As you walk through the streets of Philadelphia every corner has so much history, so much future and so much beauty. While I was admiring the beautiful buildings in center city, I took a second and looked down (because we almost never look down), when I noticed I was walking on beautiful red-brown cobble stone streets that have probably seen millions of people as the city slowly ages. This contrast of old guard versus new is one that I admire about Philadelphia along with many other beautiful and tasty things.
The City of Brotherly Love has an explosive food scene with chefs such as Jose Garces, Guillermo Telez and Ellen Yin, who are constantly pushing the envelope with the delicacies they are creating daily in their restaurants. If you haven’t checked out their restaurants in Philadelphia then you need to make sure you visit and of course plan ahead as they get booked pretty quickly.
But there are few other hidden gems can’t be missed! One of them is Oyster House, if you get there early enough you can get a seat immediately and enjoy some of the tastiest oysters in the city. And if you want to be a bit of a dare devil take an Oyster Shooter with your choice of venom (vodka, gin or tequila).
If you have a sweet tooth like me, then you have to visit Federal Donuts. This is a place that you have to make sure you arrive early so you can enjoy freshly hot, out-of-the-oven donuts. Each donut that I devoured just slowly melted in my mouth as I took one, two, three, four bites until it was gone.
But you can’t visit any city in the east coast without having a slice of pizza. When in Philly, make sure you check out Pizza Brain. I had a great conversation with one of the owners who gave me a fresh slice of pizza and talked about how similar our hometown cities are (with the exception of our pizzas, but of course!). At the end of the conversation, I learned that the cost of property in Philadelphia is super cheap versus Chicago and that although Chicago has some tasty deep dish pizzas, east coast thin sliced pizzas will always hit the spot…especially after a long night out.
When in Philadelphia make sure you take one day to explore the city by walking (and maybe once in a while jump on a few friendly buses when the distances are too long). This is such an easy walking city especially when you plan it right. When in Philadelphia, make sure to visit the Philadelphia's Magic Gardens. It is an outdoor mosaic art gallery and at every turn you will be surprised with the different kinds of designs that Isaiah Zagar developed via scraps he located around the city. His work can be seen throughout South Street. As you walk through the garden you will notice a few hidden messages throughout the walls such as "love", "eat", and "it may seem puzzling".
If you walk north east from the gallery, you will catch yourself in the Society Hill area where cobble stones and colonial buildings surround every step you take. As I walked through these streets during sunset on a cold November night, I felt shivers going down my spine it might be because it's a bit haunted, I don't know but that's definitely something I will leave for a future post.
But that’s not the only place in the city where you can get that feeling, just walk through the halls of Eastern State Penitentiary where famous mobsters such as Al Capone were imprisoned before the penitentiary officially shut down and then became a museum for tourist like myself.
If penitentiary's aren't your thing, then walk about two blocks and you will find the Philadelphia Museum of Art (or also known as the "Steps of Rocky"). I had a chance to check out a special exhibit they had of the French artist Fernand Leger. This was the first time that his paintings were exhibited in the U.S. and what better home to have it in then at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. If the exhibit makes it to your local art museum, make sure to give yourself enough time while exploring it since there are a lot of interactive pieces that allow you to further explore his artwork.
Once you’re done exploring the museum of art, then head on out to the famous stairs and put on your famous rocky face and take as many pictures as you’d like. But watch out, this is a tourist hot spot so it can get pretty packed on the weekends and to do the Rocky run will get a little complicated as you will most likely have to dodge a kid or two.
But Philadelphia is not only known for all the destinations listed above, it is also known for the birthplace of democracy. The beautiful Liberty Bell is safely tucked in a gorgeous newly remodeled building where you can learn all about its long history and why the bell has that very long crack. And if you are anything like me, make sure to take a selfie or two with the bell!
Have you been to Philadelphia? If so, what’s your favorite restaurant or spot?