On the to-do list this week: The (belated) 2020 Olympics are here! And no matter how you feel about the Olympics happening ... during a pandemic ... the athletes are in Tokyo and have been preparing for this moment for their entire lives. Cheer on the athletes from one of the many sports bars in the area — and we have a guide to the bars and restaurants showing the Olympics.
What’s on my personal to-do list: To quote Parks and Recreation characters Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle, my mantra this weekend is “Treat yo self.” I’m going to get a facial at the Rittenhouse Hotel spa.
We’ve collected our best Philly tips all in one place here. Stay healthy, stay safe, and get vaccinated.
How to organize a block cleanup in Philadelphia by Nick Vadala
The best playgrounds at the Jersey Shore by Michelle Reese
How to get a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania by Nick Vadala
Every Atlantic City Boardwalk pizza place, ranked by Amy S. Rosenberg
» Ask us a question through Curious Philly: Inquirer.com/askus
Here is one highlight from our weekly events calendar:
Shakespeare in Clark Park 🎭 (Theater / in-person / multiday / free) The favorite summer tradition that is Shakespeare in Clark Park returns to the West Philly space for a nearly week-long outdoor show. This year, performers combine circus movement and classic theater to tell the story of the Shakespeare tale Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Both reserved seating and open seating are available; reserved seating must be booked online in advance. (Free, July 28-Aug. 1, 7 p.m., 43rd St. and Chester Ave., shakespeareinclarkpark.org)
The (belated) 2020 Tokyo Olympics are here, running from July 23 to August 8, with the always-exciting opening ceremony kicking things off on Friday, July 23 at 6:55 a.m. ET — and for those who aren’t awake at that time, the opening ceremony will be replayed Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Many sports bars throughout the area will be streaming the action, particularly the big-ticket competitions like swimming, gymnastics, and soccer. Check here for our where to watch the Olympics guide, and see a few of my picks below:
Center City pick: McGillin’s. This favorite, historic Center City bar has high-definition televisions and projector screens throughout its two-floor space that’ll be showing the big Olympics games, including gymnastics, swimming, and soccer. Specials like the gold medal mimosa and the red, white and bleu burger will be available throughout the Olympics.📍 1310 Drury St., 📞 215-735-5562, 🌐 mcgillins.com, 📷 @mcgillinsoldealehouse
West Philly pick: The New Deck Tavern. There are 11 televisions throughout University City’s New Deck Tavern, and the Olympics will be playing on at least many of the screens for excited events-watchers. But, if your desired sport isn’t on the TV, just ask a staffer to turn it on.📍3408 Sansom St., 📞 215-386-4600, 🌐 newdecktavern.com, 📷 @newdecktavern
Fairmount pick: The Green Room. There are eight televisions inside and five television outside at this Fairmount watering hole, making it a solid option for Olympic game watching. They also have $5 citywides, in addition to a range of craft beer.📍1940 Green St., 📞 215-241-6776, 🌐 greenroomphiladelphia.com, 📷 @thegreenroomphilly
South Philly pick: Xfinity Live! Watch Olympic events on the billboard-sized television on Xfinity Live’s patio. Take note: When there’s a competing Phillies game (or a UFC fight), Olympics events will still be shown, just on smaller TVs throughout the building.📍1100 Pattison Ave., 📞 267-534-4264, 🌐 xfinitylive.com, 📷 @xfinitylive_xl
» READ MORE: Where to watch the Olympics in Philly
Have some pizza
There are many, many pizza shops along the Atlantic City boardwalk ... but, not all of the pizza is good. My colleague Amy S. Rosenberg did the research for us and ranked Atlantic City slice shops from worst to best. Her least favorites are worth a read. But her best picks? See below.
3. Steel Pier Pizza This one played well as I showed up at happy hour, and there was live music and $8 Kona beer on tap across the pleasant seating area of high tops. The pizza came with an extra plate on top, which I quickly saw was a seagull shield. Cheese nice and gooey, thin crust, perhaps a bit crispy, but a nice bubble. Seagulls preferred funnel cake this evening. Musician Glenn Robert played a countrified version of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Nearby is axe throwing. 1000 Boardwalk. Price: $5 Ranking: 7.3
2. Home Slice Home Slice is the younger generation of LoPresti family making a play with oversized ceramic pizzas on the building and bright pink and yellow decor. “Buy our pizza, we knead the dough,” a sign reads, and you know, at this point, I feel you. Kneaded dough takes you to the next level on the A.C. Boardwalk. Some tempting shish kebab and sausage. Super thin crust, folds nicely, bottom is nicely charred, cheese seems fresh. Nowhere really to sit outside, though a marijuana dispensary beckons across the way. 1245 Boardwalk at South Carolina. Price: $4 Ranking: 8.1
1. Jersey Shore Pizza & Grille. Owned by Claudia LoPresti, sister/aunt of the other LoPresti-owned pizzerias. Here I found Angel Ramirez, the pizza dough flinger, and Wesley Velazquez, a nine-year employee, who said he’d tasted pizza up and down the Boardwalk, and in Wildwood and Ocean City, and “To be honest, I think we’re the best.” I agree. The sauce is homemade and tangy, the cheese fresh, Ramirez slings a truly thin dough. There’s shaded seating with hanging flowers along Texas Avenue. Crust folded up, bubbles, pride in craft. 2601 Boardwalk at Texas Avenue. Price: $4.50 Ranking: 8.2, just the slightest edge over Claudia’s niece at Home Slice
» READ MORE: Every Atlantic City Boardwalk pizza place, ranked
Summer in the city is wonderful and exciting, but it’s also hot and sweaty, which is why local destinations like the Poconos are high on many people’s summer to-do list. But, how do you get up to the Poconos if you’re a city dweller who doesn’t drive? Conveniently, there are a number of ways to get to the Poconos without a car.
Getting there: The easiest (and cheapest) way to get up to the Poconos is by bus. Greyhound will get you to popular spots like Stroudsburg (just a few miles from the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area) and Mount Pocono (near several resorts, nature preserves, and state parks). Fares vary, but economy tickets start at about $40 each way to Mount Pocono, and $20 to $30 to Stroudsburg — so expect to spend about $40 to $80 round trip.
Getting around: Once there, you can take rideshare services like Uber and Lyft in the busier towns (not so much in the more remote areas), and if you’re in or around Monroe County you can opt for public transit. Known as the Pocono Pony, Monroe County Transit Authority (MCTA) bus lines run throughout the area, including places such as Stroudsburg, East Stroudsburg, Tannersville, and Mount Pocono.
» READ MORE: How to get to the Poconos without a car