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Brandon Baker

Brandon Baker

Articles (7)

The best rooftop bars in Philadelphia with incredible views

The best rooftop bars in Philadelphia with incredible views

When it’s warm, happy drinkers in this city clamour to the best rooftop bars in Philadelphia to enjoy breathtaking views of our skyline, bridges and waterways—with a chilly adult beverage in hand, of course. To help you find all the right spots, we’ve compiled this list of the top rooftop bars Philadelphia has to offer, including classy cocktail joints situated in some of the best hotels in Philadelphia and more casual spots located on the roofs of some of the best restaurants in Philadelphia. Taking in a sunset over the City of Brotherly Love is hands down one of the best things to do in Philadelphia, so head out and take advantage of our sweeping city views. Take note that some of these venues—like Bok Bar and Cira Green—are only open during summer. Be sure to check the venues’ listings before heading out. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in Philadelphia

Your guide to pumpkin patches near Philadelphia

Your guide to pumpkin patches near Philadelphia

City supermarkets are packed to the brim with pumpkins this time of year, but choosing your jack o’lantern is so much more fun if you do it at one of the pumpkin patches near Philadelphia. Come fall, farms surrounding the city begin to sprout with gourds and the eventual pumpkin-flavored cakes, ciders and other treats that come with them. Treat yourself to a taste of nature outside our Philadelphia parks by taking a road trip with pals to any one of the rural wonderlands in our guide below. Heading to one of these pumpkin patches near Philadelphia is also a no-brainer option when you’re looking for things to do in the fall with kids, and an ideal complement to another favorite fall activity: apple picking near Philadelphia. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in Philadelphia

Where to go apple picking near Philadelphia

Where to go apple picking near Philadelphia

Come autumn, locals head out of town to go apple picking near Philadelphia—one of the quintessential things to do in the fall in this region. There are several farms within an hour’s driving distance of the city that offer all kinds of delicious varietals that you can’t find in the local supermarket—and, in some cases, loads of apple-based treats like donuts and cider that rival some of the top bakeries Philadelphia has to offer. Apple picking near Philly is a great option for families looking for things to do in Philadelphia with kids, or a bucolic autumnal road trip with a carload of your best pals. Happy plucking! RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in Philadelphia

The 13 best bakeries in Philadelphia

The 13 best bakeries in Philadelphia

In the quest for bakeries, Philadelphia has something delicious for every kind of sweet tooth. For starters, this city does classic Italian pastries like no other. The decadent, ricotta-filled cannoli at a handful of South Philly bakeries, for instance, will have your Sicilian nona doing back flips. But your options don’t stop at the Italian varieties. Fresh—and creatively flavored—doughnuts are being trayed up daily in kitchens from West Philly to popular Philadelphia attractions like the Reading Terminal Market. Those with dietary restrictions are covered, too, thanks to a new wave of pastry chefs whipping up mouthwatering treats like vegan cookie sandwiches and gluten-free carrot cake. Then there’s the baklava, brownies, rugelach… the choices could go on and on. This list will lead you in the right direction—and offer tips on how to find some of these treats—like Dottie’s Donuts—in some of the best local coffee shops. Philadelphia dessert hounds, consider yourself sated—and properly plumped. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Philadelphia

The 14 best coffee shops in Philadelphia

The 14 best coffee shops in Philadelphia

This city takes its caffeine intake seriously. When it comes to coffee shops, Philadelphia is rife with options to please java snobs and those just looking to hunker down with a laptop alike. This list covers must-try spots across the city—from a curious “coffee lab” in South Philly to a Northern Liberties favorite that draws locals in for delicious, housemade kronuts. A stop at a café also serves as a perfect starting point to get caffeinated up for a day of exploring the city—whether you want to seek out some nearby Philadelphia parks or hit up a couple of the major sites, like the Liberty Bell or Philadelphia Museum of Art. When night falls, find dinner at one of the best new restaurants in Philadelphia. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Philadelphia

