Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- What to Do in Philadelphia on a Girl’s Weekend
- Spa Time
- Art Time
- Barnes Foundation
- Outdoor Arts
- Outdoor Fun Near Philly
- Nighttime Culture
- Philadelphia Flower Show
- Old City
- Chinese Lantern Festival
- Where to Stay in Philadelphia
- Things to Do in Philadelphia on a Return Trip with the Kids
- Girl’s Weekend Getaway Outside Philadelphia
- Getting to Philly from NYC
Philadelphia, The City of Brotherly Love, is ideal for a girl’s weekend getaway, especially if some of the girlfriends are coming from New York City or New Jersey and others are coming from Washington, D.C., or Maryland. Since my sister lives near Wilmington, Delaware, and I live in New York City, we can easily meet in Philly.
Center City Philadelphia is about a two-hour drive or 90-minute Amtrak ride from Manhattan, and slightly closer to DC.
What to Do in Philadelphia on a Girl’s Weekend
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Despite its proximity to NYC and Washington, D.C., Philly often has small-town prices on boutique hotels, but there still are big-city things to do. There is fine dining for the foodie in the group, fun nightlife, and unique annual events that keep me, my sister, and friends coming back. The city is small enough that many of the things to do are within walking distance of each other, too.
No girl’s weekend is complete without a trip to a spa. Several hotels in Center City have spas that welcome non-hotel guests.
Joseph Anthony Retreat Spa and Salon is in the Loews Hotel. It has a Turkish bath, plus scrubs, soaks, massages and facials.
The signature Chocolate and Champagne facial at The Rittenhouse Spa & Club is another way to indulge. There is also a CBD body treatment, You can use the saltwater pool, steam room, and fitness center at the Rittenhouse Hotel when you are a spa guest.
Center City is filled with museums and when you are without kids, you can skip the family-friendly destinations and head straight to The Philadelphia Museum of Art. This comprehensive museum has works by Renoir, van Gogh, and Degas, a sculpture garden, and interiors that were redesigned by Frank Gehry.
And no whiny kids (that belong to you) asking when it’s time to go.
The Rodin Museum, part of The Philadelphia Museum of Art, has a pop-up garden bar on Friday evenings in the summer. There is music, and dogs are welcome. You can also get summery cocktails and small plates.
The museum has about 150 sculptures by Auguste Rodin and is the only museum in the United States dedicated to the artist.
The idiosyncratic Barnes Foundation offers a feast of art, with an astonishing 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, and 59 Matisse works. They are crowded on walls with no accompanying wall labels – you feel fully immersed in the works. Go on first Fridays, when you can listen to live music and buy cocktails.
The museums are all along the main street of Philadelphia, The Ben Franklin Parkway, which also passes by the family-friendly Franklin Institute.
Another main street, Market Street, runs from William H. Gray III 30th Street Station, where Amtrak comes in, down to Penn’s Landing and the Delaware River. Once you know where these main streets are, it’s easy to get around the city.
See the murals in Philadelphia. Many are within walking distance of each other, but you can combine your art tour with bike riding. There is also a Segway Tour of the murals. My husband was embarrassed in Lancaster when we did a Segway Tour, but doing this with your girlfriends could be fun.
Outdoor Fun Near Philly
If seeing the murals whetted your appetite for the outdoors, Ridley Creek State Park has hiking trails and paved paths for biking or cross-country skiing. Unfortunately, you really need a car to get here.
City Winery Philadelphia has live music, comedy shows and more, including wine tastings and cocktail classes. You can go for brunch or dinner without seeing a show.
Philadelphia Flower Show
When my sister and I head to a girls’ weekend getaway in Philadelphia, our favorite reason to go is the annual Philadelphia Flower Show. The show is held annually in the Philadelphia Convention Center.
Presented by the Philadelphia Horticultural Society, the show is a riot of color and floral displays. It is held in March, to rev you up for spring planting.
Philadelphia’s historic district, Old City, goes down to the Delaware River and up to 7th Street. It has family-friendly historic sites you may have taken your kids to visit, like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
But it also has Riverfest in winter, along Penn’s Landing. You can ice skate outdoors in a huge rink overlooking the Delaware River, and warm up at a cozy firepit or cabin. Of course, there are winter cocktails to help warm you up.
In summer, the same area becomes Summerfest, with roller skating, boardwalk games, and an urban beach. And summertime cocktails!
Chinese Lantern Festival
An annual Old City tradition is the Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square. Franklin Square has family-friendly daytime activities like a playground, a carousel, and mini golf. But every summer, the illuminated Chinese Lantern Festival makes this a great evening destination.
Mini golf is also fun to play with your adult friends. You putt through historic landmarks like the Liberty Bell, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the LOVE statue.
Where to Eat in Philadelphia
I like the one in Center City. It has wonderful treats that you can eat in Rittenhouse Square. There are also several other Philly locations of this local chain.
Reading Terminal Market
Reading Terminal Market, a giant indoor farmers market, also has tons of prepared food that you can eat right there. Bakers have Pennsylvania Dutch specialties like shoofly pie or warm apple dumplings and Amish whoopee pies. You can get vegan food, cheesesteaks, Thai, Middle Eastern, and deli – it is impossible to leave here hungry. Pick up fresh milk from Lancaster County Dairy, or wine from local wineries at Pennsylvania Libations.
Where better to eat with your girlfriends than a place named for a woman? Talula’s Garden in Washington Square West in Center City, near the Historic District, is great for brunch. Owned by local celebrity chef Stephen Starr, it has house-made baked goods and brunch faves like shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, and omelets.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Be sure to try the fresh baked cheddar chive biscuits. You’ll think you’re in a small town in the South.
Another girlfriend-friendly place is this New York City import with Detroit-style pizza. Is your head spinning yet? In addition to the square pizzas, they have delicious salads and great cocktails And have I mentioned the rooftop bar?
Where to Stay in Philadelphia
Although I love to stay in bed and breakfasts, they are often better designed for romantic getaways. Guest rooms usually have only one bed, and I don’t like to share a bed with someone other than my husband.
The Aloft, a boutique hotel in Center City is walking distance to Reading Terminal Market and has a huge gym on-site. Guest rooms with two queen beds are perfect for a girlfriend’s weekend.
Things to Do in Philadelphia on a Return Trip with the Kids
You certainly could visit any of these on a girlfriend’s weekend getaway to Philadelphia, but I vote for spending your time at non-kid-friendly sites like the spa and rooftop bars. Here are the decidedly family-friendly things to do in Philadelphia:
- National Constitution Center
- The Betsy Ross House
- The Liberty Bell
- The Civil War Museum of Philadelphia
- Once Upon A Nation Storytelling Benches
Girl’s Weekend Getaway Outside Philadelphia
Other Pennsylvania places for girl’s weekend getaways include Bucks County, the Pocono Mountains, and New Hope.
Getting to Philly from NYC
For bargain hunters, there is a cheap way to travel: from NYC, take New Jersey Transit to Trenton, New Jersey, and change to SEPTA, the Pennsylvania train system. This adds about half an hour to your journey, but for last-minute travel, it is much cheaper than Amtrak.
Masochistic bargain hunters can take Megabus to Philly. This cheap bus line goes right to Center City. But like being in the car, a two-hour drive can easily turn into a four-hour drive thanks to traffic and highway construction. On one trip, our bus broke down on the New Jersey Turnpike and our bus driver pulled over, walked away and abandoned everyone. I do not recommend this option.