I love Philadelphia. My first introduction to Philadelphia was during a conference I ditched because the city was irresistible. Philadelphia is home to some of my favorite restaurants and cultural experiences. So, naturally, when someone asks me what they should do while visiting —I have plenty of recommendations! Here are five of my favorite things about this great city: 

1. The food is delicious. 

While Philly is known for its cheesesteaks, I've never tried them. However, the city has many food options that I crave. Many restaurants serve delicious, casual, affordable meals, including upscale luxury experiences. 


I HIGHLY recommend the Huevos Rancheros. It's filled with flavors and crunch! I tell everyone that this is my favorite brunch spot in the United States, and every time I visit, I must come here. Also, expect a wait; this place is poppin'!

A traditional sandwich on Rye Bread is essential! Also, you cannot leave without a few treats to go. Raspberry and chocolate Rugalach are some of the best I have ever had.

After a long day of shopping and you need a pick-me-up before your late dinner reservations, this is the place to stop! They have a trio of Bao's where you can select what you want. The bao's are perfectly sized for a snack.

Barbuzzo favorite- Whipped Ricotta appetizer and the Pan Seared Gnocchi. Reservations Recommended.

Double Knot- Honestly, everything is decadent. We ordered nine dishes served tapas style, and everything we ordered was exceptional. This is much more upscale than my other recommendations, but absolutely one of my favorites. Reservations Recommended.

Cafe La Maude - featuring famous Huevos Rancheros! !

2. Two Words: Street Photography 

Street photography is a great way to explore the city. You can take photos of people, buildings, and other things. ( I refrain from capturing children due to my respect for children's privacy and safety) It's a fun way to capture the culture of Philadelphia. Street photography also allows you to experience history through your camera lens and explore nontraditional angles you might not experience in your day-to-day sessions. 

The irony between a a sign and a human experience. Copyright Rachel Cuesta Photography, LLC

3. The City's History

Philadelphia's history is rich and fascinating. It's one of the oldest cities in America, with a past that includes being the capital of the United States for several years. I love the city's emphasis on including historical highlights highlighting essential women in history and Black history, and USMC history. Philadelphia also has a rich industrial history; it was once known as "the Workshop of America." And of course, pop-culture history, the famous Rocky steps!


4. Exploring Non Traditional Places

My husband and I standing in front of a mural we found.


Philadelphia is a city of murals. There are so many that it can be hard to keep track of them all. Make it a mission to photograph what you find! You'll quickly notice they're everywhere. Even in the most unexpected places.

Details at the Italian Market.


(South 9th Street between Federal and Christian Streets), where the streets are filled with fresh produce and other neat vendors, butcher shops, Italian specialty stores, and my favorite, CHEESE! 

A poignant prison cell.


A favorite of mine! The grungy aesthetic and this penitentiary's rich and controversial history are intriguing. Also, the commitment of the historic place to address the controversies of our current prison system is fascinating and gut-wrenching. 

Photos are not allowed inside.


This may only be for some, but if you love anatomy and are interested in the body, this museum is for you. The museum is controversial, though, and potentially triggering as a few pieces may not be for everyone: fetuses, disabled bodies, and genitalia. However, as someone who embraces disability, I see this as an opportunity to embrace different bodies and visit this museum with the utmost respect. 

5. Central Location

Philadelphia is convenient due to its locality near surrounding states, Delaware (tax-free shopping), 1.2 Hours train from New York, 2.5 hours from Washington DC, and 1 hour from Atlantic City, New Jersey.  Make Philly a convenient weekend getaway and destination for everyone.

Map showcasing Philadelphia surrounded by other states.

Enjoy your trip!

It's safe to say that I love Philadelphia. It's a great city with much to offer, from history and culture to food and entertainment. This list has given you some ideas for what to do next time you visit! And, of course, if you have questions, you're always welcome to ask me!

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