Where to find the best pizza in Philadelphia

Where to find the best pizza in Philadelphia

If you think amazing comfort food in this city begins and ends at the best Philly cheesesteak in Philadelphia and pretzels, you’ve never tried the best pizza in Philadelphia. Whether you’re looking for a quick, cheap slice or a gourmet pie from a local top chef, this guide leads you to all the must-try spots for delicous, oozy, hits-all-the-right-spots pies. Pro tip: Many of these restaurants are open late, giving you ample chance to follow up your Philadelphia nightclubs excrusions with a slice or six of the best pizza in Philadelphia. Hangovers won’t stand a chance—especially if you kick off the next morning at one of the best coffee shops Philadelphia has to offer. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Philadelphia

The 13 best happy hour deals in Philadelphia

The 13 best happy hour deals in Philadelphia

When it’s time for happy hour, Philadelphia booze hounds flock to some of the best bars and best restaurants in Philadelphia for creative menus featuring primo beers, wines and cocktails at a fraction of the regular cost. Usually falling between 5 and 7pm, happy hour serves multiple purposes: comfort after a long work day, pre-drinks before taking in an evening of Philadelphia theater or a cheap start to some hard-thumping shenanigans in Philadelphia nightclubs. To steer you in the right direction, we focus this list on those spots that offer a little something extra, like extended happy hours, worthwhile food pairings or stunning views (which you can find more of in our guide to the best rooftop bars Philadelphia has to offer). It should keep you pleasantly tipsy for months to come. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in Philadelphia

Listings and reviews (74)

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

5 out of 5 stars

Wassail on the waterfront at this urban wintertime retreat, or rent skates and hit the ice on their outdoor rink. RiverRink affords kids and adults the chance to kick their heels on the ice for a $3 admission fee, with a $10 skate-rental fee collected for those who don’t bring their own. The at-large Winterfest, meanwhile—an approximately two-acre campus encompassing an arcade, lodge and a Franklin Fountain–operated “Confectionary Cabin”—is a free space with plenty of pay-as-you-go indulgences. While the kids skate or push quarters in the arcade machines, adults can warm up by the fire pits with the Latin-inspired dishes of Garces, a basket of Chickie’s & Pete’s famous fries and their choices from a menu of craft beer. Note: Winterfest is closed for the season, but you can check out the warm-weater version of the attractionm Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest—complete with an outdoor roller rink and ferris wheel—now through September 3.

Rally

Rally

3 out of 5 stars

Standing on a corner in charming Bella Vista, Rally is a refreshingly bright and chic space with ample seating and a menu of Pennsylvania-based coffee and grub. The coffee drinks are excellent—bold and flavorful, whether you’re getting an espresso or something milk-based—and roasted by Lancaster beanery Passenger Coffee or Old City’s Inspired Brews. You can also order from a small menu of sandwiches made by Olney’s Philly Bread, or go the sweet route with pastires by South Philly’s Machine Shop Boulangerie or to-die-for ice cream sandwiches by Fishtown-based frozen treats shop Weckerly’s. There’s even a wall in the back filled with arts, crafts and home goods made by local makers. Outside of the goods, Rally is a triple threat of sorts given that it also serves as an ad agency and co-working space. A $100 monthly membership nets you free cups of coffee and a discount on standard café fare. Casual visitors in need of a spot to work can access a reservation system, which allows you to secure a table (for a small fee) without having to worry about finding a place to squat.

Santucci’s Pizza

Santucci’s Pizza

4 out of 5 stars

A great option if you’re looking for pizza in the Loft District, Santucci’s is famous—rightfully so—for its backwards-looking square pies, with the mozzarella buried beneath a thick layer of tomato sauce. Added toppings are unnecessary, but olives and anchovies are nice touches to the pizza canvas.

The Market at DelVal

The Market at DelVal

4 out of 5 stars

Though you’ll have to pay a fee for admittance to the weekend Fall Fest, the bright side is this accessible farm and orchard jam-packs the day with things to do: apple-picking, an animal education mini-exhibit, a corn maze and the usual collection of inflatable attractions and storytimes. The highlight of the experience, though, is the assortment of Di Bruno Bros., Stonewall Kitchen and Rose Bank Winery goods available at the farmers’ market. Plus, pumpkin bars and, as the days get even colder, eggnog doughnuts.

