hether you’ve landed the internship of your dreams, you’re trying to catch up on your sector requirements, or you’re simply avoiding spending another long summer with your folks, making the decision to stay in Philly for those gorgeous warm months presents you with a myriad of opportunities.
However, you may be wondering, “What ever will I do with all of my free time while I’m here?” Well, fear not, my friend. As a native Philadelphian with eighteen successful summers under her belt, I have plenty of fun, hunger-satisfying, and air-conditioning-insuring activities that you can try out – even if all you have is an hour or two and a few SEPTA tokens. Now, put on your sneakers, get on the el, and go!
Stop #1: The Magic Gardens, 1020 South Street
True story: during the summer, all of my social media feeds become filled with photos of people posing in front of some portion of these gorgeously decorated walls. The Magic Gardens is an outdoor art museum of sorts, and people come from far and wide to see the collage for themselves. Some people may even ask, “if at least one of your facebook profile pictures hasn’t featured this location…have you really even been to Philadelphia?”
Stop #2: Rita’s Italian Ice, 2124 South Street
If you’re not from Philly or the surrounding areas, the term “water ice” is foreign and probably a bit confusing. To Philadelphians, however, it’s a way of life. First day of spring? Go to Rita’s. Just finished your championship tiny tot tee-ball game? Go to Rita’s. Just passed your driver’s test? Go to Rita’s. Just woke up? Go to Rita’s. With eight constantly delicious flavors, and even more featured every day, a mango-vanilla gelati and a Philly Soft Pretzel can make any hot summer day better.
Stop #3: The Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Two words: art and air conditioning. Need I say more? For added fun, feel free to get dressed to the nines and pretend that you’ve been invited to a very prestigious art viewing. Take photos of yourself looking at art and post those to your instagram, so people know how cool and artsy you are (well, after you post your Magic Gardens picture, of course). If art museums aren’t your scene, try the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, or any of the other great stops in the museum district.
Stop #4: Bus Tour, N. 5th Street and Market Street
Summer is the perfect time to indulge in your desire to be a tourist. Especially if you’ve been in Philly for a while, this is a great and educational way to remember how it felt when everything was still new and exciting. Personally, I haven’t thought about the Liberty Bell since I went on a field trip there in the third grade, so I am itching to go on one of these tours. Grab some friends, put on some sunscreen, and get ready to feel the wind in your hair and to learn a bit about this historical city.
Stop #5: Oteri’s Italian Bakery, 6323 Woodland Avenue
Italian bakeries are a Philadelphia staple. You can find them all over, but my personal favorite within the city is Oteri’s. They’ve got cookies, cakes, cannolis, and anything your sweet tooth could desire. With all the sweating that you’ll be doing in the hot and humid Philly summer heat, you deserve a good treat.
Stop #6: The Adventure Aquarium, 1 Riverside Drive, Camden , NJ, 08103
Okay, so this isn’t technically in the city, but it was hard to pass this one up. If you head down to Penn’s Landing by the river, you can catch the ferry across to Camden. There you will find what is, in my opinion, the best aquarium on the East coast. There are beautiful fish, interesting facts about this amazing planet we live on, and, of course, air conditioning.
Stop #7: The Franklin Fountain, 116 Market Street
During the summer, I would argue, ice cream becomes an essential part of the food pyramid. Franklin Fountain is many people’s favorite place to get it. Whether you have it in a cone or in one of their iconic take-out containers, they’ve got the best scoops and a lot of fun, so be sure to check this one off of both your and your tummy’s lists.
Stop #8: Citizens Bank Park, 1 Citizens Bank Way
If you’re like me, and you’re not too into sports, this is still arguably one of the most important things to do if you’re truly trying to get the full Philly experience. Dollar dog nights filled with Chickie’s & Pete’s crab fries and soft serve ice cream served in tiny baseball helmets are what summer dreams are made of. Plus, if the Phils win, it’s a good night for everyone. Put on your cap and your jersey, and get ready to root, root, root, for the home team!
Stop #9: Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, 601 N Christopher Columbus Blvd
Concerts are another one of those things that just scream summer. The first concert I ever went to was on Festival Pier, as is the case for many Philadelphians. Check out their summer lineup and see if there are any shows that catch your eye. Spend a cool night by the river listening to live music, and you’re bound to make plenty of great summer memories.
Stop #10: Spruce Street Harbor Park, 301 S Christopher Columbus Blvd
Perhaps you’re now exhausted from your long, travel-filled days, and you just want to relax. Well, Spruce Street Harbor Park is perfect for that. Bring some friends, a cooler full of snacks, and a good blanket in case all of the hammocks are taken, and kick back. It’s summertime, after all, and there’s nothing you need to by studying for – you are allowed to relax! You’ll need to stock up on these blissful memories in order to get you through yet another fall semester at Penn. Enjoy!