While in New York City over Martin Luther King weekend, a friend, who lives in Washington DC, and I decided to meet halfway, in Philadelphia, for lunch. Neither of us had been to Philly before, and if not for the convenience of it being located halfway between us, I’d probably never have thought to go – I’d heard mixed reviews with some saying it’s worth a visit and a shame it’s forgotten about with its neighboring cities, New York City and Washington DC, taking all of the glory, and others saying there is nothing to do in Philly except eat Philly cheesesteak, see the statue of Rocky, and Liberty Bell. Needless to say, I went excited to catch up with my friend but, for good reason, with few expectations.
I took an early train from New York City, planning to see the famous sights before lunch. It was bright but bitterly cold when I arrived so I found the sunny side of the river and took a stroll along the Schuylkill River Trail towards the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the statue of Rocky. Upon arrival, I waited a minute or so for all of the tourists, raising their fists in the air to mimic Rocky, to take their photographs and get out of the way but quickly got bored (and cold) and ended up taking a quick photo of the upper half of the statue (cutting out the tourists in their pose) and then headed down Benjamin Franklin Parkway. This wide, diagonal boulevard, lined with flags and flanked by stately buildings, the Museum on one end and City Hall with its lovely tower on the other, reminded me of Washington DC, which I visited last year (you can read about that trip here).
I lingered at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul and the City Hall much longer and found them to be far more worth the visit than the famous statue. I then wandered through some of the smaller streets of the city center before meeting my friend for lunch at the charming Talula’s Garden where we spent the afternoon defrosting, catching up and indulging in delicious food – thankfully they served something other than Philly cheesesteak, which just sounds unappetizing to me!
After lunch, we managed to brave the cold just long enough to walk through Washington Square, past Independence Hall and to Liberty Bell. Lastly we took a peek down the rather sweet and quaint Elfreth’s Alley, referred to as the “nation’s oldest residential street”, before having to duck back indoors for something warm to drink and then sadly having to say our goodbyes!