Encouraged by the presence of several high-profile chefs and restaurateurs, Philadelphia has evolved into one of the country’s eminent food cities, offering creative cuisine from every culture in venues ranging from roving gourmet food trucks to former bank vaults.
Tucked away in a charming space on Locust Street, Little Nonna’s updates the classic flavors of South Philly Italian food with Midtown Village style to create a friendly neighborhood gathering spot. Created by Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran, the pair responsible for standout local restaurants like Lolita, Grocery, and Barbuzzo, this Philadelphia italian restaurant is conveniently located at the Independent Hotel. Start your meal with a rich Italian Chianti or a bubbly San Pellegrino before moving on to Eggplant Parmigiana and Ricotta Cavatelli with duck sausage, taggiasca olive, rapini, pecorino and pear. Don’t forget dessert, whether you opt for a cup of local coffee from La Colombe, an after-dinner Amaro, or Little Nonna’s famed Hazelnut Cannoli.
Bud & Marilyn’s is a classic American restaurant named after owner Marcie Turney’s grandparents, who owned the original Bud & Marilyn’s for 40 years in Wisconsin. Classic American comfort food, such as fried chicken, meatloaf and Virginia ham, is dished in the restaurant’s hip, mid-century modern dining room.
Just because you won’t find a Philly Cheesesteak at Vedge doesn’t make it any less essential to the fabric of Philadelphia’s culinary scene. Vegetable-based but not lacking for decadence, Vedge’s menu includes delicacies like Fresh Hearts of Palm Vindaloo, Seared Black Kale and Crispy & Creamy Sunchokes. In addition to its showstopping array of entrees, Vedge offers a full cocktail list, each drink infused with creative floral and botanical additions. This must-visit vegetarian restaurant sits in an artfully designed space less than one block from The Independent Hotel.
This Philly favorite operates three locations, one of which is just steps away from The Independent Hotel. Green Eggs serves classic breakfast, brunch and lunch dishes daily, but isn’t afraid to mix it up with creative menu options like Quinoa Porridge, Red Velvet Pancakes and Short Rib Benedict. You can’t go wrong with the restaurant’s signature and most simple dish: Eggs Your Way with breakfast meat and fresh bread from local Le Bus Bakery.
Overseen by famed Philly restaurateur Stephen Starr, up-and-coming young chef Charles Parker, and farm-to-table luminary Aimee Olexy, Talula’s Garden takes New American cuisine to new heights in an art deco-style building on Washington Square. Brunch and dinner each offers a collection of sublime dishes, including Pan-Roasted Whole Porgy with heirloom radishes and shishito peppers, Brown Butter Glazed Potato Gnocchi, and Duck Pappardelle with wine-scented apricots.
Garage door-fronted cafe with locally sourced eats & an upstairs bar hosting live music at night.
Jim’s Steaks– Your cheesesteak spot on South Street – Jim’s Steaks South Street is a five-time winner of Philadelphia Magazine’s “Best of Philly” award. They also serve great great hoagies, but bring cash as they don’t accept cards.
Steve’s Prince of Steaks– If you’re taking a trip the the City Hall neighborhood, try a cheesesteak from the award-winning Steve’s. It’s a Philadelphia staple.
Pat’s King of Steaks or Geno’s Steaks– At the center of the long-running Philadelphia Cheesesteak debate, Pat’s King of Steaks is acclaimed for their cheesesteak topped with Cheez Wiz. If you want to settle this debate for yourself, Geno’s is just across the street specializing in cheesesteaks made with “real” cheese.
Walnut Street and Liberty Place offer designer wares, jewelers and upscale boutiques. For edgy clothing, retro and designer furniture, try Old City. Nearby, Pine Street yields an eclectic mix of antiques, gifts and toys. For serious jewelry, Sansom Street shines.
Located on the north end of Midtown Village, Marcie Blaine Artisanal Chocolates is a great place to pick up a sweet gift for a loved one or a tasty treat for yourself. The chocolate is made using locally and regionally sourced ingredients, including cream and butter from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and herbs and honey from nearby farms. Chef Marcie Blaine Turney, the co-operator of Little Nonna’s at The Independent Hotel, infuses her chocolate creations with bold, lively flavors like cardamom, fig, pumpkin spice, coffee and whiskey.
Walnut Street Shops
Stepping outside the borders of Midtown Village to the heart of Center City expands your retail horizons to include a vast array of stores, ranging from upscale to mass-market and everything in between. Walnut Street is to Philly what Fifth Avenue is to New York City: the best, brightest and biggest reside here. Spend an afternoon strolling Walnut Street and stop in at the Apple Store, Tiffany & Co., Holt’s Cigar Company, lululemon athletica, Anthropologie, and City Sports.
Just a few blocks away from Center City’s major retailers sits a decidedly different kind of store: Verde. A true local gem in Midtown Village, Verde specializes in women’s jewelry and accessories, along with a carefully curated selection of women’s clothing and home goods. Verde is a great place to stop during the holiday season — or any season — if you’re looking for a gift for a loved one — plus, it’s operated by Midtown Village luminary/restaurateur/chef/chocolatier Marcie Blaine Turney, who whips up fine Italian fare at Little Nonna’s at The Independent Hotel.
