The Old City area is full of quaint Federal and Georgian-style buildings, so a stroll here is well worth it for the architecture alone. But shoppers won’t be disappointed with the excellent vintage shops and indie boutiques along North 3rd Street. Vagabond is one of the best for clothing by emerging designers – look out for Ajaie Alaie and Lauren Manoogian – and also unique decorative things for the home. And don’t miss Antique Row on Pine Street for a mix of old and new stores, galleries and cafés. Vagabond, 37 North 3rd St, 19106 (+1267-671 0737; vagabondboutique.com). Antique Row, Pine St, 19107 (antique-row.org).
The Fishtown neighbourhood is a must; this formerly dodgy area is now the Williamsburg of Philly, and it’s perfect for wandering. Pick up a coffee from La Colombe, one of the city’s best roasters, before visiting the indie, old-school Philadelphia Record Exchange for any kind of music you can possibly think of. La Colombe, 1335 Frankford Ave, 19125 (+1267-479 1600; lacolombe.com); from $2.25 (coffee). Philadelphia Record Exchange, 1524 Frankford Ave, 19125 (+1215-425 4389; philarecx.com).
Jinxed Philadelphia, also in Fishtown, is an incredible variety store where almost all the pieces are unique – everything from shiny metal homewares to vintage cameras to antique maps. If you’re there, nearby Little Baby’s Ice Cream is well worth a stop: the weird but interesting flavours – Cucumber Dill, Chocolate Salt Malt – are all delicious. Jinxed Philadelphia, 1331 Frankford Ave, 19125 (+1215-800 1369; jinxedphiladelphia.com). Little Baby’s Ice Cream, 2311 Frankford Ave, 19125 (+1267-687 8567; littlebabysicecream.com); from $5 (ice cream).
Philadelphia’s Main Line – the western suburbs that were built along the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad – is no longer a series of sleepy communities; some of the most exciting shops are here. The very chic boutique Kirna Zabête is a great addition to Bryn Mawr. This offshoot of the popular New York store of the same name is fantastic for fashion finds, from Loewe to Proenza Schouler. Kirna Zabête, 915 West Lancaster Ave, Bryn Mawr 19010 (+1610-581 7777; kirnazabete.com).
At the sprawling Reading Terminal Market, a historic farmers’ market that opened in 1892, you can find everything from traditional pretzels, made by the Amish, to beautiful, freshly cut flowers. Reading Terminal Market, 51 North 12th St, 19107 (+1215-922 2317; readingterminalmarket.org).