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Holiday Shopping, Philly Style

Enjoy an extra ho-ho-ho when you shop tax-free on clothing and shoes

Main Street Manayunk

Credit: R. Kennedy


’Tis the season to be shopping! But a long holiday gift list can be overwhelming — even if shopping is usually your favorite sport.

Turn your to-do list into a fun, 36-hour retail marathon exploring Philadelphia’s independent boutiques, upscale malls and trendy fashion districts.

Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package™ and your car stays FREE — and with no tax on clothing, you’ll pocket enough cash to spring for a little extra something for yourself.

Friday 5 p.m.

I’ll Take It

First stop on your retail romp is Old City, where you’ll find dozens of indie boutiques, specialty shops and galleries. For the oenophiles on your list, Pinot stocks every accessory and gadget a wine aficionado could want. Head over to Art Star in Northern Liberties for the a gift with that special handmade touch from local Philadelphia artists!

For affordable ladies and men’s accessories, make your next stop Sugarcube boutique. Most of the shops are open until 7 p.m. on Friday, but some keep ringing up sales until 9 or 10 p.m.

124 N. 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Friday 8 p.m.

Global Gastronomy

By now you’ll be famished, and since Old City is restaurant central, all you have to do is decide on a cuisine — American favorites at Triumph Brewing Company , continental cuisine at Fork, or Spanish tapas at Amada — and savor the flavors and aromas that waft across your table.

217 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Friday 10 p.m.

A Thirst for the Nightlife

Celebrate your shopping success with a Buzz Aldrin, Dean Martini or Orchid Martini, just three of The Continental’s many signature cocktails. For a quiet spot where you can plot the next day’s shopping strategy, perch yourself at the bar at Positano Coast , sip on a glass of Prosecco and enjoy the wrap-around views of Old City.

212 Walnut Street
Positano Coast
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Saturday 9 a.m.

A Brunch-able Feast

Serious shopping requires stamina, and stamina requires a good breakfast. Start your day with savory crepes, salads and fresh-squeezed juice at Creperie Beau Monde, a French-style bistro in the city’s hip South Street district, or hearty omelets and buttermilk pancakes at Sabrina’s Café in the legendary Italian Market .

910 Christian Street
Sabrina’s Café
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Saturday 11 a.m.

To the Mall!

Now the fun begins. Rev up the car because your next stop is the jaw-droppingly large King of Prussia Mall .

In addition to Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom’s, there are more than 400 shops with a dizzying array of up-to-the-minute merchandise. Beef up your favorite music-lover’s sound system with accessories from Bose, outfit your favorite metrosexual with designs from Hugo Boss, inspire your favorite youngster’s creativity with a kit from the Lego Store or treat your favorite glamazon to an Hermes scarf or Louis Vuitton handbag.

160 N. Gulph Road
King of Prussia Mall
King of Prussia, PA 19406

Saturday 1 p.m.

Down on Main Street

If you and your credit cards need a change of scenery, stop by Main Street in Manayunk on your way back into the city.

But first, some lunch! Grab a quick salad and wrap at The Couch Tomato Café, or cozy up to a bowl of homemade soup, seared tuna or grilled shrimp burrito at Derek’s Restaurant, a Manayunk mainstay.

Now that you’re recharged, you can start charging again. All that glitters really is gold at Gary Mann Design, specializing in custom jewelry, estate pieces and mezuzahs that are works of art. You’ll be the toast of any holiday dinner when you show up bearing gifts from Nicole Miller.

4249 Main Street
Nicole Miller
Philadelphia, PA 19127

Saturday 6 p.m.

Dinner Is Served

In the mood for bold and spicy? Distrito is your place. With 60 kinds of tequila for margaritas, more than 600 decorative masks, a dining booth made out of an old Volkswagen Beetle and an innovative chef who puts an unexpected spin on Mexican cuisine, it’s a party waiting to happen.

3945 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Saturday 9 p.m.

On Stage Tonight

Finish your night at World Café Live . The concert venue, named for the national NPR radio show that originates here, books all the names that are on your iPod. The sound system is killer, and it’s a great place to pick up last-minute gifts for the music-lovers on your list.

