What to do when everything is done? These hidden gems will become your new must-haves.
If you like … The Academy of Natural Sciences
The Wagner Free Institute of Sciences
A natural science and history museum that hasn’t changed much since the 1800s. The three-story exhibition hall contains a fascinating array of gems, preserved insects and mounted animals, as well as the first saber-toothed tiger bone discovered in this country. Bonus: Admission is free (donations suggested).
1700 West Montgomery Avenue, North Philly.
If you like … At Pat and Geno’s
North Broad’s response to Passyunk’s “corner cheese-steak”; famous visitors include the Wu-Tang Clan, Rick Ross, Kevin Hart and DJ Khaled, to name a few. Much like his South Philly counterparts, Max’s has been immortalized on the big screen, with cameos in the Rocky spin-offs Creed and Creed II. Unlike its counterparts, here you can get a two-foot cheesesteak (ask for “the giant”) and a beer from the adjoining bar.
3653 Germantown Ave, North Philly.
If you like … Longwood Gardens
A carefully maintained 35 acre garden. Once the Main Line summer estate of an early 20th century pharmaceutical brother, the house and gardens have only been open to the public since 1993 and require 14 full-time gardeners to keep track of all the flora. It’s also a popular spot for painters, who set up easels on the grounds and get their work done.
786 Church Road, Wayne.
If you like … The Barnes and the PMA
The Institute of Contemporary Art
Thanks to its affiliation with well-endowed Penn, admission is free. But don’t underestimate its prestige: the museum hosted Andy Warhol’s first solo exhibition in the United States in 1965 and has since featured artists like Laurie Anderson, Robert Mapplethorpe and Cy Twombly. There is no permanent collection – the ICA is a “kunsthalle”, something between a museum and an art gallery – meaning the art is always fresh.
118 South 36th Street, University City.
If you like … Christ Church Cemetery
Mount Moriah Cemetery
The sprawling Mount Moriah Cemetery, straddling Philadelphia and Delaware counties, is the largest cemetery in the state. It closed in 2011, leaving behind an unguarded and, frankly, quite creepy memorial. Those buried range from Civil War soldiers to singer John Whitehead (of the famous “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now”). PS: hidden city offers a nice tour of the place.
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Published as “150 Ways to Do Philadelphia Like a Tourist: Beyond the Usual Suspects” in the July 2022 issue of philadelphia cream magazine.