Philadelphia day trip: Take in the quintessential sights and eats

Go on, take a selfie in front of the Liberty Bell.
Go on, take a selfie in front of the Liberty Bell. Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

For city slickers, swapping one urban environment for the next makes for the perfect day trip. And with New York’s proximity to Philadelphia, it’s also easy. For as low as $11 each way and a quick two-hour bus ride, trade the NYC madness for quaint city vibes. From long-standing history to a booming beer and cocktail scene to a slew of bustling markets, here’s how to spend a quintessential Saturday in Philly.

9 a.m.

Grab the Greyhound bus from New York and arrive in Philadelphia at 11:10 a.m. in Center City. Walk about 10 minutes east, grab a late-morning coffee at La Colombe (100 S. Independence Mall W.) and get your tourist fix out of the way. Snap selfies at the Liberty Bell, Washington Monument and Old City Hall, all ideally situated in Independence National Historical Park.


Walk back west to Reading Terminal Market (51 N. 12th St.), one of the nation’s oldest and largest public markets. Munch on baked goods from Beiler’s Donuts and Famous 4th Street Cookie Company and stock up on an array of locally produced snacks.

1 p.m.

Take a 15-minute Uber or Lyft to Evil Genius Beer Company (1727 N. Front St.) for some midafternoon imbibing. Stay a while, or create your own booze crawl within the Kensington area, with Saint Benjamin Brewing Company (1710 N. Fifth St.), Original 13 Ciderworks (1526 N. American St.) and Philadelphia Brewing Co. (2440 Frankford Ave.) all walkable.

Get your Philly cheesesteak fix at Campo's.
Get your Philly cheesesteak fix at Campo’s. Photo Credit: C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia

3 p.m.

No day trip to Philly is complete without an authentic Philly cheesesteak. Take a ride back south to the family-owned Campo’s (214 Market St.) for various takes on the signature sandwich, including the spicy Heater. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available.

4 p.m.

Take a break from eating with a 10-minute ride to Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (admission $10; 1020 South St.). This nonprofit is dedicated to folk art and mosaics, taking over three city lots, both indoors and outdoors. Snap some photos, stroll around and work up an appetite to eat some more.

6 p.m.

Walk 8 minutes south and grab dinner at the 9th Street Italian Market (919 S. Ninth St.). Transport yourself to Italy, if only for a few hours, through the street’s many butcher shops, cheese stalls, restaurants, cafes and bakeries. Hit Ralph’s or Deluca’s for an Italian-style dinner.

8 p.m.

Take a 10-minute ride and end up back in the Center City/Rittenhouse Square area for a post-dinner drink. For photogenic libations, stop by Friday Saturday, Sunday (261 S. 21st St.). For craft cocktails in a speak-easy environment, head to the subterranean Franklin Bar (112 S. 18th St.). For one last beer, Monk’s Café (264 S. 16th St.) is a must. Just be mindful of the time to catch a 9:55 p.m. or 11:45 p.m. Greyhound bus back to NYC.