Autumn is lovely time of year to visit Philadelphia–you’ll experience the bustle of a city ensconced in the best of history, architecture and food. As temperatures cool, the glistening streets and bare tree branches illuminate the vintage warmth of the many red brick buildings in full splendor. Although one of the oldest cities in the United States, Philadelphia represents the evolution of the United States as a whole from traditional to evolved: Rittenhouse Square teems with historical activities, modern hotels, edgy graffiti and vegan cafes with progressive vegan menus. Exploring the area on foot is the way to go; take your steps for the day as you hit up museums, shops, and restaurants that will satisfy everyone from healthy foodies to junk food addicts. 24 hours is just the right amount of time to scratch the surface of this cool, complex city center.
There is plenty of gooey vegan goodness to be found at Bar Bombόn & Hip City Veg, both located on the same block of South 18th Street. Bombon, a slip of a restaurant with a narrow entryway and bar, has a seating area with full-service dining. The Latin-based menus–both brunch and all-day–are all vegan, with tortas, empanadas, salad bowls, nachos, other small bites, tacos, burgers, and more, in addition to featured cocktails. We went to town, ordering the nachos, salad bowl, burger and the Phili steak empanadas. The plates were cleared out in no time.
We couldn’t leave the area without hitting up Hip City Veg next door, a takeout cafe with an impressive menu of greasy spoon items like a smokehouse burger, curry tofu wrap, fries, smoothies, and mock bacon breakfast sandwiches. We shared a large vanilla milkshake made with soy ice cream and milk. It got polished off in a flash.
W Hotel Philadelphia
We stayed overnight at the W Philadelphia, a modern, towering hotel that occupies the 34th-42nd floors of building in the city center a 5-minute walk from Rittenhouse Square. The lobby is chic and stunning, with wow-factor oversized modern photography, stylish, lime green seating, and plenty of festive built-in and string lighting. Additional features include a charming secret garden, and outdoor heated pool and hot tub. We got breakfast at Dolce, the main restaurant with a bright, clean setting. I got a gorgeous bowl of oatmeal with bruléed bananas and fresh berries. As always, I asked for a side of soy milk that I added to the oatmeal for protein.
Constitution Center, Liberty Bell & Escape Room
We spent the morning visiting the Constitution Center, where the boys goofed off as mock presidents. Then we stopped by the Liberty Bell across the street and saw a series of beautiful green walls along the way. We finished out day off by completing the secret agent challenge at Escape The Room, a quintessential hour of fun for two precocious teenagers.
We spent a playful 24 hours in Philadelphia. The center city area is teeming with progressive food, rich culture and impressive architecture. All you need to do it show up–the city’s many splendors will speak to you and lead you through a day of adventurous exploration.