Rich in history, this city might very well be the perfect weekend escape for city-dwellers and historians alike. It’s also the perfect place to go for some of the newest foodie hotspots and premiere exhibits at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. So, regardless of what you choose to do while there—between pizza in Fishtown and visiting the works of Renoir—consider this your guide to the ultimate weekend in Philadelphia.
Where to Stay:
With 301 guest rooms and suites and fresh off a $25 million renovation, The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia boasts more than 12 different luxurious and modern room types. “Since the hotel was originally built to be bank, not a hotel, all of the rooms are unique in some way where most hotels have only a few categories of rooms,” says Bradley Pacana, the property’s director of sales and marketing. One feature that makes the hotel special is the Rotunda, fabricated from 9,000 tons of Georgian marble (a reproduction of the Pantheon in Rome), that now houses the lobby and lounge. The Oculus is a circular opening at the center of the rotunda or the dome, which spans more than 101 feet. At its time, it was the largest dome in the Western Hemisphere. With a vibrant lobby bar, restaurant and many meeting and event spaces, it’s the quintessential Philadelphia location and property.
Where to Eat:
The hottest new neighborhood in Philly is Fishtown and that’s partly because of Wm. Mulherin’s Sons, the restaurant that’s racking up accolades and attention from locals and visitors alike. The expansive bar and restaurant offers creative craft cocktails and delicious pizzas (we loved the Fall Pie), pastas (the cappelletti with potato, onion and fontina was divine) alongside fresh salads and crudos. The living room vibe of the dining room—with its cozy fireplace—makes it an ideal spot to spend a cold winter night, especially since the building doubles as a hotel.
Zahav, which opened its doors in 2008, is a modern Israeli restaurant that brings the authentic flavors of Israel to Philadelphia. Owned and operated by Chef Michael Solomonov (whose namesake cookbook is a must-have for any kitchen), the design of the restaurant echoes the hidden courtyards of Jerusalem, with golden limestone floors and walls, hand-carved tables and high ceilings. Its signature laffa bread, baked to order in a wood-fired taboon, is served alongside hummus (we loved the warm, buttery Turkish style hummus), salatim and tehina. Sizzling skewers of meat and vegetables and mezze like fried cauliflower, haloumi and chicken liver mousse will satisfy any appetite.
Counter-style diner Rooster Soup Company, also operated by Chef Michael Solomonov (his new book Federal Donuts is out now), gives 100 percent of its profits to support vulnerable Philadelphians through Broad Street Ministry’s Hospitality Collaborative. An all-day menu features hearty crowd-pleasers like waffles, poutine, biscuits and gravy and decadent milkshakes. It’s the perfect anytime or late-night joint.
Where to Visit:
The Barnes Foundation is home to one of the world’s greatest permanent collections of impressionist, post-impressionist and modern European paintings including masterpieces by Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse and Picasso. The works were amassed by local resident and Doctor Albert C. Barnes between 1912 and 1951 and moved from its former home in the suburbs to its current Philadelphia campus in May 2012. It’s new state-of-the-art building, designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Center City.
What to Do:
The Philadelphia Museum of Art boasts the world’s largest and most important collection of works by Marcel Duchamp, the greatest collection of sculpture by Constantin Brancusi outside Europe and the finest public collection of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture in the country. Key works on display at the building, which opened in 1928, are Paul Cézanne’s The Large Bathers, Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers, and important paintings by Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro and Edgar Degas. One of fall’s standout shows is Patricia Urquiola: Between Craft and Industry, the first solo exhibition devoted to the work of the designer (opening on November 18). The exhibition will showcase her versatility in creating products, interiors and architectural spaces.