Summer may be time to sit back and unwind (as one famous Philadelphian will tell you), but it’s also time to take this city for all it’s worth before gray weather and pumpkin stuff takes over. So try every seasonal dish and pop-up food shack, pump a fist in the air outside, and (now and again) get out of town altogether. Don’t know where to start? Check these 50.
M. Edlow/Visit Philadelphia


1. Summer is the perfect time to catch up on your Philadelphia food bucket list. Start with lemon water ice (with a side of soft pretzel) at John’s Water Ice and a fresh lobster roll from Luke’s Lobster. Summer in each hand.

2. Speaking of seafood, don’t miss The Seafood Shack pop-up at La Peg for an al fresco dining experience looking over the Ben Franklin bridge and Penn’s Landing. Fish and chips plus fire pits? Check and check.

3. For some of the very best barbecue in Philly, head to Roxborough and indulge in the $12 all-you-can-eat buffet at Deke’s.

4. The beach, and beach bodies are over-rated, so sample all nine of Federal Donuts permanent flavors. Not sure what order to go in? We ranked them for you

5. Even brunch knows it’s summer. Opt for seasonal takes on brunch classics, like the shrimp and grits with pulled pork from Urban Farmer, or the avocado and black cherry toast from Bar Bombon.

6. Head to Spruce Street Harbor for Garces’ taco truck or the Philly go-to that is Chickie’s and Pete’s crab fries.

7. Individualized courses at Fine Palate (you get to pick when each $10 course stops, and when you’re ready to switch to dessert) and the dozens of robatayaki offerings at Double Knot are perfect options for big groups, especially if your crew includes a picky eater.

8. One of the oldest bars in Philly also makes one of it’s best sandwiches: The Schmidter.

9. Who would have thought some Lancaster County cream and authentic Italian mastery would make some of the best gelato in the world? Well they did, and it’s at Capogiro.

10. When all else fails, just hack your way through Wawa.

M. Edlow/Visit Philadelphia


11. Midtown Village: The rooftop bar at The Continental is a great place to start your night. After that, convene on the outdoor deck at Graffiti Bar, then wander over to Milkboy and snag a seat outside.

12. Washington Square West: The park might be a little haunted, but there’s nothing like a trip to Dirty Frank’s to calm your nerves, unless you’d prefer some wine and cheese pairings from Tria or a lager and plate of wings from Moriarty’s. You’re also in prime Center City Sips country, which means discounted drinks and apps can be yours all summer long, every Wednesday.

13. West Philly: A walk down Baltimore Ave will leave you at no loss for places to hang, like Clarkville, Gojjo, and Bar(n) for boardgames and burgers. You’ll be perfectly situated to wrap up at Dock Street Brewery.

14. Callowhill: If you’re ready to get off your butt and do a bit more than al fresco sitting, this is the place. Dance with the go-go dancers at Trestle Inn, or if you’re craving some live music and performances, stop by Union Transfer or Underground Arts to see what’s new, and have a drink with a side of culture.

15. Rittenhouse: Hole up in the Library Bar at Rittenhouse Hotel for drinks by some of the best bartenders in the city. To stretch your buck a little easier, get to know the regulars at Doobies or the airy (i.e. summery) Pub & Kitchen.

16. Old City: Snack on some bacon grease popcorn at the Khyber before heading to National Mechanics to get your dance on. You should also stop by the Olde Bar for seafood-heavy dishes, like the shrimp and crab BLT, then catch some live music at 2nd Street Brewing.

17. Graduate Hospital: Wander into Bob & Barbara’s on a summer Friday and catch some local musicians. Afterward make your way to the PHS pop-up garden, where hammocks are in high demand. If that fails, snag a spot at the outdoor patio of Cambridge.

18. Northern Liberties: For a laid back summer evening of people watching, you can’t beat the second floor deck at Standard Tap, or the pub grub there, for that matter. If you’re craving tapas, though, Bar Ferdinand is the place to go. Also sharpen up your bowling game at North Bowl, or head to Silk City for a backyard beer garden that doubles as a dance space.

19. East Passyunk: Pub on Passyunk East (POPE)’s old school jukeboxes are low-key favorites in this South Philly ‘hood. Garage takes its name very seriously, with a storefront that still looks like an old garage, leading way to a surprisingly spacious bar spotted with arcade games. Get your taco fix at Cantina Los Caballitos and try to get a table outside for prime people watching on the neighborhood’s busiest corner.

20. Fishtown: Even Creed had to get its foot in Johnny Brenda’s, and for good reason: the rotating local beer list, indie performances, and open-late kitchen make it a must-love for Fishtown. Watch the MFL go by from the deck of El Bar or go full tiki kitsch at the Yachtsman. If you’re craving a retro vibe, Loco Pez will serve it to you for cash only. But when in Philly, there’s one thing always tried and true: the classic Irish pub. Murph’s has you covered for that.

Courtesy of Jack Fire

Because summer, without a little heat, would be pretty boring. You can add even more spice to your plans by escaping with Jack Fire, a smooth whiskey with a red-hot cinnamon finish.

M. Edlow/Visit Philadelphia


21. Watch over six viewings of Star Wars under the stars (plus over 80 other films, from classics to cult favorites to new releases) across the city. Don’t miss out on food trucks during screenings at the Watertown Recreation Center, too.

22. Catch live music outdoors with dozens of performances all summer at venues like the Mann Center, Festival Pier, or right on the Parkway.

