A weekend trip to Philadelphia, you say? Maybe for a bachelor party, or a destination wedding? Or, because you simply have time for a weekend filled with performing arts and fine dining? No matter the reason, Philly is both "Founding Father" and "Dastardly Daddy," which made for an awful lot of fun on a recent trip I took. 

Here's what I got up to:

Ritz Carlton Philadelphia

Naturally, you need to stay at the ritziest place in town. With City Hall soaring into the sky not even a block away, this hotel has charm, and glamour, right in the heart of the city. Spending a few nights here is akin to living like royals, and I can only hope my future weekend trips live up to the standard this wonderful establishment maintains.




Maison 208

An art instalment itself, Maison 208 has an eye-catching mural (many of which you can find if you wander the streets of Philly) diving right into the restaurant through the open rooftop. Standing at the base and looking up gave me chills, and I couldn't resist snapping a pic for my Instagram. How #trendy of me. Our meal was not complete without a Gin Terrarium (pictured below), and I was disappointed when I found out it was to share. It is easy to picture Gin Terrariums aplenty should this restaurant serve as your wedding reception venue.



Gunnar Montana's Kink Haüs

I felt decidedly overdressed as I walked through the password-only front doors to this property. What opened up before me was a warehouse-esque stage, and to my delight, what followed was a totally queer-infused dance performance that blended masc and fem, lip-sync and interpretative dance, and altogether a phenomenal feat of talent and brutal honesty. It was a little gritty, and, dare I say it, dirty.  But, sending a good message and definitely a show I wished I could have seen over and over.

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The Barnes Foundation

An absolute must-see if you are in Philadelphia. Founded as a platform for teaching, this collection of Dr. Albert C. Barnes is an undisputed masterpiece. A much-needed tour guide is always happy to help, explaining the curation of the pieces and why Barnes selected the pieces he did. A splendid garden and wonderfully spacious first room could very well house your wedding ceremony. Architects Tod Williams & Billie Tsien created the new building with the arrangement of the original gallery in mind, even keeping the southern solar orientation to mimic the collection's birthplace.




Harp & Crown

Chef Michael Schulson's ruggedly dashing, contemporary clubby Sansom Street venture serves drinks, dinner, and weekend brunch - all above two private bowling lanes. The poké was especially delicious, and I made quick work of the succulent pork belly.  Unfortunately, we did not split the pins and left feeling unmistakably full of food. 



The Magic Flute

Opera Philadelphia's new opera festival marks the start of the company's season. The first-ever Festival O features the genre's glittering stars in more than 25 performances, including three world premieres and the exclusive East Coast staging of an internationally renowned production of Mozart's The Magic Flute. 

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Lacroix at The Rittenhouse

A deluxe hotel like The Rittenhouse deserves a deluxe restaurant, a fitting description for Lacroix. Located on the second floor of the hotel, Lacroix features elegant decor and a broad view of Rittenhouse Square, which combine to make the ambience at Lacroix as enjoyable as the meal itself. The creative progressive international menu changes with the season and the wine list is extensive and excellent - thanks to a 4,000-bottle wine cellar.




The Gayborhood

Ah, the good stuff. Naturally, your trip to Philadelphia has to include some nights out dancing. Woody's, Ubar, Tavern, to name a few, are the quintessential spots to meet and greet and dance the night away. An intimate few city blocks with multiple gay bars, take your pick of jazz clubs, dance parties, and dive bars all welcoming the LGBTQ+ community.  



It doesn't take a lot to understand why this is "the city of brotherly love" so get some love, my brothers. Philadelphia is a "run, don't walk" destination for the fall. 

- Tim Cottam