May 14, 2018

Neighborhood Guide To Old City & The Delaware River Waterfront, Philadelphia

Restaurants, Cafes, Art Galleries, Day Spas & More

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Diners and bar-goers enjoy the casually elegant atmosphere at Ellen Yin’s Fork. Photo by A. Ricketts for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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A symbol of freedom and equality for all, the Liberty Bell remains one of Philadelphia’s most-visited attractions. Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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The multi-award winning Arden Theatre Company presents five main stage productions and two children’s works each season. Photo by M. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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The National Constitution Center (NCC) highlights the famous four-page document through exhibitions, film, artifacts and interactive displays. Photo by M. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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At Zahav in Old City, James Beard Award winner Michael Solomonov prepares cuisine from his native Israel in his adopted home of Philadelphia. Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Next to Independence Hall, where the country’s Founding Fathers declared liberty and built a free nation, Old City, a neighborhood in Philadelphia’s Historic District, has original cobblestone streets, 18th-century charm—and an independent streak evident in its popular bistros, owner-operated shops, vibrant nightlife and edgy art scene. On Old City’s eastern edge, the Delaware River Waterfront, is best known for fun, outdoor gathering spots.

One mile from Philadelphia City Hall, Old City stretches from the Delaware River to 6th Street and from Walnut Street to Race Street. Wheelchair-accessible SEPTA bus routes 17, 33, 44, 48 and 78 run east-west along Market Street; bus routes 9, 21, 38 and 42 run east along Chestnut Street—all stop at all numbered cross streets. SEPTA’s Market-Frankford subway line (“the El” to residents), has wheelchair-accessible stops along Market Street at 2nd and 5th streets.

Fine & Special Occasion Dining:

  • Amada – Lovely, rustic and always busy, this Spanish spot is largely responsible for touching off Philadelphia’s tapas trend. Amada is also known for big Spanish-style plates, including a roasted suckling pig and a chef’s tasting menu, with or without the wine pairing. 217-219 Chestnut Street, (215) 625-2450, amadarestaurant.com
  • Buddakan Restaurateur Stephen Starr’s homage to modern Asian cuisine cleverly spins classics—bento box lunches, edamame, dumplings—and features a 16-foot-tall golden Buddha and 32-seat communal table. 325 Chestnut Street, (215) 574-9440, buddakan.com
  • Chloe – This tiny, couple-owned bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) spot innovates American cuisine in a comfortable, neighborhood setting. The restaurant maintains a no-reservations policy; in-the-know diners arrive early to secure a table without a wait. 232 Arch Street, (215) 629-2337, chloebyob.com
  • City Tavern Revolutionary renditions of 18th-century Colonial fine dining include George Washington’s original recipe for ale. Costumed servers add to the charm. 138 S. 2nd Street, (215) 413-1443, citytavern.com
  • Fork – This elegant American bistro, owned by chef Eli Kulp and Ellen Yin, jumpstarted the restaurant scene in Old City more than 15 years ago, and remains a highlight in the neighborhood and city. Seasonal ingredients make up the elevated yet accessible menu. 306 Market Street, (215) 625-9425, forkrestaurant.com
  • La Famiglia Ristorante – This well-established, old world Italian restaurant has the same ownership as Panorama (below), serves lunch and dinner and is known for its deep wine selection and romantic setting. 8 S. Front Street, (215) 922-2803, lafamiglia.com
  • Moshulu Breathtaking views keep diners coming back for twilight cocktails and special-occasion dinners and weekend brunch aboard the world’s oldest and largest square-rigged sailing vessel still afloat, berthed on Penn’s Landing. 401 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 923-2500, moshulu.com
  • Panorama One of the most romantic Italian restaurants in Philadelphia, this gem has a Guinness Book World Record for its largest cruvinet system of dispensing wines by the glass. Specialties include agnolotti con burrata in San Marzano tomato sauce and gnocchi with hazelnut pesto. 14 N. Front Street, (215) 922-7800, pennsviewhotel.com/panorama
  • Positano Coast – Diners transport to Italy’s Amalfi Coast at this restaurant and wine bar. Favorites of the Mediterranean menu include the sea urchin pasta, pan-seared branzino, house-made vegetable ravioli and grilled octopus. 212 Walnut Street, (215) 238-0499, positanocoast.net
  • Tuna Bar – While there is plenty of toro and yellowtail to be had at this new Japanese spot, the nigiri and hand rolls are only the beginning. Fans of cooked fare indulge in lobster fried rice, heirloom pork gyoza and soy-miso Brussels sprouts. 205 Race Street, (215) 238-8862, tunabar.com
  • Vista Peru Bright ceviches, pisco cocktails and soy-spiked lomo saltado bring the flavors of Peru to a chic, new space. The Northeast Philly-based team behind the more casual El Balconcito restaurants crafted a mod dining room and bar, showing off stylish takes on Andean favorites. 20 S. 2nd Street, (215) 398-5046, vistaperuphilly.com
  • Wister Chef and seafood specialist Benjamin Moore oversees this lovely dinner and Sunday brunch BYOB spot named after 19th-century Philadelphia ironworker John Wister. As such, exposed brick walls, dimly lit tables—and fine metal work—adorn the dining room.  26 N. 3rd Street, (267) 239-5900, wisterbyob.com
  • Zahav – James Beard Award winner Michael Solomonov prepares cuisine from his native Israel in his adopted home of Philadelphia. The restaurant’s design pays homage to the hidden courtyards of Jerusalem, where diners choose among a selection of raved-about hummus options, share a few small plates or order from a $48 tasting 237 St. James Place, (215) 625-8800, zahavrestaurant.com

Casual, Sit-Down Dining:

