While we love sites like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, the city of Philadelphia is so much more than just the scene of our nation’s birth. For the best of Philly in the here and now, head to South Philly for an urban oasis complete with melt-in-your-mouth cheesesteaks, and hip, happening neighborhoods.

Bonus: Our day starts at 9 am, for those who have already fueled up at their hotel. If you’d rather eat in the neighborhood, check out Café y Chocolate, which offers authentic Mexican breakfast and the city’s best Mexican hot chocolate starting at 8 am Monday-Saturday. 1532 Snyder Ave.

9 AM: Start your day in FDR Park with some fresh air and nature (1500 Pattison Avenue & S Broad St). Work up an appetite for later by walking or biking along the trails around the fishing lakes, or have some fun watching top Philly talent tearing it up at the skate park. You can also explore the unique sights of the American Swedish Historical Museum (1900 Pattison Ave), or take in the architectural beauty — and get an Insta-worthy photo op — with the Gazebo and Boathouse.

12 PM: It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: lunch! We’re not just talking any run-of-the-mill sandwiches, though. You can’t visit Philadelphia without having at least one authentic Philly cheesesteak, and South Philly is where all the best specimens are found.

To take part in the most famed Philly cheesesteak rivalry in all its gooey, neon glory, stop by Pat’s (1237 E Passyunk Ave) or Geno’s (1219 S 9th St). If you’re after something a little less touristy, though, continue down Passyunk Avenue to Philip’s (2234 W Passyunk Ave). Prefer something away from the buzz of Passyunk Avenue? You’re in luck: the Original Tony Luke’s is just as close and serves up what is arguably one of the best steaks in the city (39 E Oregon Ave). Pro tip: no matter where you go, don’t skip the (cheez) wiz.

Photo by K. Kelly for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

1 PM: Regardless of where you got your cheesesteak fix, you’re going to want to head to Passyunk Avenue (pronounced “Pashyunk”) for an afternoon stroll through a neighborhood chock-full of charm. East Passyunk Avenue is lined with over 150 indie shops, boutiques, cafes, bars, and more, with something for everyone. Traveling with kids? Check out Tildie’s Toy Box. Looking for artisan crafts? Try Nice Things Handmade. Want to pick up some clothing for him or her? Browse the racks at Metro Men’s Clothing or Miss Demeanor.

Whenever you need a break, take a few minutes to enjoy The Singing Fountain with its vintage tunes (E. Passyunk Ave. & Tasker St.). Need a more delicious pick-me-up? Try the coffee at Rival Bros Coffee Bar (1100 Tasker St.) or stop by Good Moo’d Creamery (1647 E Passyunk Ave.) to try out your own original ice cream concoction.

Photo by R. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

3 PM: By late afternoon, head north of Passyunk to the legendary Italian Market. As the nation’s oldest continuously operating outdoor market, it spans 10 city blocks with vendors offering everything from fresh produce to meats to spices, breads, and more. Whether you’re able to bring any deliciousness home or not, it’s worth wandering the stalls for the aromas, sights, and sounds of some of the city’s longest-standing vendors. For a really unique experience, take a tour with one of the companies offering culinary adventures through the market. (919 S 9th St.)

Photo by M. Kennedy for GPTMC

5 PM: Although it’s the official end to your day in South Philly, we don’t blame you if you want to stick around longer. The South Philly Sports Complex — including the Wells Fargo Center, Lincoln Financial Field, and Citizens Bank Park — is home to the Eagles, Flyers, Phillies, and 76ers, so you might be able to catch a game no matter the season. If sports aren’t your thing, you check out the happenings at Xfinity Live for dining, entertainment, karaoke, and more!

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