decades! You’ll also hear a lot of hype about Jim’s and Sonny’s, but my favorite was actually the first cheesesteak I tried inside Reading Terminal Market at Carmen’s, I went with their signature sandwich “The Franklin” with American Cheese and Philadelphia Cream Cheese, I mean it just felt right putting Philly Cream Cheese on a Philly Cheesesteak! 😉 I may, or may not, have eaten three Carmen cheesesteaks by the end of the trip, and I have to say adding mushrooms and peppers to The Franklin was pretty much life changing! I’ve listed the other cheesesteaks I tried below in order of most to least favorite, but to be honest, the next time I’m in Philly, I’ll probably just go to Carmen’s every day!

  1. Carmen’s
  2. Geno’s
  3. Pat’s
  4. Sonny’s
  5. Jim’s

Philly Cheesesteak Showdown

Even with the intense amounts of cheesesteaks I ate while visiting Philadelphia, I still managed to check out some of the other restaurants and cuisine that the city had to offer!

  • Reading Terminal Market | 51 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107– located in Center City, the heart of Philadelphia, this market has been around since 1892, serving up some of the best fresh and prepared food that the city has to offer! I spent A LOT of time here during my stay in Philadelphia and absolutely loved trying all that the market had to offer. I’ve listed my favorite spots below that you should definitely check out!
    • Carmen’s – as mentioned above, home of my favorite Philly cheesesteak!
    • DiNic’s –  their roast pork sandwich was the winner of Travel Channel’s “Best Sandwich in America”, but you can’t go wrong with the roast beef either! I tried both, you know, for business purposes! 😉
    • Beiler’s Donuts – many of the locals told me to check this spot out because it is home of “the most famous donuts in Philly”, and I can see why! Talk about fresh, delicious and indulgent, with so many yummy flavors, like my fav, Maple Bacon!
    • By George Pizza & Pasta – try the Tomato Pie, another famous Philly dish, that’s totally different from a Southern Tomato Pie, it’s more similar to focaccia bread topped with a thick tomato sauce, SO delicious!
    • Melt Kraft – grilled cheese & tomato soup is one of my favorite combinations in life so when someone said I HAD TO try the grilled cheese & tomato soup at Melt Kraft, I was in! I do have to say that was some bomb cheese & the addition of fennel in the tomato soup was awesome, I’m definitely going to try that at home!

Roast Beef Sandwich at DiNic's Philadelphia

Pictured: Roast Beef Sandwich with Peppers at DiNic’s

  • Bank and Bourbon – an upscale American restaurant serving farm-fresh dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a wide selection of bourbon and whiskey!
    • WHERE: Center City – Inside Loews Hotel
    • WHAT: Upscale American
    • EAT: I would definitely recommend starting with the Taste Of Ham plate served with goat butter and crusty bread, Roasted Baby Beets and Porchetta with parmesan, fried amish egg, shishito peppers and salsa verde. For your entree, the filet is a MUST!

Dinner at Bank and Bourbon Philadelphia

  • Cuba Libre – an authentic Cuban restaurant serving up delicious tapas for brunch, lunch, happy hour and dinner!
    • WHERE: Old City
    • WHAT: Cuban
    • EAT: We indulged in the Tapas Brunch (unlimited tapas for $28 per person, can’t beat that!) Our favorite tapas were the Coconut Crab Fritters, Spinach and Manchego Buñuelos, Churrasco Steak Slider, Levanta Muerto Seafood Soup and Homemade Latin Breakfast Breads with mango butter, that was to-die-for!

Cuba Libre Endless Tapas Brunch Philadelphia

STAY

  • Loews Philly | 200 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
    • WHERE: Center City
    • WHAT: A modern, upscale hotel with a historical background. Loews is located in the PSFS building, also known as the nation’s first skyscraper!
    • HIGHLIGHTS:
      • Bank & Bourbon: The upscale American restaurant located within the hotel, featured above in the “EAT” section.
      • Location: The hotel was located right in the middle of everything we wanted to do, and most importantly, only a block away from Reading Terminal Market 😉
      • Modern Rooms: I loved the clean, sleek design of the rooms! (Pictured below.)
      • Free WiFi: I’m a blogger, what can I say, I need my wifi 😉
      • Indoor Pool: A nice place to relax day or night, no matter the weather outside!

