The Complete Philadelphia Travel Guide

Here’s where to stay, what to eat and what to do in Philly.

Skyline in summer behind the Schuylkill River Boardwalk at dawn, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Here’s what you should add Philadelphia to your must-visit travel list. UCG/Universal Images Group via G

Are you looking to get away for a few days, but want somewhere a little bit more exciting, with a bit more culture, than the typical beach vacation? You don’t have to embark on a far-off getaway—instead, venture to Philadelphia for James Beard Award-winning chefs chefs, epic skyline views and museums you can’t find anywhere else. And yes, you can pick up a cheesesteak.

Plus, Philly is only a short train ride away from New York City, making it an easy long weekend trip you’ll want to repeat. Read on to discover the best places to stay, dine and play tourist in the City of Brotherly Love. 

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Where to stay

An indoor infinity pool surrounded by windows on a high floor of a building.
The Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia. Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia

Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center

1 N 19th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Looking for truly luxurious accommodations? Philadelphia’s most elegant hotel is located more than 60 stories above the city and offers epic skyline views. Simply map out your weekend from the comfort of your plush room, because the entire city is at your disposal. 

This location is extremely walkable (it’s easy to hit cultural spots like the Barnes or Museum Mile), but you can also stay inside the Four Seasons and explore, especially when it comes to dining, as the two restaurants are helmed by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and James Beard-winning chef Greg Vernick. In addition, this lavish property houses an indoor infinity-edge pool on the 57th floor that’s beloved by influencers, plus an equally opulent spa.  

An opulent dark red and light green accented room with tasteful decorations.
The Guild House. Jason Varney

The Guild House

1307 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Want a more intimate experience? This luxury boutique hotel, conveniently located in the Center City area, opened its doors in 2021, with 12 completely unique rooms. In fact, you’ll want to book another stay the moment you check out, so you can get to try all the different accommodations.

The Guild House was originally a rowhouse that housed New Century Guild, a women’s support organization, and the hotel still pays homage to its historical roots. For example, the hotel has partnered with minority-owned businesses to offer luxe products, and hosts regular “fireside chats” with different speakers to help build community in Philadelphia.

Where to unwind

A spa room with wavy gray marble walls and white accents
Rescue Spa’s Relaxation Room. Karen Harmelin

Rescue Spa

1811 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

New York’s famous luxury day spa has an equally glamorous (and even larger) location in Philly, after reopening in 2023 in the former home of the Rittenhouse Club. Even if you’re not getting a facial (although you should), visit the beauty boutique for all of your favorite, hard-to-find skincare brands (like the full Biologique Recherche line) in one stunning place. 

Where to dine

Two bowls of colorful food on a wooden table atop a menu for Fork as well as an actual fork on a napkin.
Fork. Fork


306 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Make a reservation at this sophisticated mainstay for a seriously memorable experience. The ambiance is simultaneously relaxed and elegant, and the dishes are eclectic and unforgettable, which is hardly a surprising considering owner Ellen Yin was awarded the 2023 James Beard Outstanding Restaurateur of the Year. The chilled pea soup, with pickled shallots and lime yogurt, is a summertime staple, with an unexpected and refreshing twist. The black and tan risotto,  made with asparagus and a sunny side up egg, is a lighter, zestier take on the typically heavy dish. Save room to sample a selection of the funky desserts, like the tart and delightful lemon curd with fresh dill. 

Partially outdoor space with wooden chairs and walls covered with ivy
Talula’s. Steph Otis

Talula’s Garden

210 W Washington Square, Philadelphia, PA 19106 

Talula’s is a longtime Society Hill neighborhood favorite. It offers seasonal, farm-to-table American fare in a lush garden. The Stephen Starr standout in Washington Square is in partnership with restaurateur Aimee Olexy, and is great for a Sunday brunch. The eclectic, cozy decor feels like you’re inside your oh-so-chic grandmother’s living room.  Don’t leave without getting the zeppole—piping hot Italian donuts much like beignets, served with creamy caramel sauce and of course, whipped cream. 

Six different colorful dishes on a wooden table
Zahav. Zahav


237 St James Pl, Philadelphia, PA 19106

15 years after it first opened, this famed Philadelphia restaurant is still a hard-to-score reservation—and for good reason, as the food is so top-notch you’ll be thinking about it for years to come. Chef Michael Solomonov is one of the major influences behind the recent boom of Israeli restaurants sweeping the country, and he still does it best. If you can’t get a table, try one of Solomonov’s other Philly eateries, including Goldie (order one of the tehina—aka tahini—milkshakes), Dizengoff (the hummus platters are constantly evolving) or favorites like Laser Wolf and K’Far, which recently made their way to New York City.

A restaurant booth in a food market with a blue and white counter and a neon sign that reads "Spataros"
Spataros at Reading Terminal Reading Terminal

Reading Terminal Market

1136 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

If you’re only in town for a short amount of time and want to get all the Philly eats in at once, visit Reading Terminal. Pro tip: you can also book an exclusive tasting tour of the historic market, chock full of local favorites. Whether you want a cheesesteak, fancy corn dog or fresh juice, there’s something for everyone. 

Where to play tourist

A small rectangular reflecting pool between a sidewalk with grass on either side and a cream-colored building made of large blocks
The Barnes Foundation. Michael Perez

The Barnes Foundation

2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130

This nonprofit museum is unlike any other. It has a truly unique collection, from a plethora of Cézanne watercolors to an array of Picasso compositions. Everything is mixed together, making each individual room an artistic surprise. Definitely book a tour before visiting, so you can learn all about ​​Dr. Albert C. Barnes and his private collection. 

An aerial view of the Museum Mile in Philadelphia.
An aerial view of the Museum Mile Museum Mile

Museum Mile

Visit this famed cultural hub on Benjamin Franklin Parkway to spend time at the Rodin Museum, the Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. You’ll recognize the steps immediately if you’ve seen the Rocky movies.

The Complete Philadelphia Travel Guide