Autumn Around Philly

Philadelphia, fall, autumn, things to do, New Hope, apple picking, cozy
Fall makes for such typical blog fodder. Everybody loves it and it's just so Instagrammable. The moody hues, the oversized scarves, the hand-warming hot beverages... it's disgustingly picturesque. I know it gets played out very quickly so I'm going to try to get my "OMG AUTUMN!" posts out of the way early on. With (allegedly) millions flocking to Philly in a few short weeks to say "hello" to Pope Francis when he stops by, I figured I'd make a mini list of some of my favorite fall(ish) activities. This is by no means an all-inclusive list so be sure to keep checking back!

old city, philadelphia, philly, brunch, lunch, farmicia
For Foodies.
Great food is obviously appreciated any time of the year but when those nights just keep getting chillier, there's nothing like some good ole comfort food. A few of my favorites are V Street, (fancy vegan street food-- the Peruvian Fries are a MUST.) Khyber Pass Pub, (I really miss their vegan sausage sandwich.) Farmicia, (pictured above-- their brunch is heaven-sent.) and Standard Tap. (cocktails on a cozy outdoor patio.) For all you carnivores, Fette Sau is incredibly cozy and always gets rave reviews. (And for those who don't eat meat, the pickles are pretty darn good.)

la colombe, coffee, philadelphia, autumn, fall, touristsFor coffee connoisseurs. 
One of my favorite things about fall is being able to take a little walk around the block with a hot coffee in hand. There are so many amazing coffee places in Philly it's been really difficult to pick just a few favorites. Elixr has a great atmosphere and is a stone's throw away from some of Philly's best shopping. (Also to add to the Philly-centric nature of this list, it's co-owned by an Eagle.) Higher Grounds is one of my favorites because it's adorable, a few blocks from my house, and pups are allowed in. It's tucked away on an adorable side street in Northern Liberties, not far from other great restaurants. Menagerie is another favorite of mine, conveniently located within a few minutes of the TV station where I work. They have the BEST almond milk cappuccinos. Chhaya is where I had my first cortado and fall in love with it. It's in the bustling East Passyunk neighborhood and a few stores down from a great vintage store and more great shopping. Last but not least, there's Grindcore House. It's a great vegan cafe in South Philly. I love the music they play and the Mate Latte has got to be one of the tastiest things I've ever had the pleasure of imbibing.

ETA: Ultimo! How could I have possibly forgotten this one? (A kind commenter pointed it out.) It's been voted #1 in AMERICA and it's really, really cozy inside. Definitely worth trying, plus the neighborhood is really nice to walk around.

Tyler, State, Park, Bucks, County, Hiking,
For explorers.
Philadelphia gets a bad reputation for being dirty and kind of smelly but it's surrounded by some stunning landscapes. There are a lot of great places to hike that are less than an hour outside of Center City. Tyler State Park is in Bucks County and it's where I go to get away from "it all." While I've never personally played, I've heard it's got one of the best disc golf courses in the county. (If you're into that kinda thing.) Wissahickon is full of beautiful trails and there are a lot of places you can wander outside of those marked trails. I love it because it's good for hikers of any level. One of my favorite things to do is climb the rocks over by Devil's Pool.


For urban explorers.
No I'm not talking about "urbexing," though there are a lot of places to do that here. I'm talking about discovering the city on a bicycle, and now that Philly has its own bike share, it's easier for guests to do it! The Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk is a great place to start-- you can get easily (and safely) from South Philly to the Art Museum. (Just watch out for pedestrians!) The views are great, especially when you get up to Boathouse Row.

Franklin, Institute, things, to, do, Philadelphia, fall
For the cultured.
Philadelphia has a lot of wonderful museums. You all know about the Philadelphia Art Museum but how about The Franklin Institute? (For science nerds.) Or the Mutter Museum? (For you weirdos who appreciate medical anomalies.) There's also The Barnes Foundation, (lots of Renoir, Cézanne, and the like!) and the Rodin Museum. The museums can be a little pricey but trust me: they're worth it. Oh, and don't forget that this is the birthplace of America. It wouldn't be a trip to Philly without a little walk around Old City to say "hello" to the Liberty Bell. (I really felt like I had to mention that one.)


