Your guide to where to stay in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods

If you’re looking for where to stay in Philadelphia, this guide has you covered with top neighborhoods, hotels and food
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When looking for where to stay in Philadelphia, most folks opt for Center City, which is great, but exploring our neighborhoods is an unbeatable way to not only get to know the city on a deeper level but explore the essential things to do in Philadelphia without being in the middle of the hustle and bustle of downtown. Check out our guide to the hippest neighborhoods, which details some of the best hotels in Philadelphia and the coolest bars and restaurants in Philly that exist outside the regular tourist circuit. Your search for where to stay in Philadelphia just got a whole lot easier.

Where to stay in Philadelphia

When you're thinking about where to stay in Philadelphia, choose Rittenhouse for its gorgeous public square and excellent shopping
Photograph: Courtesy Visit Philly/M. Edlow

Rittenhouse

The tree-lined streets, immaculate townhomes and brick sidewalks of Rittenhouse come with a price tag—it’s currently the wealthiest neighborhood in the city. It’s is also home to the William Penn-designed Rittenhouse Square. The grassy, shaded park is a beloved hangout spot for locals, who love to languish in the sun with a picnic lunch and some of the best people-watching in the city. If that’s not your thing, grab an outdoor table at nearby Parc, a Stephen Starr-helmed French bistro that would make Toulouse Lautrec lose his mind. Rittenhouse is also home to some of the city’s poshest shopping. You can pick up Marni and Balenciaga at Joan Shepp and drool over Tom Ford and Paul Smith at Boyd’s.

Eat

Res Ipsa Cafe

A simple neon diamond in the window alerts you to the presence of this all-day BYO cafe, unassuming and slick as it is. Res Ipsa quietly opened in 2017 and has since become one of the most buzzed-about new restaurants in Philadelphia, which seamlessly transitions from housemade English muffins and locally roasted coffee in the morning to octopus bucatini and whole roasted chicken after 5pm. The rustic Sicilian food contrasts nicely with the minimalist interior—think fresh preserved citrus fazzoletti against shiny white marble tabletops.

Drink

Monk’s Cafe

Do you like beer? Of course you do. At Monk’s Cafe, there’s 25 beers on a rotating tap list and an even longer bottle list, with a heavy emphasis on Belgian varieties. Dark wood panelling at the bar, weird old tapestries on the walls and soft, yellow lights from the ceiling transport you to a cozy, northern pub. And even with its globally inspired suds offerings, there’s a friendly, convivial vibe that gives the bar a totally locals-only feel. You’ll assuredly have one too many, in which case, we recommend a steaming bowl of Monk’s moules and frites.

Do

The Rosenbach

How many times have you started Ulysses (and not made it past page twelve)? Don’t worry, the Rosenbach won’t judge you—though the renowned rare books museum will show you its prized first-edition of the classic James Joyce novel, along with an extensive collection of Charles Dickens’ treasures, a rare first edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and a whole host of art and furniture that once belonged to the Rosenbach family. The museum offers tours at their Rittenhouse and Art Museum locations, as well as lectures, special events and film screenings.

Stay

Rittenhouse Hotel

If you’ve ever dreamed of living in an apartment building with a doorman, you can live out your luxe fantasies for a weekend at the Rittenhouse Hotel. With modern-glam furnishings (think gold bathroom fixtures and super plush duvets), an in-house spa, fine dining restaurant, tea room and cozy bar, the Rittenhouse satisfies the Marie Antoinette in all of us.

If you do just one thing…

Hop over to Long in the Tooth to peep its extraordinary and extensive vinyl collection.

Photograph: Courtesy Visit Philly/M. Edlow

If you're looking for somewhere to stay in Philadelphia consider Old City with all its amazing historical sites.
Photograph: Courtesy Visit Philly/A. Ricketts

Old City

Get your fancy pants on, because Philly’s oldest neighborhood goes big when it comes to fine dining—though always with that unpretentious chill that this city knows so well. You can treat yourself to modern Israeli cuisine at Zahav (widely accepted to be the best ;restaurant in the city) or rustic Spanish tapas at Amada. Morimoto does the most elegant sushi in the city and Buddakan’s Chinese small plates win for most playful. But, of course, Old City is also home to the oldest and most impressive historical landmarks in the country. The Liberty Bell, Independence National Historical Park ;and the Betsy Ross House make the quaint neighborhood a favorite among tourists, though you’ll find locals at shops like indie-designer mecca Meadowsweet Mercantile ;and home bar supply shop Art in the Age, which also has a line of excellent house-made spirits.

