Many of the museums and attractions in Philadelphia’s Historic District close at night, but the area’s appeal doesn’t wane when the sun goes down. Nightlife across the area caters to visitors with interests ranging from craft beer bars to age-old ghost stories to avant-garde theater.
While eateries like The Franklin Fountain and Moshulu vividly recall history, hangouts like Mac’s Tavern offer an authentic taste of today’s local scene.
And while venues like Franklin Square and Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest offer fun for the whole family, other spots encourage an adults-only night out on the town.
No matter what you’re in the mood to do tonight, do it in one (or many) of the awesome spots in our Historic District guide below.
Look for the colorful lights along the Delaware River and you’ll find Spruce Street Harbor Park, which offers a mix of outdoor areas to relax and play. After a day of sightseeing, rest your weary legs in one of the many colorful hammocks and Adirondack chairs spread throughout the space, and, if you choose, unwind with a brew or frozen cocktail.
Where: Spruce Street Harbor Park, 301 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Celebrated local restaurants like Distrito and HipCityVeg operate casual outlets at Spruce Street Harbor Park. Grab a bite and enjoy it in the Oasis, a section of the park that includes floating gardens, landscaped barges and a Caribbean-style net lounge.
At BlueCross RiverRink Summerfest, guests can strap on a pair of skates and go for a spin just steps from the banks of the Delaware River. After the skates come off, head inside to the air-conditioned “crab shack” from Philly’s celebrated eatery Chickie’s and Pete’s.
Where: Blue Cross RiverRink, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
When post-bar hunger sets in, engage in one of Philadelphia’s favorite pastimes: late-night cheesesteaks. Sonny’s Famous Steaks serves hot, fresh sandwiches along with a hearty side of great people-watching until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
Where: Sonny's Famous Steaks, 228 Market Street
The scents that waft from the many restaurants throughout Philadelphia’s Historic District are enough to make a hungry sightseer’s mouth water. Area eateries range from grab-and-go bites to five-star dining experiences. Click “read more” for our guide to the top restaurants in the Historic District.
Where: Various locations including Amada, 217-219 Chestnut Street
Throughout the summer months, attractions in Philadelphia’s Historic District screen outdoor films when the sun goes down. Check the schedules for Penn’s Landing, FringeArts and the Betsy Ross House for exact dates, times and updated weather advisories.
Where: Various locations including The Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, 101 Columbus Boulevard
Nothing says romance like a moonlit riverside stroll. Head to Race Street Pier for incredible sunset and nighttime views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, which connects Philadelphia to Camden, N.J.
Where: Race Street Pier, Columbus Boulevard and Race Street
Who says grown-ups can’t act like kids once in awhile? At Franklin Square, visitors of any age can putter around the Philly-themed miniature golf course, ride the historic Parx Liberty Carousel and dine on burgers and milkshakes at SquareBurger, the park’s eatery. Park hours do vary by season — and in conjunction with special events — so be sure to click here for current hours before heading out to the park after dark.
Where: Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th Street
With more than 40 beers on tap, a deliciously approachable menu and a stock of board and lawn games, Independence Beer Garden has been a neighborhood favorite every summer since its first season in 2014. The venue is directly opposite Independence Mall and steps from the Liberty Bell Center.
Where: Independence Beer Garden, 100 S. Independence Mall W.
Philadelphia’s thriving beer scene is as old as the city itself, and the Tippler’s Tour Colonial Pub Crawl is the perfect way for guests to drink their way through history. Led by a knowledgeable guide outfitted in period costume, the weekly event visits three modern-day watering holes and one colonial tavern. Tours vary by season, so check here for the current pub crawl offering.
Where: Independence Visitor Center, 1 N. Independence Mall W.
Go behind Independence Hall’s velvet rope on an Independence After Hours tour. Participants enjoy a colonial-style dinner at City Tavern before eavesdropping on our Founding Fathers at Independence Hall. Tour availability varies by season. Check here for times, tickets and more.
