I have lived in NYC for three and a half years and went to college in Connecticut, but at heart, I’m still a Philadelphia girl. If you have never been, I suggest a visit. I’m currently visiting my folks for a wedding, and I’m feeling nostalgic. I decided to compile a list of my favorite things about Philly (or at least a few.) So here we go…
Let’s start with museums. I know that New York City is the culture capital of the world, but Philly has its fair share of awesome museums that shouldn’t be missed.
– The Philadelphia Museum of Art is so cool and the building is simply beautiful. I used to go there with my Aunt Pat when I was a kid, and I swear it’s one of
the reasons I love art so much today. I’m disappointed that I won’t get the chance to see the Van Gogh exhibit. One of my favorite paintings in the collection is At the Moulin Rouge: The Dance (1890) by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The Ceremonial Teahouse is also really amazing (and my favorite part of the museum to visit when I was younger.) It has a gallery all to itself and includes agarden and tea ceremonies. Don’t miss Thomas Eakin’s iconic work Portrait of Dr. Samuel D. Gross (The Gross Clinic) (1875.) Pictures don’t do justice to the details so see it for yourself.
– The Franklin Institute was my favorite museum when I was a kid. I remember when they installed the giant heart that you can walk through/jump around in. I think it was the best thing that happened to me all year. I love this museum so much that I dragged my ex-boyfriend here and made him go through the heart like a big kid. I was 20 at the time. The museum is entirely focused on kids, but that doesn’t mean adults can’t enjoy it. The IMAX Theater is unlike anything I’ve seen since. When I first went to an “IMAX” movie at a regular movie theater, I was so disappointed because I was used to the IMAX at the Franklin Institute (which is so much bigger.) It completely transports you, and I recommend seeing one of their movies instead of a feature film.
– The new location for the Barnes Foundation will open May 19th. The old site in Merion was gorgeous, but I’m looking forward to seeing how they’ve installed the new site. The quality of the work varies, but the experience itself should not be missed. One man curated the entire collection and hung it so that he could teach students about art. It has a fascinating history. My favorites in the collection are Henri Matisse and Chaim Soutine. I love Matisse’s colors and movement. Soutine is dark and sort of creepy, which is my jam.
You can eat your way around Philadelphia (it’s why we were ranked the fattest city in the US for years.) The Reading Terminal is a great place to start. My favorite spot is the Amish (Pennsylvania Dutch) section. This means REAL BUTTER. There’s a great counter area where you can get amazing and huge pancakes for under $5. Almost any food you want, you can find in the Reading Terminal, and I suggest multiple trips. Bassett’s Ice Cream is cool, sweet heaven. Really, I would eat it every day. The only way to understand the Terminal is to visit, and I adore it!
Melograno is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. I always order the same thing: Prosciutto di Parma e Rucola, then Pappardelle Tartufate, finishing with the panna cotta. The food always makes me a little happier about life (and it’s BYOB!)
The Phillies are like gods in Philly (as long as they win.) Philadelphia fans are pretty crazy, and it’s fun to argue with New Yorkers about who has the more outrageous fans. Even though I don’t follow many sports, I remain devoted to our teams. I always cheer for them and have gotten into my fair share of arguments. Philly team pride runs deep.
There are always numerous productions of theatre and music going on, no matter your budget. Personally, I like to hear live music in small venues.
The Wanamaker Building (now Macys) is an example of gorgeous architecture, inside and out. If you’re in town around the holidays, don’t miss the light show which I recommend viewing from the café balcony.
There are so many other places that I love and most of them are found just by wandering. I think that that’s the best way to explore any city, as long as you’re careful. I’m always happy to spend time in Philly, but in the end, I’m always happy to go back to NYC.