Old City

November 7, 2023

Stroll along quaint cobblestone streets and explore trendy boutiques and art galleries as you discover America’s spirit in Old City Philadelphia.

What to Do

Increase your insight at the museums neighboring Independence Mall, including the National Constitution Center, which brings the U.S. Constitution to life through multimedia exhibits, engaging performances and historic artifacts. The Faith and Liberty Discovery Center examines how faith helped foster some of the nation’s core values.

Across the street, the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History showcases the 360-year history of Jewish people in the U.S. Visit the African American Museum in Philadelphia for groundbreaking exhibits exploring, interpreting and preserving the heritage of African Americans. Explore Philadelphia’s maritime history at the Independence Seaport Museum.

An old ship sits inside a museum gallery

Photo courtesy of the Museum of the American Revolution

Delve into themes of diversity, equity, inclusion, civic engagement, and leadership at the National Liberty Museum. At the Museum of the American Revolution, discover the history of the American Revolution with interactive, all-ages exhibits featuring George Washington’s actual war tent.

The mind-bending Museum of Illusions engages with more than 60 exhibits featuring holograms, optical illusions, and immersive rooms. Take in a show at Arden Theatre Company, producing plays in the heart of the neighborhood since 1988. The Science History Institute engages visitors with chemistry, engineering, and life sciences collections.

Where to Dine

Traverse on an international excursion on 2nd Street in Old City, including Cuban fare served in an open-air Havana streetscape at Cuba Libre, or traditional Irish pub favorites at The Plough & The Stars. Family-owned Las Bugambilias is a popular spot serving authentic Mexican food. Known for Italian crudo and airy Mediterranean vibe, Positano Coast offers an extensive wine list and seasonal Italian dishes. A giant golden Buddha greets you at Stephen Starr’s Buddakan, serving Asian fusion dishes and cocktails in a hip dining room.

Inside Cuba Libre the restaurant is decorated with faux buildings to appear like a city street in Cuba.

Photo courtesy of Cuba Libre

Jose Garces’ Amada specializes in Spanish tapas, while Han Dynasty features a menu of spicy Sichuan dishes. At Zahav, enjoy an Israeli menu of small plates, grilled vegetables and meat, freshly whipped hummus served with warm, house made pitas. Elevated new American cuisine awaits at Fork. For dessert, order scoops of ice cream made onsite from an authentic turn-of-the-century parlor setting at The Franklin Fountain. Enjoy dinner and drinks aboard the Moshulu — the world’s oldest and largest square rigged sailing vessel still afloat.

Visitors come to Old City to explore the past and can celebrate the present with the local community. On the First Friday of every month, Old City comes alive in celebration as the art galleries and businesses stay open late with special events and free programing. During the spring and summer, independent vendors line the streets generating a local, outdoor market.

Where to Stay

For those looking to be surrounded by history, consider the Philadelphia Marriott Old City. The hotel was reimagined in 2019 and now features a four-story lobby, 364 modern guest rooms, a 4,000 square foot state-of-the-art fitness center. Nearby, the Kimpton Hotel Monaco borders Independence Mall and is home to 268 luxurious rooms. The ground floor restaurant, Red Owl Tavern, offers modern twists on American favorites, while the Stratus Rooftop Lounge features signature cocktails and small plates. The neighboring Renaissance Philadelphia Downtown has 150 rooms, an indoor pool, and on-site restaurant and lounge, the Franklin Social.

High ceilings in an interior lobby with architectural beams.

The Greatroom Lobby and Society Commons bar at the Philadelphia Marriott Old City.

The Thomas Bond House Bed & Breakfast is in the restored home of the co-founder of the nation’s first hospital. Owned by the National Park Service, the bed and breakfast, which is just steps from Independence National Historical Park. The hotel features 12 guest rooms, each with their own unique historical elements (including two rooms with working fireplaces).

Located within steps of several historic sites, the Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District features over 360 rooms and a rooftop pool. Lokal Hotel offers invisible service to create an authentic “like home” experience in its six apartment-style units.

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