  • About Hot Pot – Tucked into a walkway next door to an art house movie theater, this DIY Sichuan soup spot allows guests to customize their own, shareable, mild-to-spicy noodle bowls. 125 Sansom Walkway, (215) 928-2320, abouthotpot.com
  • Ariana This family-owned BYOB was the first to serve traditional Afghani food in the region—and one of the first to offer hookahs to the city. Guests rave about the savory kabobs and the pudding desserts. 134 Chestnut Street, (215) 922-1535, restaurantariana.com
  • Big Ass Slices Slices so big they require two plates and post last-call hours appeal to customers of this stunt pizza shop. Those in the market for a more petite piece of the pie can opt for a Little Ass slice. 218 Market Street, (215) 625-3955, bigassslicesmenu.com
  • Capofitto The crew behind Philadelphia’s beloved gelato mini-chain, Capogiro, wows with their Neapolitan-style pizza from a custom wood-fired oven. Weekend brunch features pasta, egg dishes and pizza, of course. 233 Chestnut Street, (215) 897-9999, capofittoforno.com
  • Chez Ben – American and French dishes share the menu at this warm, Parisian cafe-inspired Renaissance Downtown hotel all-day brasserie. Adjoining bar M. Brown’s expertly mixes classics cocktails. 400 Chestnut Street, (215) 931-4260, chezbenbistrophilly.com
  • Common Wealth The Low Country inspired this Southern brunch, lunch and dinner spot. Fried-green tomato BLTs, she-crab soup and crawfish hushpuppies share menu space with veg-friendly plates of hoppin’ John hummus and roasted mushroom burgers. 319 Market Street, (215) 372-7581, commonwealthphila.com
  • DiNardo’s Famous Seafood – This four-decade institution gets crabs flown in daily from the Gulf Coast to serve them hot and dirty, Baltimore-style, or with garlic. The mostly-seafood menu also includes steak, pasta and chicken. 312 Race Street, (215) 925-5115, dinardos.com
  • Dos Rosas – House-made corn and flour tortillas are the jumping-off point for this playful Mexican BYOB. Seasonal fruits and vegetables pop up in sweet corn queso fundido and Peking duck carnitas with cherries. 7 N. 3rd Street, (215) 931-1560, dorosasphilly.com
  • Farmicia Local, organic products are the focus of this relaxed yet lively lunch and dinner spot. Happy hour takes places Tuesday through Friday and during weekend brunch. 15 S. 3rd Street, (215) 627-6274, farmiciarestaurant.com
  • Han Dynasty With accolades from CNN and Anthony Bourdain, this chic, contemporary Chinese restaurant puts a twist on the classics. Diners choose their spice level, numbered one through 10. 123 Chestnut Street, (215) 922-1888, handynasty.net
  • High Street on Market – The more casual sibling restaurant of Fork (above) serves meals all day: Morning means egg sandwiches, sweet and savory pastries and Rival Bros. small-batch coffee; lunch brings sandwiches and market salads; dinner is a sophisticated but casual, with house-made pastas, family-style plates and a concise wine and spirit selection. 308 Market Street, (215) 625-0988, highstreetonmarket.com
  • Keating’s Rope & Anchor, Bar + Kitchen, Grill This Hilton Penn’s Landing restaurant features contemporary American cuisine with an emphasis on sustainable seafood, local ingredients, handmade cocktails—with great waterfront views, live entertainment and an outdoor patio. 201 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard, (215) 521-6509, ropeandanchorkitchen.com
  • La Peg – Diners at this brasserie, located inside the FringeArts building, enjoy contemporary American dishes from chef Peter Woolsey and waterfront views. The industrial-chic design pays homage to the building’s original purpose as a pumping station. 140 N. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 375-7744, lapegbrasserie.com
  • The Little Lion (closed for renovation through summer 2018) – Offering brunch, lunch and dinner, this restaurant—named for Alexander Hamilton, founder of the nearby First Bank—has revolutionary flair and classic Southern cuisine, including fried green tomatoes, mac and cheese and bourbon-and-brown sugar iced tea. 243 Chestnut Street, (267) 273-0688, thelittlelionphilly.com
  • MTQ Cafe – A simple menu of pho, banh mi and summer rolls satisfies Southeast Asian cravings at Old City’s lone Vietnamese BYOB. In lieu of beers, sweet iced coffee, teas and boba drinks round out the beverage options. 113 Chestnut Street, (215) 309-3633
  • Old Thyme Cafe – Fresh juices, healthy breakfasts and veg-centric Mediterranean fare provide lighter alternatives to the cheesesteak-heavy offerings lining this historic stretch. Made-to-order crepes are filled with savory combos of chicken and mushrooms or sweet Nutella and bananas. 229 Market Street, (215) 928-9000, oldthymecafe.com
  • Radicchio Café Wonderful rustic Italian cuisine and seafood make up the specialties at this first-come, first-served BYOB restaurant on the neighborhood’s edge. Open seven days a week for dinner, it’s the perfect Monday spot. 314 York Avenue, (215) 627-6850
  • Red Owl Tavern – This tavern attached to the Hotel Monaco Philadelphia serves up handcrafted cocktails made with fresh-squeezed juices, along with house-cured charcuterie and classic dishes with an international twist. On weekends, brunchers enjoy a self-serve Bellini bar from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 433 Chestnut Street, (215) 923-2267, redowltavern.com
  • Revolution Diner – Across from the Museum of the American Revolution, this 24/7 diner partners with local vendors to provide fresh food. Menu items include the Red Velvet Revolution Waffle and brick-oven baked pizzas. 241 Chestnut Street, (215) 238-6900, revolutionphilly.com
  • Spasso – This Italian restaurant with a casual, inviting feel has an open kitchen that turns out seafood and meat dishes and homemade pasta. During warmer months, Spasso’s alfresco dining and happy hour are a must. 34 S. Front Street, (215) 592-7661, spassioitaliangrill.com
  • Zento Contemporary Japanese Cuisine Finesse and creativity are infused in this top-shelf sushi and sake bar. Must haves: the specialty Old City roll, shrimp tempura topped with eel and avocado. 132 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-9998, zentocontemporary.com

Food-Focused Bars:

