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My master’s program thesis was to create a Visit Philadelphia Summer Campaign from scratch. The ultimate goal was to attract tourism, generate awareness of Philadelphia, and increase overnight visits among a selected target audience.

I worked tirelessly on this project which entailed so much research and writing. So when it came down to planning a weekend getaway to Philly, I already had a grasp into what I wanted to explore: it’s history, culture, and art.

Forty eight hours was just enough time to unpack this adventurous itinerary and tour the vibrant City of Brotherly Love.


Most of the adventures took place near Rittenhouse Square, Center City, Independence Mall, and Fairmount. If you have a fair sense of direction, Philly is really simple to get around. In terms of stay, The Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square was affordable and a central location. The weather in early June was absolutely fantastic and worked to our advantage for commuting. Distance from the hotel to our destinations ranged from a short 8 minute walk to an extended 30 minute walk. Uber and driving were also options but it’s important to keep in mind that parking in the city is scarce. Do your research ahead of time and ensure you follow all local regulations.

Landmarks & Museums:

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

PMG is a frequented tourist gem in Philly and I was able to confirm why. The art and mosaics are impressive and absolutely stunning. The stories portrayed are powerful leaving you curious. Grab a scavenger hunt list from the indoor gallery to keep you on your toes while you visit the outside area. Arrange your schedule to attend in the evening for less crowds and more photo opportunities without distractions!

The National Constitution Center

Located in Independence Mall, this was a great place to start our second day in the city; helping us bring to life the history of The Constitution, especially since it was written and signed in Philadelphia. My favorite exhibit was The 19th Amendment How Women Won the Vote as it showcased the treacherous journey to granting women the right to vote in the United States. The aesthetics and stories in this exhibit are breathtaking.

United States Mint

The nation’s first mint provides a wide array of coins and manufacturing services. Tours are free. No photography is allowed but no worries there’s so much to learn and follow along. Stop by the Visitor Store and maybe you’ll get inspired to start a coin collection like I did.

JFK Plaza

All within walking distance, you’ll pass by the Clothespin across the City Hall in Center City Philadelphia to arrive at the Love Park featuring the iconic “LOVE” sculpture by artist Indiana Robert. Sitting at 6 ft in height, 6 ft in width, and 3ft in depth, this monument has become a key symbol for Philadelphia tourists and residents. A similar iteration translated in Spanish, “AMOR” was designed on the occasion of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. by the same artist, and currently resides in Sister Cities Park, 18th Street.

Rittenhouse Square

You’ll find yourself walking through the park to shortcut your way around Philly – or maybe – if you’re daring, you’ll take a blanket and some snacks to people & bird watch, or participate in other events happening in the park that weekend.

Rocky Statue and Steps

Reflect on the impact and story of fictional boxer, Rocky Balboa, on the famous Rocky Steps from the film, which is located near the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The statue, just a few steps (literally) away, is another great way to honor the legacy of Rocky and is dedicated by Sylvester Stallone, who starred as Rocky & is also notably known for his role as Rambo.

Eastern State Penitentiary

Reserve about three hours for a thorough tour of the world’s first true penitentiary known for its grand architecture and strict discipline. It was designed to inspire penitence, regret, and rehabilitation for prisoners. The self guided tour was suffice, with an audio headset that guides you through the penitentiary step by step. Once that’s complete, you can take a peek into cells from notorious lawbreakers including bank robber “Slick Willie” Sutton and “Scarface” Al Capone”. Stop by Cell Block 2 for special “Unlocking History” tour times including a visit to Soup Alley, Catholic Chaplain’s Office, and Hospital. These short fifteen minute tours were my favorite part of my visit.

Dining & Shopping:


The restaurant, with its very exclusive Latin American menu, was the perfect choice for our dinner date night, conveniently close to the hotel. From the refreshing Piña Colada to the flavorful Chuleta de Cordero, every dish was simply delicious.

Federal Donuts

Fried chicken and donuts?! Rise and shine any day for this combo. The classic donut was my favorite. They have eleven locations around Philly so pick your poison.

Fashion District Philadelphia

If you’re looking to do some shopping and snap a photo in front of a Greetings from Philly mural, be sure to explore this mall with its diverse range of stores and entertainment. Follow the signs, keep walking, and you’ll eventually find your way to Reading Terminal Market.

Reading Terminal Market

To be honest, I was really tempted to skip this place. I didn’t think braving the crowd would be worth it. How wrong I was. Up to this point, we had not tried a cheesesteak in Philly but we figured grabbing a pretzel might be quicker given the crowd. We stopped by Miller’s Twist because it happened to have the shortest line. Feeling indecisive, I ordered a cheesesteak stuffed pretzel and a lemonade—and it was absolutely heavenly. Next time I’m in town, this will definitely be my first stop.

Miss Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant & Lounge

Miss Saigon’s vibrant and contemporary design offers an authentic taste of Vietnamese cuisine. Don’t miss out on the exquisite beef Pho and the slightly spicy Bahn Mi for a true experience. And if you’re looking to refresh your taste buds without alcohol, try their Fresh Ginger Beer.

For next time:

Liberty Bell @ Independence Hall

Be sure to make reservations. There are no day-of tickets available. Who knew the Liberty Bell lived inside?!

Philadelphia Museum of Art

If you have time to spare, definitely visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This will be the place to be at our next visit (after Miller’s Twist)

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Every time we passed by this place, there was always a long line and tight security. It seems like the perfect dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth.

See you soon, Philly!

My weekend getaway trip to Philadelphia was truly incredible and enjoyable. I immersed myself in its captivating history and diverse cuisine, uncovering so many memorable experiences. The weather was fantastic throughout, which helped make every moment even more special. Every photo taken captured the essence of Philadelphia’s remarkable, picturesque, and vibrant atmosphere. I can’t wait to be back – I’ve already bookmarked a few hidden gems to revisit next time. Let me know if you visit any of the places I mentioned or if you have additional recommendations! #NoGatekeeping