Philadelphia: The City of Brotherly Love – And Incredible Food

I just got back from another weekend away! It was so much fun! I went to Philadelphia with a few friends for the weekend. Just like my post for Atlanta, I’ll share about the travel, hotel, + the fun stuff (food, drinks, activities)!

Travel

From Union Station in Washington D.C., my friend and I took Amtrak up to the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia where our friend picked us up. It was so nice because roundtrip, a ticket was $78.00. It was nice to not have to worry about driving or flying + then having a rental in Philly. Also, with the train, we didn’t have the added time of going through security or anything – we got to the train station about 45 minutes before departure + got in line. However, the returning train from Philly to DC was delayed + then had to stop on the tracks due to engine problems. Ultimately, for getting from DC to Philly, the train was definitely the most stress-free + least time-consuming way to go!

Hotel

To no surprise, we stayed at a Marriott for our weekend in Philly! We stayed at The Notary Hotel, an Autograph Collection hotel. I am obsessed with the Autograph Collections. The hotels in this collection are carefully curated to reflect the history of the city they are located but also with modern twists. The Notary, for example, is on the National Register of Historic Places + was previously the City Hall Annex where the notary’s office was.

Food + Drink

The first thing we did after checking in was go to Reading Terminal Market. We were maybe 2 blocks away so it was a super quick walk!

First stop was Termini Bros for their famous cannolis. When you order them, they fill them for you + they are so fresh. The filling has chocolate chips in it + they’re so light – not super sweet or gooey. Honestly, the perfect cannoli!

We wandered around + also got pretzels from Millers + lunch from DiNic’s. The pretzels from Millers were great – not super salty + so hot! From DiNic’s, we got a meatball sub with provolone, roast pork with provolone + broccoli rabe, + an Italian sausage.

Afterwards, we walked from Center City, past Love Park, to the Philadelphia Museum of Art where the Rocky Steps are. We walked there + back (I recommend comfortable shoes!), then walked over to Rittenhouse Square, which was super cute! We stopped for drinks at a restaurant called Parc – where we met a film producer! He was super funny + had all kinds of wise life advice! We just got drinks from the bar + enjoyed making new friends. The menu looked amazing + we all got fantastic drinks. I ordered a Grand Cosmo (Belvedere Vodka, Grand Marnier, lime, + cranberry simple).

For dinner Friday night, we had reservations at Pizzeria Beddia. Our reservations were for around 10pm so before that, we went to Barcade + Garage Philly before walking to Pizzeria Beddia. Barcade + Garage Philly reminded me a lot of Circuit Social. Barcade had a bar with so many drink options but was not self-pour BUT did have a few dozen arcade games – pinball, Pac-Man, Tetris, + so many more! Garage had a few lanes of skeeball, a pool table, + a couple other of the bigger group games. Garage also had a massive fridge of drink options. Both spots were so much fun!

Pizzeria Beddia was another fun spot. They had an outdoor waiting area with heaters where we ordered drinks while waiting for our table to be cleared. Inside, they had a bar area, a section of booths, + then two long community tables. We ordered tomato pie (a thick foccia-like bread with tomato sauce), one pie with tomato, whole milk mozzarella, + galen’s good old, one pizza arrabiata, + one mystery pizza. We went the day after Halloween so they had been doing a mystery pizza that you could order without knowing any of the ingredients. It had 3x types of cauliflowers + that’s about all we know about the pizza. We also know that whatever else was in it tasted fantastic!

Saturday morning, we went to one of my favorite workout classes – Rumble! More about that in the Activities portion below though. After getting our butts kicked, we went to La Colombe over by the hotel for coffee + pastries. I love trying coffee that is not Starbucks (sorry Buckies…). I think because Hampton Roads has a very limited number of smaller local chains, I really enjoy checking out other coffee. La Colombe is headquartered in Philadelphia so it was very accessible! The Notary served La Colombe in the cafe downstairs.

After getting ready at the hotel, we walked to The Continental for brunch. It was such a cool spot – an overall very retro/boho-ish vibe. The upstairs had tables for 2 with hanging rattan chairs, there were curved booths around round tables downstairs, + multi-colored mosaic globe pendant lights. I ordered a mimosa + breakfast quesadilla (scrambled eggs, black beans, + cheese) with a side of breakfast potatoes. Everything was quite tasty!