For forlorn beach bums.
If you're like me and love the beach, don't be sad that summer is almost over. Early fall is actually one of my favorite times to explore the Jersey Shore. Cape May has some of the most adorable B&B's and Ocean City's boardwalk is so pretty when it's no overrun by "shoobies." It's quiet in an almost eerie way but so tranquil and inspiring.

For wannabe farmers.
Who doesn't love apple or pumpkin picking? Forget the fact that you're basically paying to do work, going to the farm and picking your own fresh produce can be so much fun. My favorite place to go is Solebury Orchards in New Hope. It's a bit of a drive outside of the city but when you're done picking, you can chow down on some apple cider donuts (or just drink ALL the apple cider like I do) and head over to Peddler's Village. They have a lot of cute shops and an adorable scarecrow contest that runs for pretty much the entire fall season. I also love that Hewn Distillery opened a cocktail bar there.

For those avoiding S.A.D.
The days are getting shorter, the nights are growing longer, your tan is starting to fade and those jeans aren't fitting like they used to... Seasonal effective disorder is a very real thing. To combat it, a little bit of exercise works like a charm. (Those endorphins are crucial!) If you live here or even if you're a fitness-crazed she-woman just visiting, a drop-in to a group class or two may be just what the doctor ordered, and we have a lot of them here. Lithe Method is good for those who want a little butt-kicking. (And don't mind overly peppy cheerleaders doing the honor.) Practice yoga offers a donation class, which is great for beginners or those who just need to clear their mind every so often.

Anyone planning on visiting? Or just want to add something to the list? Let's chat in the comments below. 

xo,
e.m.

16 comments

  1. I think the Ultimo Coffee in Newbold is worth a mention in the Coffee Connoiseurs section - especially since a lot of people are offering up rooms down there via AirBNB for the pope's visit! It doubles as a bottle shop/tap room - so for a group where some are looking to gear up and maybe one or two are looking to unwind, it would be a perfect stopping spot. They also offer growler cartons - a covert way to derp and imbibe around the city at the same time. Plus, they offer incredible single-origin, free-trade coffee from a french press, aeropress, pourover, or chemex, so it's a sweet way to try a variety of delicious foreign beans! I, personally, prefer above and beyond the coffee bean offerings at Ultimo to La Colombe's. The shop is located on 16th and Morris, and while it can be a little cramped when it's crowded, there's plenty of outdoor seating as well. And those looking to grab a delicious bite to eat can walk across the street to the South Philly Tap Room. The beer selection some may find a bit limited, but their fried pb&j has been featured on the food network, and their hamburger is regarded by neighborhood locals as either the second-best or the best burger in the city.
    Also, as an up-and-coming neighborhood, Newbold is a perfect place to explore for those who fall in love with Philadelphia and want to move there! Also - the coffee shop and the restaurant mentioned above are within blocks of the Tasker-Morris stop on the BSL, and mad close to the number 2 and number 17 buses. So, super accessible except when Pope George Bluth Sr. comes to town and messes everything up for everybody.

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    1. Haha! "Pope George Bluth Sr!" You're right, Ultimo is really, really great. I need to explore Newbold a little more, I went to Ultimo a couple of months ago and walked around the block but haven't ventured out past that. Any recommendations?

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  2. Newbold certainly isn't the prettiest thing to look at, but the occasional piss-soaked mattress or pool of blood on the sidewalk really isn't anything to turn and run from. But what's Philly without a little Philth to go along with it?

    First off, check out the American Sardine Bar. It's owned and run by the same folks that set up the South Philly Tap Room, and it's a great spot to enjoy an number of delicious sandwiches (mostly for carnivores, but a couple of veg options on the menu). And did I mention...beer cocktails? Sounds weird, I know, but they do a pretty bang-up job of throwing them together over there. They have a great outdoor patio, and a cozy bar with seating on the second floor. It's a stone's throw from the SPTR and has a similar vibe, but more laid-back menu options. Their sardine sandwich is probably the ONLY way I'll eat one of those little buggers.

