Musings of a Little Girl in the Big City

Weekend Guide to Philadelphia

I went to Philadelphia with Takashi over Memorial Day weekend and I’m finally having the chance to sit down and write about it! My friends have asked me why out of all the places we could go to, we chose Philadelphia. Well, living in New York can definitely get a little overwhelming sometimes, and I  was just looking for a quick place to get away that also didn’t require a car to get to. While not having a car can be difficult when you’re trying to get away but also don’t want to fly, I was determined… actually admittedly desperate to find somewhere quick, convenient and still fun.

Philly, it turns out is a city that’s great for walking. And Tak had been there many times before so I thought what’s better than going with someone who already knows their way around!?

Overall, Philly is a beautiful historical site but also an interesting modern city. I would recommend to anyone who is looking for a quick trip from New York. Although we didn’t get to see everything (you will not find the Liberty Bell here haha), a night in Philly was perfect for us and just what we needed to get away.

Philly
Downtown Philly

Getting There

If you don’t have your own car there are three main ways of getting to Philly. You can get there by Amtrak or the NJ Transit, or you can do what we did which is by bus – it was less than $30 per person and the ride didn’t take more than 2 hours, which was great especially for Tak who love being out and about (aka can’t sit still haha)! Since he lives on the West side of the city near the Megabus stop, we chose this bus line to take us to Philly.

Things to do

In order of where we went, here’s what our itinerary consisted of:

Day 1

1.Reading Terminal Market

As soon as we got off the bus, our first stop was the famous Reading Terminal Market – what I call Philly’s version of Chelsea Market (although Reading Terminal came way before Chelsea Market). From Amish bagels to seafood, burgers, and desserts, they’ve got something for everyone here. Based on Tak’s recommendation, we went to Hershel’s East Side Deli and got “the Rachel” – a pastrami sandwich with Thousand Island dressing and coleslaw inside the sandwich! Whoever thought of this combo is a genius because it was delicious!

The Reading Terminal Market was a farmer’s market back in the day and you can still find fresh produce there to this day!

 

Herschel's Deli
Herschel’s Deli

 

The Rachel at Hersche's Deli
The Rachel at Herschel’s Deli.. delightful!

Also upon Tak’s recommendation we got cookies from the Famous 4th St Cookie Company. I thought we would get one, maybe two cookies to try, but he ended up ordering four – a little overboard? LOL. But the cookies did not disappoint – they were chewy and indeed delicious!

Famous 4th St Cookies
The Famous 4th St Cookies

2. Shopping on Rittenhouse Row

After checking into our hotel (we stayed at the Downtown Sheraton since Tak gets points), we walked to Rittenhouse Row, which is a high-end area of Philly filled with nice places to dine and shop! We went up and down Walnut St and I took this opportunity to window shop at places

3. Independence National Historical Park

We were heading to Old City when we came across this park and I really enjoyed my time here. You can also find the Liberty Bell here-entrance is free-but since we’re an impatient couple who don’t like waiting in lines, we opted to just walk around the the park to admire historical buildings preserved from the Revolutionary period – places that you can easily walk in and out of without any hassle. It’s an amazing place to read up on history and how this country came about. You will find people dressed up as Benjamin Franklin and volunteers offering stories of the colonial times to children, which I secretly loved seeing. #tourist

Independence National Park
Me inside a restored Colonial Building, trying to casually take a picture with Benjamin Franklin

 

Cobblestones
Colonial vibes

 

Independene National Hall
When you don’t know how to pose but you still like the building

4. Old City

After our stroll through the park, we made our way into Old City. This is the place you come to feel like you’ve stepped back in time. There is just so much history here. Reminiscent of Boston, everything from the quaint shutters to flower boxes on this well-preserved site made this area one of my favorite places to visit in Philly. I could’ve spent all day here if I wanted to!

Old City Philly Philadelphia
Old City
Old City Philly Philadelphia
Streets of Old City

5. Spruce St Harbor Park

Since I love parks on the water (really who doesn’t!?) after walking through Old City, we decided to check out Harbor Park. We were lucky enough to snatch a hammock and enjoy our drinks while we people watched. There were tons of families and people with dogs, which gave this place a lively locals vibe. But since Tak was getting tired we stayed for a drink and shortly after made our way back to our hotel before heading out to dinner.

Drinks at Spruce St Harbor Park Philadelphia
Drinks at Harbor Park

 

Harbor Park Philadelphia
Sorry not sorry to the lady whom I beat to get to this hammock!

6. Dinner at Audrey Claire

Tip: A lot of restaurants in Philly are BYOB! For someone like myself who likes a drink or two or three, this got me really excited. We picked up a bottle of wine before heading to Audrey Claire’s and found ourselves sitting at an outside table enjoying a gorgeous night and a lovely meal. And walking back a little tipsy on a rather quiet night out in Philly was the perfect break that I needed from the hustle and bustle of New York!

Audrey Claire
Waiting for our meal in perfect weather at Audrey Claire

 

Audrey Claire
Apps included grilled octopus and salad

 

Audrey Claire
we got fish for main course .. mmm

 

Philly Philadelphia Spruce St
Walk back from dinner

Day 2

1. Walking to Philadelphia Museum of Art

Next day, we knew we wanted to catch an early afternoon bus back to New York so we decided to get our day started early to not feel like we were rushed. One of the things I knew I couldn’t leave Philly without doing was checking out the Philadelphia Museum of Art which has been made famous for playing out a scene in the movie Rocky. From our hotel room, I could see a major tree-lined street and flags from all over the world erected leading up to the way to the museum so I thought it would be nice to take a stroll there. Honestly I enjoyed the walk leading up to the museum more than anything. We were blessed with beautiful weather on Sunday too and it felt great to get our day started early.

Rodin Museum Philadelphia Philly
A beauty of its own: the Rodin Museum which we found on our way to Philadelphia Museum of Art

 

Philadelphia Museum of Art
The steps of Philadelphia Museum of Art, where they shot the scene in Rocky

 

At the top of the stairs at Museum of Art
Philadelphia
View from the top of the stairs

2. Brunch at Parc

I haven’t been to Paris (yet) but I imagine this is what a bistro would look like here. When we got there, it wasn’t even quite noon yet but the place was already busy with people. Tak had suggested that I get their bread basket under their appetizer. Apparently that is what they are known for, and as soon as I had my first bite, I died and went to bread heaven! Tak got a salami sandwich which was also really good. Definitely recommend coming here and try getting a seat outside if you can! After satisfying our bellies we went back to hotel to pick up our baggage and headed to the train station to go back home!

Parc brunch Philadelphia
People enjoying their meal outside of Parc

 

Parc brunch Philadelphia
The bread basket at the Parc.. a must!

 

Parc Philadelphia
Tak’s Salami sandwich which was also very good.

So there you have it! I really had no idea what to expect of Philadelphia at first but I was surprised to find so many nice areas and restaurants. Have you been to Philadelphia? What are some of your favorite spots in Philly? Share in the comments below!

weekend guide to philadelphia