We packed a lot of activities into Saturday afternoon before dinner at Los Camarades. It’s a very small Mexican restaurant with tequila flights, margarita pitchers, + great nachos! We hung out + munched + drank for a while before bouncing around a few bars + breweries in Philly. We stopped at Dock Street Brewery South for a few drinks. Dock Street was a huge venue with so much seating + a dozen beers on tap. Of course, I opted for the cider which I really liked because it wasn’t too sugary. They also have a food menu so we saw a lot of really good looking food go by! I highly recommend Dock Street if you’re ever in Philly! Our next stop was Bob + Barbara’s Lounge where we had a couple more rounds of drinks + danced to a super fun live band!

After some time there, we ended the night at Jim’s South Street where we had genuine Philly Cheesesteaks. This place was insane – they were grilling the onions, mushrooms, + steak on a massive flattop hibachi type grill behind glass so you could see them make your food as you waited in line. It was cash only + they were not messing around – that food was moving! I had a cheesesteak with provolone but I was informed that getting a cheesesteak with whiz (yes, Cheese Whiz) is what the true foodies do. So obviously, the only option is to go back to Philly ASAP! I definitely recommend Jim’s if you are in Philly.

Unfortunately, we had a relatively early train back to D.C. so we only had time for one last trip to La Colombe. From a food, coffee + adult beverage standpoint, Philadelphia was fantastic! I can’t wait to go back again + try more restaurants! Enough about food (for now) – on to activities!

Things To Do + See

Philly has so much to offer + I definitely needed more time than a 3-day weekend to see it all!

After lunch at Reading Terminal Market, we walked from there + up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the Rocky Steps. It was about 1.5 miles + a 35 minute walk along Benjamin Franklin Parkway but there was plenty of sidewalk room + so much to see along the way! There was some kind of event setting up outside + we didn’t go into the museum but we did stop at the Rocky statue out front. If you’re facing the museum, it’s to the right before you go up the stairs – kind of off-set a little bit but there was a line to take a picture with Rocky so it wasn’t too hard to miss!

We walked back + stopped in the Free Library which was a massive public library. After taking a lap through the library, we moved on to Rittenhouse Square. We cut through the park again after Rumble on Saturday morning where there was a farmers market. It was such a fun park in the middle of so many restaurants, boutiques, + shops.

Saturday was a very busy day filled with working out, shopping, + sight-seeing.

There are roughly a dozen Rumble boxing + training studios in the US + Philly is home to one of them, so obviously I had everyone sign up for a class! It was really great especially because there was so much eating in one weekend! Rumble is part boxing with water bags (+ wraps + gloves), part weights. It’s very high cardio + definitely a full-body workout. You don’t actually get in a ring with another person to box – just punching the water bags. I heard one of the co-founders, Noah Neiman, on the Girls Gotta Eat podcast + was able to try it while I was in D.C. It’s fantastic! If there’s a Rumble near you, I highly recommend!

Post-Rumble, we walked back through Rittenhouse Square + shopped on Walnut Street before walking back to the hotel. We got cleaned up + met our friend at The Continental for brunch before going to One Liberty Observation Deck. I bought our tickets through Marriott Bonvoy so that I could earn more points. Before your next trip, I highly recommend checking out what tickets you can purchase through Marriott to earn a few extra points! The observation deck was on the 57th floor of an office building a few blocks from our hotel. From the top, you could see a 365-degree view of the city + so much farther! It seemed like there were a few people up there to give informal tours + point out what all can be seen but we just took a lap + soaked it all in! We were up there for maybe 20-30 minutes before heading back down.

Afterwards, we made our way towards Magic Gardens. We got there at 4 + the next tour was at 5:30pm so we went ahead + bought tickets. I definitely recommend checking online in advanced to see the times + buy tickets to ensure you get a spot. It’s actually in a gated courtyard outside + they let waves of people in at the designated ticket times. It was wild – all of the mosaics + arches + stairs. I can’t even imagine how long it must have taken to create it. I highly recommend going especially because it was wild to see it in person + all of the colors + sun reflecting off/through the glasses + mirrors. Once you are let in, you can spend a substantial amount of time inside but we stayed for about 30-45 minutes before we left.

While we waited for our time in the Magic Gardens, we took an Uber over to the Betsy Ross House + Independence Hall. We didn’t go in any since we were on a bit of a tight timeline. We also walked past the Liberty Bell. After we wandered through, we took an Uber back for our tour at Magic Gardens.

After, we headed towards Los Camarades, Dock Street Brewing, Bob + Barbara’s, + Jim’s for a food + beverage filled night!

My weekend in Philadelphia was way too short! I’m definitely looking forward to going back again. Have you been to Philly? Share your favorite spots in the comments below!

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