Philadelphia still remains that same old City of Brotherly Love, but it has been on an upward trend of development recently. New beautiful places are springing up all over the place, it’s undergoing an impressive culinary renaissance, and there is something of a colonial cultural revival going on. As the city reinvents itself, it’s attracting more discerning visitors with the fatter wallets.
Shopping For The Old & New
Shopaholics love Philadelphia, from haute couture to the funky artwork, there is something to please all shoppers. For the fashion fans, the city has spawned influential fashion retailers like Urban Outfitters, Anthropoloigie and Lagos. And fashionistas should have no problem finding the big labels like Chanel, Armani. The city is also home to a whole selection of high fashion boutiques such as Joan Shepp, Knit Wit and Plage Tahiti in Rittenhouse Square. So while old Philly isn't the fashion capital of the world, the locals do love to look good.
While Philadelphia excels in modern fashion, it is – at its heart – an old city that dates back to colonial times. So if there is one thing that Philadelphia specializes in its old things, or more specifically, antiques. For those searching for old things in Philadelphia the largest collection can be found in Antique Row, or rather Pine Street between 9th and 13th. This road is home to a large mix of antique stores, local gift and souvenir shops and craft boutiques. These shops gather not only fine antiques from all over the country, but locally-crafted goods from all over Pennsylvania. This includes everything from delicacies like artisan cheese to old handcrafted furniture made by the Pennsylvania Dutch.
Sail Down The Delaware
Philadelphia is located right near the end of the Delaware River which empties into the nearby Bay of Delaware. As the river and ocean is so close, the residents of Philadelphia have a big sailing culture.
Tour operators like American Sailing Tours are more than willing to take visitors out on their boats to sail down the Delaware or even all the way into Atlantic waters. This particular tour operator boasts a slew of watercraft. From catamarans for the hotter months to the classical schooner, yachts and even classic Chinese junk boats, there is a boat for every occasion. Some boats merely specialize in leisure cruises that provide meals, but some of the sturdier craft have packages that take interested visitors out to sea for a little Atlantic fishing.
Overindulge On Philly's Brew Tours
Pennsylvania doesn't have much in the way of wine culture. It does have a few vineyards here and there, but when it comes to alcohol there is one thing that both Pennsylvania and Philadelphia loves: beer.
There are eight fully-fledged breweries that have opened their doors to beer fans for tours, drinks and free samples. The favourite among these breweries is the Philadelphia Brewing Company. It offers free group tours or private tours for an extra free. These tours include in-depth information on brewing processes. However, the highlight of the tour is the free tastings of fresh craft beer. While the Philadelphia Brewing Company tour is considered the best (though that may be because of its large portion samples!) the Nodding Head Brewery, Yards Brewing Company and Independence Brewing Company tours are all a treat too. Each company has its own special blend of beers that are sure to thrill the visiting beer geek.
Experience More Than Just The Cheesesteak
Philadelphia has tried for years, fairly fruitlessly, to re-establish itself as more than 'just a place to get cheesesteak'. That doesn't mean that the town hates its famous meaty sandwich now, though. The cheesesteak industry is still going strong and the experience definitely can't be missed – but chefs have recently flocked to the city to give its culinary culture a much-needed boost, especially in the fine dining department.
Morimoto is the namesake restaurant of celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto, who earned his fame not just through his food but on the Food Network's Iron Chef. Morimoto's Japanese cuisine is served beautifully in his restaurant, which sports an interesting, albeit futuristic, setting. The white plastic tables are aglow under the multicolored lighting with a ceiling of rolling bamboo. Morimoto specializes in handcrafted sushi, but it also serves up other Japanese fare like tuna with caviar and wasabi or tempura with Gorgonzola sauce. Visitors should highly consider taking advantage of one of its tasting tours, which includes smaller items of nearly the entire regular menu. This way, visitors to Morimoto never miss out on a special treat.
Le Bec-Fin is a French-style restaurant where owner Georges Perrier can't seem to make up his mind on the decor. A few years ago Georges Perrier took down the Versailles style-decor and replaced it with a 19th-century Parisian Salon motif. The menu has also been in constant flux. From prix-fixe to a la carte, this restaurant has seen them all. In 2011, the restaurant opened yet again with a new decor that seems to be a mix of the two previous styles, a dress code that allows jeans and the prix-fixe menu has made its return. Now visitors can sit down to a proper traditional French meal that comes in four to seven courses with all-you-can-eat dessert. It may seem more casual in its clientele, but the standards for quality have remained high.
Philadelphia has not forgotten its roots in colonial America and there are historic buildings everywhere. Many great hotels have set themselves up within these beautiful old buildings and changed them into some of the best luxury hotels in the city. Whether guests want to sleep a massive four poster bed in a grand old building or want to check out the grand new hotels that offer foie gras on room service, there is a stay in Philadelphia to fit just about anyone's needs.
It is the service at The Rittenhouse Hotel that makes it stand out. The great service starts two weeks before a visitor's stay when the hotel e-mails its future visitors about any special needs they may require, whether it is dining reservations, flower arrangements or even a copy of your hometown newspaper each morning. The staff at The Rittenhouse is regarded as the nicest in the city. Every weekend, guests are greeted with chocolate dipped strawberries and Champagne while children can enjoy toys from a treasure chest and teens can take in free movies and popcorn in their own movie theatre.