Eat

Fork

While it hasn’t been around quite as long as the Free Quaker Meeting House, Fork is a fine-dining vestige from the 90s that remains as relevant today as it did ;20 years ago. Owners Ellen Yin and Chef Eli Kulp work with local growers and producers to continually innovate their new-American inspired offerings, though the menu mainstay, a dry-aged steak for two, is practically required eating. Vegetarians get their own version of steak, with a piece of charred cauliflower that’s as pretty as it is delicious. Don’t be shy about dressing up for your reservation, since this sophisticated, sexy spot is all about presentation.

Drink

Panorama

Wine is the word at this Old City hotel bar, and Panorama has a lot to say—starting with 150 wines by the glass and a Guiness Book of World Records accolade for having the world's largest winekeeper/cruvinet in its wine bar. Its cheeky, whimsical wine flights give you the chance to taste five at a time or you can splurge on a special glass of something weird, like a biodynamic Austrian Zweigelt.

Do

Gallery hop

South 2nd ;Street is home to a hot contemporary art scene that runs straight through Old City’s cobblestone streets, with galleries such as Larry Becker, Snyderman-Works Galleries, and Pentimenti Gallery showcasing locally, regionally and nationally recognized artists in both solo and group shows. First ;Friday in Old City ;is particularly festive, with galleries, shops and bars open late to host art openings, special events and live music. Just be sure to check the hours before you head out, as galleries ;can be notoriously fickle with their availabilities.

Stay

Hotel Monaco

It’s hard to go wrong with a Kimpton hotel no matter where you are, though this Old City gem is particularly shiny. Interminably sophisticated, centrally located and with the friendliest front-of-house staff in the city, Philly’s Hotel Monaco puts you in the middle of the Revolutionary action equipped with 1,000 thread count sheets. After exploring the nation’s most historic neighborhood, you can hit the fitness center if you’re truly responsible. Or upgrade to a corner room, which ;comes with a freestanding tub that’s set in front of a window with a view (and inside a large glass-door shower). Top it off with a glass of sparkling rosé from the Red Owl Tavern downstairs.

If you do just one thing…

Stroll down Elfreth’s Alley, the nation’s oldest residential street.

Photograph: Courtesy Visit Philly/A. Ricketts

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Looking for where to stay in Philadelphia? Try South Philly to explore the Italian Market and East Passyunk Avenue.
Photograph: Courtesy Visit Philly/J. Fusco

South Philly

When you think of Philadelphia—the rabid Eagles fans, greasy cheesesteaks and brick row houses with metal awnings—you’re actually thinking about South Philly. But while these aspects still characterize the area, the neighborhood has become one of the city’s most vibrant spots for food—especially along trendy East Passyunk Avenue, which is home to tons of amazing restaurants, such as fancy French bistro Laurel and homey Dutch eatery NOORD. There’s also the iconic Italian Market, with its pastries, butchers, cheese and, yes, even Mexican food, and the Dickinson Square farmers’ market on Sundays throughout summer.

Eat

Saté Kampar

Comfort food goes global at Saté Kampar, South Philly’s homage to southeast Asian cuisine, which, with its perfect mix of familiar and exotic, magically puts you in an atmosphere that simultaneously feels like your parent’s dining room and a hole-in-the-wall street-food vendor in Malaysia. That’s exactly what owners John and Angelina Branca aim for with their traditional satay meat skewers, fish souffle, pickled veggies and banana leaf rice, which all come in small plates perfect for exploring a variety of these spicy-sweet flavors. Saté Kampar is BYOB so hit Bottle Shop beforehand or keep it PG with one of their tasty pulled milk teas.