From jazz to hip-hop to indie rock, Philadelphia has served as an incubator for some of America’s most groundbreaking music. One of the best places to celebrate the living history of Philadelphia’s music scene is Rustic Music, a record store in Midtown Village. Pick up hard-to-find vintage vinyl, take a guitar on a brief test-drive, or just browse the racks at this classic piece of Philly’s cultural parchment.
The Kimmel Center isn’t just the heart and soul of Philadelphia. It’s one of the nation’s top performing arts centers, hosting world-class touring musicians, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Broadway Philadelphia, The Philly Pops, and much more. Located in several stately buildings lining Broad Street, Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts, the Kimmel Center recently played host to Bob Dylan. If you can’t make it to a show at the center, at least stop by Volver, the new restaurant from Iron Chef star Jose Garces, serving tasting menus and upscale cocktails.
The Wilma is an irreplaceable piece of the Philadelphia performing arts scene and a well-respected member of Broad Street’s “Avenue of the Arts” lineup. The theater often presents challenging and less-mainstream material, including 2015 performances of plays such as “The Body of an American” and “Rapture, Blister, Burn.” The Wilma is Philly’s answer to New York’s off-Broadway scene — and in some ways, it’s better.
Billed as America’s oldest theatre, the Walnut Street Theatre opened in 1809. In the ensuring 206 years, many of America’s greatest actors have graced the stage below the Walnut’s signature 80-foot dome: Will Rogers, Audrey Hepburn, Robert Redford, and William Shatner, to name just a few. The theatre isn’t just a historic relic — the stage is as alive as ever, hosting performances like Mary Poppins, Memphis, and Disney’s Alice in Wonderland in the past year alone.
It’s name may sound strange, but Milkboy’s pedigree is serious. This bar and cafe doubles as one of Center City’s best music venues. The space has a decidedly independent feel, hosting shows by local bands and under-the-radar touring acts, all of which you can enjoy with a carefully crafted cocktail in hand. Milkboy’s sterling reputation among those in the know is burnished by its sister endeavor: Milkboy the Studio, where multi-platinum stars like Kanye West and John Legend — along with local favorites Dr. Dog — have recorded albums.
As the official home of the Philadelphia Theatre Company, the Suzanne Roberts Theatre hosts a number of forward-thinking plays and musicals each season. Recent productions include the playful murder mystery musical “Murder for Two,” the Obie Award-winning play “Detroit,” and the beautifully lyrical “brownsville song (b-side for tray).” The Suzanne Roberts Theatre is the place to see the work of up-and-coming directors in Philadelphia.
Once America’s most populous city, its one-time industrial center, and the nation’s temporary capital, Philadelphia is home to a wide variety of historical sights and attractions. Philadelphia landmarks trace the history of America alongside the history of the city — from its days as the capital of Pennsylvania Colony to its modern status as the country’s sixth-largest metropolitan area.
Explore the city’s parks, historic districts and museums to gain an appreciation of Philadelphia’s contributions to America — or just take a brief walk. You’re bound to find something old and learn something new.
Philly’s most famous attraction, the Liberty Bell, is housed here, along with Independence Hall, the Portrait Gallery, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, and much more. Admission to see the Liberty Bell is free of charge, and other Independence National Historical Park attractions cost less than $5. If you plan on visiting historic Independence Hall — where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed — please plan on registering for a timed ticket ahead of time (tickets are free). Whether or not you step into any of the buildings onsite to see American history first-hand, we recommend walking the grounds. The architecture alone is enough to transport you back to America’s early days.
This is a can’t-miss Philadelphia landmark, in a nearly literal sense. Perched directly in the middle of Center City — where Broad Street meets Market Street — this mammoth building was once the tallest habitable building in the world (from 1901 to 1908). At 548 feet, Philadelphia City Hall has been stripped of that title many times over at this point, but it still stands as one of America’s finest architectural wonders. The majestic Second Empire-style building houses Philadelphia’s municipal offices and attracts the attention of onlookers from every angle.
Philadelphia’s ever-present charm gets taken up a notch on Antique Row, a historic section of Washington Square West that offers an array of antique shops, furniture stores, clothing boutiques, bookstores, craft shops and dining options. The district, anchored by Pine Street between Ninth and Broad streets, is worth a visit for its architectural grace and elegance as much as for the wares sold in its stores. Take an afternoon stroll along the tree-lined streets and take a trip back in time without leaving the middle of Philadelphia.
Offering 6.4 acres of relaxing respite and lush greenery in the heart of Philadelphia, Washington Square is one of five square parks originally included in the city’s grid. Washington Square lives on today as a piece of living history, serving not only as a place for residents and visitors to relax, but also as a piece of Independence National Historical Park.
Alex & Mike at The Independent Hotel The Independent Hotel recently hosted two Philadelphia lifestyle bloggers, Alex & Mike, for a mini staycation in our refreshed rooms. Read some of the highlights from the couple’s stay below, or visit their website for the full post. You guys know we love staying in hotels. There’s something about relaxing in a king bed with comfy hotel sheets — it’s the best! If you follow us...