One of the best parts of living on Long Island is the not only the proximity to New York City, but the proximity to many other cities as well. Within 4-5 hours of New York City are Baltimore, Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia and any many others.
One of our favorite day escapes from this area is Philadelphia. Here’s how we made the most of our day trip to the ‘City of Brotherly Love.’
Spontaneously we were craving cheesesteaks one day so we set out on a quest to get an authentic one and where else better to get that other than the city of Philadelphia?
Luckily for us there are many options to get there. Trains and buses run frequently and pretty inexpensively down to Philadelphia but driving is the quickest and most direct way to go and our much preferred method of transport. After about a 2 hour drive, we arrived in this amazing city and immediately hit the sights!
Something to keep in mind if driving: parking is difficult and expensive and other than the parking garages, street parking will require you pay the meters. Bring a lot of quarters, as the meters are hungry! You’re going to need them and the cops seem to crack down pretty hard on expired meters.
Our first stop for the day was the Reading Terminal Market. This is pretty much the first thing you see once you arrive in the heart of the city. This is an incredible and large market, lined with vendors selling everything from soaps to ties; to food stalls selling cheesesteaks, ice cream, sandwiches and none other than the Philadelphia staple ‘Snapper Turtle Soup.’ After the soup we continued to fill our bellies, indulging on an oversized but amazing roast pork sandwich at DiNic’s. Some of the vendors at this market are part of the Pennsylvania Dutch community, commonly known as the Amish. They are dressed in traditional buttonless garb and have serious skills when it comes to the grill! No matter what you choose to eat at this amazing market, it will definitely not disappoint!
After about an hour in the market, we headed over to the Dreamers Garden. This is home to larger-than-life sized game pieces from our childhood favorites including ‘Sorry’, ‘Dominoes’ and ‘Monopoly’. We stopped here on our way to JFK/Love Park. Unfortunately they were doing construction in the park, so the infamous ‘Love’ sign was taken down so we could not see that however we had been in Philadelphia other times and had gotten to see it then. For those of you who are thinking of heading to Philadelphia and want to see the sign, we were told it will be back in the park at the end of November.
By that point it was time to put more money in the meter. We ended up just moving the car and driving over to the historical area of the city.
In this area of the city, you can find the famous Liberty Bell and James Madison’s house, as well as the old courthouse where the room was that the signers of the Declaration Of Independence gathered. We somehow got intermingled among a tour group so we got a nice history lesson too. It was really interesting to see the actual signed Declaration Of Independence. We also enjoyed walking along the brownstone-lined streets of the neighborhood of Society Hill.
From there, we walked down to the waterfront area known as Penn’s Landing. There was a Brazilian Day festival going on where there were tons of food trucks and a band playing. People were dressed in yellow and green and dancing to their favorite Brazilian beats. Supposedly there were capoeira dancers as well, but we were not there to see that.
(Kinda looks the Verrazano, doesn’t it?)
After that, it was finally time to get the delicious cheesesteaks we were waiting for! The 2 main places that we recommend are Pat’s King Of Steaks and Geno’s. We had sampled the steaks from both places and both were amazing, but we liked Geno’s better. The best way to order it in our opinion is with Cheese Whiz and without onions… AKA ‘Whiz Witout’. No matter how you like it, either place is worth checking out!
After our cheesesteaks, we were ready to go home.
There are a few other places of the city we didn’t have time for on this trip, though had we another day there we could have covered them. Other things to check out are the art museum, Rocky Statue, Boathouse Row, Chinatown and Rittenhouse Square.
If you’ve been to Philly, what are your favorite things to do? Which cheesesteak place do you like better – Pat’s or Geno’s?