What the Locals Do in Philadelphia
Take a trip off the tourist track and become a Philadelphian for a day. These locals-only experiences will help you fully embrace the city of brotherly love.
Shop the Farmers' Markets
At the year-round Italian Market, on 9th Street between Bainbridge and Washington, vendors have offered everything from fresh sausage to homemade ricotta since the early 1900s. You can also find a growing number of South American and Asian stores here. Reading Terminal is another place to find fresh, local foodstuffs. Check out www.thefoodtrust.org to find out the schedule of farmers' markets. At Head House Square, in Society Hill, farmers, artisanal-cheese and fudge makers, flower growers, and bread bakers from Lancaster County to South Jersey sell to local crowds on Sunday
Take a Bike Ride
The ever-expanding Schuylkill River Bike Path provides a direct 12-mi route from Center City to Valley Forge, through Manayunk and Conshocken. Rent a bike at Trophy Bikes, situated close to the entrance to the bike path, and start cycling past the Art Museum and Waterworks. In Manayunk, stop and have lunch alfresco at casual, scrumptious Le Bus (4266 Main St., Manayunk 215/487–2663).
Hang at the Piazza
Piazza at Schmidt's, a local developer's one-acre interpretation of Rome's Piazza Navona in hip Northern Liberties, has a slew of independent restaurants and boutiques. The landlord's no-chain-stores policy has resulted in a truly unique retail and dining atmosphere.
If it's after dark, there's probably a Quizzo (team trivia) game in progress in at least one bar in the city. The topics at different Quizzos can be anything under the sun—'80s sitcoms, classic literature, sci-fi films—and prizes usually involve free beer. Fergie's Pub (1214 Sansom St., Center City 215/928–8118) is one of the best places for Quizzo in the city. Check out www.johnygoodtimes.com, the Web site for the city's busiest quizmaster, for a schedule of Quizzo games.
Buy (and See) Art on the Cheap
Every year in June, the Art for the Cash Poor (www.inliquid.com) festival takes over a block in the Old City; no piece is priced over $150. The Art Star Craft Bazaar (www.artstarcraftbazaar.com), a newer annual festival at Penn's Landing each May, is organized by Art Star Gallery and Boutique, a shop in Northern Liberties founded by two local art-school grads. The citywide weeklong Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe (www.livearts-fringe.org), held every September, is an affordable way to see experimental art.
Linger Over Brunch
It's not surprising that food-obsessed Philadelphians are big on brunch. At Sabrina's Café (910 Christian St., South Philadelphia 215/574–1599), the Barking Chihuahua Breakfast and unusually thick slices of French toast account for the giant crowd waiting outside every Sunday. Morning Glory Diner (735 S. 10th St., South Philadelphia 215/413–3999) dishes out giant frittatas and omelets with homemade biscuits and stewed apples. The Aussie owners at Ants Pants Café (2212 South St., Center City West 215/875–8002) influence the food—you can order a Brekkie Platter and a flat white—and the laid-back ambience.
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