Thursday, April 27, 2017

Philadelphia Travel Guide.





^^^These two photos were taken at midnight just as the big snowstorm was starting to roll in. That look on my face is pure joy as I walked around the street by myself watching the snowflakes fall. 

^^^ This was the morning after the snow storm as I walking to the Flower Show. People were few and far between and the snow was almost a foot deep! 
^^^ I am so in love with this flower exhibit 
 

^^^ one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings 
 

A little over a month ago, I got the chance to visit Philadelphia! I was so excited to visit the city, as it's been on my bucket list for a while and one of my best friends from high school goes to school at Bryn Mawr College, which is just a short train ride away from downtown Philly!

The original plan was to head to Philadelphia and meet up with my friend Azalia but it just so happened that the night of my arrival one of the biggest snow storms of the season occurred. The snowstorm caused flight cancellations across the country and my friend was stuck in San Diego for an extra day (she had been on Spring Break). So, I ended up being in a new city alone during a big snow storm for a few days. But that didn't stop me from exploring solo! And when my sweet friend finally did get back to Philly, we had so much fun together in her city. 

I almost immediately fell in love with Philadelphia. Truthfully, I didn't know much about what the city had to offer until I got there and it was the most pleasant surprise to find out just how cool and fun Philadelphia is! I think what I loved the most was the food...Pretty sure I didn't stop eating the entire time I was there. Philly is also a historically significant city that is was just nice getting to wander the streets, especially in Old City.

The first day I got to Philadelphia, I got off the bus, went to my hotel room, freshened up and walked straight to the Liberty Bell. I'll be damned if a predicted snowstorm was going to stop me from seeing the Liberty Bell! The crowds were minimal and the Bell was fascinating. And truthfully, a bit bigger than I expected. Starting my trip off at the Liberty Bell just felt so right and, because of the late hour of my arrival, I spent the rest of the evening walking around Old City. 

My hotel just so happened to be across the street from the One Liberty Observation Deck, so I decided to head up there late that night to get a good look at the city after dark. Because of the impending bad weather and the late hour, the Deck was practically empty so I spent quite a bit of time just sitting up there enjoying the view by myself. It was a really nice way to end my first day in Philly. 

As I'm writing this, I realize I have way more to say about Philly and what I did there than I originally thought. I was in the city for a little less than a week and, despite the snowy weather in the beginning, I was able to see, do and eat a lot and I pretty much loved it all. 

My second day in Philly was when the city basically shut down from the snow storm the night before. But I refused to stay in my hotel room by myself so I set off to do the only thing I knew for sure was open: The Philadelphia Flower Show. On the outside of the convention center it was a cold, dreary Philidelphia day and on the inside was a bright, beautiful spring day in Holland. It can not be overstated just how absolutely stunning the flower show exhibits were. I walked around in awe for a couple of hours just staring at the exhibits. This was definitely a highlight of my trip. I loved it.

By the next day, Azalia finally made it back to Philly and we got to explore quite a bit together. It snowed the entire day as we were walking around and it. was. magical. It was freezing cold, windy and I didn't have the right footwear, but it was still magical. As a native Texan, I soaked up all the snow and cold weather I could get while I was in Pennsylvania. While the snow was an annoyance for a lot of people, I couldn't have enjoyed it more.

I stayed with Azalia at Bryn Mawr and got to see the place she's been calling home for almost three years now. It was so nice to be able to see and experience the place my friend loves so much.  The next few days were spent back and forth in Philadelphia, seeing and eating everything in sight! I had so much fun with Azalia and feel so fortunate that I got to explore the city with her. Philidelphia is an amazing city and I can't wait to go back someday.

I titled this the Philadelphia Travel Guide and it hasn't been much of a guide thus far so here's a list of every place I visited in Philadelphia, including the eateries too. There's not a thing on this list I don't recommend if you ever get the chance to visit the City of Brotherly Love.

