What To Do In Philadelphia This Summer

by Amy Sachs

Though it may be best known to visitors as the original birthplace of American democracy, Philadelphia is famous for many things besides being the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It's the iconic setting of both uplifting sports drama Rocky and infamously dark comedy series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia . It's the awkward city between NYC and DC. It's the home of that bell with the crack.

Chances are, when you think of Philadelphia, one or more of these things comes to mind, followed immediately by "CHEESESTEAKS!" Well, you're not wrong, exactly. But there is so much more to Philadelphia than early American history and great food. (The food here really is great, but we'll get to that in a minute.) No matter what you're looking to do this summer, there is never a shortage of cool things happening in Philly. There are movie screenings in the park, bars to try and history to be learned. (Believe me, you won't have to look far to find someone dressed in colonial-era wear.) Oh, and there are pop-up beer gardens everywhere. Summer in Philadelphia can seriously be the best, if you know where to look.

But you do have to look. Even if you're from Philly, chances are you're missing out on some of the city's great summer activities. Everyone takes their home town for granted, but summer is the perfect time to sit back and enjoy what you have around you. Especially when what's around you is pretty amazing. So whether you're just passing through or a full-time resident of the City of Brotherly Love in need of a refresher course, here are some of the coolest things to do in Philly in the summer months.

Best Outdoor Outing

Spruce Street Harbor Park, Penn's Landing

This beer garden with food trucks is fun, family-friendly and totally free to walk around. There are countless pictures just waiting to be taken in the park's giant chairs, and if that's not enough for you, there are huge hammocks hanging from every. Tree. In. Sight. Grab a drink, grab a hammock, and you're good to go. And when it gets dark out, the lights in the trees come on, which makes for some great ambiance.

Best Concert Venue

Festival Pier, Penn's Landing

Philly is home to three stadiums, all of which are perfectly fine venues for concerts. But if you're going to an outdoor concert this summer, Festival Pier is the best location to find yourself. In addition to the great events and concerts that Festival Pier puts on all summer long, its waterfront location and amazing view create a great atmosphere.

Best View

Pavilion in the Trees, Fairmount Park

It's not exactly a tree house, but it's definitely the closest you'll find in the middle of the city. Located in Fairmount Park, visitors can climb up this 24 foot structure, cool off, and take in the amazing sights the city has to offer you, while surrounded by trees on all sides. And no, no one will judge you for practicing your very best Tarzan yell once you're up there.

Best Place to Relive Your Childhood

Summerfest Roller Rink, Penn's Landing

Remember those roller rink birthday parties you had as a kid? Feel that lighthearted again with this pop-up, summer-only roller skating extravaganza. Located right on the water front, this is sure to awaken your inner child, and really, what better time to do that than summer? Popsicle consumption optional (but encouraged).

Best Outdoor Dining

Talula's Garden, Washington Square

Located in Washington Square Park, Talula's Garden is a beautiful outdoor restaurant serving up seasonal American cuisine in an actual garden. It's the perfect place to spend a long summer night talking and taking in the view.

Lucha Cartel, Old City

It's not summer without a margarita, right? If you're looking for amazing Mexican food and a place to enjoy the best of Old City Philadelphia, Lucha Cartel is the best. The food is authentic, the staff is friendly, and the drinks are amazing.

Best Place To Cool Off

Logan Square Fountain, Center City

Sit by this huge fountain and forget you're even in the city. Whether you're just taking a break from work, or making this your afternoon destination, it's the perfect place to unwind and cool off.

Best Instagram Photo Op

Love Park, Center City

Can we all just agree that summer is all about the artsy Instagrams? You know the ones. And Love Park is probably the site of more of those pictures than can be counted. Take your significant other or your summer love to Love Park's famous "Love" sculpture and pose for all the artsy summer pictures your heart desires!

Best Outdoor Nightlife

Morgan's Pier, Old City

It's not summer until Morgan's Pier opens its doors for the season. With a great waterfront deck, and tons of amazing drinks (including the amazing Hell or High Watermelon), Morgan's Pier is essential for a night out between the months of May and September.

Revolution House, Old City

A view of Penn's Landing, a great location in Old City, and a rooftop bar that can be covered, so that even those rainy summer nights don't stop the party? Perfect.

Stratus Rooftop Lounge, Center City

Just look how pretty it is! Is there a better way to spend a summer night than at a rooftop bar, with it completely lit up? If so, I have yet to hear about it!

Best Philly Cheesesteak

Pat's King Of Steaks, Passayunk

Geno's Steaks, Passayunk

Pat's or Geno's? With whiz or without? The debate over the location of the city's the best cheesesteak (and best way to enjoy it) may never die, but if you're looking for the true Philadelphia experience, you've really just gotta try them both!

Image: jdigit3l/Flickr