  • The Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar – Old City’s original martini bar specializes in global tapas served in a lively, stylish setting. The kitchen opens weekdays for lunch, weekends for brunch—and stays open late on Fridays and Saturdays to satisfy the cravings of the neighborhood’s party people. 138 Market Street, (215) 923-6069, continentalmartinibar.com
  • Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar – Cuban and Latin cuisine and refreshing mojitos fit perfectly in this setting straight out of old Havana. Helmed by two-time James Beard Award-winner Guillermo Pernot, the kitchen offers the “15 Tastes of Cuba” tasting menu nightly and an a la carte or unlimited tapas brunch on weekends. 10 S. 2nd Street, (215) 627-0666, cubalibrerestaurant.com
  • The Gaslight – This bar and restaurant from “Top Chef” alum Jason Cichonski features interesting takes on the classics (Buffalo bacon; a double burger with pork roll, cheddar and a fried egg), cleverly named drinks and great, boozy brunches. 120 Market Street, (215) 925-7691, thegaslightphilly.com
  • Khyber Pass Pub Known for its bacon-grease popcorn, New Orleans-style brunch and vegan and vegetarian grub, the city’s oldest established existing pub offers an intimate experience in a friendly, no-frills setting. 56 S. 2nd Street, (215) 238-5888, khyberpasspub.com
  • Lucha Cartel – A Mexican bar and restaurant by the same team behind National Mechanics, this vibrant venue serves Tex-Mex appetizers and entrees, mojitos and margaritas. Tuesdays are salsa nights. 207 Chestnut Street, (267) 761-9209, luchacartel.com
  • Morgan’s Pier 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. 221 N. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 279-7134, com
  • The Olde Bar – The former beloved seafoodery Bookbinder’s has been resurrected as a handsome saloon serving Fish House punch, raw and fried oysters, snapper soup and strawberry shortcake for two in booths and at the bar. 125 Walnut Street, (215) 253-3777, theoldebar.com
  • Royal Boucherie Chef Nick Elmi’s Old City debut features a French-accented selection of raw bar, charcuterie and small plates complemented by a thoughtful wine and cocktail program. Lunch here classes it up with dishes like blue crab Louis, while dinner brings steak au poivre and lobster over farfalle with truffle butter. 52 S. 2nd Street, (267) 606-6313, royalboucherie.com
  • Sassafras Serving Philadelphians for more than 35 years, this Old City classic offers a small but eclectic menu, specializing in Prohibition-era cocktails, along with a serious selection of single-malt scotches, whiskeys and bourbons. Not to be missed: A live jazz trio performs most Sunday through Thursday nights. 48 S. 2nd Street, (215) 925-2317, sassafrasbar.com
  • The Victoria Freehouse – A British experience with pub snacks, British cheeses, curries and Sunday roasts also includes a large assortment of wines and brews—and football (soccer) matches on the telly. 10 S. Front Street, (215) 543-6089, victoriafreehouse.com
  • Xi’an Cuisine and Bar This three-story spot is a bar, restaurant and karaoke lounge in one. Aspiring singers fill up on Chinese comfort cuisine and cocktails before venturing into private karaoke rooms on the third level. 120 Chestnut Street, (215) 627-1688, xiancuisine.com

Casual Bars:

  • 2nd Story Brewing A local farmer teamed up with her beer-brewing son-in-law to open this working brewery, restaurant and bar. The menu includes fish and chips, burgers and house-made flatbreads. 117 Chestnut Street, (267) 314-5770, 2ndstorybrewing.com
  • Mac’s Tavern – Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” are co-owners of this straightforward bar and restaurant, which serves a staggeringly large selection of draught and bottled international beer. On Saturdays and Sundays, patrons enjoy $5 Bloody Mary and mimosa pints until late in the day. 226 Market Street, (267) 324-5507, macstavern.com
  • National Mechanics A former bank building houses this darkly stylish indie bar, where the crowd is hip and the craft beers flow (and come in Philly-centric pint glasses). What’s more, the food is pretty impressive. 22 S. 3rd Street, (215) 701-4883, nationalmechanics.com
  • The Plough & the Stars This friendly spot offers well-executed American fare (with some Irish classics like shepherd’s pie and fish and chips), a bustling bar that draws a young weekend crowd and live traditional Irish music on Sundays. When it’s nice out, patrons gravitate to the outdoor tables. 123 Chestnut Street, (215) 733-0300, ploughstars.com
  • Race Street Café – This low-key tavern, warmed in the winter by a wood stove and cooled in the summer by the breeze through open barn doors, has a seasonal, local menu. 208 Race Street, (215) 627-6181, racestreetcafe.net
  • Revolution House Serving lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, this two-floor, indoor-outdoor spot offers treetop views of the Christ Church steeple and Benjamin Franklin Bridge, along with a playful menu of international comfort food and Neapolitan pizza. The bar pours eight rotating local beers, local spirit cocktails and boutique wines. 200 Market Street, (215) 625-4566, revolutionhouse.com
  • Silence Dogood’s Tavern – Benjamin Franklin’s 1722 pen name inspired the name for this cozy spot, where inexpensive flatbread pizzas, chicken wings, salads and beer comes from the same folks who run the Big Red Pedal Tours, a 15-person-powered touring surrey. 216 Market Street, (215) 923-1400, silencedogoodstavern.com

Nightclubs & Pubs:

  • Bleu Martini – This restaurant, bar and club bathed in cobalt blue offers a VIP scene and a DJ soundtrack. Daily happy hour specials run from 4 to 7 p.m. and include select $5 martinis from the 30 on the menu. 24 S. 2nd Street, (215) 940-7900, bleumartiniphilly.com
  • Brasil’s Nightclub This upstairs, mirrored club gets packed on weekends with fleet-footed Latin dancers (with free salsa lessons Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays). A full bar has drink specials, including caipirinhas, three nights a week. 112 Chestnut Street, (215) 432-0031, brasilsnightclub-philly.com
  • Buffalo Billiards – This downtown pool hall welcomes sports-loving crowds with its flat screens, dartboards and casual fare. In addition to pool and darts, there’s shuffleboard, skeeball, foosball and more. 118 Chestnut Street, (215) 574-7665, buffalobilliards.com
  • Drinker’s Tavern – Young partiers drink 40-ounce bottles and dance to basement DJs in a loud and always-lively scene. When hunger strikes, they chow down on inexpensive and classic pub grub, such as tacos, hot dogs and nachos. 124 Market Street, (215) 351-0141, drinkersoldcity.com
  • Independence Beer Garden Nothing celebrates freedom quite like enjoying a cold one outside, and that’s why this seasonal beer garden is an American classic. Chef Michael Schulson’s 20,000-square-foot getaway offers a whopping 40 taps and seven cans of craft beers, watermelon salads, mufaletta, avocado toast and pickle chips. 100 S. Independence Mall West, (215) 922-7100, phlbeergarden.com
  • Stratus Lounge – On a posh, 11-story rooftop overlooking Independence Hall, party people dance to the sounds of DJ-spun music Friday and Saturday nights. Open year-round, Stratus serves light bites to complement the signature drink list. Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia, 433 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-2889, stratuslounge.com

