I’m back with a different version of a Travel with Me post called Travel with Me: Weekend Edition. For trips that are just a day or two, I’ll write a shorter post that will mostly contain pictures and small descriptions. I hope that these posts can help you plan a short trip yourself!
I’m kicking off my Travel with Me: Weekend Edition posts with a review of our one-night trip to Philadelphia! We met up with my cousin and his wife and had a great time exploring historical sites and eating tasty (not-so-good-for-you) food.
For my hotel rating system, I’ll use a ranking from 1 to 5 (1 – absolutely terrible, 2 – mediocre, 3 – good, 4 – great, 5 – fantastic). For restaurants, I’ll give a Thumbs Up! or a Thumbs Down, and for activities, I’ll simply give short descriptions.
When & Where:
Last Friday (January 17th) we drove up to Pennsylvania for a one-night, one-day trip to explore Philly with my cousin Josh and his wife Meredith.
Where We Stayed:
We booked our hotel stay through Living Social at the Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District. It was in a perfect location; we were able to walk to all of the historical sites we were interested in visiting as well as to all of the restaurants we chose. The room was fairly nice with a very comfortable bed. The hotel was heavily under construction and, on more than one occasion, we had to wait in a long line at the front desk. Overall, I would give this hotel 2.5 out of 5 stars.
Where We Ate:
I found this cute little breakfast spot on TripAdvisor. It was definitely off the beaten path, but it was delicious! I ordered “Giant” banana pancakes with eggs and coffee. Daniel ordered the Honey Cristo, a ham sandwich with french toast as the bread. Josh and Meredith each enjoyed their meal too. I highly recommend you go here for breakfast if you want a place with a local feel. Thumbs Up!
My husband found Sonny’s ranked #1 on a list of best Philly cheese steaks in town. From what I’ve gathered, there is a lot of controversy over who rightfully claims the #1 spot, but it was a fantastic place for us to try our first cheese steaks. At Sonny’s, you order your cheese steak with or without onions and with your choice of cheese: either Provolone or…. Cheese Whiz! I was pretty grossed out when I heard about the Cheese Whiz. We all wanted to try out both kinds, though, so we ordered one with provolone and one with Cheese Whiz for each couple. Let me tell you – the Cheese Whiz was my favorite! It was just so flavorful. My mouth is watering just thinking about it…. Mmmmm… We all split some fries as well. Thumbs Up!
After lunch, I really wanted a coffee – mostly to warm me up in the cold as we walked around! We stopped over at the cafe next door to Sonny’s. It was a cute shop with a movie theme – there were movie posters all over the walls. They also served pastries and frozen yogurt. Although it was a quick stop, we enjoyed it, and the coffee was good! Thumbs Up!
Josh found this restaurant online. We honestly had trouble finding a reasonably-priced place that sounded good to us that evening, so we just went with Jones because it seemed to serve a wide variety of meals, making it easy for us all to pick out something we would like. It ended up being a great choice! We all got different things: I ordered the Chicken Pot Pie because I had not had one in a really long time, and I absolutely love them. It had warm, flaky crust (the best part!) and delicious chicken/veggie filling. Daniel ordered the Beef Stroganoff, one of the specials of the evening, and really enjoyed it as well. Jones was definitely a crowd-pleaser. Thumbs Up!
What We Did:
Daniel and I were only able to stay in Philly for one full day, so we weren’t able to do everything that we actually wanted to do. However, with the help of Josh and Meredith, I think we did our best with fitting in the more important things in one day.
First we stopped at the visitors’ center to get some pamphlets and ask a few questions. Josh saw Rocky and just couldn’t help himself….
While we were there, we found out that it was Benjamin Franklin’s birthday weekend, so his museum was free!
Leading up to the Liberty Bell, there were stations with lots of information on the history of the Bell and the people who lived during the time it was created and used.
We waited in a long line for Independence Hall, but it was very interesting to go inside for a quick tour of the place where our Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were debated and adopted.
The Portrait Gallery (at the Second National Bank of the United States)
I’m related to Meriwether Lewis somewhere down the line, so I had to get a picture with him. See the resemblance?
Carpenter’s Hall is mainly just a small gift shop on the inside now, but it is the site of meetings of the First Continental Congress in which they discussed their problem with Great Britain in 1774. It was neat to see a small glimpse of history.
Franklin Court is the site of Benjamin Franklin’s home back in the day, his museum, a running post office, and a printing press where Franklin used to work. Currently, there is a frame marking where his home used to be.
I really enjoyed the Benjamin Franklin Museum, so even though it was free this weekend, I would recommend paying for a ticket if you visit. This museum was interesting but not large and overwhelming, so I felt like I was able to read and appreciate everything in there. Here is a glimpse of one of the exhibits….
While we were in the Franklin Museum gift shop, we ran into the Travelocity Roaming Gnome! Apparently, the guy carrying him goes all around the world taking pictures of the gnome at different historic sites. Kind of cool!
We had to take a break and figure out our next destination….
This active Episcopalian church is the building where Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross, George Washington, William Penn, and many other historical figures attended church services. We just took a quick peek in, but it was neat to see it even just for a couple of minutes.
Our final historical site of the day was Elfreth’s Alley. This alley is lined with homes that were built between the 1720s and 1830s. It was a neat little glimpse back in time. People do currently live in these homes, but it is acceptable for tourists to walk down the road to take pictures and enjoy the history. The Museum Shop was closed when we were there, but I read that they offer you free pamphlets with stories about the residents throughout history when they are open.
After Elfreth’s Alley, we rested at the hotel before going to dinner and then returning back to the hotel to play a game of Settlers.
Daniel and I then had to start a very late drive back to DC, but it was worth it!
We always grab an ornament and and a Starbucks “You are Here” mug everywhere that we travel. Here is what we picked up this trip:
Well, that’s my trip recap and review of Philadelphia! Let me know if you have any questions or comments below.
This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.