Best Holiday Gift Picks from Urban Adventures Philadelphia
Whether you’re a local or just visiting us for a few days, you won’t have a problem finding a meaningful gift in the city. But we’ve narrowed that list down to our favorites, for that food lover in your family to that friend who needs more than something wrapped in gift paper.
For Your Foodie
Chocolate & Coffee Decadence
We’ll start this one off with Chocolate. Covered. Bacon. The labor and dedication of an immigrant fisherman over a hundred years ago, Anthony’s Italian Coffee and Chocolate House is the place to go for the sweet tooth on your holiday shopping list. Stop in, get yourself a delicious, rich coffee (you can also buy their beans!), then pop into their adjacent chocolate shop to pick up truffles of all flavors and chocolate-covered pretzels. You’ll feel even better after gelato samples and knowing that this Italian Market mainstay is on the path to zero waste.
Address: 903-905 S 9th Street
Fezziwig Kettle Corn
Fezziwig’s was our beloved neighborhood in Old City for some time, and although their (and our) brick-and-mortar is no longer in the heart of the historic district, you can still find owner Greg hard at work with his family, manning a booth just down from Anthony’s in the Italian Market. Get the traditional kettle corn, but give that someone special the caramel… Be warned, once you have your first handful, you won’t stop.
Address: 9th Street Italian Market, just south of Anthony’s Italian Coffee & Chocolate House
Restaurant Gift Cards
While a card that has money on it that can only be used at one specific location might seem a sham, it’s a great way to explore Philly’s best restaurant scene and have some one-on-one time with your giftee. You can’t go wrong with a Stephen Starr gift card (Frankford Hall, Continental, Parc, and Talula’s Garden being among the “I’ve always meant to go there” places). For more casual but excellent lunch options (travelers and locals who work nearby), Reading Terminal Market offers custom-amount gift cards for the myriad vendors inside the historic food hall (Beiler’s Donuts, Little Thai Market, Flying Monkey Bakery, and Termini Brothers Bakery are absolute musts).
Address (Reading Terminal Market): 51 N 12th Street
Sustainable & Responsible Gifts
United by Blue Eco-Friendly Gifts
Insulated thermoses. Reusable straw kits. Chemical-free, recycled-polyester clothing and apparel. United by Blue products are great for your traveler friend or that person at the dinner table who won’t shut up about free-range, gluten-free, vegan-friendly backpack strap buckles. And our own team joined this past year in one of UBB’s litter clean-up events, so maybe you and your Secret Santa giftee can join in on a clean-up effort in the Spring!
Address: 205 Race Street
Fantastical Finds at Philly AIDS Thrift
You can find just about anything at our favorite thrift store in Philadelphia. Furniture, books, clothing, board games, home décor, knickknacks, paddywacks, frick-a-frack, thingamabobs, and whozawhatsits. And then some. After you’ve perused the randomosity of this two-floor second-hand emporium, check out the Eye’s Gallery on South Street, filled with fun, colorful Latin American folk-art jewelry and textiles. Julia and Isaiah Zagar opened this shop to support the culture and livelihood of Latin American artists: if you’re looking for more to give, throw in a membership to Isaiah’s Magic Gardens.
Address (Philly AIDS Thrift): 710 S 5th Street
Address (Eye’s Gallery): 402 South Street
Drink Up (Responsibly)
We do want everyone to drink responsibly during the holidays, but we also want the responsibility to start with the purchase: locals will appreciate a refillable growler from our friends (no, we don’t get kickbacks in wine…if only) at Taps Fill Station at The Bourse. If you’ve got a South or West Philly friend, consider getting them a refillable growler and gift card for Dock Street Brewery. And a cherry to top it off: the brewery has made incredible strides in sustainability, including 100% wind-powered operations, among other implementations.
Address (Taps Fill Station): The Bourse, 111 S Independence Mall East
Address (Dock Street Brewery): 701 S 50th Street
Experience > More Stuff
For the Music & Theater Nerds
We’re two hours from New York City, and yet, we have an incredibly vibrant theater scene here in Philly. In fact, we’re unique in our historic venues as well as those that push the boundaries in stage performances. So whether you’re looking to delight someone in a mainstream show or give them an unforgettable small-venue usual-theater-going-defying experience, you won’t disappoint by getting tickets to our top picks:
FringeArts – If you have a truly unique, gifted, and inspiring artist in your family/friend circle, get them a membership so they can enjoy the numerous shows this venue offers year-round.
Helium Comedy Club – You can go wrong when selecting a comedy club, but Helium offers amazing standups, including local comics. Helium offers gift cards (keep in mind the two-drink minimum), and don’t second-guess the “Top Secret Stand-Up Confidential” nights: sure, Jon Lovitz might be the surprise guest, but even the opening acts are well worth the ticket price.
Memberships are awesome because they give unlimited, all-year-round access, and many museums constantly change up their exhibits, so there’s almost always something new:
Great for students, visitors, or just anyone who loves to spend a rainy or cold day at a marvelous museum at the drop of a hat.
We do highlight Penn Museum a lot. It’s not just because of our Museums on the Run Tour. This museum is inspiring, constantly changing, and happens to be in an equally-evolving neighborhood, University City. The institution also offers Spring- and Summertime music concerts, fascinating tours (our UA team took an ancient beer-tasting tour this year), and combo tickets (e.g., Mutter Museum). Get your aspiring archeologist, paleontologist, or paleobotanist a membership so they can keep coming back to experience this ever-changing museum that explores cultures across the globe.
Urban Adventures Gift Certificates
We do really despise highlighting ourselves. Be that as it may, if you are looking to give someone an incredible, worthwhile experience, consider a gift certificate with Urban Adventures. Any location in over 170 cities! But if you choose our location in Philadelphia, we promise we’ll give your giftee an amazing experience, whether it’s on our Italian Market Immersion food-tasting tour or the uniquely local-led History in HD tour of Philly’s historic district. If you want it all for your gift: New York Times Classic & Creative Philly tour – they get fine food samples, cocktails, behind-the-scenes interactions, and…they get to make their own cheesesteak. Best. Christmas Gift. Ever.