Cafes, Juice Bars & Bakeries:

  • Café Ole This busy local hangout is known for its friendly staff and great Mediterranean snacks, including shakshuka. It’s also pet-friendly and serves breakfast, lunch and pastries. 147 N. 3rd Street, (215) 627-2140
  • European Republic – Guests munch on European-style wraps and Belgian-style frites with 20 different toppings while sipping on fresh-roasted coffee at this cozy cafe. 213 Chestnut Street, (215) 627-5500
  • Fezziwig’s Sweet Shoppe – Kettle corn is the specialty at this friendly little spot, but to grab a bag and leave would be to miss out on the burgers, hot dogs, funnel cake and homemade ice cream (sundaes, pie a la mode). 17 N. 3rd Street, (267) 457-3608, fezziwigsphiladelphia.com
  • The Franklin Fountain – 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. 116 Market Street, (215) 627-1899, franklinfountain.com
  • Franklin Ice Cream Bar – From the brothers who own the nearby Franklin Fountain and Shane Confectionery comes this choose-your-own-adventure pop shop. Here, guests pick ice cream flavors, dip into sustainably sourced chocolate shells and finish with a rainbow of topping options. 112 Market Street, (215) 967-1184, franklinicecream.com
  • ICI Macarons & Café – The house specialty is French macaroons in endless flavors, but this contemporary café has developed a following for its house-baked croissants, irresistible pastries and local coffee. 230 Arch Street, (215) 608-8938
  • Inspired Brews – A lawyer and designer teamed up to serve up small batches of seasonal kombucha, an ancient, sweetened fermented tea known for its nutritional probiotics and B vitamins. 263 N. 3rd Street, inspiredbrews.com
  • Luna Cafe – Healthy and hearty breakfast fare makes way for a menu of quinoa bowls, made-to-order sandwiches and salads at this daytime cafe featuring coffee drinks made with Philly Fair Trade Roasters and locally sourced dairy. 317 Market Street, (215) 309-3140, lunaphilly.com
  • Old City Coffee – Roasting small batches of 100% Arabica traditional cultivar coffee since 1985, this friendly spot on cobblestone Church Street also serves pastries and locally sourced organic yogurt. 221 Church Street, (215) 629-9292, oldcitycoffee.com
  • Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop – Retro treats in the form of hard-to-find candy whose popularity dates back to the 1970s and 80s are the stock-and-trade of this fun store. So are seemingly endless flavors of bottled soda pop. 302 Arch Street, (215) 650-3163, rocketfizz.com
  • Shane Confectionary – Operated for 99 years by the Shane family, this candy maker and shop now belongs to the duo behind The Franklin Fountain, who’ve kept original recipes and employ local ingredients to create candy magic. 110 Market Street, (215) 922-1048, shanecandies.com
  • Stripp’d Juice Local ownership and locally sourced, non-GMO ingredients combine for organic, fresh-pressed juices and acai bowls. There’s even a breakfast sandwich on the menu for solid food-lovers. 263 N. 3rd Street, strippedjuice.com
  • Swiss Haus Bakery – This Philadelphia institution uses century-old European recipes to make its 30 cookie choices, custom cakes and handmade pastries. Guests can stop in to have coffee or order goodies to be shipped. 313 Market Street, (267) 457-3262, swisshausbakery.com
  • Tartes Fine Cakes and Pastries Neighbors with sweet teeth know to head to this petite pink shop for daily cookies, tarts, bars and other pastry. 212 Arch Street, (215) 625-2510

Spa, Fitness & Grooming:

  • Barnet Fair – Exposed brick and retro accents set the stage for a talented team of stylists at this well-regarded salon. 139 N. 3rd Street, (267) 687-7114, barnetfairhair.com
  • Bloke’s Barbershop & Gentlemen’s Emporium An old-school barber with high-end hair and face care for men, this newcomer plays vintage, vinyl rock and blues on a 1963 Seeburg jukebox. 151 N. 3rd Street, (267) 314-5557, blokesbarbershop.com
  • Gents Barber Lounge – Once a shop strictly for men, this salon now offers women’s cuts too. All customers are greeted with a drink when they sit down; students get discounts on Tuesdays. 45 N. 3rd Street, 2nd Floor, (267) 800-2873, gentsbarberlounge.com
  • Moko – Once a well-kept neighborhood secret, this organic beauty studio has made it into broadcast news and In Style magazine for their facials, makeup application, waxing, haircuts and styling. 55 N. 3rd Street, (215) 922-6656. mokobeauty.com
  • Terme Di Aroma – This holistic day spa and sanctuary is known for employing aromatherapy in its holistic yet luxurious skincare, massage and body treatments. Clients can also pop by for a 30-minute stress treatment or to build their own gift baskets with oils and candles. 32 N. 3rd Street, (215) 829-9769, termediaroma.com

Shops:

