05 July 2011

Top 10: Summer in the City of Brotherly Love

Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia. Philly. The City of Brotherly Love. The Illadelph. The Birthplace of America. New Athens. My mission for my brief trip home is to "rediscover" it. When I'm abroad, I spend a great deal of time talking about Philly: the good, the bad, and the ugly, and I want to see if it lives up to my memory!

So what does one do if you find yourself in America's 5th largest city during the summer? Come along, and I'll show you my Top 10 Summer Philly! (Warning: they're jam-packed)

1. Art Museum: Start at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. You know, where Sylvester Stallone runs up the steps in the film Rocky. Aside from its movie-related fame, the art museum holds some very impressive art, and on the first Sunday of the month, it's "pay what you wish". Don't worry, we won't judge if you have the urge to sprint up the Art Museum while humming the song.

The Parkway with Logan Square and
City Hall in the background
2. The Parkway and Logan Square: Walk down the Ben Franklin Parkway (the one with all the flags) to Logan Square. Stop in the Franklin Institute if you're in the mood for another cool museum, or check out the Free Library of PhiladelphiaPhilly Phact: Logan Square used to be where public executions took place. Eeek!

3. Love Park: Keep walking down the Parkway and you'll run into LOVE Park (JFK Plaza). You also might want to check out the "video wall" at the Comcast Center, the tallest building in Philadelphia. If you feel like walking some more, head down 18th Street to Rittenhouse Square. There's great shopping around here, too.

4. City Hall: Make your way to City Hall. By now, you might be getting hungry. The Reading Terminal Market on 12th Street is a good place to sample the "local fare" of southeastern Pennsylvania, and a plethora of international foods. Philly Phact: City Hall used to be the tallest building in the world in the early 1900s!

Liberty Bell with Independence Hall in the
background. Ignore random kid in picture. 
5. Independence Mall & Penn's Landing: Walk down Market Street. Around 6th and 5th Street, there's a whole lot of Philly going on:
On Market Street is the National Constitution Center, the Independence National Historical Park, and Christ Church. Across from the Constitution Center is the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, one of the most historical places in the USA. 

Head north on 6th Street to get to Franklin Square, and if you're looking for something sweet in the Summer while there, try the Cake Shake at Squareburger. Philly's small-but-authentic Chinatown is close too, the elaborate entrance is on 10th and Arch St.

Philadelphia's Magic Gardens
6. South Philly: Head down to South Philly to Philadelphia's Magic Gardens (1020 South St.) which is sure to delight. After, walk around quirky, artsy, bohemian South Street. If you're in the mood for some more food market action while in the area, check out Philadelphia's 9th Street Italian Market

7. Cheesesteak: By now, you might be wondering why I still haven't mentioned the one, the fattening, the only Philly cheesesteak. I don't consider myself an expert because I don't eat them often, but this is my take. Since you're already in South Philly, you're in the right place. The two most famous places, which are situated right next to each other, are Pat's and Geno's, often referred to in the same breath. Everyone has an opinion about them.  My two cents: Pat's is the birthplace of the cheesesteak, and the owner of Geno's, Joey Vento, is a racist. In all honesty, they're very similar. Many Philadelphians prefer to head over to Tony Luke's or Jim's Steaks instead. There are many more "cheesesteakeries" throughout Philly. Larry's in West Philly or Mama's Pizzeria in Bala Cynwyd are also good.  
"Provolone wit" from Pat's

There's a very particular way to order, especially in places like Pat's and Geno's (think Seinfeld's soup-nazi episode). Here's how: Since it is assumed that you're ordering a cheesesteak, don't say cheesesteak! You have to specify two things when you order: the type of cheese (Cheese-whiz, American, or Provolone), and if you want it with (wit in Philadelphian) sauteed onions. It will sound something like this: "Whiz wit" or "American witout". While you're indulging, why not try some water ice ("whudder ice") or a Philly soft pretzel.

Citizens Bank Park, home of the Phillies
8.  The Phillies: We are sports-obsessed in Philadelphia. In the summer, the Philadelphia Phillies, our baseball team, reign supreme. So, head over to Citizens Bank Park and catch a game! If you can't find a last-minute ticket or want to catch some post-game action, head over to Chickie's and Pete's and munch on some crab fries with a Yuengling. Philly Phact: Yuengling is the oldest operating brewing company in the States.

9. Fairmount Park: Visit Fairmount Park. Head down Kelly Drive from the Art Museum and visit the Water Works and Boathouse Row along the Schuylkill (skoo-kill) River, which are especially pretty when they're all lit up at night. Philly Phact: Fairmount Park is the largest urban park in the country.

10. Entertainment and Nightlife: If you're wondering what to do during the evening, there are a ton of places to eat and go out in the district of Olde City, and down Main St. in the neighborhood of Manayunk. If you're looking for some Happy Hour action, check out City Sips, which has great specials on Wednesdays in the summer. The restaurants of celebrity chefs and restaurateurs such as Steven Starr, Iron Chef José Garces, and Masaharu Morimoto, are guaranteed to satisfy all your foodie cravings. Philly's blossoming art and theater scene has a lot to offer as well. In the summer, Penn's Landing, on the Delaware River always has some kind of concert or festival going on there, so look at the website for their calendar of events. 

So there you have it. Here is a Google map with some of the places I've listed in my post so you can enjoy some "Philly Phun" in the former capital and biggest city of the United States. 

1 comment:

  1. awesome! this is just what i've been doing with my visitors from mexico