It’s hard these days to find any city that lives up to the term City of Brotherly Love, but Philadelphia does it well, as America’s first planned city.
Due to its Quakerdriven humanist philosophies, the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ was unique to the legacy of the African diaspora in America and the dismantling of slavery.
It remains a clarion call to what the original forefathers hoped would take hold and remain the legacy of America and her people, taking the country into an unknown future. And today, Philly as it’s affectionately called, still leads the country in historic firsts.
To be sure, Philly is a history lover’s dream destination: the Declaration of Independence was signed there, America’s Constitution was debated and signed there, and it’s home to the Liberty Bell, a ubiquitous symbol of the anti-slavery movement with the inscription, ‘Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof ’.
Now, if that doesn’t fill your heart with brotherly love, nothing will. And it’s a welcoming city, to boot. So…
Where To Stay
Airbnb is good for independent travelling and self-guided touring, with its many hosted and independent stays and Airbnb Experiences.
No decent hotel can beat its rates either and there’s a selection of properties dedicated to the international traveller.
Undeniably, the most compelling area to stay is the picturesque old historic district called Society Hill in Center City.
The area boasts one of the largest concentrations of original18th and early 19th-century residential architecture in America.
It is home to Center City’s social hub, ‘3rd Street Corridor’, a stone’s throw from the Delaware River Trail, centrally located within 20 minutes’ walk to the city’s premier museums, with accessible and entertaining spots to eat and drink just around the corner. Try The Last Wind Up, 528 South 2nd Street.
Where To Eat
Food touring is huge in Philly. Devouring the plethora of food blogs like phillyfoodtours.com is a great place to start. Try podcasts DidjaEat, and Jawn Appetit for news, reviews and recommendations. Beer Busters shares the craft beer scene.
Ever reliable, Instagram offers @GeosTable @chewphilly @eates4Beats @ PhillyFoodies. But if you’re not up for those hide’n seek options, definitely start your feasting at the Reading Terminal Market.
Positioned across the street from the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the iconic and one of a kind market is the perfect locale for a casual, feasting occasion.
There’s something tasty and delicious here for everyone. Enjoy a Philly favourite, funnel cakes. Then finish the day at Suraya Restaurant, voted Best New Restaurant of 2018 by Philadelphia Magazine.
Its inventive and extraordinary Lebanese food includes Samke Nayyeh, a delicate raw yellowtail, seasoned with chives, parsley, garlic, lemon, jalapeño and labneh.
Where To Drink
Coffee lovers must head straight to Fishtown’s La Colombe for the coffee and pastries situated in a bustling neighbourhood on the move. There are five locations throughout the city, but this is undeniably one of the best spots. There’s even an algorithm which helps you choose the best blend for you.
Assembly Rooftop Lounge on top of The Logan Hotel, is the premier spot for chic drinks and small plates at sunset, for tourists and locals alike. Multi-national, multi-racial, multi-generational crowds gather here after a long day, fighting the good fight.
Don’t miss the vast city views, up to the top of the famous steps that Sylvester Stallone ran in Rocky, all the way to the entrance to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, before proclaiming his celluloid victory.
Charting your own course by car is liberating and fun, unless you’re in Philly, where the train network includes four subway lines, elevated trains and commuter/light-rail lines. The SEPTA transit system, which has served the city for over 100 years, is fairly modest.
If you’ve arrived via any other East Coast city, rather take the Amtrak train into town, interchanging quite easily and cheaply with local subway lines. Competing to pay enormous parking rates would be an inconvenience. With so many sites to see, some of the best urban mural art appears around every corner.
You’ll be happy to walk. By the way, ladies, leave those heels at home. Rather clock up kilometres walking in your favourite trainers – better to justify that second funnel cake or cheese steak.
What To See
The National Park Service and its world-class green-space landmarks, could clock 48 hours in museum visits. Take the kids to the Benjamin Franklin Museum.
It’s quirky and fun for the whole family. And the Philadelphia Zoo, America’s first zoo. Don’t miss the Love Monument, in John F. Kennedy Plaza. After all, this is the City of Brotherly Love.
SAA flies to Washington DC and New York City daily. From there take a short connecting flight to Philadelphia. Book your tickets today!