  • 36 Craven Bringing together primitive antiques, modern furniture and handmade accessories (candles, incense) makes for a lifestyle shop that’s nothing if not au courant. 138 N. 3rd Street, (267) 603-1736, 36craven.com
  • 323 Arch Street Fashion Collective – Equal parts workshop and boutique, this collective features a rotating lineup of local designers who craft clothing, jewelry and accessories in-house as shoppers look on. 323 Arch Street, (856) 883-9083, 323arch.com
  • Art In The Age of Mechanical Reproduction – This rustically stylish cocktail shop belongs to the creators of Art in the Age Root, Snap, Rhubarb and Sage artisan liquors, who curate the selection of bar accessories, recipe books—and run regular tastings in conjunction with Philly’s New Liberty distillers. 116 N. 3rd Street, (215) 922-2600, artintheage.com
  • Bonejour Pet Supply Pets lead their owners here for all-natural items, food consulting and top-notch independent brands that emphasis pet wellness. Clients can give their pooch a scrub at the DIY bathing station, book personal services and purchase ethical toys, treats and gifts. 53 N. 3rd Street, (215) 574-1225, bonejourpetsupply.com
  • The Book Trader – In business for 40 years, this indie bookstore lets readers swap their titles for store credit and peruse shelves for tomes of all genres and hard-to-find LPs. 7 N. 2nd Street, (215) 925-2080, phillybooktrader.com
  • Brave New Worlds Comic lovers find collectibles and the latest illustrated novels, comics and Japanese manga, as well as action figures, games and toys. 55 N. 2nd Street, (215) 925-6525, bravenewworldscomics.com
  • Charlie’s Jeans This one-stop shop for designer denim exclusively carries Sebastian McCall jeans, made in the USA and known for their perfect fit. Store employees pride themselves on their ability to size up customers at first glance. 233 Market Street, (215) 923-9681, charliesjeans.net
  • The Conversion Shop – This rustic, nostalgic shop carries gifts, furnishings and home accessories that include the owner’s custom-made repurposed wooden tables, benches and shelving, plus vintage dressers, trunks and accessories. 38 S. 3rd Street, (215) 627-2777, cnvrsn.co
  • Doggie Style Pets – This haute pet emporium sells everything dogs need to be Fido-licious, including grooming services. Cat companions are also welcome, as well as owners of fish, birds, rabbits, reptiles and other small animals. 315 Market Street, (215) 923-4333, doggiestylepets.com
  • Erdon – Fashion is an art form in this gallery-like space. The lighting is bright in order to highlight the latest designer goods from Linda Farrow, Closed and Trippen. 162 N. 3rd Street, (215) 923-0300, erdon.co
  • The Geisha House Named the “Best Women’s Boutique for Brands You Don’t Know” by Philadelphia magazine, this spot does not disappoint. The dresses are trendy but wearable, and the jewelry is just funky enough. 149 N. 3rd Street, (267) 886-8110, thegeishahouse.bigcartel.com
  • Illadelph Glass – This workshop and gallery has been crafting beautiful, functional glass pipes beloved by cannabis lovers for 15 years. 68 N. 2nd Street, (267) 273-0586, illadelphglass.com
  • Impact Imports – Reclaimed wood transformed into hand-carved sinks, dining tables and kitchen islands, plus oversized Buddha sculptures and Javanese huts are on sale at this tile and stone importer. 67 N. 2nd Street, (208) 869-6015, impactimportsusa.com
  • Lost + Found – Those who snag the indie men’s and women’s duds here get great looks at affordable prices. Accessories, jewelry and vintage pieces round out a successful shopping trip. 133 N. 3rd Street, (215) 928-1311
  • Margot & Camille Optique – Life looks brighter through the lens of this optical boutique. Customers rely on high-quality and a customized approach to keep their eyewear fresh and fashionable. 47 N. 3rd Street, (215) 923-0508, margotcamille.com
  • Meadowsweet Mercantile & Cuttalossa – Perfectly distressed denim and bucket-list vintage line the racks at this sun-bathed boutique. In the back of the shop, Cuttalossa vends artisan home goods such as handwoven linens and locally made bath salts. 47 N. 2nd Street, (215) 756-4802
  • Millésimé – This modern design showroom features collections of modern and contemporary furniture, lighting and home accessories from American and international designers. The ever-evolving merchandise includes USM modular furniture, Herman Miller, Marset, Louis Poulsen, Ligne Roset and Foscarini. 33 N. 2nd Street, (267) 455-0374, millesime.us
  • Minima – This contemporary furniture, lighting and home accessories gallery balances form and function, meaning intelligent use of materials combines with inspired design to create modern furniture with longevity. 118 N. 3rd Street, (215) 922-2002, minima.us
  • Mode Moderne Known for amazing midcentury furnishings at great prices, this 20th-century decor shop also offers brand-new classics by Herman Miller and Modernica. 159 N. 3rd Street, (215) 627-0299, modemoderne.com
  • Momo’s Tree House This cute and quirky shop lives up to its “toys for curious kids” tagline by offering hard-to-find, specialty toys and games. Tiny customers can test out the plush animals, scooters, train sets, as well as weekly story time and music classes. 205 Arch Street,  (267) 457-2803, momostreehouse.com
  • Never Too Spoiled – The place to go for the girl who already has everything, Never Too Spoiled carries clothes, jewelry, candles, accessories, housewares, books, stationery and even gifts for pets. 57 N. 3rd Street, (215) 928-0167, nevertoospoiled.bigcartel.com
  • OLC – Importing goods from a collection of designers such as GlasItalia, Maxalto and Zanotta means that the furniture and lighting here is super sleek, mod and minimal in the most Italian way. 152 N. 3rd Street, (215) 923-6085, olc152.com
  • Omoi Zakka Shop – This Japan-inspired shelter and gift haven has drawn a fan base for its clever selection of stationery, gifts and grooming supplies. 41 3rd Street, (215) 454-6910, selectshop215.com
  • The Outrage This shop serves as Philadelphia’s one-stop spot for female-forward apparel and accessories such as Ruth Bader Ginsberg enamel pins and tees screened with empowering messages. 321 Arch Street, (215) 515-3578, the-outrage.com
  • PeoplePrints 3D – The city’s first 3D printing studio lets visitors hold their favorite memories in the palm of their hand. Couples, singles and pets are welcome, and the whole process takes just a matter of minutes. 20 S. 3rd Street, (267) 273-1157, http://peopleprints3d.com/
  • Petit Jardin en Ville – This husband-and-wife-owned florist is a little slice of Paris, via beautiful bouquets and antique finds from French flea markets. 134 N. 3rd Street, (215) 923-1600, petitjardinenville.com
  • Philadelphia Independents This all-local boutique makes gift-giving a cinch. Only handmade items by Philadelphia artists are offered here: jewelry, handbags, housewares, prints and baby gifts. 35 N. 3rd Street, (267) 773-7316, philadelphiaindependents.com
  • Pinot Boutique This “Best of Philly” winner offers great wine, tastings and classes, private parties and more, via wines from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, plus accessories galore. 227 Market Street, (215) 627-WINE, pinotboutique.com
  • Reform Vintage Modern Filled with midcentury furniture and home accents, this shop preserves modern designs that made the movement. 112 N. 3rd Street, (215) 922-6908, reformmodern.com
  • Regan Design – Specializing in handmade jewelry, this small maker creates (and repairs) high-end accouterments, including engagement and wedding rings. 53 N. 2nd Street, (267) 239-5504
  • Rennes – This airy atelier showcases designers using both natural fibers and sustainable practices. House-brand leather goods display alongside flowing garments crafted by international makers Casey Casey and Maison de Soil. 135 N. 3rd Street, (267) 908-4778, rennes.us
  • Scarlett Alley Hosts and hostesses head here to guarantee their dinner parties are bedecked with elegant yet approachable tableware, candles and accessories. It’s also known for finding go-to gifts, complete with free gift-wrapping. 241 Race Street, (215) 592-7898, scarlettalley.com
  • Sioux Zanne Messix – This longstanding boutique offers women’s clothing and accessories, in both new and vintage designs. 54 N. 3rd Street, (215) 928-9250
  • Smak Parlour – Take fun and flirty, and blend in a little retro chic, and that’s the look of the original designs—including frocks ringing in below $100—by fashion mavens Abby Kessler and Katie 219 Market Street, (215) 625-4551, smakparlour.com
  • Sugarcube – A spacious store and small, coveted labels (Rag & Bone, Gold Hawk, Lavender Brown, Won Hundred, Krisa) make for a well-edited men’s and women’s boutique. 124 N. 3rd Street, (215) 238-0825, sugarcube.us
  • Tribal Home The unique shop carries African art and home furnishings and accessories from around the world. Every First Friday, Tribal Home hosts an in-store, artist-led discussion. 56 N 3rd St, (215) 592-4215, tribalhome.com
  • United By Blue – Part clothier, part coffee house, this flagship store features eco-friendly men’s and women’s fashion and accessories. For every product sold at the boutique, United By Blue removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways through company-organized cleanups. 205 Race Street, (267) 457-3114, unitedbyblue.com
  • Vagabond A generous smattering of indie labels, Philly-made hand knit collections and modern designs in the form of denim, cotton, linen casual togs to going-out wear fill the racks of this Old City style pioneer. 37 N. 3rd Street, (267) 671-0737, vagabondboutique.com

