CollegeFest: Where Students Meet Philly

What’s the best way to explore the city you live in and beat the heat? CollegeFest!

On Saturday, September 10th was Campus Philly’s CollegeFest; a great way for students, new and returning, to get around Philadelphia and explore all the city has to offer (for free or a very low price, I might add). As a senior in college, CollegeFest is definitely one of my favorite events to kick off the fall semester, see a bunch of my friends from all over the city as well as other schools, and check out museums. Whether alone or with a group of friends, there’s no better way than to get a feel of what Philly has to offer than this.

Dilworth Park was packed with students when I’d arrived with my roommates, even though it was still relatively early. Students from all over the Philadelphia area– Arcadia, Temple, Villanova, Drexel and more.  Music was blasting, people were dancing, playing games and generally really enjoying themselves, despite the heat. With City Hall in the background, the entire event looked picture perfect, like it was out of a movie. Coming from a smaller school like Arcadia, it was awesome to get to see all the other students who share the city and were just as excited for all of the day’s events.

Being CollegeFest veterans, my friends and I immediately hit up the exhibitor booths spread across Dilworth Park. We weaved in and out of the booths, signing up for various things like Lyft, registering to vote on our campuses and even offering up our most athletic friend to try the Army ROTC challenge of seeing how long she could hold herself up (spoiler alert, she only lasted five seconds). 

After that, we headed to the closest Philly PHLASH Downtown Bus Loop stop to head off to a few of the participating museums. It was my first time riding the PHLASH, and I thought it was really convenient way to get around especially with so many students who may not know their way around just yet. Our first stop was Eastern State Penitentiary, which also happened to be holding a flea market that day. Everything at the market was fairly priced and a lot of it was really cool. I even picked up a few things to hang in my apartment. Next, we headed inside Eastern State, taking a quick tour of the inside. Being a history nerd, I definitely got a lot out of the museum, learning a lot of its history and more about Al Capone’s time at E.S.P. and how the prison as a whole operated.

After the tour, we headed on a journey to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA), stopping first for something to eat at The Bishop’s Collar, a small pub on Fairmount Ave. Philly tip: If you’re just strolling around, I definitely recommend checking out any restaurant you can because you’ll find little gems at every corner like we did.

Fueled up and ready to go, we headed to the PMA.  For anyone who didn’t get to visit this past CollegeFest, I highly recommend heading there when you have the chance. Not only will you get to walk up the (admittedly long) iconic Rocky Steps, and see some amazing art, but you’ll also get a view of Philadelphia that is unreal. The inside of the museum itself is probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and  definitely something everyone should see.  I even ran into a couple of friends from campus in various rooms. Along with being a history nerd, I’m also an art nerd, so being able to see some of my favorite artists like Edgar Degas, Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet was exciting for me. Even artists I’d never heard of had some of the most beautiful art I’d ever seen.

By the time we finished, we were hot, sweaty and ready to head home, so we took the Philly PHLASH one last time to head to Suburban Station. Throughout the station were more college students, just as tired as us, all carrying their free things or leftover food from various restaurants they’d eaten at. I think the general consensus was that CollegeFest 2016 was a success. So to all the Philly students who didn’t get to make it out this year, or even the ones who didn’t make it to all CollegeFest had to offer, I definitely recommend heading out across the city whenever you have a free day. CollegeFest was only a fraction, a sample bite, of what Philadelphia has to offer to students. Whether you’re heading to the museums you missed or just exploring, it will definitely be worth the trip!

Explore Philly–and fit everything in– with Zipcar

Zipcar’s the world leader in car sharing. But while you’ve got the wheels, they’re all yours.

So grab your bestie (or your mom) and a Zipcar and head over to IKEA to stock up on all your last-minute items. Split the bill with your roomie and hold onto more moolah for late-night snacks.

Shopping can really work up an appetite! IKEA is rewarding Zipcar members rigorous retailing with a free frozen yogurt at their restaurant, just show the cashier in the Bistro your Zipcard…YUM!

Still hungry? Lucky for you, Philly has a long list of places to grab some grub. Hop in your Zipcar and head to some of our favorites– Tony Luke‘s for a cheesesteak (39 E. Oregon Ave.), The Industry (1401 E. Moyamensing Ave.) for a chill outdoor lunch, or Bing Bing Dim Sum (1648 E. Passyunk Ave.) for delicious soup dumplings.

If you have some energy to spare, hit the lanes and get some strikes at South Bowl (19 E. Oregon Ave.)!

An added perk: Car sharing means fewer personally owned cars, which means less traffic, more space for bikes, and a nice deep breath of fresh air. (Plus, more money in  your wallet– cha-ching!)

