Philadelphia, a Visitor’s Perspective

As a huge history buff, I love that I live in the heart of historic colonial and revolutionary America. In the past few years, I have taken several history vacations. Last year, I visited Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland as well as Washington, D.C. And last month, I visited Pennsylvania’s largest city, Philadelphia.

It was love at first sight. At the risk of antagonizing any Pittsburghers, here’s what I loved:

  • The grid-like street system. As a native Michigander used to flat, grid-like streets, I never got lost! Also, Walk! Philadelphia signs are everywhere directing you easily.
  • The history, the history, the history. This city is a history lover’s dream. Besides the usual must-see sites such as the reverent Independence Hall, Betsy Ross House, and Congress Hall, everywhere you walk, you stumble upon something historically significant: Dolley Madison’s row house, the site where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, the location of the printing shop which printed Thomas Paine’s incendiary pamphlet, Common Sense (which is now, sadly, a parking lot), etc.
  • The cleanliness and walkability of the city. We stayed near Washington Square at the Morris House Hotel, within easy walking distance of Society Hill’s historic sites, the waterfront, and Center City. And, if you’re not a walker, there are buses and the subway.
  • The numerous vegan food choices. As a very careful eater, it was such a pleasure (and relief) not to constantly have to ask if something contained dairy or eggs! Vedge was an amazing culinary experience worthy of a celebration, while Blackbird Pizzeria offered many delicious pizzas and beautiful and flavorful salads. Also a nice surprise was the outstanding iced soy lattes and vegan ice cream at Old City Coffee and several vegan breakfast options at Le Pain Quotidien.
  • The great people watching of well-dressed walking commuters of all ages and races.
  • The lovely public green spaces. Pennsylvania founder William Penn designed the city to have large public squares, filled with beautiful landscaping, benches, and fountains that invites you to rest and pause a moment.

We had such a wonderful time we extended our holiday by an extra day and there are still things I missed including the Rosenbach Museum, the Rodin and Perleman Museums, and the Todd and Bishop White Houses.

Oh, and should you be upset about this post, you can read my Pittsburgh post here.

-Maria A.


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2 responses to “Philadelphia, a Visitor’s Perspective

  1. Beth L

    It’s great to see a fresh perspective of Philly. It is so often noted for crime and urban blight that the history (and other good things) get lost in the shadows!

  2. I lived and worked in Philadelphia for over 17 years off and on. I miss it everyday. This was a nice reminder of how great a city Philadelphia is.

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