It’s so much more than Rocky and cheesesteaks.
I grew up right outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and today that is still where most of my family lives. Thus, Andrew and I make the weekend trip up to Philly quite often to visit. Over recent years, it seems as if the city has truly undergone a revival, especially in the culinary realm. There are new, fabulous restaurants popping up all the time and quite a few of them are offering delicious, healthy plant based menus. Philadelphia is also a beautiful town, located on the Schuylkill river, there are so many opportunities to get outside and explore all of the incredible cultural landmarks. Below are my recommendations for what to do, eat, and shop during a weekend in the City of Brotherly Love. (Note: It was very hard to narrow down – this list is by no means exhaustive, rather these are my best of the best picks for a wellness filled weekend getaway).
P.S. and Co – An idyllic cafe located right off of Rittenhouse Square featuring plant based, vegan, organic, gluten free eats. The focus here is certainly on health, but with foods that are inventive, delicious, and nourishing. It is the perfect welcoming, cozy place to stop in for a green juice and flourless brownie or stay for longer and have a full meal. I would highly recommend starting your weekend out with their brunch – offering everything from coconut yogurt with homemade muesli to a waffle club with tofu.
Hip City Veg – This is my go-to spot for a quick lunch in the city. I love their tempeh salad and Andrew is particularly fond of their guac burger. They have recently started to expand to other locations and even have an outpost in DC, but their location off Rittenhouse is the original. Warning – be prepared for a bit of a line if you go around lunch, although it moves quickly. Also, this location is quite small with just a few tables. It is best to take your lunch to go and head to Rittenhouse Square (just a couple blocks away) for a nice lunch in the park.
Vedge – This may be the best vegan restaurant in the country, winning plenty of awards for their inspired plant based menu. Regardless, it is certainly my favorite vegan dining experience. If you go for dinner you will not be disappointed, the flavors are super imaginative featuring dishes such as rutabaga fondue and portobello carpaccio. It is more of a fine dining option and pricier than the others on this list, but definitely worth it for the memorable experience. The menu is constantly changing based on what is in season and it features small plates – my favorite as I am notoriously indecisive and that way you can try a bit of everything. (Be ready to make a reservation way in advance as this place books up fast!)
V Street – The same award winning chefs from Vedge, Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, created their second restaurant in Philly here. Inspired by ethnic and street foods throughout the world, the menu is exciting and full of bold and unexpected plant based dishes. This is their more casual restaurant and a must visit when coming to Philly, even if you can only pop in for one of their inventive cocktails at the bar – it is worth the trip!
Rangoon – If you want to venture over to Chinatown this is far and away my favorite place to go. Tucked away under an inconspicuous awning is this Burmese restaurant; they make some of the most delicious food I have ever had. I have been going to Rangoon since I can remember with my family and it never gets old, only better with time. Just thinking about it makes me nostalgic – all dishes here are generous and served family style but I promise you will finish everything. They also have quite a few vegan and veggie centric dishes on the large menu – must tries are the green bean salad and the mango salad (life changing!)
Bar Bombon – A new to me discovery, created by the owners of Hip City Veg. They are serving up delicious plant based Mexican food and it is on point. Located just down the street from Hip City Veg, it is a sit down restaurant, but still casual. A perfect option for lunch or dinner.
Di Bruno Bros – I could not make a list about Philly food without mentioning Di Bruno’s. This place is a Philadelphia mainstay, I remember visiting their original tiny shop in the Italian market as a child. They have since expanded to a much larger space right off of Rittenhouse, with a downstairs market and upstairs fast casual dining menu. Although, they got their name for being a cheese shop, they do offer numerous gourmet gluten free and plant based items as well as plenty of fresh produce. This is the perfect place to stop by for groceries if you plan on cooking in one night. They also have quite a few plant based, gluten free options in their prepared food cases including a vegan gnocchi, which I love. Finally, their coffee bar is excellent, the best place to drop by for a warm almond milk or matcha latte.
The Barnes Collection – This museum contains a massive collection of impressionist art including works by Cezanne, Matisse, and Picasso. It is easy to get lost here for quite a few hours as there are beautiful and interesting pieces around every corner. The building itself is absolutely stunning and they frequently have live music and cocktails on Friday evenings.
Ritz Movie Theater – A perfect option for date night in the city. These theaters feature a small selection of critically acclaimed and independent films that you wouldn’t typically get to see at other venues.
Rescue Spa – A wonderful escape within the city. Rescue offers some of the best massages and facials that I have ever received. Additionally, they sell a great assortment of beauty and skincare including RMS!
Boyds – An independent, family run department store that has been in Philadelphia for decades. It originally started as a fine men’s store, although they now offer a curated selection for women as well. I love that they do not have a massive selection like some department stores, but rather everything that they choose to sell is edited and obviously well thought out. Also, the designers they stock are the best of the best, everything from Alexander McQueen to Mansur Gavriel. Warning – the shoe department is dangerous!
Anthropologie – Philly is actually the home of this brand and the original location is in an exquisite, old building right off Rittenhouse Square. It is massive, 4 stories tall, and of course impeccably decorated. I can always be counted on to get lost here for hours.
Terrain – Technically this is not in the city, but rather out in the suburbs. However, I think it is absolutely worth the trip if you have the time or even better if you are driving and it is on your way into/out of the city. Under the same ownership as Anthropologie, this is their garden store outpost. They sell everything from adorable succulents, cookbooks, natural/organic skincare, to large patio chairs and tables. And the store is perfectly arranged – like you are walking into a fairy garden. They also have a wonderful cafe attached, offering a seasonal menu with produce from local vendors. Fun fact – this is where my mom held my Bridal Shower.
I hope this list was helpful if you are planning a trip or would like to head to Philly in the future! It really is a great place to see and visit.