23. Scope out local and touring DJs at Stratus and Assembly, two stellar roof-top bars with deejayed happy hours and evening specials throughout the summer.

24. Catch the Philadelphia stop of the Mad Decent Block Party when it comes to Festival Pier, August 13th.

25. Explore the Franklin Institute way after field trip hours (and with a refreshment in hand) at the museum’s monthly Science After Hours. Catch the explosive-themed edition on August 9th.

26. For a fun date night, catch some local comedy talent and the occasional touring titan at  Helium Comedy Club’s  Philly’s Phunniest contest on July 28th and 29th. Hey, this is how you find out if they have a weird laugh.

27. Hit up Eastern State Penitentiary for its annual Bastille Day event. Try to catch a Tastykake hurled from one Marie Antoinette and enjoy an amalgamation of pseudo-French caricatures on the prison grounds.

28. With the DNC hitting our town this summer, you can expect tons of crowds but also tons of perks -- like Dilworth Plaza shutting down to play outdoor movies, and PoliticalFest 2016.

29. Kick off your weekend at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Nab tickets to Art After 5 and enjoy drinks and apps served to you on the stairs of the main entrance as musicians fill the hall with tunes. Your ticket is also good for some museum wandering until closing time, and all day Saturday.

30. Don’t let the late summer blues get you down -- anticipate Labor Day by bidding adieu to summer at the annual Made in America Festival. The lineup is not yet announced, but if past years offer any indication, 2016 will be on.



31. Just two hours outside Philly, Wildwood, NJ, breaks the mold of boardwalk food with Joe’s Fish Co., La Bakerie, and the Taco Joint -- we’re talking elevated concept shore eats. When you’re full, chill on the beach, or muster the courage to try the dozens of rides across the three Morey’s Piers.

32. Pick a summer weekend with a new moon and drive north to Cherry Springs, PA, to scope out more stars than you would ever see in Philly. During the day, check out beginner-level hiking routes and the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.

33. New Hope and sister city Lambertville is one of several fun, quick, and cheap trips you can easily take from Philly. In addition to seaside views at brunch and tons of local art shops, walk on the bridge over the Delaware to see exactly where the NJ/PA cut-off is.

34. Sometimes we Philadelphians we must face the fact that there are certain things in New York worth leaving our beloved Philly for. So go ahead, take it in for a weekend -- we will welcome you back with open arms when you tire of it (and promise not to yell “traitor!”).

35. A trip to our nation’s capital is only three hours by bus and even faster via Amtrak, so do your civic duty. Besides the obvious things to do (we hear there are a couple of monuments…), paddle in the Potomac and satisfy your sweet tooth at Baked & Wired.

36. For a quick road trip out of Philly, explore the “Grounds for Sculpture” in Hamilton, NJ, where classic works of art by the likes of Monet and and others come to life in 3D installations throughout the gardens.

37. You don’t have to be addicted to slot machines or even into clubbing to enjoy Atlantic City, NJ. There’s a surprising amount of awesome food to try, like the original Dock’s Oyster House and Jose Garces’ new food concepts. Plus if you don’t love the gritty AC beach, The Chelsea has the day pool for you.

38. For the most placid of shore experiences, head to Cape May, the southernmost neighborhood of the Jersey Shore. It’s packed with great eats like SeaSalt and La Verandah, and ghost trolley tours of historic Cape May.

39. Not far from Philly in Bethlehem, PA, book a scuba diving appointment to come face-to-face with some below-sea-level creatures. If you’re not feeling that adventurous, you can always lazily tube down the river -- still the perfect way to spend a summer day.

40. A mountainside retreat to the Poconos is a quintessential experience for every Philadelphian, even if you think you’d rather be down the shore. Stand-up paddle boarding and the quaint single-road town of Jim Thorpe are just a couple of attractions.

M. Edlow/Visit Philadelphia


41. Wellness Wednesdays at Eakins Oval kick off July 20th with weekly yoga, kickboxing, and cycling classes outside. So you can get that summer body… by fall.

42. Every Sunday through August 28th, SWEAT Fitness and City Tap House are teaming up for a morning of SWEAT + SIP. Stop by for a morning workout class and you shall be rewarded with the brunch drink of your choice.

43. If conventional fitness classes, and gravity, bore you, roll up to the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts for rope and trapeze classes.

44. Alternatively, check out Flaunt Fitness, where the pole workouts will prove much more difficult than you think, and you definitely won’t look ridiculous. Nope, not at all.

45. Gather your most steel-thighed friends for a 15-person bike tour from Big Red Pedal Tours. Stop at historic landmarks along the way, or just stop for ice cream. You know what to do.

46. The good people of Bikeout have arranged a ride from Philly out to a farm near Phoenixville, PA. Once there, cyclists will be rewarded for their efforts with a farm-to-table dinner and local brews.

47. Try out a different set of wheels at Spruce Street Harbor’s summer-long pop-up roller rink at Summerfest.

48. On July 30th, Citizens Bank Park will play home to a BBQ Fest with over 40 food vendors and a chance to win some Phillies tickets. You know what to do.

49. Also not to be missed is the annual 2nd Street Fest in Northern Liberties, where the roads shut down so locals can wander among games, food vendors, and live music across four stages.

50. For free yoga with waterfront ambiance, you have through the end of October to visit Race Street Pier for morning and evening classes. You can also try to coincide with twilight classes during the full moons on July 19 and August 18. No howling please.


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