There are a lot of touristy things to do in Philadelphia, including countless museums, noteworthy historical sites, and shopping. But if you need a break from the sightseeing, and if the weather’s allows, you could do worse than hang around Rittenhouse Square for the afternoon.
Located in Center City, Rittenhouse is especially ideal if you’re looking for a break from shopping Chestnut and Walnut Streets. But while Rittenhouse has a reputation for fine dining and expensive homes, there are still plenty of less pricey food options around.
Tip: To enjoy Rittenhouse at its finest, you’ll need a few supplies, so be sure to grab a blanket or towel, some sunscreen, a book, and a bottle of water before you leave.
Start your morning just outside of Rittenhouse with a stop at Federal Donuts (1632 Sansom St) for some of their hot fresh or fancy donuts. (My personal favorite is the strawberry lavender). If you’d like some more substantial and less of a hassle (Federal Donuts can get busy at peak times) stop by Metropolitan Cafe (264 S 19th St) for a quick brunch. If you plan on heading out to a different part of the city, grab a bagel and cream cheese to-go.
After you’ve breakfasted, head to the park, find a good spot, and get comfortable. The lawn on the north side gets the most sun, but everyone has their own favorite spot. (Mine is on the southwest corner near the statue of Billy the Goat. It’s typically crowded with parents and small children, but get there at the right time and you can sit around all day.)
Tip: On Saturdays, get there in the morning to peruse the farmers’ market, where you can pick up fresh produce, flowers, and a variety of local products.
For lunch, head to HipCityVeg (127 S 18th St) and get your meal to-go. HipCityVeg is vegan fast-food, but trust me when I say that even meat lovers will enjoy the food here. Try the Crispy HipCity Ranch Chik’n Burger if you don’t believe me. (And the sweet potato fries are the best in the city.)
If you’re still not convinced, Shake Shack (2000 Sansom St) is just around the corner. Go against the grain and get a hot dog, then enjoy your meal while sitting on a park bench and people-watching.
Save room, from Rittenhouse, it’s an easy walk to Lil Pop Shop (229 S 20th St) where you can get a refreshing popsicle or slice of pie.
Tip: If you need a break from the heat, stop in Barnes & Noble for a bit. The Starbucks on the second floor has plenty of outlets if you need to recharge your phone.
At this point, you should be significantly stuffed full of delicious food, and ready to take on the evening with new enthusiasm. But if you’re looking for dinner or bar recommendations in the neighborhood, stay tuned!