16 of the Best Philly Finds Locals Keep (Mostly) to Themselves

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Tourists may flock to the standard attractions in The City of Brotherly Love — the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Reading Terminal Market and more.

But what about the locals? Where do they go?

In all likelihood, some have found the best-kept secrets of Philadelphia. We put together a quick guide to Philly from the perspective of things to do from those who call it their home. It has something for everyone — athletes, sports fans, art lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Here it goes…

For the Athlete and Sports Fan

  • The Ben Franklin Bridge Run

Tired of the treadmill or the too-familiar run around your neighborhood? If so, it could be time to put on your sneakers and take in some spectacular scenery courtesy of the Ben Franklin Bridge walkway. The bridge crosses the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Camden. While many people know the bridge, what many out of towners don’t know is there is a pedestrian bridge known as the ‘pedestrian walkway’. The pedestrian bridge is about a three-mile run with an incline, enough to burn up some calories and give your heart a workout. Check the website for more information on hours and access.

  • 2 Mile Storied Loop
Philly Finds Locals Keep (Mostly) to Themselves | Schuykill River Trail & Cityscape | phillyaptrentals

Copyright © 2015 Matthew Colo, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

If you’re a seasoned runner who needs more space to stretch your legs, there is a scenic loop along the banks of the Schuylkill River that goes from the Philadelphia Museum of Art through Fairmount Park and back. At the halfway point, you’ll cross the river and come back on the other side. The route is picturesque and includes mansions, waterfalls, storied Boathouse Row and Fairmount Water Works.

  • Ice Skating Rink at City Hall

You don’t have to go to New York’s Rockefeller Center for ice skating in an urban center. Now the Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink sits right in front of City Hall November through February. Complete ice skating rink with string lighting, holiday market, and a winter garden.

  • Penn Relays

The Penn Relays do not happen every day, but they do occur every year. April 25, 2019 is the 125th anniversary of this legendary Franklin Field event. It’s the oldest track and field competition in the U.S. featuring 300 events and attracting athletes from all across North America.

  • The Head of Schuylkill Regatta

Dubbed, ‘America’s Favorite Regatta,’ this two-day historic regatta is held in October. 30,000 to 40,000 people watch as crews from around the world compete along a 2.5-mile course, with almost 9,000 athletes, finishing up at Boathouse Row.

  • The Palestra

There is a lot of talk about Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium, but the Palestra, which opened in 1927, is dubbed the Cathedral of College basketball. With only 8,725 seats, it’s an intimate, virtually unmatched ambiance. Bleachers hug the court, and there’s no barrier between the players and their fans creating one of the most unique places to watch a college basketball game or any basketball game in the world. The Palestra is home to men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, and wrestling. It has hosted more games and more visiting teams than any other facility.

  • Mitchell & Ness
Philly Finds Locals Keep (Mostly) to Themselves | Mitchell & Ness Store | phillyaptrentals

Image compliments of Google Maps

Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Company has roots dating back to 1904. This iconic sports brand has their flagship store right on Chestnut Street in the heart of downtown Philadelphia. This is a unique shopping experience for Philadelphia sports fans and all sports fans.

For Art Enthusiasts

  • Mural in the Curtis Center

Philly Finds Locals Keep (Mostly) to Themselves | The Dream Garden at the Curtis Center in Philadelphia | phillyaptrentals

Maxfield Parrish [CC BY-SA 2.5]

The Dream Garden, a glass mosaic commissioned by Cyrus Curtis of Curtis Publishing Company over 100 years ago, still resides on display during open hours in the Curtis Building lobby. It comprises hundreds of thousands of multi-hued pieces of glass tesserae in more than 260 color tones.

  • The Rodin Museum

Most people know about the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but may be unaware that a few steps away at the Rodin Museum is the most extensive single collection of world-famous Rodin works outside of France.

  • Mutter Museum

Philly Finds Locals Keep (Mostly) to Themselves | Mutter Museum in Philadelphia | phillyaptrentals

Smallbones [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

This museum located at 19 S 22nd Street is dedicated to the marvels of medical history, scaring up an array of anatomical and pathological specimens, models, and medical equipment in a “cabinet museum setting.” This unique Philadelphia museum has over 130,000 annual visitors a year.

  • Barnes Foundation

If you’re a fan of impressionist and modernist art, the Barnes Foundation is a feast for your eyes. Here, you’ll discover more than 900 paintings and over 4,000 objects, which are said to be worth around $25 billion. Special exhibits, events, and more, right near the art museum.

Secret Gardens and Parks

  • Chanticleer Gardens

Philly Finds Locals Keep (Mostly) to Themselves | Chanticleer Gardens | phillyaptrentals

By Photo by and (c)2007 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man) [GFDL 1.2 or CC BY-SA 2.5 ], from Wikimedia Commons

Most have heard of Longwood gardens, but what about other beautiful gardens near-by. Just 30 minutes from Philadelphia in Wayne, Pennsylvania (Main Line), you’ll find Chanticleer Gardens on an estate that dates back to the early 20th century. You can take a walk around the gardens or enjoy a picnic there generally from around April through October.

  • Bartram’s Garden
Philly Finds Locals Keep (Mostly) to Themselves | Bartrams Garden | phillyaptrentals

Image reused with permission from Bartrams Garden

This 45-acre National Historic Landmark, once a family garden of John Bartram, rests on the western bank of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. It’s home to a diverse selection of plants, both native and exotic.

  • Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

The Magic Gardens are not your typical garden. It is home to unconventional works of art and galleries. Spanning half a block, the museum includes indoor and outdoor displays that focus on folk artists and include ceramics, found objects, colorful glass bottles, and mosaics.

  • Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania

Philly Finds Locals Keep (Mostly) to Themselves | Morris Arboretum | phillyaptrentals

By Peter Miller [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], on Flickr

The Morris Arboretum, although not on UPenn’s main campus, is a short distance away in the neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, that contains over 2,500 types of plants that represent species from North America, Europe and Asia. It’s reminiscent of an English park with hints of influence from Japan. It was named the #1 most stunning university garden and arboretum in the nation.

  • The Rail Park Philadelphia

16 of the Best Philly Finds Locals Like to do | Philadelphia Rail Park | phillyaptrentals

By The West End [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], on Flickr

The Rail Park is an abandoned rail line that’s been converted into an elevated park. The first part, which runs from Broad Street to Callowhill Street, opened in June 2018. Much of the original construction has been restored on this quarter-mile walkway which features benches, swings and plenty of urban views.

Lots To Do in Philadelphia

There is lots to do in Philadelphia. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, it may be time to dig a little deeper and find the hidden gems in the City of Brotherly love.

Check the websites and call ahead for the latest details and times and conduct your own research.


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