Merrymead Farm

Merrymead Farm

4 out of 5 stars

This Lansdale mainstay packs its patch with pumpkins perfect for both consumption and optimal carving. The farm gets some notable extra credit for its solid customer service—they’ll spill all you need to know about keeping your produce, pumpkin or otherwise in tip-top shape. For the farm’s most festive pumpkin experience, plan to attend the annual lighting of the “Great Pumpkin,” where adults can jam to live music and kids can sit cross-legged in the crisp fall air for story time.

Zimmerman’s Country Market

Zimmerman’s Country Market

4 out of 5 stars

The pride and joy of Gloucester County for pumpkins, you’ll find pumpkins both giant and mini here, plus gourds and Indian corn. For the patch, guests pay a flat fee to embark on a 20-minute hayride to the whimsical, purple and pint-sized “Hilda’s House,” where kids pick a small pumpkin and select a prize from Hilda’s Cauldron. It’s also the only farm that makes pumpkin donuts. Not to mention pumpkin cakes and iced cookies.

Country Barn

Country Barn

3 out of 5 stars

Through October, during weekends, Country Barn offers a variety of pumpkins—both in size and color. Among them: Peanut Pumpkins, Jack-B-Littles and several types of gourds—not to mention, it’s your best bet for finding a green pumpkin, should that be your preference. Kids entertainment comes in the form of Barnyard Kingdom, an $11 admission that includes access to a five-acre corn maze, a pig show and petting zoo.

Springdale Farms

Springdale Farms

3 out of 5 stars

This Jersey pumpkin-lovin’ outpost opens its patch near the end of September each year, offering a fairly standard experience—as far as pumpkin patches go—that’s rounded out with some exceptionally delicious pumpkin pie and pumpkin cream cheese available for purchase. Before picking your pumpkins, relax in the plant yard, where you’ll find everything from mums to fairy-garden decor. There’s not much in the way of thrills, really, but for approximately $10 kids and young adults can take part in the “Lost Civilizations”-themed corn maze.

Indian Acres Tree Farm

Indian Acres Tree Farm

4 out of 5 stars

Kicking off its pumpkin-picking season in mid-September, this farm is traditionally known for Christmas trees, but doubles as a fall-festive pumpkin patch during autumn months, with hourly wagon rides through the week and a surprisingly eclectic number of kid-friendly activities—everything from “Jumpin’ Pumpkin” for toddlers to a hay bale maze that snakes around the edge of the patch. If you’re really feeling the vibe, swing for a private bonfire, bookable in two-hour time slots for $8 per person.

Weaver’s Orchard

Weaver’s Orchard

4 out of 5 stars

Weaver Orchards has a near-overwhelming number of apple varieties waiting among its 35 acres and 18,000 trees—30, in total, which you can pick upon receiving a free wristband with your purchase of a 10- or 20-pound bag. Shizuka, Stayman and Star Gala—a mildly sweet apple perfect for snacking—are all standouts, lounging on reachable trees that the farm kindly boxes off for you (for prime pickings). Tip: Go for the Honeycrisps if they’re still there—just watch out for the bees that flock to them.

Duffield’s Farm

Duffield’s Farm

4 out of 5 stars

Duffield’s has been growing and packing produce for Philadelphians for the better part of a century, and has been an in-the-family business all the while. Admittance buys guests time in the orchard, accessed by a hayride that leaves every half-hour. For a slightly different experience than the rest, wander in early to observe how the farm makes its warm apple cider donuts, and pick up an apple-walnut pie to indulge in later in the day.

Cherry Hill Orchards

Cherry Hill Orchards

4 out of 5 stars

The hike from the city is worth it to get to this mega-authentic orchard that is Lancaster’s largest. Ripe for the picking: Rambo, Cortland, Gold Delicious, Fortune and Jonagold varieties, among others—though you’ll want to act fast once picking begins for any variety, as most have a 10-day turnover. A picturesque picking experience, it’s also an environmentally sound one: While plucking nature’s candy from those branches, take a gander at one of the farm’s 750 solar panels in the distance.

