Hidden Gems of Philadelphia – Day Trip to the City of Brotherly Love

Are you looking for the perfect adventure into Philly? Philadelphia, “The City of Brotherly Love” may be famous for it’s history, the liberty bell, art museums, and the rocky steps, but the city has SOOOOO much more to offer! From a magical wonderland of mosaics to vintage shops to diverse marketplaces, Philly is an incredible place.

Perfect Day Trip into Philly

Now here is a simple disclaimer: this day trip is for people who are looking for cool and unique things to do in Philadelphia! If you’re looking to visit the Liberty Bell, the Philadelphia Art Museum, or the Rocky steps, this isn’t for you! If I’m totally honest, I lived outside of Philly until I was 21 and have only been to one of the places on that list (only because it was a school field trip).

Philly has much more to offer than just the typical historical sites! And here is my simple itinerary for a perfect, relaxed day trip into the City of Brotherly Love.

Stop 1: Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

One of the most magical places to visit ever and by the best hidden gem of Philly, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a must! It’s a small wonderland of beauty and art, a maze of endless bright and colorful mosaics.

Philadelphia Magic Gardens

In the 1960s artist Isaiah Zagar (South Philly native) began tiling South Street in Philly and he hasn’t stopped since! This amazing place is constructed out of bicycle pieces, glass bottles, ceramic shards, and other recycled materials.

You can see some of his artwork just walking down and around South Street itself, but the museum is stunning beyond compare and only costs about $15 per person for entry.


Stop 2: Shop Vintage – Retrospect

Just a few minutes walk from Philly’s Magic Gardens is one of my favorite vintage shops around! Retrospect vintage is a storehouse of adorable and one of a kind vintage pieces. Specializing in the 1940s to the 1980s there are so many goodies to be found here. Shoes, hats, jackets, sweaters, dresses, accessories, and so much more.

Whether you’re coming to buy or just to step back in time for a bit, this place is so much fun! And considering most of the pieces are true vintage, in good quality, they are also very reasonably priced!

Stop 3: Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia Philly

Located right in Center City, Reading Terminal Market is a must see on any Philly visit. One of America’s oldest and biggest markets, they have everything from fudge to local, gourmet coffee to tasty places to eat. So many great options and a wonderful place to stop for a quick bite and to see some of Philly’s great history.

Tips for Visiting Philadelphia

  • Safety– Philly overall is a pretty safe city, especially for tourists that won’t be traveling to the more dangerous neighborhoods. As in all cities, always be careful of theft, lock your car doors, keep an eye on your belongings, and be extra cautious at night.
  • Parking– Parking is usually pretty simple in Philly (we’re not New York) and street parking is usually easy to find. Of course there are parking garages as well, but street parking is usually safe and simple.
  • Traditional Things to Do– Philly has some pretty famous landmarks- The Liberty Bell, the Philadelphia Art Museum, the Rocky Steps, and more! If you’re looking for travel tips for visiting the typical places check out this site!
  • Food– If you’ve never been to Philly before, you should definitely try some traditional Philadelphia foods. The most famous are Philly Cheesesteak and Soft Pretzels. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Day Trip Philly Travel Philadelphia

Things to Do Outside of Philly

Although Philly itself is quite a city, the suburbs also have a lot to offer. If you’re up for the drive here are a few amazing things to do in Chester County!

Baldwin Book Barn

Any bookworm or lover of old books will be in paradise in this barn turned bookstore in West Chester, Pa. Built in 1822, this 5 story barn has thousands of amazing books and quaint nooks. If you have the time for a short drive, you certainly won’t regret it.


Apple Picking

Although this is very dependent on the season, Pennsylvania has endless opportunities to go fruit and apple picking! Highland Orchards in West Chester has fruits to pick all year round, berries, apples, pumpkins, and more. And don’t forget to try their famous apple cider donuts in the fall!


Poconos Mountains

Mountains, forests, lakes, and valleys. The Pocono Mountains are a famous city getaway. With skiing in the winter and white water rafting in the summer, there is no shortage of things to do in this beautiful area! Just under two hours outside of the city, it’s definitely worth a weekend trip. With its endless yellows, golds, reds, and oranges, Philly can’t even try to compete with the fall foliage here.


Looking for other cool and unique things to do in Pennsylvania? Check out all of our other recommendations here!

Lots of Love and Safe Travels,

Danielle and Brooke, Colorful Sisters

Join the discussion

  1. Smithasbakelove

    Being right next to PA, I only visited PA handful of times. ITs high time I come back for more places to explore.

  2. jbcowgill

    I see you two having lots of fun.

  3. Sister Grumpy

    Thanks for liking my blog, “Sister Grumpy’s Blog!”. I am 82 years old and not interested in traveling, but you have a very attractive blog and the pictures are beautiful!

    • Colorful Sisters

      I’m happy that you enjoy despite not looking for travel inspiration πŸ™‚

  4. dessertflower5

    Beautiful place

  5. Sharmishtha Basu

    fantastic shots!

  6. Heidi

    Living only a few hours away from Philly I’ve been there many times but never to these spots! And I do recommend the liberty bell its very cool to see! πŸ™‚

    • Colorful Sisters

      Such hidden gems you should definitely try to stop by on your next visit! The Liberty Bell is also very cool, but since I saw it on school field trips growing up, haven’t really felt the need to go back again!

