Interesting things to do in Philadelphia with Danielle Des of The Thought Card

When I can’t travel very far, visiting nearby cities satisfies my wanderlust and adds a bit of excitement to my sometimes bland routine. Philadelphia is one of my favorite cities to visit on the East Coast and since it’s only two hours away from home, it’s a perfect weekend destination. Even though I’ve visited dozens of times, there are so many interesting things to do in Philadelphia. It never gets old.

If you’re into food, art or history, you’ll definitely want to add these sights to your itinerary. You can easily do these things in a day or extend your stay for an entire weekend.


Things to Do in Philadelphia


Italian Market

Take a stroll through South 9th Street and check out the South 9th Street Italian Market. It’s the oldest market in the country and on Saturday mornings, the market is a lively foodie haven.

Fresh produce for sale at the Italian Market. 

Flooding the narrow streets, the market has been active since the 1880s! The strong smells of cheese, fish, meat, coffee beans, and vegetables are distinct and I had fun watching all the buzz and commotion.

Customers haggling for the best prices at the Italian Market. 

The Italian Market is also home to butcher shops, bakeries and ethnic restaurants like Korean Barbecue, Vietnamese Pho, and Mexican. If you’re interested in taking a culinary tour or learning more about the market’s history, there are plenty of walking tours that you can book. The Italian Market is a refreshing sight to see in such an urban city.


Sabrina’s Cafe

Named after the owner’s daughter, Sabrina’s Cafe is one of the best brunch spots in Philadelphia. There are multiple locations throughout the city and you can find one a few blocks away from the Italian Market.

There’s often long lines at Sabrina’s Cafe so I would recommend going early and bringing an appetite. While you wait, head back over to the Italian Market and grab yourself a bottle of wine or beer. Sabrina’s Cafe allows you to B.Y.O.B (bring your own beer) while you dine.

Stuffed Challah French Toast: cream cheese, bananas, and vanilla bean syrup. Yummy!

The café was warm and cozy and was really unique because it seated a handful of guests at a time. My waitress was friendly and her super chill attire (casual jeans and a hoodie) made me feel at home.

I ordered a hot latte and stuffed challah french toast with a side of eggs and potatoes. When the bill came out to $15 USD, I left the café feeling so happy that I found a gem in Philadelphia.

For more recommendations on where to eat in Philadelphia, consider having lunch at the Reading Terminal Market or trying Big Gay Ice Cream!


Georgian Neighborhoods

Philadelphia has some of the most picturesque neighborhoods in the country. On my way to visit the iconic Liberty Bell, I walked through neighborhoods inspired by Georgian style architecture which is known for its symmetry and entrances.

I loved the exterior decor. So colorful and thoughtfully crafted.



Wall Murals

A house completely covered in mosaics. Such a rare find!

Another interesting thing to do in Philadelphia is spot wall murals. I found 4 murals while walking towards the city center but there are over 3,600 wall murals in Philadelphia. They feature different art styles and are part of the Mural Arts Program that allows artists to showcase their talent all over the city.


Liberty Bell

Partial views of the Liberty bell – not too bad. 

In 1776 the Liberty Bell summoned the people of Philadelphia to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. The bell has been an iconic symbol for oppressed groups including the abolitionists and women’s suffrage movement.

If the line to see the Liberty Bell is too long, skip the close-up and get partial views from the side windows.


Once Upon a Nation Benches

In the summer, you can hear short stories and tales about events long ago exactly where they happened. Right behind the Independence Hall, I heard a short story about how the second floor of the Independence Hall was once a prison holding American soldiers during the British occupation. A few officers were able to sneak up to the attic and escape!


Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park is a beautiful park and a great place to people watch. It also houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier that commemorates those who died in the American Revolution.

If you want to see even more cool sights in Philadelphia visit the Eastern State Penitentiary or the Philadelphia City Hall and the Rocky Statue.



Experience the South 9th Street Italian Market with culinary and walking tours.

Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches hours and times.

12 replies
  1. Janna C. says:

    I’ve never been to Philadelphia and I’ve always wondered what sights are there to see when I visit so thank you for sharing this! I’ll keep these in mind when I visit Philly someday.

  2. Sierra Donahue says:

    Don’t forget the Reading terminal market!! I love food markets, so I’ll have to check out the Italian market next time I’m in Philly 🙂

  3. Aimee Horgan says:

    I love that – visiting nearby cities to quench your wanderlust. Also, some great tips for Philly, must visit there soon.

  4. Vyjay Rao says:

    Found this quite interesting, especially the house completely covered with Mosaic looks exquisite. Haven’t seen those around anywhere.

  5. eo.stories says:

    Never thought Philadelphia has such a variety of activities. The market definitely caught my eye and the fact that there are many different cuisines. Would gladly eat a Pho right now.

  6. Taria Walker-Faison says:

    Thank you for this! I am not far from Philly & I have had family there and have been going for years and I have never heard of Sabrina’s cafe! Thank you!

  7. samstravblog says:

    Thank you for the great look at Philadelphia. We have been to parts of PA, but not there yet. It’s on out list 🙂 Looking forward to seeing the Liberty Bell one day. Appreciate the heads up about the long lines and will remember to get there early if we want to get close up. Thanks again for sharing.


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