IKEA makes your room your own, and Zipcar can help make Philly your own. Follow us on Twitter for ideas of where to #ziptrip in Philly, as well as sweet prizes all semester long.

And hey, if you’re #ziptrip-ing, be sure to share your photos with us! Post a pic of you in your Zipcar and use the tags #ziptrip and #meetphilly. A special prize may be in your future…

For more details, check out

Meeting Philly One Sip at a Time || The City’s Best Happy Hour

Thanks to our friends at Center City District Sips, Happy Hour has a brand new meaning: $5 cocktails, $4 wines, $3 beer and half-priced appetizers. Over 90 bars and restaurants in the Center City District are participating in the goodnessso here’s another quick “thank you” to Sips for helping us float our college budgets.

From 5-7 pm every Wednesday, treat yourself to some discounted drinks and food. It’s a great way to end a long day of work or classesbut I don’t have to tell you that. 

#CampusTip: Get there earlybecause once the place fills up, even the air feels a little tight.

Quick fix to the large crowds? Don’t be afraid to bar hop! Check out all the different restaurants participating in Sips, and see what’s around. 

Now, a list of 90 options is sure to be overwhelming, so let’s break it down:

If you’re going for the outdoor feels…

Head over to Uptown Beer GardenDilworth Park, or Independence Beer Garden. The backyard vibes make for a relaxing post-work environment and the “patio” dining experience is a perfect way to soak up the sun.

If you’re going for the cocktails

My personal faves are Liberty Bar & Grill, for the “Whiskey Lemonade,” and Ladder 15, for the “Crazy Water.” No giveaways hereyou have to head over to both restaurants to discover those drinks for yourself. I can’t ruin the magic but I promise you’ll love ’em.

If you’re going for the apps

The American Pub is your go-to place for some killin’ fried pierogies, mozzarella sticks and old bay fries. If fried food is what you love, hop on over to Marathon for the BEST Disco Tots: delicious enough to transport you back in time (disco inferno, eh?).

If you’re going for the views

I like the Drury Beer Garden at Opa. It’s undeniably inviting with its bright picnic tables, fun gaming options—including ping-pong and board games—and colorful decor. The Graffiti Bar at Sampan is another go-to. It’s located down a tiny alley on 13th street (I know, Harry Potter much?) Admittedly, it is a pretty tiny restaurant, but the professionally graffiti-ed walls give the bar a cool vibe that’s worth checking out.

So go enjoy your Wednesday, save a buck or two, and explore the city. The Happiest of Happy Hours to allget sippin’!

#GettingThere: Try to avoid the parking madness by using the public transit system. For Sips, SEPTA is your best friend. 

#TheMoreYouKnow: Wednesdays from 5-7pm, June 1-Sept. 28

Free Time Frenzy | Healthy (and fast) Grub

Now that it’s officially spring in Philly, we can’t hide behind big sweaters and bulky jackets. It’s the perfect time to get a head start on eating healthy, since summer will be here before we know it. Philly offers many dining options that offer quick service and healthy choices. Dining hall food is relatively the same price, so why not explore the city and eat healthy in the process?
Check out some of the best healthy, quick-service restaurants in the city:

honeygrow began as a startup that now has 7 locations in the area and has plans to double within the next year. The restaurant has touch screen computers to personalize your stir-fry or salad order, made of organic, natural, and 100% fresh ingredients.

From burgers to salads to smoothies, HipCityVeg makes a delicious meal for people looking for an alternative to meat.

Hai Street Kitchen & Co
Have you ever wondered what a sushi burrito would taste like? Well, Hai Street Kitchen combines the best of both worlds. You can customize your order with your choice of a nori wrap burrito, rice bowl or salad of all locally, all-natural ingredients.

Free Time Frenzy | Coffee Shops ☕

We all deserve a great cup of coffee and this week’s Free Time Frenzy will headline a few of our favorite coffee shops.

Free Time Frenzy will hook you up with places we know you will enjoy. If you are looking for a place to beat the cold weather, we have featured some of the best coffee shops in Philadelphia in this edition of #CPFreeTimeFrenzy.

Chapterhouse Café & Gallery
This cozy café on 620 South 9th Street makes a perfect place to relax over a warm coffee. This is a great spot to study for an upcoming test or use this time to take a break from your studies. The café features artwork from local Philadelphia artists and it occasionally has art opening parties to display their work. Chapterhouse Café has free Wi-Fi and plenty of seating, so grab their popular Nutella Latte (!!!) and a comfy seat to spend your time.

La Colombe Coffee
This coffee shop sells a variety of coffees, breakfast foods, and pastries. The biscuits and gravy on a skillet is a fan favorite for the coffee chain. With locations in Fishtown, Center City, and Rittenhouse Square, it’s super accessible. Make sure to try their signature Draft Latte in the coffee shop (and by March 1st, you can purchase the popular drink in cans.). It’s a hip place to get your coffee fix and chill with your friends.

