Aussies love the ol’ LA – Vegas – NYC itinerary when hitting the US but if you’re looking for something a little less generic, throw Philadelphia into the mix.
And with the Philly Eagles having just won the Super Bowl, what better time to start planning a trip to the City of Brotherly Love.
You can imagine the faces on my Aussie/New Yorker mates when I told them I’d planned the Labour Day long weekend in *GASP* Philadelphia. Why not a beach house in the Hamptons? Or the Hudson wine region?
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No, no I was determined to prove Philly wasn’t all urban grit and cream cheese.
Here’s why you should consider the streets of Philadelphia for your next trip (just think of it as the sixth borough of New York!)
- Food scene
High Street on Market
Start your day with breakie at High Street on Market in the Old City. This joint puts Melbourne brunch spots to shame - grab The Hickory breakfast sandwich for a thick layering of lancaster bologna, farm egg, gherkin mayo, fried red onions and horseradish cheddar hand made by the Amish people of Pennsylvania. Yes, Amish people are still a thing.
Philly Cheese Steak
For those who don’t know about possibly the best sanga ever invented: the Philly Cheese Steak is a long, crusty roll filled with thinly sliced sautéd ribeye beef, fried capsicum, mushrooms and melted cheese. The best are from Jim's Steaks on South Street, Old City.
Reading Terminal Market
The museums can wait – this is one of the most adored food halls in the United States. Go on an ice cream tasting binge at the country’s old ice creamery Bassetts or lose your mind pairing the epic cheese selection with your favourite deli meat. There’s more than 30 restaurants to chose from at Reading Terminal Market and you can BYO booze to a selection.
A Philly institution and home of the Philly Cheese Steak Spring Rolls (OMG!) Davio's impresses with it’s all American dining experience – a menu of comfort food to overwhelm even the biggest of eaters. Everything is laced with truffle butter, lobster and cheese – in the best way possible.
Independence National Historical Park
Ahhh the birth place of the United States. Philly was the nation’s capital from 1790-1800 and you can get your George Washington and Alexander Hamilton fix at the National Historical Independence Park This is where the country’s first big wig politicians flexed their self-governing muscle to break away from Britain with the Declaration of Independence which kicked off the Revolutionary War.
Eastern State Penitentiary
The audio guide is hosted by Steve Buscemi – need we say more?! The actor talks you through an eerie 40-minute tour explaining the gory beginnings of America's oldest jail and its obsession with solitary confinement.
Fun fact: Al Capone was locked up here in the 1930s and had his tonsils out in the medical wing. The recordings of real interviews and seeing where tortured prisoners lived and died from 1829-1971 makes you feel sick in the middle but curious for more.
Laugh all you want but cruising around on a Segway is the best way to see beautiful Philly. Jump on the one-hour tour by Philly Tour Hub and you’ll knock out all the must do sights like Penn's Landing, Delaware River, South Street, South Philly, Italian Market, Magic Gardens, Society Hill, and Elfreth's Alley. Listen carefully to your helpful guide and you won’t stack it we promise!
- The Fun stuff
Here's your check list of the other quintessential sights to see on your Philly trip:
Philly has earned itself a rep for being an important city for music – Jay Z even brought his darling music festival Made in America over to Philly from the West Coast.
Visit The Barnes Foundation - a hidden treasure of art, and revered for its extensive and impressive collections of world-renowned Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Modern Art collections.
Pose with the Rocky Statue & run up the "Rocky Steps."
Snap a photo in front of the Liberty Bell.
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