The Best Offbeat Places to Visit in Philadelphia

Lotus Diamond by Fairey

Philadelphia may conjure images of Rocky, the Liberty Bell, and cheesesteaks. But if you’ve been to the City of Brotherly Love and only have a short time in town, skip the main attractions and experience the little things that locals love, like craft beer and coffee, inventive food trucks, beautiful bike paths, and street art.

oM photographer and longtime Philly traveler Emily Frances shares snapshots of some of the best offbeat places to check out next time you’re in the neighborhood.

Cucina Zapata

1. Cucina Zapata: This Thai/Mexican fusion truck located on Drexel University’s campus, (only a short walk from 30th St. Station, Megabus, and Bolt Bus stops), turns out some tasty dishes, including the Cap’n Crunch crusted tilapia burrito, satay chicken, and short rib tacos. Cucina Zapata is only open Monday-Friday and will close once their food is out. Prepare for a bit of a line, and bring cash.

Murals of Philly

2. Mural Arts Tour: You’ll find beautiful hand painted murals scattered throughout Philadelphia. Mural Arts Tours provides a variety of guided excursions by bus, bike and foot that tell fascinating stories of the artists behind the walls.

Yard's Brewery

3. Yards Brewing Company: If you like beer, Yards is a must-stop on your visit to Philly. On weekends, the brewery offers free tours to the public.

biking philly

4. Biking Philly: Those looking for an easy bike ride should rent a cruiser from Wheel Fun and roll down four-mile Kelly Drive along the Schuylkill River. More advanced cyclists would do well to pick up wheels at Fairmount Bikes before heading towards South Street, Northern Liberties or the Delaware River Path. If you’d like to avoid a bustling urban environment, stick to the pathways and bike lanes like those on Spruce and Pine Streets.

Grace's Tavern

5. Grace Tavern: Tourists will easily miss this little bar, but you won’t. Enjoy a diverse and delicious tap list, good jambalaya, and a fun local scene.

Elixir Cafe

6. Elixr Coffee: Fuel a day of sightseeing with a cup of Joe from Elixr Coffee. Every year, the Center City location commissions six mural installations to create unique artwork on the café walls.

Consult oM’s transit guide from NYC to Philly. Here are more of our favorite things to do in Philly.

Photos: Top shot of Shepard Fairey artwork by Steve Weinik. All others by Emily Olson

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  • Teyzoo

    don’t forget a visit to see The Dream Garden mosaic mural in the Curtis Publishing Building

  • Looks beautiful, thanks for the tip!