In “5 Things,” I’ll ask locals from cities all over the world to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete). This week, Larissa Gaul, a buyer for Anthropolgie and a Barre instructor, shows us around Philadelphia.
5 Things: Philadelphia
by Larissa Gaul
I moved from Denver to Philadelphia in July of 2012, packing up my boyfriend, Jack, and my 160-pound Great Dane, Gustav, into a Subaru and driving across the country. The last four years have been a crazy adventure in this gritty, eclectic, and amazing city.
Philly has some of the best food I have ever eaten in my life, hands down. It’s accessible in a way that you won’t find in New York City; caters to all palates; and you don’t have to break the bank to eat unforgettable meals.
I am big on brunch, and One Shot does it right every time. They have a great interior space, themed weekly coffee drink specials, and an array of fresh baked goods.
If just a perfect cup of coffee is your thing, La Colombe Fishtown is breathtaking. There’s a huge mural by local artist Steve Powers inside; and you can get a latte made with hemp milk (say, what?!).
Little Baby’s Ice Cream always tops my recommendation lists as well. The flavors are imaginative but delicious and always rotating. It’s also connected to Pizza Brain, which is a pizza shop and museum!
Philly Style Bagels just won an award for Bon Appetit’s best sandwich in America for 2016! They boil their bagels in local beer, by Yards Brewery. Though it’s pretty good, I would say any hoagie at Paesano’s is my favorite sandwich in America.
Vedge is, in my humble opinion, the best restaurant I have ever eaten. It’s completely vegan, but the flavors in these vegetable-centered dishes are insane.
I love finding unique things for my home, and my favorite spot is RareCo. in Queen Village. I rarely leave without something, but it’s always fun to see what they have in store. They are connected to Moon + Arrow, my go-to spot to buy gifts. The jewelry is some of my favorite, and I love to browse the apothecary stock as well.
Jinxed has multiple location across the city and is known for having extremely low prices on one-of-a-kind gems. They sell a lot through their Instagram page, but the storefronts are always teaming with gems from old photos to velvet couches.
Meadowsweet Mercantile is my favorite vintage clothing shop in the city. The owners are so welcoming and friendly, and they’re always bumping on first-Fridays. The photo here is from when they hosted a pop-up for local plant seller, Shop Field.
Most of the time friends or family come to visit, we put them up in our guest bedroom. The first time we came to visit Philadelphia, we stayed at the Kimpton Palomar in Rittenhouse. They had yoga mats in our rooms and provided a running map of the city, which made me so happy. But, Airbnb seems to reign supreme in most cities now, and I would suggest staying in Queen Village, Northern Liberties, or Fairmount by the art museums. Philly is a super walkable and bikeable city! Yay!
Any way that I can feel connected to a bit of nature is a plus, so the Wissahickon is such a gem. There are a bunch of trails for running or biking, and it’s even better because you can bring your dog (always a massive plus in my book)!!
Philadelphia is also SO good for its music scene. Artists often stop in on their way to or from other east coast cities and there are some really awesome venues. If you’re in town, look up who is playing at Johnny Brenda’s or Boot and Saddle, which are both intimate concert spaces.
Philadelphia rains a lot more that I was ever expecting, so pack a raincoat or an umbrella almost year round! It gets disgusting humid in the summer, so try to wear as little as possible to stay comfy. The winters are cold, but still humid and wet, so it’s chilling and damp. The falls are beautiful and mild, and the springs are slow and colorful, so I would suggest coming during either of those times to enjoy the foliage. I’m always wearing practical shoes, usually layering under a leather jacket, and carrying a light to attach to my bike as soon as it gets dark! I like to put everything inside a backpack so I am prepared at all times—Philadelphia-based ReLoad makes a great custom bag that will last forever and look sharp!
Enjoy your time in Philly!
Thank you so much, Larissa! We took the bus to Philly a few times when we lived in New York and I was always sorry to leave. I’d love to return and check out these spots!
Larissa Gaul is a native Coloradoan who has been in Philly now for over four years. She originally moved for graduate school, achieving a masters degree in Molecular Medicine before deciding against medical school. She’s an avid lover of fitness and have been a barre instructor for two and a half years. Before starting her current role in apparel buying at Anthrolopologie’s corporate office, she was setting up surgical skills cadaver labs and teaching therapeutic horseback riding lessons to people with disabilities. Larissa is a sucker for mid-century modern style, a good taco, and any activity that includes her dog, a 160-pound Great Dane named Gustav.
P.S. See the entire 5 Things Series.