This month’s City Love goes out to The City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia! Here are the top 5 things I love about Philly:
Though I’m not a big American history buff, I am in awe of the architecture and rich stories and events that Philadelphia has been witness to. Considered the birthplace of America, Philadelphia has many historical sites including Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross House, and Elfereth’s Alley – America’s oldest street! It just gives me chills whenever I walk through these sites (and many other sites in Center City and throughout Philadelphia) that such historical events and figures were part of this city. I mean, this is where the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the American flag were all born! Even though I wasn’t born in America, I get very patriotic whenever I’m in Philadelphia.
I absolutely love this mural because of the fierce ballerino serving it!
There’s also a house on South Street (reminds me of Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley) decorated with broken glass and other knick-knacks (or what others may call trash). It’s definitely a site to see.
On my first visit to Philly, I actually went inside the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the building at the top of the steps Rocky Balboa famously climbed, which brings me to my third favorite thing…
3. Famous Backdrop of Movies and TV Shows
I’m pretty aware that any large metropolitan city will have a lot of movies and shows that serve as backdrops to their stories, but Philly has pretty memorable ones for me. Obviously, “Rocky” is one of the most famous movies and it’s pretty much celebrated by the city with a statue and footstep imprints at the top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps. Side note – everyone taking pictures with the Rocky statue either posed in boxing stance or flexed their muscles, and so when I posed with Rocky, I definitely got a lot of stares.
Other movies and shows that feature Philly are “Philadelphia” (duh), A&E’s “Parking Wars”, and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, which was being filmed during one of my visits and I got to see them filming a scene outside a bar I was in. The other show I associate with Philadelphia because it was one of the shows I basically grew up on was “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”. I know that the show was based in Bel Air, CA but who could ever forget the theme song, “…In West Philadelphia, born and raised, on a playground was where I spent most of my days..” It’s okay, you can finish singing the rest (comment below if you actually did). So yeah, my friends and I actually went to that playground in the opening credits. It was below freezing out and snow pretty much covered the basketball court and playground, but at least we can say we were on the same playground Will Smith sings about!
4. Very Biker and Walker Friendly
Another reason why I love Philadelphia is because it is really biker and walker (not the dead kind) friendly. There aren’t hills around town and it’s not a huge city where you would necessarily need a car to go from place to place if you’re visiting. I definitely did a lot of walking every time I was in Philadelphia but never thought it was that bad, unlike being NYC (I actually had to buy Crocs on my last day in NYC on my first trip out there because my feet hurt so bad! CROCS!).
Now I cannot not talk about Philadelphia without highlighting the Philly Cheesesteak! And seriously, this wouldn’t be a post by me if I didn’t talk about food! Anyway, cheesesteak… mmm.
That is all.
Philadelphians are serious about their cheesesteak. Before going to Philly, I made sure to do my research for where I should get this meaty and cheesy goodness and the two that kept popping up were Geno’s and Pat’s. My friend Neal, a local Philly resident, photo journalist, and urban farmer (click here if you want to know more about Neal and follow him on Instagram to see awesome pics of Philadelphia), took me to Pat’s which I thought was the right choice because of the huge cans of Cheez Whiz displayed on their windows! Ordering your cheesesteak is an experience all together. Neal and the research that I had done prepped me to make sure I knew what I wanted before getting to the window. The servers will not entertain your questions or indecisiveness and may dismiss you (NO soup for you!). I didn’t want to get yelled at so I had to repeatedly ask Neal what to say. I was so nervous that we ended up doubling our order! Oh well, it was definitely worth it. Cheese… mmm.
As you can see from my pictures, I’ve been to Philadelphia both in the summertime and in the winter. It can get pretty hot and humid in the summer and really cold in the winter. I complain about both, but still love the city. If I were to choose which time to visit between the two, I would probably recommend going in the summer because you get to wear shorts and tank tops, and you might even see kids playing around a busted up fire hydrant (instant block party and slip ‘n slide) or photoshoots in the backyard.