With summer in full swing, most people are in search of a destination getaway—a place to kick back and relax, while enjoying all that their temporary home away from home has to offer. But sometimes you can accomplish the same goal by taking advantage of the signature sites of your own city. Why not save up for the next getaway by opting for the convenient (and often more affordable) staycation? It’s an option Tanya Hall, executive director of the Philadelphia Multicultural Affairs Congress (MAC)—a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau—urges locals to explore. “We want to make sure we have our own footprint in terms of a destination for African Americans,” says Hall. That very footprint includes various city sites, from the history housed at the African American Museum to down home southern cuisine offered at Ms. Tootsie’s Restaurant Bar & Lounge. BlackEnterprise.com packed up and explored the northeast domain, suggesting fun ideas for families, couples and solo travelers in the City of Brotherly Love. —Janel Martinez
Indulge at City Food Tours’ Taste of Northern Liberties As the only company introducing folks to restaurants in this non-touristy section of Philadelphia, City Food Tours is offering your palate a 2.5 hour, one-of-a-kind experience. This perfect for two, food affair takes tour participants to five foodie havens: A Full Plate, North Bowl, Darlene’s Diner, Euphoria Café, and El Camino Real. For $44 (not including gratuity), locals can stroll around the Piazza and enjoy food and drinks. Not to mention learning quick bits of information about Nolib. “The tour gives info about the food and fun facts about the neighborhood,” says City Food Tours’ Private Events Coordinator Mica Iddings. “History is worked right into the tour.” This go round is only available Saturdays and Sundays from 1:30-4pm.
Additional Stops for Foodies For comfort food, venture to South Street for Ms. Tootsie’s Restaurant Bar & Lounge. The soul food spot was featured in Black Enterprise’s Best of Everything issue. Don’t leave without quenching your thirst with Ms. Tootsie’s Famous Tropical Blend Iced Tea. For dessert, make the trip to one of Brown Betty’s three locations for a delicious treat.
Take a Walk Through Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens Award-winning mosaic mural artist Isaiah Zagar has created an artsy environment for all to enjoy. Either do the self-guided tour solo or bring the family along to the mosaiced gallery space and elaborate sculptured garden. Garden guide interpreters are available en route to answer any questions that may come up. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for ages 6-12 and free for children under 5.
Lodge at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Philadelphia Center City The decadent signature chocolate chip cookie that awaits you upon arrival is just a preview of how sweet your stay here will be. Located in the heart of the cultural district (Avenue of the Arts), the high-rise abode is a short walk from City Hall, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and the Liberty Bell. If the hotel’s amenities are enough to keep you indoors, be sure to take a swim at the rooftop atrium pool or grab a bite at Balcony, which overlooks the Academy of Music. Its central location makes for easy travel to and from the hotel.
Take Lessons from the Past at the African American Museum Located at 701 Arch Street, AAMP offers visitors a lesson in local, national, and international African American history. For under $10, visitors can learn about the African American impact in Paris with the “Free to Be” exhibit, get a firsthand look at the Montgomery Bus Boycott through “381 Days: The Montgomery Bus Boycott Story” or see what contributions people of African descent made in Philly in “Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776-1876.” The museum is open every day, except on Mondays.
Enjoy the great outdoors Penn’s Landing is the place to go to for outdoor fun. It offers a little bit of everything, from evening movie screenings (Screenings Under the Stars) and festivals to free-to-moderately priced concerts and kayaking on the Delaware River.
Revert Back to Old School Travel A short tour in a horse drawn French-styled carriage will run a group of four $30. Find out more from Philadelphia Carriage Company.
Shop Till You Drop There’s no sales tax on clothing and shoe purchases in Philly, so why not splurge a bit? Just minutes away from the Doubletree, you’ll stumble upon Rittenhouse Row, the mecca for chic and upscale wares. Looking for a change in retail pace? Approximately 40 minutes from Philadelphia, Philadelphia Premium Outlets in Limerick has a wide range of designer goods at reasonable prices.
For Kicks, Retrace the Steps of Rocky’s Famed Run If you’re up to testing your stamina, climb the 72 stone steps leading up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The “Rocky Steps,” as they’re commonly referred to, were popularized by Sylvester Stallone’s iconic scene in Rocky and four of its sequels, Rocky II, III, V, and Rocky Balboa. Since jogging the steps is free of charge there’s no harm in having a little fun—that’s what vacations (and staycations) are all about…