Welcome to Philly!!!
My first trip to states!!! I went to visit my boyfriend in Philadelphia, PA.
If you want to go there from London the best way is to fly to New York and take a train from there (much cheaper than a direct flight). JFK – Air train to Jamaica station – train to Penn station – bus to Philly.
Obviously the whole trip was amazing.
However, there were some things I didn’t expect and found strange coming from Europe.
Philly and the University City
The whole city is beautiful and very pleasant to live in (especially between 15th and 30th street :)). Spruce street is the most beautiful residential street in the city with dog park at the end by the river. Yes, that’s right a dog park and no kids allowed – love the idea.
University City is a part of Philadelphia occupied by University of Pennsylvania (Ivy league). Here you can get the ultimate US college experience – several blocks long campus with frat houses, lecture buildings, coffee shops, food trucks and streets crowded with students wearing all kinds of merchandising (t-shirts, hoodies, hats, take your peak – they have a student union shop a size of a supermarket). I am not kidding like 80% of the students wear something with UPenn logo. Here you can also get pretty good food for a descant price.
Ultimate college experience.
American symbol of freedom and independence. Free to see but don’t be disappointed – It is a really small bell actually.
Museum of Art
(14$ for MA and Rodin valid for 2 days)
Biggest museum in the city. You will find here a fine art collection mostly of 18th to 21st century paintings. For Rocky fans there is a statue at the bottom of the steps boxer jogged on.
Great collection of Rodin sculptures. Being a personal fan of Rodin I would say this is a definite must. I recommend buying a Taschen catalogue at the end (except from the obvious content value it is a beautiful piece of editorial design).
(Free for students Mon-Fri)
The biggest private collection of impressionists and post-impressionists I have ever seen! I must say I was most confused with a way the paintings were displayed. Being so used to modern museums’ white walls and empty ambient spaces I was surprised to see dozens of paintings pilling on each wall – apparently that is the way Barnes wanted it to be. The collection includes a beautiful series of impressionists’ sketches.
French restaurant overlooking the park. Great food – not so great prices. Vast selection of vine.
Here you will get American size weirdly composed meals (chicken fillet with macaroon on the side – since when macaroon is a side??). Although your meal will most probably end up not what you expected it will be really good. Even if you’re full ordering a cheesecake for dessert is a must (selection of around 20-30 different types). After our meal we were so full we ended up getting a cake to take away (we decided to go with original) – it was really delicious.
Great Mexican food. Quick and cheap. My mix: salad, rice, steak, salsa, guacamole.
Signature Philly dish (this week FB CEO Mark Zuckerberg came to eat one here in a regular food truck, no fucks given). Available in almost every food truck around the town.
- Prices are given without VAT – ??? – no idea why, this means that to every price tag you see on the shelf you need to ad 8% and that’s how much you are actually gonna pay.
- Everyone jogs here – seriously, it is beautiful and intimidating at the same time.
- Everyone has at least one dog here – no wonder the town is so puppy friendly.
- No one smokes here.
- Railways’ development stopped at WWI.
- Philadelphia is one of the most historically rich cities in States.
- You can pay by card by the will most likely take your signature not pin (oh and there is no such a thing as contactless).
- You need to always give a tip in restaurants (if you don’t they will actually chase you down and shout at you) – 10% is a minimum they will accept.