by ann

Happy hour picks

Four years of dental school means four years wandering the grid of Center City. I have a little more time before I move to explore but here are the places I’ve come to love in this city:


  • See the Liberty Bell.
  • Go to a beer garden. (PICKS BELOW)
  • Walk the Mural Mile.*
  • See Boat House Row.
  • Ride a bike along Kelly Drive.
  • Run up the Art Museum/Rocky steps.
  • Get local produce deals at the Italian Market.
  • Bring your puppy to the Schuylkill River Dog Run.
  • Ooh over medical oddities at the Mutter Museum.*
  • Bring out your inner kid at the Please Touch Museum.*
  • Look up at tigers walking above you at the Philadelphia Zoo.
  • Check out the Rittenhouse Square farmers’ market on a Saturday.
  • Visit Reading Terminal Wednesday-Saturday when the Amish are there. (PICKS BELOW)
  • Visit the Eastern State Penitentiary for a look into Al Capone’s first prison sentence.*


  • Drury Beer Garden at Opa (Center City)
  • Frankford Hall (Fishtown)
  • Independence Beer Garden (Old City)
  • Spruce Street Harbor Park (Old City)


  • Beiler’s Bakery- My favorites are the blueberry fritter + maple bacon.
  • DiNic’s- Everyone goes for the roast pork with broccoli rabe + provolone but I’m all about the sausage.
  • Downtown Cheese- The cheese can be a bit pricy but the cheesemonger! He is so sweet and passionate about the cheese! Because of him alone, I would choose here over Salumeria, a cheesemonger down the aisle.
  • Famous 4th Street Cookie Co.- NOTE: Towards the end of the day, all cookies are $1! Huge. Love the black and whites.
  • Iovine Brothers’ Produce- Discounts for students Wednesdays and Sundays. Best for a variety.
  • Kamal’s Middle Eastern Specialties- I come here for my dolmas fix. Also for smoothies.
  • Miller’s Twist- Best. pretzels. ever.
  • O.K. Produce- They sell bags of random produce for $1. AND have senior/student discounts everyday! Just make sure to pick out your produce carefully if you get the $1 ones!
  • The Head Nut- For all those spices you need


  • Nomad- M-F 4:30-6:30 PM; F + Sat 10PM-12AM
    • Order the Trenton pie
  • Sampan- Everyday 4-7PM
    • Order the kim chi fried rice, crispy brussel sprout, pork bahn mi, kobe slider, spicy chicken wing (in that order)


  • Capogiro Gelato- for unique gelato flavors; the citrus ones are my favorite
  • DiBruno Brothers- my FAVORITE place to go for cheese; ALSO my favorite cheesemonger is Samantha
  • Dim Sum Garden- for soup dumplings
  • Dizengoff- for hummus
  • Famous 4th Street Deli- This is my go-to. Huge deli sandwiches, best free rye studded bread + vinegar slaw, and free mini chocolate chip cookies at the end of your meal! They cinched my love with all the free things but they are also really freaking good.
  • Kim’s Restaurant- for authentic Korean BBQ
  • Knead Bagels- They’ve got your traditional and non-traditional bagels.
    • My go-to is an everything bagel with sausage, egg and cheese.
    • My second favorite bagel is the togarashi bagel.
  • Nam Phoung- for Vietnamese food
  • Paseano’s- for Philly style sandwiches
  • Sabrina’s- for a classic brunch; tip: call to be placed on the waiting list and arrive in half the time (aka waiting time of 1 hour? call ahead, place your name and come 30 minutes beforehand)
  • Tavern on Camac- for a chill night
    • Order the grilled cheese sandwich or the burger
  • Tria- for apps and beer
    • Order the truffled egg toast


  • I-TEA – Order the korean fried chicken
  • Ratchada- Order the pad thai


  • Falling Water– if you like architecture*
  • Linvilla Orchards- for fruit picking
  • Longwood Gardens- if you like plants
  • Morris Arboreteum- if you like plants
  • Sesame Place- if you have kids*
  • Wave Hill (New York)- free on Tuesdays, Saturdays (9AM-12PM)- if you like plants
  • Wissahickon Valley Park- if you like nature

These reviews are focused on a place for a student to study at. The ideal location includes: moderate noise levels, available-and comfortable- seating, availability of outlets, wifi quality and, for a hardcore study session, food and drink options. I also notate pet friendly places that have been okay with me bringing Chibi in with me because I feel like a guilty dog mom when I abandon her at home for long periods of time! 

  • Bodhi Coffee- Spacious, spotty wifi, back garden with seating
  • Cake & The Beanstalk- a kooky cute cafe cozied next to a garden; small outdoor seating area; pet friendly
  • Chapterhouse- Spacious, good wifi, provide food + drinks; pet friendly
  • Elixr- communal + individual seating; free wifi
  • Greenstreet- Best dirty chai (housemade!), friendly baristas, free wifi, limited seating, great for sitting outside to people watch
  • Good Karma- Spacious, good wifi, provide food + drinks; back garden with seating; pet friendly
  • La Colombe (Penn Square)- low tables, few outlets; come early for your pick of croissants
  • Plenty- provides food + drink, free wifi; limited seating
    • Order the pancetta hash
  • Rival Bros- limited seating
  • Saxby’s (Center City)- plenty of outlets, low tables
  • Square One- good for studying; lattes are best; not a fan of the iced coffees


  • Maha Yoga- My favorite instructor is Jen; Tip: Try out a Community Hour class. It’s pay as much as you can. The suggested amount is $5. Classes are smaller and you feel more personalized attention.

If you have any places you recommend I try before I move, please let me know! I’ll continue to add to this list as I find more places I love.

*Indicates places on my own personal to do list that have come highly recommended!

Pictured above is a Scorpion Bowl from Graffiti Bar.