SIGHTS:

  • One Liberty Observation Deck >>> I enjoyed the view at night but I have a feeling it's even better during the day. 
  • The United States Mint  >>> I loved this! It's a completely free and fascinating self-guided tour through the facility with easy to follow explanations of the coin making process.
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art (the Rocky Steps!) >>> An absolutely amazing museum with amazing views of the city on the outside. So even if you can't make it inside, definitely make time to walk around the museum grounds. 
  • The Philadelphia Flower Show at the Convention Center >>> S T U N N I N G 
  • Liberty Bell >>> A must-do! 
  • Independence Hall >>> Probably one of the most important historical landmarks in the States, if not the most important one. Obviously a must-do as well. 
  • Betsy Ross' House >>> For a small fee, you can walk around the inside of the house which is recreated to look like it did in the 1700s. 
  • Elfreth's Alley >>> A really cute street that is considered the old residential street in the country! Great for some photos. 
  • African American Museum >>> They had some really great exhibits when I visited and I suspect that's always the case. 
  • Reading Terminal Market >>> I could have spent an entire day in this place trying all the food. Lots of great places to eat lunch, grab a snack or sweet treat. I would try to hit this place at an off time though, I went on a Friday afternoon and it was crazy packed. 
  • South Street and Philadelphia Magic Gardens >>> A super artsy part of town with some fun shops and great food. Unfortunately, the outside portion of the Magic Gardens was closed because of the snow but they opened up the basement for visitors to walk through and it was really cool! I can't wait to go back and explore the entire place though. It looks amazing. 
  • The Benjamin Franklin Museum >>> If you love Benjamin Franklin, this is the place for you! It's super informative and a great way to learn about such an interesting and important man. Plus the first ever Post Office is right out front! 
  • The first Post Office >>> If you mail anything from this post office, they'll hand-cancel it with an exclusive postmark! 

EATS:

  • Bud & Marilyn's >>> If you ever go to Philly, you MUST eat there and get the crispy cheese curds as an appetizer and grasshopper cake for dessert. They were so good! The Nashville hot buns were pretty delicious too! 
  • Green Eggs Cafe >>> I discovered this place on my last day and it's my biggest regret that I didn't get to eat here more than once! I had a special St. Patrick's Day themed French Toast (made with challah bread!) but everything on the menu sounded (and looked!) delicious. 
  • Davio's >>> This place was located in my hotel and it was the only restaurant open within walking distance the day after the storm. It's a little on the pricier side but it was so good! The creme brulee for dessert was top notch. 
  • Common Wealth >>> Azalia and I stopped in here for lunch and liked it a lot! The perfect place for warming up and chit-chatting. The soups were good too! 
  • Jim's Steaks >>> This is where I tried my first real Philly Cheesesteak and I was not disappointed one bit! 
  • Dim Sum Garden >>> This is another place I could have easily ordered 20 different things off the menu. I ordered the pan fried pork soup dumplings and sesame chicken and both were delicious! 
  • Chestnut Street Philly Bagels >>> I didn't have to travel to the NYC to get a rainbow bagel! And I can't imagine the bagel tasting any better in New York. The rainbow bagel with cake batter cream cheese is a MUST. The cream cheese was my favorite part, so good!! 
SWEETS:

  • Franklin Fountain >>> An old-timey ice cream parlor and soda fountain with lots of homemade ice cream flavors. Delish! 
  • Shane Confectionary >>> Right next door to Franklin Fountain is this delicious candy store filled with delectable chocolates and sweet candies. 
  • Big Gay Ice Cream >>> If you only go to one ice cream place in Philly, go here! The dipped cones are absolutely delicious. Get them to combine their American Globs Cone + Salty Pimp if you want something ridiculously delicious. 
  • Bassetts Ice Cream >>> This place is inside Reading Terminal Market and is absolutely delicious. Bassetts is where I got the sprinkle covered ice cream cone pictured above. 
  • Old City Coffee Cafe >>> Not really a sweet place, but definitely a good place to warm up and grab a cup of coffee or, in my case, hot chocolate!

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