I had no expectations of Philadelphia before I went there, knowing little about it. It was the day after our first Thanksgiving, Steve had a few days off and we made a last minute decision to take a little trip. Literally last minute, we decided at 1pm and picked up the rental car at 3pm.
Philadelphia is a 2.5 hour drive from DC and we were lucky to avoid the weekend traffic on the way there. We pulled in late afternoon, checked in and took the dog for a walk to tire him out. It was the last weekend of November and I was happy to see the Philadelphia Christmas markets were underway. They were interesting, but not what I was expecting. At least there was mulled wine!
I think Philadelphia can be seen in an overnight stay, but since we got in so late on the first day, we ended up staying for two nights. In our true travel fashion, we walked the whole time we were there, trying to take in as many sights as possible. We saw a lot of the city this way and when we got too tired/it got too cold to walk, we got an uber (with Teddy!) back to our hotel or to the next place we wanted to see.
Philadelphia has a rich history and served a pivotal role in the American Revolution and is the place the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed. As you can imagine, a majority of the cities buildings date back hundreds of years and the contrast between old and new buildings is evident in every neighbourhood. Old City down by the waterfront is a wonderful place to visit to not only wander around, but also find a nice place to eat. It is quaint with it’s cobblestone, narrow streets and cafes with sidewalk seating. There are also the infamous Rocky steps, that Steve insisted on running up with Teddy.
Head to Rittenhouse Square and Logan Square for shopping and more restaurants, along with parks and cafes that serve decent coffee. If you take your dog, there will be plenty of other dogs in the park for them to play with.
I am a convert to the website hotels.com after previously preferring to book straight through the hotels directly. We stayed at the Loews Philadelphia located in Rittenhouse Square and this gave us a great base for getting around the city. It is dog friendly and the service is fantastic.
Honestly, Philadelphia had so many great options for food, it’s hard to recommend just one place. The first night we ate at a German place called Brauhaus Schmitz that was fantastic. The waitstaff were helpful, the meals came out quickly and the food was delicious. The second night we planned to go to a restaurant that we had seen on the park near Logan Square and ended up walking in to the wrong one. It wasn’t until we had sat down and looked at the menu that we realised, but we’re glad we ended up at the wrong place because the place we wanted to go to was a sister restaurant of one in DC we had gone to two nights previous. I would also recommend trying an infamous ‘Philly cheese steak’. To be honest, I thought it would literally be a steak shaped piece of cheese. It is actually steak mixed with cheese, on a roll and while I wasn’t a huge fan, I know some people love it. There are some great bars around in all areas of Philadelphia, so there is no shortage of places to go if you feel like a nice drink.