Where: Independence Hall, 520 Chestnut Street
Get a bird’s-eye view of Philadelphia’s Historic District while sipping cocktails at a rooftop bar in the neighborhood. Stratus Rooftop Lounge attracts chic crowds who come for cocktails and live DJ sets, while the open-air Deck on the Moshulu offers up waterfront breezes alongside culinary refreshment.
Where: Locations include the Moshulu, 401 S. Columbus Boulevard
The old-fashioned decor and costumed servers are just part of the appeal at The Franklin Fountain, which is open until at least midnight seven days a week. This Victorian-inspired ice cream saloon tempts people of all ages with its handmade ice cream, banana splits, thick shakes, sundaes and flavored phosphates and fountain drinks—all served by soda jerks. During colder months, there’s hot chocolate, hot milkshakes and homemade pie.
Where: The Franklin Fountain, 116 Market Street
Located within walking distance from Independence National Historical Park, Morgan’s Pier feels miles away from the city. Just below the Ben Franklin Bridge, leafy trees, a gourmet picnic menu and a beer garden unite at this seasonal dining destination. Earlier in the evening, people enjoy brews and food during sunset; later on, they listen to live music or DJs while taking in the waterfront view.
Where: Morgan's Pier, 221 N. Columbus Boulevard
Thanks to organizations like the Arden Theatre Company and Christ Church Neighborhood House, arts and culture flourish in Philadelphia’s Historic District. These intimate theaters each contain less than 400 seats and showcase some of the region’s most talented actors, singers, dancers and creative professionals.
Where: Various locations including the Arden Theatre, 40 N. 2nd Street
The Shack at La Peg, a casual outdoor beer garden, sets up shop each spring and remains open as long as the weather is fine. The menu features classic crowd-pleasers like burgers, pulled pork sandwiches and lobster rolls, paired with beer, wine or cocktails. The best part of the offerings? All of the food and drink comes with a side of spectacular views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
Where: La Peg, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard
On the first Friday night of each month, the Old City Arts Association hosts First Friday, an open-house-style event at dozens of the neighborhood’s shops and galleries. Members of the public sip wine, stroll from storefront to storefront and interact with artists and business owners.
Where: Various locations including The Clay Studio, 137-139 N. 2nd Street
Two of the most unique restaurants in Philadelphia’s Historic District offer seating not just near the water but on the water. The Spirit of Philadelphia tour takes guests on a scenic Delaware River cruise, while diners who prefer to remain closer to land opt for Moshulu, a permanently docked historic Tall Ship.
Where: Moshulu, 401 S. Columbus Boulevard
Get ready to salsa and spin at Cuba Libre and Brasil’s, two of the hottest spots in the Historic District. Both venues evoke the spirit of Latin America with festive decor, drinks and dancing.
Where: Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, 10 S. 2nd Street
For unique theater and special events, head to FringeArts, which is headquartered in a stunning historic building on the Delaware River Waterfront. Inside, a 232-seat performance space hosts everything from cabaret to works-in-progress to acts that defy categorization. After the show, grab a cocktail at La Peg, the venue’s inviting bar and restaurant.
Where: FringeArts, 140 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
With great history comes great mystery, and Philadelphia is packed with both. Explore the city’s supernatural side on a candlelit stroll through the back streets of Old City with Ghost Tours of Philadelphia.
Where: Signer's Garden, 434-498 Chestnut Street
A post shared by Alice London (@alice.london.91) on Nov 1, 2016 at 12:05pm PDT
A post shared by Alice London (@alice.london.91) on Nov 1, 2016 at 12:05pm PDT
Want to see where the cast of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” hangs out when they’re in town? Head to Mac’s Tavern, an Old City gastropub co-owned by Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson, two of the show’s stars.
Where: Mac's Tavern, 226 Market Street
Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for stays through September 3, 2018 and get FREE hotel parking as well as free tickets to the Museum of the American Revolution, free tickets for a ride on the Ferris wheel and roller skating at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, a $25 CHeU Noodle restaurants gift card, free mini-golf and a carousel ride at Franklin Square, free passes to ride the PHLASH Downtown Loop and a $10 Lyft credit.