For a more traditional performing arts experience, head to the Avenue of the Arts, otherwise known as Broad Street. Be dazzled with the Pennsylvania Ballet’s performances of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker (December 7-29), performed at the Academy of Music , which is so elaborate you’ll have a hard time keeping your eyes on the stage.

3025 Walnut Street
World Café Live
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Saturday 11 p.m.

Time For a Nightcap

Before turning in for the night, kick back and relax over a glass of wine and plate of artisanal cheeses at Tria, a Philadelphia favorite with two locations in Center City. You’re going to the Rittenhouse spot, which is a dreamy blend of cozy, tasty and sophisticated.

123 S. 18th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Sunday 10 a.m.

Bubbly Brunch

Before you set out to finish your shopping, make time for brunch first. There’s a Parisian vibe going on over at Rouge on Rittenhouse Square. The glam nightspot is also a glam brunch spot where you can start your day with a bubbly mimosa, farm-fresh omelet or signature Rouge burger.

Just a few steps away, the Parc Brasserie is so reminiscent of Paris that the only thing missing is the Seine. As you sip on a Kir Royale, decide from among fluffy pancakes, oeufs however you like them, fruits de mer and other traditional French specialties.

227 S. 18th Street
Parc Brasserie
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Sunday 11 a.m.

Ready, Set, Retail

Now you’re ready for Rittenhouse Row. Stock up on stocking stuffers at Kiehl’s, Anthropologie or Bluemercury cosmetics emporiums. If you’ve seen it in the style magazines, you’ll see it at Joan Shepp Boutique with rack after rack of to-die-for designer clothes, shoes, bags and accessories. Finally, Knit Wit’s carefully edited selections from top European designers help you find the perfect dress for holiday get-togethers.

If you still have names on your gift list, slip into Arcadia Boutique and choose from their unique books, stylish women’s clothing, statement-making jewelry and trendy accessories. With holiday entertainment on your schedule, head to Paper Source to pick up invitations and thank-you notes crafted from handmade and imported paper.

265 S. 20th Street
Arcadia Boutique
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Hotels + More

The Basics


If you’re traveling from New York, New England, DC, Baltimore, Harrisburg, etc., Amtrak is easy – Book online at Amtrak or call 1-800-USA-RAIL.


If you drive here, stash your car off-street until you leave. Though you might enjoy an occasional cab, trolley or carriage ride, most of these places can be reached on foot. Parking regulations are strictly enforced in the historic area, and you may find yourself getting towed with un-municipal efficiency.

Start at the Center

The Independence Visitor Center (IVC) — the exclusive pick-up location for free tickets to Independence Hall — offers personalized trip-planning services, free WIFI, brochures and maps, informational exhibits and films, a gift shop, two cafes and tickets to all major tours and attractions in the Philadelphia region. Located at 6th & Market Streets across from the Liberty Bell, the IVC is your one-stop-shop for tickets, souvenirs, itinerary planning, maps and more. Stop at the IVC when you arrive in Philadelphia, or call 800-537-7676 to speak to a live concierge.


You can’t get closer to Philadelphia’s greatest sightseeing treasures than the bustling Holiday Inn Philadelphia Historic District , which is right in the thick of everything (distance: 0 miles) and has a sunny rooftop pool with a view.

The Sheraton Society Hill is just four blocks from Independence Hall and a block from Penn’s Landing in residential Society Hill. It has a bit more greenery than most city hotels and a heated indoor pool.

The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package™ is a popular getaway — and a terrific deal. It’s available throughout the year and gives you free parking and special offers and discounts – in addition to deluxe accommodations in Center City Philadelphia. Check out the package, then pick your favorite hotel.

More food and drink, please!

Of course, what we’ve recommended is just a sample of the amazing range of food and drink in Philadelphia. Take a closer look at the city’s Dining and Nightlife offerings and pick your favorites.

400 Arch Street
Holiday Inn Historic District
Philadelphia, PA 19106



Philadelphia and The Countryside


Walking, trolleys or cabs through Center City; 30-45 minute car ride to Philadelphia suburbs


Approx. 36 hours (Friday evening until Sunday afternoon)


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