1421 Arch St., Logan Square
Located smack in the middle of the city, this slick outpost of Le Meridien is the ideal home base from which to take in the city’s most notable sights—Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rittenhouse Square, and the Liberty Bell are all close by. The elegantly decorated rooms are fairly spacious for a city hotel and can be easily outfitted with a crib or a pack ’n play if you’ve got littles in tow; the room-service menu has a great kid’s section, perfect for a makeshift picnic when you don’t feel like going out.
2029 Frankford Ave., Fishtown
A beautiful, expertly curated one-stop shop for sustainability-conscious parents, this Fishtown boutique is an indispensible resource for non-toxic products, organic-cotton clothing, tried-and-true toys, strollers, and furniture, and so much more. Locals also come here for breastfeeding support groups, cloth diapering workshops, baby-care classes, and for help finding doulas, nannies, and specialists. Their consignment section is a goldmine of gently loved baby clothes, gear, and maternity wear—brilliant.
1216 Walnut St., Washington Square West
Housed in a newer and larger location in Midtown Village (they’d been in Callowhill since 2010), this boutique run by husband-and-wife duo Kaz and Yuka Morihata is a veritable love song to their native Japan. Here, a thoughtful selection of porcelain, bento lunch boxes, yoshii towels, and Binchotan charcoal line the shelves. Don’t miss a sampling of the loose leaf tea, which is offered to you upon entering the shop—and easy to re-order thanks to their exhaustive online store should you find yourself hankering for it later.
2031 Walnut St., Rittenhouse
Chef-owner Gregory Vernick’s namesake Rittenhouse Square restaurant is one of those spots that gets name-checked every time someone talks about the booming dining scene in Philly. And while it has topped many “best-of” lists in the last few years, we can say with certainty it’s worth all the hype. (There’s an entire corner of the menu dedicated to beautifully plated toasts—need we say more?) There are plates big (grilled black sea bass with spicy broccoli and saffron) and small (Maryland crab on toast), plus simple wood-fired Amish chicken and a fish of the day. The back dining room has the best views of the open kitchen, but the bar is just as nice if you can’t snag a reservation.
High Street Market
308 Market St., Old City
You’ve been forewarned: High Street is not a place for the carb shy. Here, at chef Eli Kulp’s lowkey eatery, it feels like the entire menu is designed to spotlight the extensive (and delicious) breads in all their glory. Let’s start with the Forager, a veggie take on the breakfast sandwich featuring oyster mushrooms, braised kale, a fried egg, and Swiss cheese on a Kaiser roll. Then, come lunch, there’s the “Best Grilled Cheese Ever” on a house-made roasted potato bread, which despite the #humblebrag, seriously delivers.
208 W. Washington Sq., Society Hill
This casual sit-down spot in Washington Square is big with the lunch crowd with its made-to-order sandwiches, pastas, and salads. (There are plenty of vegetarian and pescatarian-friendly options, too, plus a great selection of takeaway.) While it’s a solid choice if you need something quick, it’s also worth securing a table at dinner for their intimate 30-seat nightly supper club—the $55 tasting menu bets big on seasonal produce and freshly-caught fish. Recent menu highlights include a sweet potato soup with ginger marshmallow, duck salad, and—wait for it—lavender polenta cake with rosemary ice cream.
743 S. 4th St., Queen Village
Tucked into a small corner of Fabric Row, the Hungry Pigeon is the kind of spot that has a perpetual buzz all day long. It’s the kind of place you’d happily have breakfast, and then, say, stay for lunch—there are birdcages everywhere, charming, mismatched silverware, and vintage furniture, and brick accent walls. Helmed by co-owners Scott Schroeder and Pat O’Malley (she’s a Balthazar alum), it’s no surprise people flip for the pastries: flaky chocolate croissants, banana bread sticky buns and buttermilk biscuits. At both breakfast and lunch you order at the counter, and the menu is simple, if not traditional in a wholly satisfying kind of way. (Think: a breakfast sandwich served on an English muffin, avocado toast, chopped salad, and even a cheeseburger.) Come nighttime, it switches over to table service and there’s a solid wine and local beer list, plus more polished fare, including spaccatelli and mushrooms, grilled eggplant and a grilled half chicken with quinoa tabouli.
139 N. 3rd St., Old City
Tucked into the Old City’s historic quarter, the six-room, apartment-style Lokal is a breath of fresh air for those who want to feel like staying in a good friend’s well decorated apartment rather than a flashy hotel. The naturally-lit rooms maintain a pared-back, minimalist vibe with a mix of mid-century modern furniture and thoughtfully selected found objects from local flea markets. There are all the requisite creature comforts, too—a Sonos sound system, Apple TV, and even linens from LA-based (and goop fave) Parachute Home. In the absence of a formal concierge, guests are encouraged to correspond with hotel staff via e-mail or text, which is a big part of Lokol's unique “Invisible Service” hospitality philosophy.
253 S. 20th St., Rittenhouse
In an intimate, 16-seat exhibition space, local chefs like Malik Ali of the Dutch, Matt Kemp of Shoon Sushi, and Peter Scarola of R2L put their cooking skills to work on a monthly basis. (See the full list of classes here.) The retail arm stocks an exhaustive assortment of cookbooks, kitchen gadgetry for every skill level, plus produce from Fishtown-based Green Aisle Grocery.
9 W. Girard Ave., Fishtown
If you had to describe an ice cream shop as “cute as a button” this would be it: Here, in a pocket of Fishtown, husband-and-wife duo Andy and Jen Satinsky lovingly churn out French-style ice cream one batch at a time. The organic cream comes from Seven Stars Farm in Chester County and the eggs from nearby Sandy Ridge—plus they’ll incorporate fresh and in-season ingredients, so no two batches are totally alike. This summer, standouts included blueberry breakfast (cinnamon toast oat ice cream plus blueberry swirl) and summer jam, a chocolate ice cream with marshmallow fluff. The ice cream sandwiches, like blueberry on a cardamom graham cracker are pretty epic, too.