A Day in Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is definitely an underrated city in the United States. There are so many things to see and do for people of all ages! With only a two-hour drive from New York City, Philadelphia is the perfect city to explore for a day, weekend or long weekend if you are traveling around the East Coast or live in the tri-state area.
The last time I was in Philly was when I was a preteen, so it was nice to go back as an adult (back in April 2018) and get to do and see all of the fun hidden gems I haven’t experienced yet. If I had to compare Philly to another U.S. city, I would definitely say it is very similar to Boston (click here to read my blog on Boston) as it features Federal-style architecture, cobblestone streets, a waterfront, beautiful parks, great food and tons of history!
If you are visiting the New York City area, I highly recommend making a day trip down to Philadelphia. There are several forms of mass transportation that will take you to and from New York and Philly! Check out the perfect day trip itinerary that my friends and I followed during our time in the “City of Brotherly Love”.
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After we arrived in Philly, we parked our car in the Rittenhouse Square area. I loved this area because it featured cute houses and buildings, numerous coffee shops and eateries as well as a beautiful park to stroll around in.
As we strolled around the park, we spotted sunbathers, students, readers, families, couples, friends and cute puppies! There are also several fountains, cherry blossom trees, flowers and cute benches to relax. At night, the park lights up with beautiful Christmas lights. It is truly a magical area.
Strolling the Streets of Philadelphia:
We all could not wait to go see the famous Philadelphia Magic Gardens! Since the gardens were a little bit of a walk from Rittenhouse Square, we decided to fully savor the day and take a stroll. On our way, we ran into The Atlas of Tomorrow: A Device for Philosophical Reflection. This is a beautiful and interactive installation (and piece of art) that translates the I Ching into a tool to help the public examine their lives in the current moment. As people pass by, they are welcome to think of a question or situation in their life where they see clarity and then turn the wheel. When the wheel stops spinning, it lands on a number and the person could view the trusted guidance in one of the 64 stories posted on the wall. It was interesting and we had a lot of fun figuring out our lives. Artist Candy Chang created this wonderful work of art.
In addition to The Atlas of Tomorrow: A Device for Philosophical Reflection, you can view other amazing street art along the streets of Philly. Some of the most iconic street murals in the Rittenhouse Square/Washington Square West area are the St. Nick, ‘Bird Feed’ and ‘Nativ Nteligence’.
Philadelphia Magic Gardens:
As we made our way closer to the Philadelphia Magic Gardens on South Street, we started to see beautiful mosaic wall art along the buildings. Once I started seeing all of the shiny knick-knacks, I knew we were heading in the right direction!
When we finally reached these dreamy gardens, we bought our tickets (they are $10 per person and you could buy them the day of or in advance). Since the gardens get a bit crowded on the weekends, we were given a time slot of when we could go in and start wandering. Luckily, we only had to wait a half hour and what is nice about the Magic Gardens is that there is a whole gallery on the side of their building that feature stunning street art and gorgeous wall mosaics to savor the time.
To date, the Philadelphia Magic Gardens are the largest work of art created by the talented mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar. The beautiful gardens span three city lots and include indoor art galleries and an outdoor maze. My friends and I had a great time walking through this magical place. It was also the perfect place to take incredible and artsy photos! The mosaics are made up of everything from kitchen and floor tiles to bike wheels as well as Latin-American art to china plates. You can’t go to Philadelphia without seeing this amazing place!
Food in Philadelphia:
Just like every other city in the U.S., Philadelphia has a plethora of amazing options to choose from when it comes to checking out the foodie scene. One place that was highly recommended to me was Reading Terminal Market. If you read my blog post on Seattle, it is easy to say that Reading Terminal is very similar to Pike Place Market – an indoor farmer’s market and foodie haven. In addition to amazing food stands, Reading Terminal offers an incredible selection of Pennsylvania-grown produce, locally-sourced meats, fresh seafood, cheeses, baked goods and confections. Just like Pike Place, you could also find fresh-cut flowers, cookbooks, table linens and so much more at Reading Terminal. Even if you don’t eat at Reading Terminal, it is still a great place to walk around in.
Located in the Center City of Philadelphia are a bunch of great restaurants, cute outdoor cafés, awesome gelato shops and more. My friends and I enjoyed lunch in the sun at a wine bar and pizza place called Zavino. In addition to where we ate, there are so many other great places to enjoy a meal in that area. Some other recommendations are El Vez for Mexican, Sampan for Thai, Vetri Cucina for Italian and Fogo de Chaõ for Brazilian.
After enjoying delicious pizza and wine, we went across the street to grab a refreshing dessert at Capogiro Gelato Artisans. At this wonderful gelato place, I enjoyed a hazelnut chocolate dessert and my friends had the mojito flavor. It was delicious!
When we were finished eating, we were so full that we had to walk everything off. Since it was mid-afternoon, we decided to walk towards the water so that we could enjoy the views and relax. As we walked east towards the Delaware River, we ran into Philadelphia’s Historic District. Even though I’m not the biggest history person, it was still nice to stroll through the cobble-stoned streets of Elfreth’s Alley as well as see the iconic Independence Hall and Liberty Bell! There are also other cool historical buildings in the area that you could admire.
Click here to discover some great historic tours in Philadelphia.
Relaxing on the Delaware River:
Before we ended our day in Philly, we enjoyed the rest of the evening along the beautiful Delaware River at Morgan’s Pier. This fun pier is considered to be Philadelphia’s backyard during the warmer months. This waterfront biergarten allows people to enjoy a gorgeous day in Philadelphia while sipping on a refreshing drink.
While we were at Morgan’s Pier, we enjoyed watching boats sail along the water, admired the views of the iconic Ben Franklin Bridge that goes from Pennsylvania into New Jersey and to top it off, our waitress even gave us blankets to keep warm when the temperature began to drop.
Overall, if you visit Philly during the spring, summer or fall seasons, Morgan’s Pier is a great place to have some fun with friends in the city!
Coffee in Philadelphia:
Before we departed the city, we headed back to Rittenhouse Square (where my car was parked) to grab a cup of coffee to fuel up before we drove back to North Jersey. Even though there are hundreds of amazing coffee shops in Philadelphia, we ended up grabbing cappuccinos and espressos at an adorable Italian café called Alice. The coffee that we enjoyed at this great café was amazing and it was the perfect way to end our day trip in Philadelphia!
I hope you all enjoyed reading my city guide to Philadelphia and that it helps you plan a day trip while you are visiting the East Coast. If you have any questions regarding my day trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, please feel free to reach out to me through email at email@example.com, contact me via social media or leave a comment below.
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