Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Spring Getaways with ASOS: My Favorite Spots in Philly

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When we moved to Philly last summer, I arrived in our new city with the intention of doing things differently. Hindsight is 20/20 and looking back, there were so many ways in which we failed ourselves in acclimating during our first move. We held back, allowed ourselves to be intimidated by a new place... Not so with Philadelphia. It certainly helped that we moved to one of the most walkable cities in the country -- and at the beginning of summer, no less -- and that for the first month we lived smack in the center of the city, in Rittenhouse Square. We spent almost every weekend last summer wandering, looking for 'For Rent' signs, sneaking down alleyways, and challenging ourselves to find one more mural, one more hole-in-the-wall cafe.

Eventually we found the perfect little place in South Philly, in a neighborhood filled with cute families and punk rockers, young professionals and retirees who have lived here for 30+ years. It's a funny and confounding and diverse mix of people (and their dogs) and I wouldn't want it any other way. We spent most of the winter hibernating, but now that the weather is warm again and Philly is in full bloom, we've been back to wandering. And let me tell you, Philadelphia in spring is pretty glorious. My evening runs are that much longer because I literally stop and smell the roses every two or three blocks.

We're not in a place right now where we can do much traveling, but that's not stopping us from exploring in and around our new town and taking 'day-cations' when we can. It helps that it's so easy to get around here, the train is right down the street, but even without it, it's pretty much possible to get anywhere you need to on foot. We've discovered some favorites over the past few months, so when ASOS contacted me about styling a couple of looks around a spring getaway, I knew I wanted to talk about two of our favorite Philly neighborhoods: Our own (Pennsport) and Fishtown. While a tropical vacation sounds nice, there's a magic in exploring your own back yard and discovering things you didn't even know were there.

South Philly:

If you're thinking of visiting Philadelphia this spring, do yourself a favor and escape Center City for a day and come down to South Philly. There is so much personality in this part of town, and tucked between row homes and brownstones, you'll discover the reasons why we love it here. 9th street is great and Passyunk is cute, but there's a lot more to this area than what the guidebooks will tell you (most... ok, all of it is food-related):
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Grindcore House Coffee: Our neighborhood coffee shop that also happens to be completely vegan (and completely amazing). Good tunes are always playing, the almond milk lattes are phenomenal, and my meat-eating, butcher husband has nothing bad to say about the vegan donuts (I'm an omnivore too, but a little more veg-leaning).

Federal Donuts: More donuts. Don't hate. Federal Donuts is pretty much a Philly institution and you'd be doing yourself a serious disservice if you didn't eat at least one during your visit. Be sure to ask for them fresh from the fryer, and you'll be taken straight to heaven. They have fancy varieties -- the grapefruit brulee is incredible -- but my favorites are the more basic, classic flavors.

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Termini Bros.: The first time Chris and I wandered in here there was a man playing accordion in the corner. This is basically on-par with Mike's Pastryin the North End, without the lines. There's a location in Reading Terminal Market, but I prefer the original location. Mostly for the old guys and accordions. Grab a pastry or five, hit up Grindcore House for a coffee, and spend some of your Sunday morning browsing the farmers' market in Dickenson Square Park.


One of our first Saturdays as Philadelphia transplants was spent exploring Fishtown. Two of our good friends from New Hampshire used to live in this energetic neighborhood and we were eager to check it out ourselves. We find ourselves here almost evey weekend as several of my friends live in this area and it's full of amazing food:

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Fishtown Tavern: A favorite spot since that first weekend in town, Fishtown Tavern is my favorite place to day drink on the weekends. Also the hummus plate is pretty solid and the bartenders are friendly.

Loco Pez: If you're broke, Loco Pez will make you feel less broke. $20 will get one person a couple of drinks and plenty of tacos, and even better, the tacos are good. This might be our favorite place to eat in Philadelphia. We really like affordable tacos.

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Johnny Brenda's: Great bands play here. More importantly, the burger is really good.

Jinxed: All locations of Jinxed are fantastic, but I consistently find amazing things at the Fishtown location. Go here for vintage and antique furniture, jewelry, and basically anything else you could imagine. Follow them on Instagram to get first dibs.

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Those are just a few of my favorite spots here in this new town of ours, obviously there's a lot more to explore. I'd love to know your recommendations!