Whenever I think of Philadelphia I either imagine the episode of How I Met Your Mother when Barney convinces Ted to go with him to lick the Liberty Bell. You know, this one. The other thing is It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and, true to the name, despite the minus 7 degree weather, it was very sunny.
We arrived on a bus from New York where we proceeded to leave our bags at a hotel (despite the fact we weren’t staying there) and they were more than happy to hold them for us while we went out for the day.
We started at the Reading Terminal Market which was really interesting. It was very international with lots of options for food. Lincoln had a burger for lunch and I had fish tacos. Lincoln also bought a peanut butter and jelly donut which was delicious!
We then went to the visitors centre. Usually, I’d say that unless you need a map or a stop at the restroom – visitors centres are usually pretty missable. This one is literally the best visitors centre I have ever been to. They have a cafe, very clean restrooms, information desks, art, a viewing platform, a cool hologram Liberty Bell, free wifi, gift stores and more information that you could possibly ever need. The staff working there are all well versed on whats on around the area and what’s worth doing as well. I’d definitely recommend checking it out.
We then checked out the United States Mint. We weren’t allowed to take photos/video inside but it was pretty interesting seeing the history of the US Dollar and how money was made. It’s also free to enter!
Apparently it’s a thing to throw a penny over your shoulder onto Benjamin Franklins grave and make a wish – which we did as well. Lincoln’s coin bounced off though – so we’re not sure whether or not his wish will come true.
We then walked down Elfreth’s Alley which is the oldest residential street in the US. It dates back to 1702, so I guess you could say it’s old! It’s a really cute old street which is very quiet despite being pretty touristy. The residents in the street have to obey strict rules when it comes to the maintenance of the houses as well – which probably adds to the charm.
While walking to our next destination, we stumbled by a second hand book store – The Book Trader, which ended up being an awesome labyrinth of every type of book you could ever wish for. Lincoln spent a long time in his favourite Sci Fi section, while I learnt some Latin and Arabic phrases out of books from the 1800s and looked out the window onto a park across the street.
We then went to the Liberty Bell. While I’d like to say that it was a really cool moment for us to see it – it was pretty underwhelming, although, probably worth a look. Again, it’s free, and the guards there are happy to take a photo for you if you’d like. Be prepared to take your coats and layers of scarves and hats off at every free historical attraction you go to. I was so done with going through metal detectors by the end of the day.
We then went to the Independence Hall where we saw some of the rooms where different things were signed and passed and learnt about various bits and pieces of USA history. To be honest, most of it went over our heads – as I think it was assumed that we’d have a fairly good basic understanding of American history, which we didn’t. It was still another interesting and free attraction though.
After that, we went to our accommodation. We stayed in an awesome Airbnb in the suburbs which I wrote a full piece on that you can check out if you’d like.
The architecture around where we were staying was awesome. All the houses looked like they’d have witches and warlocks living in them. That morning we walked to a laundromat that we hung out with for a while and did our washing. While that was a bit boring, it was necessary, and it meant we didn’t need to keep wearing our “last resort” underpants. You know the ones I’m talking about. Why do we even keep those? I don’t know.
After doing our washing, we caught a trolley (like a tram or a cable car) into downtown and explored the streets and the city centre. Here, we went to the ComCast Centre (you can see footage of this in the video at the end of this post) where they have projections on the inside of the building which is pretty spectacular. We also tried a Philly Cheesesteak (from Steve’s Prince of Steaks) and a hot pretzel (from Philly Pretzel Factory). Both were okay but nothing to write home about! We also checked out Love Park before calling it a night. It was insanely cold while we were there and we were quite keen to get back indoors!
If you want to check out the video of what we got up to, it’s here!
I think overall, we’re really glad we went to Philly. It’s full of American history and interesting architecture. It’s probably one of those places though that we don’t need to go to again now that we’ve been once. Something that I did quite appreciate about Philly was that all of the attractions and things we wanted to see were easy walking distance from one another which meant we didn’t have to worry about public transport too much.Unlike places such as New York where I could happily go one hundred times and still find new and exciting things to do.
Thanks for reading!