Last weekend, I visited the city of Philadelphia for the first time! Prior to this trip, my only experience with Philly had been peering out the window of the sketchy Chinatown Bus on the way to New York City in 2006. Needless to say, I was a little skeptical about what this city would have to offer. It only took an extra thirty-six hours, but I’m now a Philadelphia-phile!
Ben and I made our way up to Philly to spend quality time with friends (Julie, Rob & their pup, Sadie – see more of sweet Sadie on my latest Instagram picstitch!) in the city and celebrate our cousin’s wedding just outside the city. We did not have much time, but our hosts showed true “Brotherly Love” and gave us a wonderful snapshot of the city.
Their apartment building is within walking distance to Rittenhouse Square. And as we all know, the best way to get the true experience of a city is to take to it by foot, so eastward we went toward Independence Hall.
On our walk, I noticed that Philadelphia is peppered with unique murals which add character and dimension to the streetscape. A walk is never boring when there are puppy murals to admire.
In addition to these splashes of unexpected art, many of the streets are adorned with intricate architecture that help paint the picture of America’s history. Even in my own city, I can be found pointing and looking up in awe at the detailed reliefs, styling, and shape of buildings. My habit was no different in Philadelphia as we passed gorgeous Federal and Colonial residential architecture embellished with charming window boxes and urban landscaping.
After pausing for an obligatory photo opp in front of Independence Hall, we continued to the Delaware River Front where we were met with the most clever pop-up park! Furnished with hammocks, lounge chairs, shuffleboard, twinkly lights, and even giant Legos, the Spruce Street Harbor Park extends the perfect backdrop for a summer day. Along with the outdoor fun, there were also shipping containers converted into snack bars and arcades.
This park sparked some ideas that could translate to Raleigh’s own park possibilities. Raleighites already value the potential of unused shipping containers (especially if it involves beer), which we demonstrated earlier this summer in the form of a pop-up beer garden, Wanderbox. Despite the fact that downtown Raleigh doesn’t have an anchoring water feature, a Spruce Street Harbor Park-esque boardwalk with family-friendly activities would totally benefit Raleigh’s urban park scene, whether pop-up or permanent.
After our stroll through the park and a yummy lunch at an Irish pub, we capped off the afternoon with some ice cream! The Franklin Fountain reminded me of a shop in Wisconsin that I love called J. Lauber’s. I hope the next trend in frozen confectioneries will be the revival of these wholesome and nostalgic ice cream parlors! Who needs froyo when you can have a hot fudge sundae?
Even though I only caught a glimpse of Philly, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our trip. We’ll be back in December for a second fun-Philled weekend and another cousin’s wedding. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this video I took on Sunday morning before brunch at Parc. While walking down South Broad Street, I was honored to have the chance to witness the evolution of Philadelphia’s skyline as a helicopter airlifted letters off of the One South Broad building, informally known as the PNB Building. (Don’t worry – the removal of these letters was approved by the Philadelphia Historical Commission!)