Philadelphia. "The City of Brotherly Love." Emphasis on Bro. Let's face it, Philly has its fair share of bro-habitants. Armies of them envelop the local bar scenes, donning super casual uniforms of mesh shorts or sweats–depending on the weather–and sports jerseys. Their crews are comprised mostly of Mc-somethings, O'Malleys, and other O'Whatnots; their facial hair clean-shaven (unless participating in a Fantasy draft or Movember competition of sorts).
Though boisterous and a bit crude (read: drunk), there is something alluring about the brutish bros (and gals) of Philly – in fact, a handful of them make up our closest circle of friends.
Real diamonds in the rough, their unabashed hometown spirit is palpable and injects the uber-historic city with a lovable irreverence. This, in tandem with a relatively affordable cost of living, attracts many a lively twenty-something to Philadelphia – and makes for very memorable visits.
Philadelphians love a good phestival (sorry, had to). Their steadfast commitment to an anything's-better-with-a-brew-in-hand mentality is admirable. Unapologetically pairing beer with everything from the expected (like bacon) to the less expected (like biking), there's always some reason to celebrate something in Philadelphia.
It is the birthplace of Freedom, after all.
And while South Philly is where a lot of socializing takes place, there are other really chill areas worth exploring:
- Northern Liberties: just north of Old City, get lost in the once industrial area.
- Manayunk: 15 minutes from Center City with Victorian storefronts for prime window shopping and views of the Schuylkill river.
- Old City: especially if you make it down in time for First Fridays.
Eating a cheesesteak while you're in Philadelphia may be a cliché, but not eating one is a sacrilege. While the debate over "the best" in town is a heated one, Tony Luke's definitely won't disappoint.
Chances are you'll blow a lot of cash on booze throughout your stay. Hit up one of Philadelphia's awesome BYOB spots like The Farm and Fisherman or Mercato for a low-fuss, high-quality dinner and an alcohol tab whose destiny's safe in your hands.
And, be sure to check out these other must-see spots while you're there:
- Paesano’s Philly Style: for a quick bite.
- Bistrot La Minette: for a longer lunch.
- Serpico: for an insanely awesome and adventurous dinner menu.
The city tends to clear out in the warmer months as many Philadelphians flee to the Jersey Shore. However, the scene is not completely dead come summer time. June welcomes Center City Sips and, in turn, killer weekday happy hour specials that are worth the hike from NYC, or so I'm told. The summer beer garden game is on on point, too.
For whatever reason, the times I find myself in Philadelphia I'm bundled up at a bar, battling ice cold temperatures outdoors. BUT, always feeling warmed by the city's vibrant patrons. To meet some of them, stop by these haunts:
- The Black Sheep: a cozy several-story dive.
- O'Neals: a quintessential Irish pub.
- The Dandelion: for fancier drinks and a more intimate atmosphere.
You've got a few options. Amtrak is your most direct bet, but can get expensive. As an alternative, take NJ Transit from New York Penn Station to Trenton Transit Center, then get on SEPTA, Philadelphia's public railway system. Or, live a little and rent a Zipcar for the weekend.