Drink

Barcelona Wine Bar

With the option for a three- or six-ounce pour of any of their (extensive) by-the-glass offerings, Barcelona’s eclectic wine list is tailor made for a quick, sophisticated pre-dinner drink that screams “evening in Spain." The bartenders are happy to offer suggestions and pairings for even the most vino-phobic, though we suggest exploring the sherry menu for something truly new. The space is self-consciously cool, with polished concrete floors, white subway tile and exposed-wood-beam ceilings, and it has a dreamy garden terrace for al fresco imbibing on warm summer nights.

Do

Shop East Passyunk Avenue

Sporting that cute small-town feel with a decidedly urban backdrop, East Passyunk Avenue boasts blocks of independent, locally owned boutiques that are ripe for picking up souvenirs for your most discerning friends. Hit Jinxed for secondhand Mid-Century Modern furniture and knick knacks, Beautiful World Syndicate for a tightly curated vinyl selection (with the surly, cooler-than-you clerks to match), Occasionette for kitschy greeting cards and soy candles, Palo Santo Shop + Apothecary to grow your crystal collection and Doggie Style for a homemade treat for your pup.

Stay

Bella Vista Bed and Breakfast

Don’t get us wrong, we’re all about exploring South Philly’s gritty, edgy exterior all day, every day. But when it comes to where we lay our heads at night, we require peace and quiet. Bella Vista Bed and Breakfast sits just blocks off the Italian Market in a classic brick rowhouse, with dollhouse-inspired rooms outfitted in layers of toile and chintz, and quilts and antiques. It’s charming—not cheesy—and the in-room breakfast option is an introvert’s dream. Plus, the back deck offers awesome views of the city.

If you do just one thing…

Catch the sunset and incredible panoramic views of the city at Bok Bar, the vibe-y rooftop lounge set atop a former public school.

Photograph: Courtesy Visit Philly/J. Fusco

Midtown Village is a great option when you're looking for where to stay in Philadelphia. It's close to great restaurants, bars, theaters and more.
Photograph: Courtesy Visit Philly/J. Fusco

Midtown Village

It’s all about the nightlife in Midtown Village. Once the sun sets on this central Philly neighborhood, the streets become a bustling, lively mashup of locals and tourists, college students and businessmen ready to party. There’s truly something for everyone, whether you’re a bro in need of a night of beers and karaoke at Moriarty’s Pub or a couple celebrating an anniversary with dinner at Vedge followed by a symphony performance at the Kimmel Center. It’s also connected to the Gayborhood, an inclusive, progressive and totally fun LGBTQ-friendly neighborhood with bars like Tavern on Camac for raucous piano sing-alongs and Woody’s, with its all-night dance parties. In the daytime, you’re also a hop, skip and a jump from Reading Terminal Market, a sprawling indoor market filled with food vendors of every stripe—from Amish pies and some of the best Philly cheesesteak in Philadelphia to produce, cheese, honeys and jams.

Eat

Double Knot

Serving up matcha, coffee, cocktails, dumplings, sushi and robatayaki, this ambitious all-day eatery from Philly superstar chef Michael Schulson delivers mightily on both taste and value no matter what time of day you visit. But it’s dinner downstairs in the all-black dining room—far from the din of 13th Street—that makes Double Knot so special. You’ll want one of each from the “crispy’ section of the menu, a double order of the edamame dumplings and the eponymous big eye tuna roll to start.

Drink

Bud and Marilyn’s

Don Draper may have given up the city life for a West Coast meditation retreat, but the classic city diner vibe is still going strong at Bud and Marilyn’s. This retro-cool spot has a menu straight out of the 1950s (we’re talking chop suey, pupu platters and stroganoff) and decor to match (think wood paneling, vinyl bar stools and geometric wallpaper). But it’s the drinks—playful, inventive cocktails with retro flair—that are the most fun. If you’re here in the summer, ask for a glass of frosé from their old-school frozen-drink machine, and the “slush du jour” is always a treat.