News (3)

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest returns to the Delaware waterfront

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest returns to the Delaware waterfront

As sure as snow falls every winter, the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest returns to warm hearts, entering its 24th season as an ice-skating destination and its fifth as a dazzling wintertime urban retreat. RiverRink affords kids and adults the chance to kick their heels on the ice for a $3 admission fee, with a $10 skate-rental fee collected for those who don’t bring their own. The at-large Winterfest, meanwhile—an approximately two-acre campus encompassing an arcade, lodge and a Franklin Fountain–operated “Confectionary Cabin”—is a free space with plenty of pay-as-you-go indulgences. While the kids skate or push quarters in the arcade machines, adults can warm up by the fire pits with the Latin-inspired dishes of Garces, a basket of Chickie’s & Pete’s famous fries and their choices from a menu of craft beer. The venue’s event schedule kicks off right after Thanksgiving with a family-friendly weekend of free activities: face painting, live music and an engaging group of performers from Philadelphia School of Circus Arts. That all builds to the widely celebrated PECO Holiday Tree Lighting, with performances from a handbell group, an a cappella choir, the Wissahickon Skating Club and a headlining set from a yet-to-be-announced performer—plus a tree intended to be “so bright we want people to see it from the moon,” in the words of Winterfest director of programming Shelvia Williams. Photograph: Courtesy Visit Philly/J. Fusco New this year is Storytime at the Lodge, an hour-long

Philly ranks high on list of the world’s smartest cities

Philly ranks high on list of the world’s smartest cities

EasyPark, a parking-app company based out of Sweden, took it upon itself to rank the world’s smartest cities—that is, the ones that are most digitally advanced and livable. On the Top 100 list, as no resident should be surprised to see, is Philadelphia at a respectable No. 35—ahead of Chicago, at No. 36, and just behind Oslo, Norway, at No. 34. EasyPark came up with its calculations using 19 total criteria, but generally scored in the areas of governance, innovation in economy, digitalization, transportation and standard of living. It also factored in the opinion of 10,000 urban planning and technology journalists to calculate a “Expert Perception” score. The individual categories were measured on a 1-10 scale and averaged out to create a final score. Philadelphia’s overall tally was 6.72 out of 10, scoring high for its abundance of startups, quality internet speed, concentration of universities and availability of parking apps. We lagged behind for our relatively low amount of green space, low citizen participation in government and elections, and modest use of energy from renewable sources. All in all, though, the score puts Philadelphia not far from the tail end of the Top 20, wherein sits Toronto at No. 20 with a score of 7.14. And, though our digitalization of government score was a middling 6.45, we ranked higher than Tokyo and not far behind tech mecca San Francisco. The highest-ranking U.S. city on the list was Northeast neighbor Boston at No. 5, with a 7.7; it scored

What's new at Terror Behind the Walls for 2017

What's new at Terror Behind the Walls for 2017

For 27 years around Halloween, Eastern State Penitentiary has brewed up one of the most horrifying immersion experiences in the country. Though classified as a haunted house, the label is almost a disservice to the elaborate nature of this one-acre attraction that’s more interactive theater than your typical spooks-filled farmhouse. Terror Behind the Walls, the name of the prison museum’s seasonal haunted operation, involves six segments that add up to about an hour’s worth of character interaction, bone-chilling scares, prison exploration and elaborate costuming and makeup. Visitors can opt to wear a glow necklace as they wander through the facility’s dark confines, signifying that actors are welcome to speak with or touch them. From there, episodes follow a loose script, always driven by storylines with actors encouraged to indulge in improv and audience interplay. “What we started doing a few years ago is changing the vernacular of how we see fear,” says Amy Hollaman, creative director for Terror Behind the Walls. “We used to say, ‘What can we do to the visitor? What can we do to make them jump?’… Now we say, ‘What can the visitor do?’” Taking that concept to heart, this year’s brand-new attraction, “Blood Yard,” posits what it might be like to prepare human flesh for the tasting. Guests walk through a prison yard into a lair where a butcher and an empress await, flanked by a horde of cannibals wearing muzzles. Those who choose to interact could be asked to salt and prepar

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