Galleries:

  • The Center for Art in Wood – This gallery shines a light on bold works in wood, with a permanent collection of more than 1,000 international objects, ranging from functional pieces to contemporary sculptures. 141 N. 3rd Street, (215) 923-8000, www.centerforartinwood.org
  • The Clay Studio Dedicated to active learning, this nonprofit studio and gallery offers ceramic classes for all ages and levels, outreach programs (including a kids’ summer clay camp), studio space and engaging contemporary ceramics exhibitions. It’s also a good spot for handmade gifts. 137-139 N. 2nd Street, (215) 925-3453, theclaystudio.org
  • Moderne Gallery The works of George Nakashima and Wharton Esherick, internationally renowned for their 20th-century furniture, lighting and accessories and an extensive inventory of French and American Art Deco fill five floors of space. 111 N. 3rd Street, (215) 923-8536, modernegallery.com
  • Muse Gallery This artist-run gallery highlights visual arts in mixed media, from painting to photography to sculpture. Group and individual shows fill the calendar. 52 N. 2nd Street, (215) 627-5310, musegalleryphiladelphia.com
  • PII Gallery – The curator of PII (Philadelphia International Institute) rounds up works in all media by some of the most innovative and emerging international artists working in textile design, printmaking, painting, sculpture and photography. The gallery premieres a new exhibit on the first Friday of every month. 242 Race Street, (215) 592-1022, piigallery.com
  • Ruckus Gallery This lifestyle exhibition space showcases the work of innovative local, national and international artists who create counter-cultural art and functional decor, fashion and accessories. The smoke and vape shop in the back has the largest selection in the city. 27 N. 2nd Street, (267) 457-5544, ruckusgallery.com
  • Stanek Gallery Founded by two working artists with national and international acclaim, this gallery displays unique collections in an open space. Works range in subject matter, but all feature exquisite craftsmanship. 242 N. 3rd Street, (215) 908-3277, stanekgallery.com
  • Wexler Gallery The accomplished team at Wexler believes in challenging the traditional labels that categorize art, allowing contemporary glass, studio furniture, ceramics and decorative arts to coexist happily here. 201 N. 3rd Street, (215) 923-7030, wexlergallery.com

Performing Arts & Theaters:

  • Arden Theatre Company Noted for both premieres and popular works, the Arden presents a main stage series for adults, as well as productions for children. The theater has received numerous awards, including nine “Best of Philly” awards from Philadelphia 40 N. 2nd Street, (215) 922-1122, ardentheatre.org
  • Christ Church Neighborhood House – This historic, welcoming building has been reborn as a community-minded performance space for local and international talent. 20 N. American Street, (215) 922-1695, neighborhood-house.com
  • FringeArts – A 232-seat theater with retractable seating presents contemporary performance, experimental concerts and other events throughout the year. The onsite restaurant, La Peg, makes for a great dinner-and-a-show. 140 N. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 413-1318, fringearts.com
  • Painted Bride Art Center Connoisseurs of all art forms regard “the Bride” as an important center for innovative, edgy and experimental music, art, dance, poetry and other performing arts, where a Community Table features locally curated events with a range of topics. 230 Vine Street,
    (215) 925-9914, paintedbride.org
  • Ritz Theaters Fans of indie and international films pack the Ritz’s three Old City locations for eclectic flicks with frequent discounts for seniors and students. Ritz East, 125 S. 2nd Street, (215) 925-4535; Ritz Five, 214 Walnut Street, (215) 440-1184; Ritz at the Bourse, 400 Ranstead Street, (215) 440-1181, landmarktheatres.com/philadelphia