  7. Timelesslady

    Terrific post. I live in southern NJ, near Rowan University in Glassboro. Philadelphia is only about 20 minutes away via the Freeway. To be honest, in the light of all that is happening now, it’s not safe to go into the inner city. There are many demonstrations and protests going on now. When things calm down hopefully the city will feel welcoming once again. I thank you so much for the Book Barn idea. I will try to locate this and perhaps give it a visit. I also go quite often to Longwood Gardens, a bit of a ways out of Philadelphia, but one of my favorite places in the area. The Brandywine Museum (Andrew Wyeth’s works and family) and other great places are nearby too. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    • Colorful Sisters

      I’m happy you enjoyed! Although the past couple weeks were rough, most of the riots have calmed down in Philly thankfully! But even if you don’t go into the city, as you said Baldwin Book Barn is a great option. Definetly a bit of a drive from you, but if you’re in the area or looking for a little day trip it could be fun. I’ll be writing a blog post soon just about the place for more info!

  8. roughwighting

    Nicely done, Sisters! I grew up near Philly. It’s come a long way, baby. xo

  9. clcouch123

    People from Pittsburgh aren’t supposed to like Philadelphia, but I like Philly and the area. You found some terrific things to highlight and some wonderful photographs to make of them. Now the Baldwin Book Barn is on my radar, so to say. Thanks!

    • Colorful Sisters

      Hahaha I didn’t even know of the Pittsburgh-Philly rift! You should definitely check out Baldwin Book Barn if you’re in the area. I’ll be writing a separate blog post just about it soon so stay tuned!

  10. Ishita Dhiman

    Your blog have awesome posts! Keep doing the good work! ❀️

  11. greensciences

    I’d design clothing with recycled fabrics. You might talk with

    Bas Timmer. He uses recycled sleeping bags & makes shelter suits for the homeless. I’d collect fabrics from every Fav location, giving you are reason to return.

    • Colorful Sisters

      Wow sounds really interesting! I’ll check it out πŸ™‚

  12. Jyothi

    Lovely pics, so colorful!!!

  13. Silver Screenings

    Gorgeous photos (and clothes). I gasped out loud at the photos + description of the Book Barn. What a fabulous place it must be!

    • Colorful Sisters

      It truly is an incredible place!! I just posted a full blog post just about the Book Barn so check it out if you want more photos of this dreamland!

  14. Rosaliene Bacchus

    Beautiful photos! Thanks for the follow πŸ™‚

  15. Judith

    I’ve never visited Philadelphia, but as a lover of American history (especially the Revolutionary War period) it’s definitely a place I’d love to see. Thanks for sharing it with me. Now I want to go more than ever!

    • Colorful Sisters

      Wow you would definitely love Philly if you love American history!! And Valley Forge which is right nearby! I hope you manage to visit sometime πŸ™‚

      • Judith

        I’d need to spend a lot of time there to see all I’d want to see. πŸ™‚

  16. sjhigbee

    Lovely article:)). I live far too far away (in the UK) but I just love your wonderful photos and travelogue! Thank you for sharing!

    • Colorful Sisters

      thank you so much for your kind words πŸ™‚ we haven’t traveled to the UK yet but it’s definitely on our list once all of this craziness passes πŸ™‚

      • sjhigbee

        In the meantime, I look forward to revisiting your lovely site and browsing other places:))

  17. The Purging Lutheran

    Great post. Thx!

  18. The Parmigiana Whisperer

    great photos, I loved this post!!!

  19. forresting365

    Y’all are crazy adorable! Cool post! Thank You and Cheers! πŸ™‚

  20. Simon

    What a great place this this and very colour – love the blog πŸ™‚

  21. Keith

    Danielle and Brooke, first timer here. I love the tour of Philly, especially the magical gardens. Very cool. But, I noticed one of you in a book store. My wife and I love to frequent local book stores. Every city and town seems to have one. Interesting, with COVID-19 restrictions, I have been going through the books I have not read, which may have been picked up in one of these local shops. Or, I may have given them to my wife. I will ask her did you like this and do you think I might? It is like browsing all over again. I am reading one of those right now – “Edgar Sawtelle.” Take care and thanks, Keith

    • Colorful Sisters

      Welcome Keith! Happy that you came across our blog πŸ™‚ Local book stores really are the best, what would we do without them? There’s little better than settling down with a book in front of a fire or relaxing outside. Especially in these times, it opens a whole new world for so many!

  22. blainerestaurantreport

    I visited Philly once maybe 20 years ago. Loved South Street. And of course I had a Philly cheesesteak sandwich. It was delicious!

    • Colorful Sisters

      I’m happy you were able to visit at least once! Did you see the mosaics on south street? I don’t think there was a museum at that time, but I know the artist had already begun some mosaics throughout the city

      • blainerestaurantreport

        I don’t remember seeing a mosaic. I remember seeing Ben Franklin’s grave! I was amazed it was so close to the street. And we took a Duck tour. My kids were very young then and they loved it. We had a good time!

  23. 9siduri

    Lived in Phil. many years ago. This brought back happy memories.

  24. MichaelStephenWills

    Thank You for following my blog, Sisters. Your support is appreciated.

  25. Hephzibah

    Great post <3 it ! πŸ™‚

  26. nirupamaprv

    Wow! Really good post

  27. writegardener

    Pennsylvania is a beautiful state and Philly quite interesting…at least until the recent Covid regulations restrict you from enjoying it to the max. Hopefully, they will lift before all the great restaurants die like South Street Souvlaki which has always provided the BEST authentic Greek food. Thanks for the follow by the way. Warm wishes and stay safe. πŸ™‚

    • Colorful Sisters

      It really is a lovely place with many amazing things to discover!! I really hope that they do something to help the small businesses survive! It’s so sad to see how many of them are struggling

  28. omordah1

    Thank you for sharing, so glad I stopped to read this! The tiles are incredible πŸ‘

    • Colorful Sisters

      Thank you so much!! I’m so happy you stopped by as well πŸ™‚

  29. Pingback: Philly's Magic Gardens- Wonderland of Moasics and Art | Pennsylvania

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