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?

While There

I grew up in Philadelphia, but I find I learn something new every time I go back. Now that Dek is in my life, I have a new opportunity to check out all of the museums I grew up with and even a few that have opened since. I’m very curious to see the new Barnes Foundation building (highly controversial that they moved. Watch Art of the Steal.)

My sister had a baby in January, so I asked her to send me a list of all her favorite places that she was looking forward to bringing her daughter to in the next year or more. A few more friends jumped in with their suggestions too. I’ll add in as Dek and I do our own exploring this summer.

  • 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)
    • Christmas Trains at the Morris Arboretum

Outside of the City

  • Longwood Gardens
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