Published: May 31, 2019
Updated: August 26, 2021
By: Frances Ellison
As you stroll through its quiet, historic streets, you may not realize how many cool events and unique spots for food, drinks and culture are waiting to make you fall in love with Old City.
Much more than the neighborhood that used to be called home by the likes of Alexander Hamilton, George Washington and more, Old City is a beautiful and eclectic mix of Philly history and new, bustling innovation.
Read on for our top picks and fan favorites in Old City!*
*Please be sure to view and participate in these activities safely. For up-to-date information on the City of Philadelphia's COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, visit their official website.
Grab a hunk of clay and take it for a spin--literally. The Clay Studio is a great place to get familiar with the potter’s wheel, with plenty of introductory classes and social sculpting sessions for all ages.
The Clay Studio has reopened for visitors and students, and are presently offering a variety of virtual classes, lecture series and more. Find out more about their reopening information on their official website.
This Old City gallery, the Center for Art in Wood, offers events and exhibitions with a focus on--you guessed it--wood. Stop in to see beautiful artworks and design pieces made from or in combination with natural materials.
In addition to their virtual classes, The Center is also open for in-person visitors to their exhibition gallery and store. Learn more on their official website.
If you’re up for more experimental theater that really pushes the boundaries of the art form, check out the state-of-the-art FringeArts building right beside the Ben Franklin Bridge. And before the show, be sure to grab a meal at their accompanying restaurant, La Peg.
Thanks to seasonal pop-ups like Spruce Street Harbor Park, Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, and the festivals at Penn’s Landing, the Delaware River Waterfront is one of the hottest newly revived sections of Old City for both locals and tourists.
NMAJH puts the story of Jewish Americans in the context of national history. You definitely don’t have to know what “gefilte” means to appreciate this beautiful museum, and if the terrace is open, we recommend making time to head all the way upstairs and check out the spectacular view of Independence Mall.
While the physical doors of NMAJH are closed, you can still visit any time from the comfort of your home through their virtual museum! The virtual museum includes online exhibitions (including their exhibit honoring the late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg), virtual talks and lectures, and resources for teachers and parents!
Don’t even talk to us until we’ve had our Old City Coffee! This popular coffee shop is the perfect place to get caf’d up while you’re exploring the neighborhood, and you can even catch intimate music performances on Sunday afternoons.
If you're craving a cup, Old City Coffee is currently open for pickup and walk-in orders.
Have the meal of a lifetime at this Zagat rated restaurant offering modern Israeli cuisine. Zahav proves that Middle Eastern food is more than just hummus (though there’s plenty of that on the menu, too), and offers delicious small plates for sharing.
The Old City favorite is currently open Tuesday - Saturday for indoor and outdoor dining and takeout - reservations open on the 1st of the month for the entire month, so make sure to get yours in now!
Iron Chef Jose Garces made his restaurateur debut with the opening of Amada in 2005, and its menu of Spanish cuisine offers some of the finest meals in the neighborhood.
Amada is currently open for Brunch, Lunch, Dinner & Happy Hour for outdoor and indoor dining, as well as offering takeout, delivery and specialty chef's kits so you can enjoy creating menu favorites at home!
Frances Ellison is the Digital Content Manager for the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and handles all things Phillyfunguide, including all digital content, social media and of course, the weekly Funsavers email. If you enjoy irreverently yelling into the void, read her portfolio.