The birthplace of America is no longer just a hot spot for history buffs thanks to the city’s acclaimed dining, shopping, and cultural destinations.
For a haute happy hour, head to Volvér for exquisite cocktails.
From Independence Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia held the world’s attention during Pope Francis’s two-day visit in September. But it’s the miles in between those iconic landmarks where the heart and soul of Philadelphia can be found: on a bench in one of many bustling city parks, outside a theater on the Avenue of the Arts, or strolling by the shops and restaurants that line Walnut Street.
Modeled after Rome’s Pantheon and originally home to a bank, The Ritz-Carlton (215-523-8000) melds history with luxe hotel amenities. The grand Rotunda lobby bar entertains a mix of guests and locals alike for cocktails and bites. Book the stately Penthouse Suite for unparalleled views of City Hall across the street.
King of Prussia Mall (610-265-5794), the largest retail property on the East Coast, is set to unveil 50 more stores next fall. In the meantime, there’s more than enough Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, and Salvatore Ferragamo to keep you happy. Call on KOP’s personal shopping service (ext. 212) to take you on a dizzying retail tour.
Frame of Mind
The ultimate way to experience the more than 3,000 masterpieces at the Barnes Foundation (215-278-7200)—including one of the world’s most notable collections of French Impressionist paintings—is with a private docent tour. Share your interests, like exploring Picasso’s many works, and the Barnes plans your hour-long tour accordingly,
Haute Happy Hour
While the main dining room at Volvér (215-670-2302) is a study in pristine plates and sublime service, its plush bar is a hidden gem. Sample one of Volvér’s signature cocktails—the basil chili smash and Nero Manhattan are exemplary sips—alongside a revamped menu that includes shrimp toast and ham tartines.
The new One Liberty Observation Deck (215-561-3325) takes the visitor experience from the streets to the skies. The 57th-floor attraction, from the design team behind the 360 Chicago observatory, promises panoramic views of Philadelphia, interactive features, and city-inspired art installations.
The Rittenhouse Spa & Club—Hair by Paul Labrecque (215-790-2500) is an utterly relaxing urban retreat. Step up your skincare with the Vitamin C facial or the 30-minute Express facial (perfect for travelers). For the ultimate body treatment, two therapists perform a finely orchestrated massage during The Quartet.
That's the Ticket
The epicenter of arts and culture in Philadelphia is the Kimmel Center (215-670- 2300). The grande dame of South Broad Street presides over an exhaustive calendar at venues across Center City, from Opera Philadelphia at the historic Academy of Music to The Philadelphia Orchestra in Kimmel’s own Verizon Hall.
Steak a Claim
Known for more than a decade for its $100 wagyu beef cheesesteak, Barclay Prime (215-732-7560) on Rittenhouse Square is home to a bounty of bubbly, hefty prime cuts, and an assortment of caviar. After dinner, stop by the lounge, the coolest “library” you will ever have the pleasure of sipping a gin martini in.