I was born just outside Philadelphia. (Go ahead, start singing Fresh Prince to Bel Air now.) This city speaks to me. At least the parts we visited. Growing up in an historic town, I place high value on cool buildings, local food, and businesses that are hundreds of years old.
So here’s a mini guide to Philly. The must do’s- even if you have just a few hours.
First thing for me to schedule in: Get a Cheesesteak. We went to Campo’s next to Penn’s landing on the River. It’s not all that much different you can get at a Pizza shop in your town, but it’s all about the quality of the bread, the meat that melts in your mouth, the onions, pepper and mushrooms, that are sweet and juicy.
The other main thing: Go walking around the historic district. Simply walking a few blocks from one site on each side will bring you across the big ones- Independence Hall, Betsy Ross House, Friends Meetinghouse, City Hall (Pictures of it in my photography post later).
Look for these blue signs all over. They make you feel like a tour guide.
When we visited Betsy Ross house, we didn’t go inside and take the tour, but I gave the kids a mini history of the recent book I read, Betsy Ross and the Making of America. It’s basically a history of the revolutionary war from Philadelphia’s perspective, and from the perspective of an upholsterer during that time period. I read a lot of it then skimmed by the middle. Nowadays I have little patience for overly detailed books that I’d rather see in movie form. Inpatient, I know.
We visited Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell with Holly.
Independence Hall, under reconstruction. Our tour guide for Independence Hall was a well seasoned tour guide. You know, the kind that no longer speak in normal sentences and stress weird words while they’re speaking and think everyone is 12 years old? Good times.
The real book Benjamin Franklin touched!!! Sike, just kidding.
This room gave me flashbacks to movies from American Heritage at BYU….though I don’t remember anybody having a sword in that version.
If I had this in my house I’d have to order a whole wardrobe of Jane Austen style dresses to fit into my decor. Not that I’ve thought about it or anything…
We stopped by the Liberty Bell. The line was a half hour long. But you can see it from outside- you just don’t have the pleasure of hearing all about it. So we peeked in the window and saw it. Maybe next time.
Quaker Friends meetinghouse. They were highly influential in the Revolutionary war times, and were one of the most interesting parts of Betsy Ross’ biography.
Statue of Religious Liberty from the Jewish History museum.
Keys to the city, on the bottom of a bust of Benjamin Franklin.
China town and Overpriced Hamburgers
Crazies I found in the hotel lobby. Our hotel was in the heart of downtown. As in, across from City Hall. 11th floor, Corner room. I was ready to move in. It was fun to be in the center of all the hustle and bustle, and have an amazing view of City Hall (below).
We spent a lot of time in the window looking down at all the people. I loved it at night thinking of why all these people needed to be out on the town. It’s amazing how many people fit in all the buildings. And at a certain point, when buildings take up whole city blocks, how the streets cut up the buildings, rather than the buildings dotting the streets. It’s so claustrophobic yet refreshing.
Hooray for Philly!
Tune in tomorrow for my artistic venturing around City Hall…