Hotel Room at Loews Philadelphia

Pictured: My room at Loews Hotel Philadelphia

View from Loews Hotel Philadelphia

Pictured: The view from my room at Loews Hotel Philadelphia

PLAY {during the day}

  • Spruce Street Harbor Park – this spot is my jam! There’s a beer garden, hammock lounges, delicious food vendors, sparkling lights, games and more in this pop-up park on the water! Once we found out about it, we went every day we were in town!
  • Liberty Bell – it’s just one of those things that everyone should see once!
  • Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art – if you’re a “runner on vacation” kind of person, this is the perfect place to get your run on while playing the Rocky theme in the back of your head. Otherwise, just head over here for a photo op with the Rocky statue at the bottom of the steps and casually stroll up the stairs, while of course playing the Rocky theme song on your phone and Snapchatting, yeah, um, I might have actually done that 😉
  • The Love Sign – the iconic art piece that usually sits in “Love Park” has been moved across the street to Dilworth Park while The Love Park undergoes renovations, but the sign is still a must-see, Instagram-worthy stop while in Philadelphia!

Spruce Street Harbor Park Philadelphia

Pictured: Spruce Street Harbor Park

Spruce Street Harbor Park Philadelphia

Pictured: Spruce Street Harbor Park

LOVE Sign in Philadelphia

Pictured: Me & my handsome beau at the Love Sign

PLAY {in the evening}

  • The Little Lion243 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106 – We actually just stumbled into this little bar/restaurant in Old City while trying to escape the Philly heat and humidity, but loved the design and vibe! Our bartender was so friendly and eager to help us with suggestions for things to see and do around town, they had a great beer and cocktail list, and if we had more time, I would have definitely gone back to try the food! It’s definitely worth popping in, at least for a beer or cocktail, either in the daytime or evening!
  • American Sardine Bar 1800 Federal St, Philadelphia, PA 19146 – this was a small bar/restaurant that my boyfriends sister found and we decided to stop in for happy hour. The interior is a little small and dark, but the back patio area is large and very relaxing, not to mention their beer selection was fantastic and happy hour prices were on point! If you find yourself in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Philadelphia, definitely check out this gastropub for Happy Hour M-F 4-6 PM and Sun-Mon 11 PM – 1 AM.
  • Citizens Bank Park – If you’re visiting Philly during baseball season, I definitely recommend checking out Citizens Bank Park for a Phillie’s Game, they’re famous for Chickie’s and Pete’s Crabfries, which I actually created a recipe for on the blog, and of course, plenty of Cheesesteaks throughout the park!  The other cool thing about Philly is that their football stadium, basketball & hockey arena, and baseball stadium are all on the same street within a 3 block radius, with XFINITY Live right in the middle, which I referred to as a “food court of bars”, basically it’s a giant sports bar with drinks, food and A TON of TV’s! It was the perfect place for catching the NBA and Stanley Cup Playoffs after the baseball game!

The Little Lion Philadelphia

Pictured: The Little Lion Bar & Restaurant

Citizen's Bank Park Philadelphia

Pictured: Citizens Bank Park

Hopefully this page gave you some fun ideas of where to go on your first, or next, trip to Philadelphia!

This page is an ongoing project, if you didn’t see your favorite Philadelphia spot on the list, please comment below and let me know! I’ll be sure to check it out on my next trip to Philly!

If you want to see where I’m traveling to next (and most importantly, what and where I’m eating!follow me on Instagram @WhitneyBond & Snapchat @WhitneyMBond for daily updates on where my foodie adventures take me in the kitchen, around my hometown of San Diego and on my travels throughout the US and beyond!

If you loved this Food Blogger Guide to Philly, be sure to Pin It to your travel boards on Pinterest, Share It with your friends on Facebook, and Check Out my other Food Blogger Guides to NYC, New Orleans and San Diego!