    Then there's Amalia's Cafe. It's brightly-lit sign and dimly-lit interior might have you reminiscing about hookah lounge days, or that kid who annoyingly always had a hookah and was trying to get you to smoke it. But Amalia's is far, far more than a hookah lounge. I've never had hummus or baba ganoush that was so good, or that tasted so fresh. The rice and falafel is also a must-try - especially for vegetarians looking for a little exotic flair. The best way to take advantage of that place is through their delivery website - nothing like setting up your warm pita and dips on the coffee table as you curl up to enjoy one of Philly's seemingly ever-present humid rainy nights or bone-chilling winter days.

    Khmer Kitchen. I don't even know where to start with this place. It's a small, family-run Cambodian restaurant with food that always leaves me reeling. Or maybe that's the lager...
    Either way it's byob and all of the food on the menu has suggested alcohol pairings for those who worry whether they should drink beer or wine with their pineapple beef. Affordable, incredible food that uses in-season vegetables. The three or four dishes that come vegetarian are just...actually, I'll leave that for you to discover.

    Finally, Circles Thai. There are two locations in the city that I'm aware of - one in Newbold and one in the Northern Liberties neighborhood. As I understand it, the one in South Philly gets consistently better ratings. Don't quote me on that, it could just be my bias shining through. It's a bit pricey for what you get, but it's by far the best Thai food I've ever eaten in that city.

    Oh! And one more for the tortured writer or the simply curious - it's a little bar called The Station. The last time I was in there - the kitchen had run out of half of the menu items, there was an empty kiddie pool off to the left of the bar, and there was a burly toothless man sucking down a cigar and playing solo pool. But I digress! The citywides are cheap, and you can smoke inside. I met up with a buddy of mine there, and it was quiet enough with plenty of seating and booze to be had. If you don't mind the smoke, or like to take your evening Black & Mild with a shot of warm whiskey - it's a delightful spot.

    ~end rant~

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    1. Thank you so much for the suggestions! If you're not a travel writer, you should me. I want to try all of these places now, especially Khmer. (Ethnic food will always win my heart.) That last bar also sounds pretty damn intriguing. Life is too short to go to carefully curated places. I like my booze to come with an occasional side of "wtf?" Makes life worth living.

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  3. I love this list!! I can attest to the amazingness that is the Sedgley Woods Disc Golf course.... some friends turned us onto it a few months ago and the course is beautiful!! Plus, it's a 'sport' I can actually play... somewhat ;)

    A few other coffee shops to mention: Peddler Coffee at 21st & Spring - it's a small shop but the coffee is AMAZING and the baristas are super nice. Square One Coffee at 13th between Locust and Spruce - very modern looking and lacking the cozy atmosphere of my usual coffee joints, but the cappuccinos are delicious. La Colombe in Fishtown - I know it's a chain and there's better coffee to be had in Philly but I just love that location so much! It's worth checking out just for the architecture, and the food is awesome too.

    Two more honorable mentions: Tela's in Fairmount - it's a cafe and food market. I wish I lived closer... I would be there every single day! And for beer drinkers: The Foodery - a bottle shop that has a few locations across the city. They have a bar with drafts and a simple food menu too.

    There are so many great places! So difficult to think of them all. I should do a Philly roundup post one of these days too.

    Totally random but, the scarf in that third picture is absolutely beautiful. Where is it from? I want to know!!

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    1. Thanks for those suggestions! I love Tela's and I'm ALWAYS at The Foodery in NoLibs. (Try the kombucha beer they have there. Hubba hubba.) I've been wanting to check out Peddler and Square One, thanks the suggestions! Now I HAVE to.

      Also, I'm not entirely sure, it's a picture of my friend/her scarf. I want to say it's from Forever 21 but I can ask her!

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  4. LOVE this list- so great, and sums up some of the greatest, coziest places in and around Philly! A great one to add in terms of coffee would definitely be One Shot Cafe in NoLibs. Hands down my favorite study spot or a place to catch up with a friend.

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    1. That's right by the dog park I take Charlie to! I've never been there but I think I might have to now.

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