Philadelphia might be steeped in history, but with a vibrant dining scene and new, world-class cultural attractions, it’s never felt more modern.
With many destination-worthy eateries opening in up-and-coming neighborhoods, Philadelphia’s food scene shows no signs of slowing down. In Fishtown — a hip ’hood just north of Center City — Brooklyn-based barbecue joint Fette Sau recently opened its first location outside the Big Apple. Housed in a rough-hewn shack, it has more than 100 whiskeys and some of the best ’cue in the city. (The baked beans and pulled pork are a must.)
Last year, local chef Michael Solomonov (of award-winning Israeli restaurant Zahav) created a food frenzy with his quirky South Philly eatery, Federal Donuts. It serves three things: fried chicken, donuts and coffee. A second outpost of FedNuts (as it’s lovingly called) recently opened in Center City, which makes it all the easier to get a fried fix.
COOK is a new style of cooking school that locals are clamoring to join. Register for a class online and grab a seat at the kitchen bar for a great meal and unprecedented access to some of the city’s best chefs. Sign up early; classes sell out quickly.
Benjamin Franklin Parkway has always been a centerpiece of downtown Philadelphia, but a few additions have made it even more appealing. The Barnes Foundation — the private art collection of the eccentric Albert Barnes, who had a penchant for acquiring works by artists like Paul Cézanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Henri Matisse — recently moved from the suburbs to the Parkway, drawing in even more art lovers from around the world. Next door, the Rodin Museum reopened this summer after a three-year renovation. The intimate, charming space celebrates the sculptor’s many bronzes and reliefs. And near the end of the Parkway is the newly created, tiny-but-mighty Sister Cities Park, where schoolchildren meander through a discovery garden while moms grab coffee at Milk & Honey Café.
Since the 18th Amendment never ceases to be a source of fascination, experience the creation, execution and demise of Prohibition at “American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.” The brand-new exhibit (complete with re-created speakeasy) is open through April 28, 2013, at the National Constitution Center.
This fall’s opening of Hotel Monaco — a chic Kimpton property across the street from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell — seems like a no-brainer for the Historic District. The hotel boasts beautifully designed rooms, the Red Owl Tavern eatery and the indoor-outdoor Stratus Rooftop Bar & Lounge, which has a roaring fireplace.
Photos Courtesy of Constance Mensh, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Hank Yee, Peter Tobia and Center City District