Many Philly fitness classes pivoted during the pandemic; Come Alive 215 thrived. Complete with shadow-boxing and full-body training, this livestream workout series from Rumble trainers Kim Harari and Shannon Brennan is high-impact and fun as hell. They’ve partnered with the likes of Michael Solomonov for a boot-camp-and-brunch Saturday and drag performer VinChelle for rainbow-filled performances to accompany your reps. comealive215.com.
This self-described noodle house with “no rules” twists and merges Southeast Asian classics — banh chow chopped up and bathing in fish sauce, khao soi silky with Neighborhood Ramen’s homemade noodles, galangal-marinated rib-eye skewers marked by chef Phila Lorn’s own Cambodian roots. Mawn knows exactly who and what it is without anything to prove. The sour-sweet-savory dishes will zap you out of your bullshit day and into the moment, psychedelic Cambodian rock will make the small space come alive, and you won’t be able to remember what 9th Street was like without this BYOB. 764 South 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, mawnphilly.com.
With its wizened waitresses and circa-1955 decor and heaping helpings of satisfying and delicious schnitzel, spaetzle, knockwurst, and tangy, tart, famous potato salad, the only thing missing at this 37-year-old biergrten are the von Trapp kids singing as you eat. Though the AV does come alive with the sound of music: an oom-pah-pah band plays Saturdays, sending spry polka dancers revolving on the tiny dance floor like dolls on a music box. And the prices dinners around $12, draft beers for $2.50 will have you loath to say Auf wiedersehen. 321 Huntingdon Pike, Rockledge, PA 19046, austrianvillage.com.
Fairmounters heaved a collective sigh of disappointment when home and gift shop (and 2017 BOP winner) Division IV shuttered earlier this year. But we needn’t have despaired: Owner Jessie Menken simply moved all of her gift-able goodies down the block to sister shop Ali’s Wagon, so we can still buy those terrifically thoughtful hostess gifts – candles, tote bags, tea towels, olive oils, salt scrubs, simple syrups, mugs – for anyone kind enough to invite us over for dinner. 2017 Fairmount Ave , Philadelphia , PA 19130, aliswagon.com.
For $1,000 (and up) per night, you can party in the 7,000-square-foot Tuscan-style villa that the Champ occupied during the early 1970s. There’s a huge deck, a bar, a pool, a tennis court and, of course, a hot tub. It’ll be the backyard barbecue of the century. 1121 Winding Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003, .
“Water workout” means more than just swimming laps at Fitness Alive’s new Center City pool, where on-the-deck exercises (kettlebell squats, triceps dips, planks) are interspersed with cardio bursts of kicking and paddling in the pool. But if laps are your thing, they’ve got memberships for that, too. 1425 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, fitnessalivephilly.com.
This sweet shop ups the ante on otherwise pedestrian hostess gifts. Do you usually present a jar of fruit preserves? Try the bacon jam! Typically exchange fine spirits? Pair a bottle with a charred grapefruit tonic! Even humdrum candles — like a basil-and-cucumber eco-candle in an upcycled wine bottle — earn an upgrade. (Note: Division IV was absorbed into Ali’s Wagon, from the same owners, in 2018.) 2017 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130, aliswagon.com.
Plus-size shopping is already hard. But finding ethical brands? Feels nearly impossible. Relax: Designer Mary Alice Duff is turning out classic-yet-contemporary pieces in sizes 0 to 30, all stitched together by well-paid local seamstresses. By appointment only. 4056 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19129, alicealexander.co.
If you've ever tried to board a SEPTA bus with a stroller or baby-proof a roof deck, you'll be in good company here. City moms meet at the back of this baby-clothing-and-gift boutique to vent, cheer each other on, and attend classes (from $10) on breast-feeding, baby sign language and sleep routines. 2017 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130, aliswagon.com.
As co-director of groundbreaking theater company Lightning Rod Special, this 33-year-old South Philly actress conceived 2019’s highly controversial abortion musical (yes, an abortion musical) The Appointment, which picky New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley called a “profoundly imaginative … remarkable phantasmagoria.” Lightningrodspecial.com.
George Nakashima was one of the best woodworkers and furniture designers of the 20th century. He was born in 1905 in Spokane, where he began his career, and in the ’40s relocated to New Hope, where he set up shop and produced some of his finest creations. Nakashima died in 1990, but his daughter keeps his legacy alive at his workshop, where the craft continues to this day. Tours of it and the grounds are available by appointment only. 1847 Aquetong Road, New Hope, PA 18938, nakashimawoodworkers.com.
There's something oddly familiar about brunches at Caf Estelle. Maybe it's that the waitresses flutter about in darling little ruffled aprons, or that the mix-and-match mugs are meant for use at the serve-yourself coffee-and-tea station, or that the pitchers of Bloody Mary mix (you're responsible for the vodka) come with a DIY arrangement of cornichons, olives and celery, or that the brioche French toast is served with vanilla ice cream in place of butter. Somehow, it feels like we never left home. Oh, who are we kidding? We never eat this well at home. 444 North 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123, cafeestelle.com.
This community organizer worked tirelessly to free the cremains of slaves and, later, MOVE victims from the Penn Museum. After writing several bombshell op-eds for the Inquirer that exposed decades of trauma and misuse, Muhammad changed how the city talks about those who have left us.
This infrared-heated barre class will make you feel a range of emotions, from wanting to die when the heat reaches its peak and you're asked to do yet another round of leg lifts, to warrior-princess-proud when you walk out of the classroom alive and very much feeling the burn. 400 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, cityfitstudios.com.
The longtime Northeast Philly shop expanded into Center City last year and showed a whole new audience that the city's very best Italian hoagie comes on a seeded roll with chopped (not sliced) provolone and the gotta-have-it secret ingredient, olive spread. (Center City and Northeast Philly.) 132 South 8th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, finkshoagies.com.