Know Before You Go
- Summer: it can get really hot. Pools are a must and so is a/c.
- The Jersey shore is just a quick 1-2 hour drive away, which means shore traffic is a mess on the weekends as people go out for the day or the weekend. If you want to make the trek out, which I highly encourage, try to do it on a week day.
- SEPTA is the main public transportation in Philadelphia. Buses are a great mode of transportation, but I always preferred the subway. The Broad Street line (orange) runs you North and South, while the Market-Frankfurt line (blue) runs you East and West. Last I check, subway and fare was $2.00, which includes one free transfer. Up to 2 kids ages 4 and under ride free with each paying adult. Children 5-18 can ride at a discounted rate usually.
- It's a pretty easy city to drive in, but watch out for aggressive drivers. They know what they about to do and just do it. There is no hesitation, which in some ways are good. If someone is going to try to run you off the road, at least they commit to it, right?
- Leotah's Place Coffeehouse
- Circle Thrift and Super Thrift for cheap kids clothes
- Honey's & Sabrina's Cafe for brunch
- The Please Touch Museum and the Philadelphia Zoo
- The Philadelphia Museum of Art (pay what you want on Sundays)
- The Institute of Contemporary Art (always free)
- Clark Park in West Philadelphia for play time and a free theater series in the summer (Stop by the Green Line Cafe for a snack)
- Liberty Lands Park has free concerts and a children's puppet theater
- Smith Playhouse- free and great for kids under 10
- "Spray Grounds"- great for the summer. Best one is at the Herron Playground at 2nd and Reed.
- Little Treehouse Cafe- located in Mt. Airy. It has a lovely play area for kids to hang out while mom and dad sip their latte. Plus there is free Wi-Fi.
- Central library- if you love gorgeous architecture, but want the kids to be entertained, head downtown for Monday story hour (check times before you go). You get to check out the building while the kids interact with other children and read a book.
- Not the 4th of July Fireworks (July)- Yes, the 4th of July fireworks at the Art Museum are incredible, but the fireworks the day before are even more spectacular. Usually paired with a free concert on the Delaware river, Philadelphia and Camden both chip in for this explosive light show, which makes it all the more impressive.
- Fringe Festival (September)
- Art Shop (early December and early June. Usually around 1st Friday)- local craftsmen that come together to sell their goods before the holidays. In full disclosure, my sister runs this event, but it has gotten huge over the years and the media has been picking up on it.
- Macy's Christmas Pageant of Lights, Dickens Village and Holiday Village (December)- it's free and fun for kids of all ages
- Philadelphia Holiday Attractions(December)
Outside of the City
- Mother of All Trips- a Delaware mom and blogger who wanders around looking for adventure with her children. Philadelphia is so close, they try to get up there often.
Posts to inspire you
Photo of the Week: Serving up Portland at Philly’s One Shot CafeMay 15, 2013
When my sister told me she wanted to bring me and my boys to one of her favorite coffee shop in Philadelphia, One Shot Cafe, she gave me one warning, “it looks like Anthropologie threw up in the place.” Little did I know that this hipster joint took their job seriously. They were also serving […]
Photo of the Week: Critter Take Over at the Morris ArboretumApril 30, 2013
David Rogers brings big bugs to life at the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia, PA. By using mostly found natural objects like tree and plants that have fallen to the ground, these sculptures are not only eco-friendly and biodegradable, but they are also a fantastic way to keep kids entertained as you explore. Nothing like a critter scavenger hunt to liven […]
Photo of the Week: Mural Arts Program in PhiladelphiaApril 23, 2013
[caption id="attachment_11554" align="aligncenter" width="540"] Mural at the intersection of American & York in Philadelphia[/caption] Every time I return to my hometown of Philadelphia I am reminded of how many hidden gems are tucked away in the city’s streets. Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program has produced over 3,600 murals throughout the city, an accomplishment that has earned […]
Trains and Toddlers with a Dash of Holiday MagicJanuary 4, 2012
[caption id="attachment_3432" align="aligncenter" width="360" caption="Model trains whiz past historic buildings all decked out for the holidays"] [/caption] I’ve said it once (probably) and I’ll say it again (definitely.) If you stick trains and little boys in the same vicinity you have a winning toddler attraction. You put those trains in a beautiful garden and you […]
Holiday Postcards from Wellsboro, PADecember 28, 2011
[caption id="attachment_3359" align="aligncenter" width="360" caption="An inn on the Wellsboro town square puts up a little holiday cheer"] [/caption] The boys and I have been hibernating for the past few days up in Wellsboro, PA with Mike’s family. It is always a special and relaxing time for all of us. Mike’s parents swoop on in to […]