Historic Attractions & Museums:

  • The African American Museum in Philadelphia – Visitors take a fresh, bold look at the stories of African-Americans through technology, photographs, videos and artifacts on display in the permanent Audacious Freedom 701 Arch Street, (215) 574-0380, aampmuseum.org
  • American Philosophical Society – It’s all about science, art and history, so it’s no surprise this esteemed organization was another of Ben Franklin’s ideas. Inside: Lewis and Clark’s expedition notes, Jefferson’s handwritten draft of the Declaration of Independence and hundreds more treasures. 104 S. 5th Street, (215) 440-3400, amphilsoc.org
  • Benjamin Franklin Museum – Tucked below Franklin Court, a revamped museum features artifacts and interactive exhibits that chronicle the inventor’s life as a citizen and statesman. Before entering the museum, guests explore the Ghost House in the courtyard. Market or Chestnut Streets between 3rd & 4th Streets, (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde
  • Betsy Ross House – America’s most famous flag maker greets guests in her interactive 18th-century upholstery shop, part of a tiny dwelling where visitors learn about Ross’ life and legend. 239 Arch Street, (215) 629-5801, historicphiladelphia.org
  • Carpenters’ Hall – The site of the First Continental Congress was also the place for spying, upheaval and revolution. At Carpenters’ Hall, feisty American colonists fanned the flames of independence. 320 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-167, carpentershall.org
  • Declaration House – This house, tiny by 21st-century standards, once held such big ideas. The home of Jacob Graff hosted Thomas Jefferson as he wrote the Declaration of Independence. Hours are limited; information on tour times is available at the Independence Visitor Center.
    7th & Market Streets, (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde
  • Elfreth’s Alley – America’s oldest, and possibly most charming, continuously inhabited street is perfect for tiptoeing along the cobblestones and exploring its quaint museum. Weekend tours available Friday through Sunday from 12-5 p.m. every half hour. June’s annual Fete Day celebration offers a rare glimpse inside the 18th-century private homes. 124-126 Elfreth’s Alley,
    (215) 574-0560, elfrethsalley.org.org
  • Fireman’s Hall Museum – A circa 1902 fire station-turned-museum offers lessons in the history of firefighting via old trucks, ladders, helmets, photographs and a tribute to September 11, 2001. Kids here can try on firefighter coats and boots, play with puzzles and learn how to make emergency calls. 147 N. 2nd Street, (215) 923-1438, firemanshallmuseum.org/
  • Independence Hall – This iconic brick structure proudly is where it all began—where 13 upstart colonies declared independence and where representatives from a young nation framed its laws. The hall’s West Wing houses an original S. Constitution. Timed tickets are required, free and available at the Independence Visitor Center, at 6th and Market streets. The hall’s second floor is not wheelchair accessible. 6th & Chestnut Streets, (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde
  • Independence National Historical Park (INHP) The Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, Congress Hall, New Hall Military Museum, Bishop White House and Declaration House are just some of the sites that make up INHP. In the summer months, the park offers ranger-led walking tours. (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde
  • Independence Visitor Center – This all-in-one center serves as a clearinghouse of information and a box office for free timed tickets to Independence Hall. It’s also the spot to ask real, live experts for Philly tips. 6th & Market Streets, (800) 537-7676, phlvisitorcenter.com
  • Liberty Bell Center – It doesn’t make a sound, but the bell’s message rings loud and clear: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” This inscription on the cracked but mighty bell is one reason it became a symbol to abolitionists, suffragists and other freedom-seekers around the world. The center offers an interpretation of the evolution of American freedoms. 6th & Market Streets, (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde
  • Museum of the American Revolution – Philadelphia’s newest museum opened its doors on the 242nd anniversary of the “shot heard round the world.” Visitors learn stories of well-known and everyday people who experienced the tumult through galleries, engaging films and a collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, diaries and works of art. 101 S. 3rd Street, (215) 253-6731, amrevmuseum.org
  • National Constitution Center Dedicated to the four most powerful pages in America’s history, the National Constitution Center is wholly devoted to honoring and exploring the S. Constitution. Museumgoers view exhibits and artifacts, take in the 360-degree live theatrical production Freedom Rising and walk among 42 life-size bronze statues of the Founding Fathers. 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6700, constitutioncenter.org
  • National Liberty Museum – Geared towards young adults, this museum aims to teach about the diversity of Americans and respect for all people through interactive exhibits, stories of heroes and works of art—and is especially known for its art glass collection. 321 Chestnut Street,(215) 925-2800, libertymuseum.org
  • National Museum of American Jewish History This modern museum delves into the story and impact of Jewish people in the U.S., from early settlers to history-makers such as Albert Einstein, industry giants such as Esteé Lauder and entertainers such as Jerry Seinfeld. Four floors of artifacts, memorabilia and artwork weave important and artful true stories; limited-time exhibits take those stories further. 101 S. Independence Mall East, (215) 923-3811, org
  • Philadelphia History Museum – At the esteemed venue formerly known as the Atwater Kent, visitors stroll on the world’s largest walkable Philadelphia map, then check out exhibits that show how Philly got to be, well, Philly. 15 S. 7th Street, (215) 685-4830, philadelphiahistory.org
  • Polish American Cultural Center The Polish American community has an opportunity to retrace their heritage at this quaint museum. Visitors here get to know famous people of Polish descent, learn about unique holiday traditions and purchase souvenirs from a homespun gift shop. 308 Walnut Street, (215) 922-1700, polishamericancenter.org
  • Science History Institute (formerly Chemical Heritage Foundation) – At this library, museum and center for scholars, visitors journey through the weird and wonderful world of matter and materials that changed the world. Its collections include rare books, fine art, artifacts and instruments related to science and technology. 315 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-2222, sciencehistory.org
  • Second Bank of the United States – This beautiful columned structure paints a picture of America’s roots, with walls lined with more than 150 portraits of the nation’s earliest movers and shakers. (Just steps away, the First Bank, although closed to the public, also has a photo-worthy exterior.) 420 Chestnut Street (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde
  • The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation – At this powerful site, visitors see structural fragments of the home where Presidents Washington and Adams lived during their terms and where the first president enslaved nine Africans. The open-air space invites people to learn about the events that transpired through illustrated glass panels and video re-enactments and partake in silent reflection. 6th & Market Streets, (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde

