I’m super behind in blogging about trips I took this summer, but that’s ok. Summer is about having fun, traveling, and relaxing—all of which I certainly did.
My boyfriend and I stayed in Philadelphia for a night over the July 4th weekend. We had plans to visit my family in New Jersey and since he had never been to Philly, it was the perfect overnight trip for our long holiday weekend . I grew up outside of Philadelphia in Bucks County and spent a summer living in Philly so I was excited to share a city with him that was so familiar to me.
I knew the weekend would be crazy with patriotism in the city of Brotherly Love. The city is big on celebrating because it’s essentially the birthplace of America—the Declaration of Independence was adopted in Philadelphia on the 4th of July. We were thrilled to score a room at the beautiful Latham Hotel in Rittenhouse Square for $150.
In order to give him the full Philadelphia experience, I took my boyfriend for his first real Philly cheesesteak. While the Pat’s vs. Geno’s rivalry is fun, I’m a big fan of Jim’s Steaks on quirky South Street. Great steaks and eclectic shops puts Jim’s on the top of my list, not to mention it was more convenient on our walking route.
The line wrapped around the corner when we arrived, but it moved fast. It was a nice day out to wait in line and I enjoyed hearing all of the (other) tourists talk about their visit. Having grown up outside of Philly, it’s hard to consider myself a tourist, but considering the touristy agenda I had set up, it was a given.
Knowing that travel means nothing but eating, drinking, and walking, we opted to split “1 steak, American. Mushrooms and onions, please.” Pro Tip: When you go to a busy cheesesteak place in Philadelphia, order the right way by quickly and clearly ordering:
- The quantity of steaks
- Type of cheese (the classic Whiz, American, or Provolone)
- Add-ons (veggies, extra Whiz, etc)
- Then quickly moving down the line.
If you’ve been waiting in line for 30 minutes and cannot articulate your order in less than 10 seconds, you will get the stink eye. Guaranteed.
After we stuffed ourselves on Jim’s Steaks, we headed to Old City, the more historic area of Philadelphia. We walked through Society Hill, an old affluent neighborhood that, according to Wikipedia, has the largest concentration of original 18th- and early 19th-century residential architecture of any place in the United States.
We visited Carpenter’s Hall, Benjamin Franklin’s House and Print Shop, and Franklin Court.
Since no trip of mine is complete without craft beer, on the way back to Independence Mall, my boyfriend and I stopped by 2nd Story Brewing Company for a flight of their craft brews.
Philadelphia was in full party mode for the 4th of July weekend so our stop by Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the Constitution Center was thwarted by street fair crowds and Philadelphia POPS concert. We made our way through the throngs of people, grabbing free flags and enjoying the spirit of the holiday. I squealed with delight when we passed a Tastykake stand, snagging free Krimpets and shoving my childhood treats down my throat. Mmm, so good!
A longtime fangirl of Stephen Starr, I made dinner reservations for myself and my boyfriend at Buddakan, an Asian concept restaurant. Ah-amazing! We split the Dim Sim Platter with mind-blowing edamame dumplings. My boyfriend ordered the Wasabi-Crusted Filet and I got for the Wasabi Tuna Tatiki. For dessert we split the Chocolate Banana Decadence.
The night was beautiful so we walked to the then-empty Independence Mall and scoped out the Liberty Bell through the glass.
The evening with a nightcap at Parc in Rittenhouse Square before retiring to The Latham Hotel to take elevator selfies and relax after a long day of walking.
The next morning was July 4th and we had big plans to meet my family for a 4th of July celebration in New Jersey. Before we got on the road, we walked to Continental MidTown, also part of the Starr Restaurant Group. From the suspended wicker birdcage chairs to the grenadine cocktails named after movie stars, the 60s style concept restaurant doesn’t miss a beat. The biscuits and gravy was some of the best I’ve had.