Explore Philadelphia

The Best Things to Do When It's Hellishly Hot in Philly

It feels so good to be bad.

When the heat gets so intense that heading outside feels like heading into hell, indulge your urges. Philly may not be the City of Sin, but it promises a sizzling summer nonetheless. We’ve rounded up some good ways to be bad and covered all the bases—the seven deadly ones that is.

Salted-caramel budino at Barbuzzo
Salted-caramel budino at Barbuzzo (Courtesy Barbuzzo)

Lust: Salivate Over Sweets

Stop counting the calories, and throw the guilt out the window. The City of Brotherly Love boasts some indulgent desserts begging for a no-holds-barred dive into delectability.

End your summer day with a mountainous sundae at The Franklin Fountain. The aptly named Mt. Vesuvius erupts with scoops of chocolate and vanilla and hot fudge all over, pouring over boulders of brownie.

Keep the chocolate train rollin’ at Bud & Marilyn’s with a triple-decker slice of Grasshopper Cake, a rich wonder of dark chocolate cake, peppermint icing and bittersweet ganache.

Let us not limit ourselves to chocolate, however—especially when the salted-caramel budino at Barbuzzo is calling. This is not your average pudding. The luscious Italian custard is topped with vanilla bean caramel, sea salt and a dark chocolate crust. Or opt for your custard caressed in a buttery crust of cake in the oh-so French Gâteau Basque at Helm.

Lamb meatballs at Harp & Crown
Lamb meatballs at Harp & Crown (©Neal Santos)

Gluttony: Indulge Your Palate

Habitual greed of gustatory pleasures isn’t such a bad thing when bespoke cocktails and scratchmade meals are to be had.

The large plates at Vernick Food & Drink speak to the belly with meals of veal flank steak accompanied by white asparagus, potato rösti and drizzled with pumpkin-seed sauce and rustic wood-fire dishes like the rack of porcelet with caponata.

For seam-busting goodness, do yourself a favor and order up a plate made for two from Harp & Crown—no need to share (we won’t tell) because a bone-in NY strip with aji amarillo and watercress demands you eat every bite yourself. Pair your feast with a craft drink like the Smoke & Rose, a tantalizing scotch, blackberry liquor, rosemary and citrus concoction.

Speaking of cocktails, signature sips at Charlie Was a Sinner won’t let you stop at just one. Imbibe in La Dame de Fer with its Old Overholt whiskey mingling with zesty notes of grapefruit, mint, ginger, lemon and orange, or try the robust Knights in White Satin, a glass of Del Miguey VIDA mezcal, Cocchi Americano, Dolin Blanc vermouth and applewood smoke. Grab your DD and order up!

Game table at SugarHouse Casino
Game table at SugarHouse Casino (Courtesy SugarHouse Casino)

Greed: Make Your Bets

As the O’Jays sing it, “Money, money, money, money!” We need it, we want it, we got to have it.

Luckily, nearby SugarHouse Casino is ready to provide the chance at winning big. Slots, game tables, poker room—it's all there waiting for you and lady luck.

Parx Casino offers much the same thrill with 3,500 slots, 130 table games and a poker room with 80 tables, and the promise of prizes continues at the Parx track. If pulling a lever doesn’t get your heart racing then watching thoroughbreds sprint the track certainly will.

Whatever your pleasure, Philly’s grown-up playgrounds will have your eyes wide with excitement at the glitz, glamor and “money, money, money, money.”

Hammock at Spruce Street Harbor Park
Hammock at Spruce Street Harbor Park (©Matt Stanley)

Sloth: Lounge Around

The lazy days of summer are epitomized by the ultra-loungy vibes at Spruce Street Harbor Park. Fifty colorful hammocks sprinkle the grounds enticing visitors to kick their feet up and keep them there. Drink in the scenic waterfront views while the soft weave of hammocks caress your lazy bones and your to-do list melts away. Why do now what you can do late, right? This oasis of relaxation is for catnaps, sunbaths and general procrastination. The park also plays host to food vendors and a lauded beer garden, but there’s no need to walk off a meal of pizza and craft brews. No, no, we suggest you fill up and relax in one of those hanging cocoons of comfort.

Wrath: One Wicked Witch

We all have a dark side. And the witches of Oz are no different. Yes, the green-hued witch of the West is an obvious villain, but just how did she get so, well, wicked?

The hit Broadway musical answering this ponderous development is a story of a fiery young lady demonized by her peers. Mingled with envy, humor and, of course, wrath, the musical entertains audiences with the untold story of a friendship gone sour and the wicked antics that ensue. Merry old Land of Oz? Hold your tongues, munchkins. This tale has a sinister streak to delight your inner cynic. See "Wicked" through Aug. 27 at the Academy of Music.

The interior of a men's clothing store
(Courtesy Boyd's)

Envy: Buy What You Like

Like what she’s got on? Now you can turn heads with fashionable wears from Philly’s top shops.

The cosmopolitan looks at Lila in Manayunk are influenced by the planet-roving sister-duo that owns the shop. Pick up European garbs that will have everyone asking where you got your digs.

And for a bit of bling, a custom piece at Bucci’s Jewelry & Design shop can’t be topped because we all know, ladies, that nothing breeds envy quite like diamonds.

Men, don’t let the ladies show you up. Made-to-measure suits at Boyd’s will have you looking sharp and getting second glances.

Hill-Physick House
Hill-Physick House (Courtesy PhilaLandmarks)

Pride: Pleasures of the Past

A hub of history, Philly takes pride in its past. Venerable historical figures like the great Benjamin Franklin have called the city home and graced its history pages with tales of achievement and forward thinking. But pride is a fickle thing, and there are some folks from Philly’s past whose self-involvement have made them less than favorable.

Take Elizabeth Emlen Physick for example. Her husband, Dr. Phillip Syng Physick, is known as the father of American surgery, yet, that was not good enough for Elizabeth. The scandalous, 18th-century lady left her husband but retained his fortune thanks to a pre-nup—one of the nation’s first. Hear the story recounted on tours of the Hill-Physick House