Historic Churches & Sacred Spaces:

  • Arch Street Friends Meeting House Founded by Quaker William Penn, this simple, welcoming place of worship and reflection invites visitors, attendees and members to tour and learn about the “Society of Friends,” a still-thriving Christian denomination whose local congregation still meets here. 320 Arch Street, (215) 413-1804, archstreetmeetinghouse.org
  • Christ Church – Betsy Ross, William Penn and George Washington were among the early Americans who sat in the pews of Old City’s circa 1695 Episcopal church, its tall white steeple visible from across the Delaware River. The church is available for tours daily, except when in use for Wednesday and Sunday worship. 20 N. American Street, (215) 922-1695, christchurchphila.org
  • Historic St. George’s United Methodist Church – A historic landmark in American Methodist history, this house of worship has had an active congregation since 1769. Sunday services blend Protestant traditions with contemporary music and prayer. 235 N. 4th Street, (215) 925-7788, historicstgeorges.org/
  • Augustine Roman Catholic Church – The official National Shrine of Santo Nino of Cebu for the Filipino American community, this 220-year-old traditional Augustinian parish welcomes worshipers of all faiths and backgrounds—and made an appearance in the film The Sixth Sense. 241 N. Lawrence Street, (215) 627-1838, st-augustinechurch.com
  • Christ Church Burial Ground – The historic cemetery a few blocks from Christ Church is the final resting place of Benjamin Franklin, four more signers of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Bond and 4,000 more notable Philadelphians. This sacred spot is open—weather permitting—March through November, but many throw pennies on Franklin’s grave through the fence for good luck any time of the year. 5th & Arch Streets, (215) 922-1695, christchurchphila.org
  • Mikveh Israel Synagogue – This full-service synagogue dates back to 1740 and still offers traditional weekly and holiday services. Catered, full-course meals follow Shabbat services (reservations required). 44 N. 4th Street, (215) 922-5446, mikvehisrael.org
  • Old First Reformed United Church of Christ – Built in 1837, this church represents the country’s third oldest religious congregation, established in 1727 and once the center of Philadelphia’s German community. The church’s credo is “Love First” and welcomes newcomers. 151 N. 4thStreet, (215) 922-4566, oldfirstucc.org

Green Space:

  • Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest and Summerfest In winter, this riverside pop-up village features an open-air Olympic-size ice skating rink, cozy lodge with fireplaces, festive landscaping, twinkling lights, fire pits, arcade games and a variety of food and beverages. Come summer, the space transforms into a day-to-night hangout with Center City’s only roller rink, classic Philadelphia foods, a Ferris wheel and midway and plenty of playful spaces to chill out. 101 S. Columbus Boulevard (Columbus Boulevard & Chestnut Street), (215) 922-2222, delawareriverwaterfront.com
  • Franklin Square One of William Penn’s original five squares transformed a decade ago into a fun family park featuring an 18-hole, Philly-themed miniature golf course, restored marble fountain, large playground and old-fashioned carousel starring some famous Philly animals. When hunger strikes, seasonal SquareBurger delivers with burgers, fries and Cake Shakes. 6th & Race Streets, (215) 629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org
  • Penn’s Landing – Along the Delaware River, where founder William Penn first arrived in Philadelphia, this reclaimed space always has something fun going on: festivals, concerts, free movies, beer gardens, yoga, roller-skating and ice-skating. Columbus Boulevard between Chestnut & Spruce Streets, (215) 922-2386, delawareriverwaterfront.com
  • Race Street Pier – In the shadow of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, this finger pier juts into the Delaware River. The landscaped park provides two levels for recreation: The upper promenade is paved with a sustainable, synthetic decking material fashioned from reclaimed plastic. At street level, wood connects to the grassy lower terrace via a multi-tiered seating area that’s perfect for picnicking and water-watching. The pier hosts free outdoor yoga from April to November. Columbus Boulevard at Race Street, (215) 922-2FUN, delawareriverwaterfront.com
  • Signers Garden – Across 5th Street from Independence Hall, this popular, petite corner meeting place for tours features lush garden, shaded benches and a triumphant statue of George Clymer, a statesman who signed both the S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence. 500 Chestnut Street, (800) 537-7676, phlvisitorcenter.com
  • Spruce Street Harbor Park – Recognized by national press as one of the best places to visit in Philly spring through fall, this popular park features tree-slung hammocks, magical lights, oversize games, floating gardens, amazing food from popular Philly restaurants and refreshing drinks. Columbus Boulevard & Spruce Street, (215) 922-2FUN, delawareriverwaterfront.com

Philadelphia’s Historic District campaign, from VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, showcases the city’s incomparable place in early American history and the still vibrant neighborhoods of Old City, Society Hill and the Delaware River Waterfront. The campaign celebrates America’s most historic square mile in the country’s first World Heritage City, as designated by the Organization of World Heritage Cities. Funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development and H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest, the initiative runs through September 2018.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, visitors can engage with costumed history makers, hear stories of the real people of independence and take part in colonial reenactments. And every day of the year, they can tour, shop, dine and drink in the area just like the founding fathers and mothers once did. For more information about all there is to see and do in Philadelphia’s Historic District, go to visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com.

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