Brothers have been in the shoe biz since 1953, and it shows: Their solid selection (Red Wing, Cole Haan, Wolverine, Alden), frequent sales and helpful staff turn casual shoppers into regulars. Call or see website for locations, 00000, shermanbrothers.com.
Yes, there are many, many famous museums in Philadelphia. And there’s also the Shoe Museum at Temple’s podiatry school. Mummer shoes. Baby shoes. A locker room with athletes’ shoes. You get the picture. Looking for other always-free museums? Try Fireman’s Hall Museum, the Science History Institute, and the Institute of Contemporary Art. 148 North 8th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, podiatry.temple.edu/about/shoe-museum-temple-university-school-podiatric-medicine.
End the frustration of the one-and-done plaything by scooping up the remarkable toys at the Kids Shop at Please Touch Museum. The same experts who keep our kiddies engaged and educated for hours give their stamp of approval to every puzzle, book and game here. 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, PA 19131, pleasetouchmuseum.org.
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.
This nifty shop is an homage to vinyl, and a must-stop for diehard collectors, come-lately hipsters, and anyone looking for a present (bowls and clocks made from old albums) for a record fan. Or just a place to show the kids what the world was like before iTunes. 851 West Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010, goldmillionrecords.com.
In the past two years or so, we saw an influx of independently owned wine shops open all around Philly — many of them run by restaurant owners and bar managers who take their wine programs very seriously, sourcing and stocking only the natural, or the local, or the hard-to-find stuff. We also saw Acme and Whole Foods get into the wine game here in Pennsylvania — though their selections are, um, heavy on the Sutter Home. And then there’s the IGA, a pretty generic grocery store in a pretty blah strip mall on Aramingo Avenue, not particularly boutique-y or high-end. Just a plain ol’ grocery store. Unlike Acme and Whole Foods, though, its wine selection is vast and fairly priced and downright thoughtful. There are traditional bottles — the chianti classicos, the Châteauneuf-du-Papes — but there are orange wines from Georgia, too, and pecorinos from Abruzzo, and natural and biodynamic wines everywhere you look. You’ll leave and wonder a lot about this place: Who’s running this shop? How do they keep the prices so low? And how the hell is it still such a secret? 2497 Aramingo Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125, therichmondshops.com/bottle-shop.html.
Owner Johnny DiMino is made for reality TV a jovial car nut who treats dinged-up Mercedeses and Corvettes with love, and who charged hundreds of dollars less than another repair shop quoted to fix a dented SUV. We also like the t-shirts he gives to customers, embossed with his logo: "U Reckem. We Fixem. U Payum." 1502 Ridge Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462, blackhorseautobody.com.
Yes, you’ll need to trek to Princeton, but it’s worth it: The discounts are steep, and the designers are covetable. Proof: A wear-with-everything pair of The Row loafers was slashed by 40 percent during a recent jaunt. 11 Hulfish Street, Princeton, NJ 08542, shopzoeonline.com.
The best (and, frankly, only) reason to hit the Franklin Mills Mall: the Jimmy Choos and Lanvins at this Neiman Marcus outlet. The clearance section will take your breath away. 1634 Franklin Mills Circle, Philadelphia, PA 19154, lastcall.com/index.jsp.
Talk about fancy footwork: This Black-and-LGBTQIA-owned South Philly business dresses up full-grain leather loafers and Chelsea boots with a few well-placed strokes of colorful paint, creating one-of-a-kind pieces of walking art. Cheryl Ellzysmith and wife Kyra started the brand with bags in 2018, then expanded to shoes when a Spanish cobbler reached out after seeing their pieces on Instagram. A potential new addition? Hand-painted heels, for next-level style. loyaltyleather.com.
The city’s oldest Black-owned bookstore is still going strong, selling new and old African American-focused literature — from biography and history to children’s books. 210 South 52nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19139, hakimsbookstore.com.
Buying wine (or any alcohol, really) in Pennsylvania is generally a pain in the butt. The Di Bruno Bros. Bottle Shop in the center of the Italian Market sweetens the deal with a curated selection at a range of price points, all of which can be opened and glugged across the street in DBB’s sunny piazza. Bring takeout from any of the surrounding restaurants, or grab some chips and tinned fish from Di Bruno’s shelves. 920 South 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, dibruno.com/9th-street-bottle-shop.
We adore our independents. But sometimes a girl just needs her Manolos and Atwoods and Loubies and Choos and Mius and Loefflers, all in one place. The way God intended it. 2 Bala Plaza, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004, saksfifthavenue.com.
Leave it to the people who made drinking wine in Philly fun again to rethink a beer bar: The iPad menu shows how much beer is left in each keg; the bar's design was nominated for a James Beard Award; and the list itself features draft beers that can't be found anywhere else in town. 2005 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, triacafe.com/taproom.
Jubilation over the Philly phenom winning season 20 of The Voice was tempered by the show’s confounding inability to convert winners into stars. But Anthony — a 19-year-old with the smooth tenor of someone decades older, the boyish good looks of the Jackson 5, and the style of vintage Al Green — had even jaded Voice coach Blake Shelton predicting he’ll reverse that trend.