Menagerie Coffee
This coffee shop in Old City offers a variety of inexpensive, yet great tasting coffee. It’s a perfect little coffee spot. It has free Wi-Fi, so it’s easy to spend an hour or more catching up on homework or pop culture. Check out this homey café, and make sure to treat yourself with a pastry or breakfast sandwich.

Free Time Frenzy: Sweet treats for your sweeties

Welcome to the second edition of Free Time Frenzy! Each week, Free Time Frenzy will focus on different entertainment, dining, and Philly must-sees that can be completed in under an hour.

We all understand that student’s schedules are extremely busy, so this provides a great opportunity for a quick taste of the city. Remember to use the hashtag #CPFreeTimeFrenzy to share your fun events!

This week’s Free Time Frenzy will focus on sweets and treats that can be devoured in under an hour:

Federal Donuts
The local donut shop is the perfect place to experience the freshest donuts you have ever tasted. The warm, freshly fried donuts make your wait worth every second. Federal Donuts has a variety of flavors and fried chicken options, so you definitely won’t leave hungry. They have several locations all around the city, so you can plan to visit a Federal Donuts practically anywhere you are in Philadelphia.

Franklin Fountain
If you want to have an all around “olde” city experience, Franklin Fountain will go above and beyond. This small ice cream shop on 116 Market Street always has a line out of the door, even in the dead of winter. All of the ice cream and ingredients are handmade from scratch and locally sourced, so it figures it is a little pricier than traditional ice cream shops. The quality and overall experience makes your trip all worth it. P.S. Check out Shane Confectionery right next door!

Happily Ever After
If you want a small café that sells everything from sandwiches to bubble tea, then Happily Ever After is the place for you. The movie-themed café at 230 Market Street has an extensive memorabilia collection from classic films and television shows such as Star Wars, The Simpsons, Harry Potter and many others. Speaking of HP, Happily Ever After sells the classic butterscotch drink, Butterbeer, which appears in the movies. Treat yourself to one of their sugary desserts you will not regret it… well maybe.

Itinerary: Spots to warm up to before and after your skate

A gazillion laps around the Rothman Rink, and stopping by these Center City spots will warm you up on a winter day. Enjoy food and drink from the Rothman Rink cabin or warm your bones with a frothy cappuccino from the neighboring La Colombe. For of age skaters, check out cozy classics, Oscar’s and Good Dog.

One more thing, it’ll be Center City District’s Restaurant Week! See below to learn more about the week and check out the participating restaurants.

Rothman Rink Cabin
Just steps from the north side of the Rothman Ice Rink, the new Rothman Cabin features Cuban burgers, French fries, hot chocolate, coffee, and much more! Skaters will be able to leave the ice without removing their skates to warm up and get food and drink.

La Colombe | 1414 S Penn Square
Get a coffee “for here” and take a seat in their cafe. If you’re into people watching, put this place on your list.

Max Brenner | 1500 Walnut St. 
If you’re all about chocolate, go here.

Center City District Restaurant Week | January 17-22 and 24-29, 2016
Participating restaurants will offer three-course dinners for only $35 per person. In addition, many will also be offering a three-course lunch for $20. Pro tip: Make reservations ASAP, spots fill up quickly.

Good Dog Bar | 224 S. 15th St.
Sometimes after a long day, you need to sit yourself down in a cozy booth and eat a good burger. Dog lovers, you’ll get your fill of dog decor at this place!

Oscar’s Tavern | 1524 Sansom St.
Two things: Bar food & Bill Murray. The retro paper placemats, the jukebox and the dimly lit atmosphere will place you in the best time warp ever.

Your Go Guide For Winter Break

We know how excited you are to be on winter break and we want to give you the tools to have the best break ever! Here’s a little guide to do just that:

Go for a cup of coffee and chill, man. Refer to: Best Philadelphia cafes for lounging (or working) all day long

Go take a hike on the Wissahickon Trail or walk on the Manayunk Bridge.

Go to a show at the former Spaghetti Warehouse, now Union Transfer. (Sorry, you won’t find any spaghetti, but you will find your favorite band playing there!)

Go see a movie.

Go catch that holiday spirit.

Go ring in the New Year with fireworks and more!

Go to the Mummers Parade!

Go to B-R-U-N-C-H before the Parade. Here are just some of our favorites: Cafe Lift | Kraftwork | Royal Tavern |Sabrina’s |  The Morning Glory Diner 

Keep us in the loop! Follow us on Instagram, and tag your adventures with #meetphilly.