Top 10 Things To Do Outside of the Wharton Bubble or as Varun would say how to keep it on the DL. As one of your WGA Directors of International and Diversity, I am here to give you a lay of the land
Philly is an incredible city with a very rich arts and culture scene that is extremely accessible. Concerts, plays, performances are regularly touring through Philly at rates that are extremely discounted compared to other cities. Keep a look out for that! Not to mention the FOOD. You will find food on every end of the spectrum from extremely cheap eats to unbelievable culinary experiences. There are also great places for walking, running and biking.
This list is foolproof in that I was able to keep out of Follies and it on the DL for an entire semester! You’re welcome.
1) The Barnes Foundation – Did you know there is $25B worth of art is right in our backyards? The Barnes Foundation has more Matisse and Cezanne paintings than all of France. How did Philly end up with such an amazing collection of art? Enter a fascinating story of power and politics between major Philadelphia institutions, the Philadelphia elite, and state and city governments. Watch the “Art of the Steal” documentary on Netflix and head over to the Barnes on the first Sunday of the month when you can grab free tickets. Afterwards grab a slice at Pizzeria Vetri – there will probably be a wait but this place is worth it – try to sit by the oven and watch the chefs and brick ovens at work; just try not to salivate.
2) George Mason economist Tyler Cowan writes the cheaper the venue (e.g. fixed costs), the better the value (i.e. food). I couldn’t agree more, so head to South Philly – trust me, just do it. There are so many great, cheap, unique food options for every occasion. If you’re going on a date, impress your partner with your culinary prowess. My favorites: Cambodian food at Khmer Kitchen – order the beef salad and green curry mussels. Indonesian food at Sky Café – order the Nasi Lemak. There are a ton of other ethnic cuisines including the best Thai in all of Philly at Circles where you should eat at the “Lounge” rather than opting for takeout. If you still have room for dessert go to RIM Café and chat with quirky owner so he’ll “make it happen”. Who knew MGEC could taste so good?
3) Chinatown—where do I start? Rangoon is a great Burmese restaurant, especially if you order the Chicken Coconut Curry and Falooda for dessert. It’s amazing. You can order jaw-dropping ramen at Terakawa where the bowls are as big as your face, and make sure you check out Yakitori Boy for Karaoke with both the private room options and bar performances if that’s your style. I personally like to take advantage of the larger audience.
4) You’ve been to Frankford Hall in NoLibs but have you been during the day? Get on the MFL (blue) subway line from Suburban Station at 15th and Market and go four stops to Spring Garden stop in Northern Liberties. Go to Green Eggs (there is another one in Center City but the line is way shorter here!) and then go to the Piazza. Think of it as a little piece of Europe right here in Philly. Grab a drink and enjoy sitting outside at one of the many bars or grab a coffee and have a 1:1 to do “homework” together.
5) Baby its cold outside…when the weather starts to turn go to High Street on Market – Bon Appetite named this one of the 10 best new restaurants in the U.S. If you go on a Tuesday night there is a prix fix menu for only $25 for 3 courses. Afterwards, head to Penn’s Landing for ice-skating. This is super fun but just know you can’t really race because the ice rink gets too crowded.
6) Philly even has its own boardwalk! As of less than a week ago, the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk opened to the public. Go for a long walk and get a glimpse of the city from this floating walkway.
7) To really get outside of the Rittenhouse bubble – take a bike ride to Manayunk (~10 miles) and grab breakfast at Greg’s. Order the steak and eggs with home fries – its okay you earned it!
8) What’s there to do in West Philly? Last year I went to see a Penn Undergrad Show – tickets were only $10 and the undergrads are actually really talented. This year I’d recommend going to Penn Masala. They are going to be featured in Pitch Perfect 2, which releases next year! If that’s not a sign of making it I’m not sure I know what is. Grab dinner before at Kabobeesh. This Pakistani restaurant features dishes from Lahore and it is delicious. No real way to go wrong here, so I recommend everything.
9) Want to have a cultured night in the city? Kimmel Center has lots of great shows come through both on and off Broadway, dance and musical performances. If you’re going to a 7pm show, go to Sampan before and take advantage of the best Happy Hour deal in Philadelphia. From 4-7pm every night of the week Sampan offers dishes from $3-4 and drinks for $4 apiece – you’re welcome.
10) Cook dinner at HOME. This may sound crazy but the best way to get to know your classmates better and do something different is to host small group dinners in your home. Some of my favorite memories from last year were cooking with and for my friends or enjoying the dinners my friends had invited me too. If you’re not a great cook pair up with someone who is for the ultimate stretch experience.