Do

Take in a show along the Avenue of the Arts

Within just a few blocks, you can experience the finest theater Philly has to offer. Philadelphia Theatre Company, the Wilma Theater, Merriam Theater and Academy of Music are within blocks of each other, making Midtown Village the primo spot for Philadelphia theater, musicals, operas and orchestras. Just like with any other live performance, these can be hit-or-miss, nationally acclaimed or homegrown. Kimmel Center offers day-of “rush” tickets, where you can try and grab a seat for cheap.

Stay

Loews Philadelphia Hotel

Located in the nation’s first skyscraper, the Loews Philadelphia offers stunning views—and with such a central location, even the crabbiest among us can’t complain about walking anywhere. You’re surrounded by tourist trap chain restaurants above Market Street, but Reading Terminal Market is only steps away and Chinatown just a little further than that. If you’re looking for a nightcap, we suggest stopping by Time, a jazz bar that brings in the city’s most accomplished musicians.

If you do just one thing…

After the theater, stop by Barbuzzo for the salted caramel budino, a decadent, creamy dessert destined to haunt your daydreams forevermore.

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If you want to know where to stay in Philadelphia, check out Fishtown for hip bars, great restaurants and nightlife
Photograph: Courtesy Visit Philly/J. Fusco

Fishtown

Super cheap rent, light-filled lofts and easy access to Philadelphia public transportation made Fishtown a haven for artists in the early aughts. Now, you’re just as likely to see a local band sell out dive bar Kung Fu Necktie as you are to see yoga moms pushing their double strollers to La Colombe for a double espresso. But that doesn’t mean Fishtown’s authentic, gritty roots are gone. Instead, the devastatingly hip, the young families, the broke artists, the small business owners and the third generation Fishtown residents coexist peacefully, making the neighborhood one of the most vibrant and eclectic in the city. It’s all about music, food and drinks in this decidedly residential neighborhood, with game-centric bars like Barcade, Garage and Frankford Hall topping the list for laid-back spots offering good drinks and fun competition among friends.

Eat

Pizzeria Beddia

The rules of Pizzeria Beddia are simple but strident. Owner Joe Beddia opens promptly at 5:30pm, makes exactly 40 pies a night, keeps a limited menu, only takes cash and makes you come back two hours after you order to pick up your fully cooked pizza. There’s often a wait outside the door starting as early as 2pm, and nowhere to sit down once you have the damn pie in your hands. So what’s the point? It’s damn delicious. Locally sourced, fresh ingredients and daily made dough means that spicy arrabbiata is about to make you feel molto felice.

Drink

The El Bar

When in Rome, visit the Colosseum. When in Fishtown, get drunk at the El Bar, a cash-only dive bar where cheap beer flows like water, the bartender wears sunglasses and a wig, and Christmas decorations stay hung year round. Hungry? Order a “Kensington Happy Meal,” which consists of two hot dogs and a bag of chips. Still thirsty? Throw down $3.50 for the Citywide Special, a Philly-famous concoction consisting of a PBR tall boy and shot of whiskey. There’s a charmingly deteriorating outdoor patio out back with surfaces that are just as sticky as the inside bar but with 100 percent more neighborhood cats.

Do

See live music at Johnny Brenda’s

This old-school cool bar keeps a rotating roster of indie rock outfits on the docket, a diversity that’s rivaled only by the bar’s changing selection of draft beer and wines. It’s got an intimate, friendly atmosphere that’ll make you feel like a Fishtowner—even if you don’t have a manbun.

Stay

Wm. Mulherin’s Sons

Interior design snobs, get ready to swoon. This hotel-restaurant-bar combo comes in hot with four Instagram-ready rooms that are insouciantly chic. Housed in a former 19th-century whiskey bottling plant, you’ll end up punch drunk over the boutique hotel’s vintage rugs, custom wallpaper, trendy plants and polished concrete floors. Each unit is equipped with a washer, dryer and kitchenette, so kick your shoes off and stay awhile. It’s an invisible service hotel, meaning there’s no front desk or concierge. Instead, you check in and out with the downstairs restaurant hostess (may as well grab a glass of wine and pizza while you’re there).

If you do just one thing…

Stop by micro-creamery Weckerly’s for one of its signature super-thick, made-from-scratch ice cream sandwiches.

Photograph: Courtesy Visit Philly/J. Fusco

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