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Chillin' With The Fresh Prince

In the next few weeks, Husby and I are jet setting up to Philadelphia for the second part of his step two board exams. He will spend one full day doing a performance evaluation where he will examine patients and diagnose them - then be graded on that. While he's busy being a Doctor, I'll be out galavanting around the city, exploring my new surroundings and hopefully finding fabulous things to do.

We have a few full days together to explore, too...which will be awesome.

Any suggestions or musts for us to go and do and see and eat? If you have any Philly favorites, now is the time to let me know! I thank you in advance! :)
I am a modern day homemaker with a passion for family, cooking, celebrating, decorating, travel, and memory making! The Lord has blessed me with the desires of my heart in my husband and our two sons. We recently built our dream home and cultivating a loving and happy haven for my family is where I find so much joy.


  1. You should definitely eat a real-live, Philly cheesesteak at Pat's!

  2. Be careful; I've heard that Philly is really dangerous. I know they say that about all cities but I'd feel better if I said it! ;)

  3. Pat's Cheesesteaks are a MUST!!! and water ice from Rita's...Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are fun too.. But definitely a cheesesteak from Pat's.. mmmmm.

  4. Aww, hey! You could always come see me!

    Honestly, we don't get into Center City alllll that much (we live on the outskirts of Philly). Beyond the Liberty Bell and all of the historical stuff, there's the Art Museum. Also, Reading Terminal Market is a fun place to walk around, though I would recommend carrying Levi in a sling if you can. It's very crowded for a stroller, but the food! The food is great! If you go you absolutely have to go to the Amish food corner and get a cinnamon bun.

    Other than that, yes Philly is unsafe in some neighborhoods. And sometimes it changes from block to block. BUT just use some city sense. Don't leave your purse unattended, and keep your eyes open, don't jaywalk. There's no reason to be afraid of Philadelphia (or any city). When you ask for a map, ask the front desk receptionist if there are any areas you should avoid. But I wouldn't worry too much.

  5. Ohhhh, and not to knock other commenters, I've never had a cheesesteak from Pat's, but every local I've ever met (we just moved here two years ago) says that Pat's is overrated (super greasy and Cheez Wizzy). If you're crunched for time, ask the receptionist if there's a local place they would recommend, and if not, get a pretzel!

  6. Go for a walk around Rittenhouse Square! If you like afternoon tea, have afternoon tea in the tea room at the Rittenhouse hotel.

    Other attractions include: liberty bell, Independence Hall, taking pictures in front of the famous "love" sign, and the Franklin Institute with their amazing IMAX theater.

    For restaurants, Reading Terminal is a fun (but crowded) indoor market with everything you can imagine. City Tavern is an historic restaurant. For dessert, there is an amazing gelato place called Capogiro.

    A fun date might be a dinner cruise on the "Spirit of Philadelphia." Enjoy your trip!

  7. I've never been there, but I have heard great things about it! Enjoy your time!

  8. Ooh, I just stumbled across your blog, so I can't say that these suggestions will suit you to a tee, but I live in Center City and these are some wondeful things to do:

    - Walk through the Italian Market. It starts at 9th St. and Christian St. and stretches south about 10 blocks, ending at the fabled Pat's and Geno's. (I prefer Pat's.) So many sights and smells... it's a great way to enjoy a morning.

    - While you're over by the Italian Market, try the stuffed french toast at Sabrina's on Christian & 9th. Sabrina's is famous for its amazing brunches, and celebrities stop by when they are in Philly.

    - Reading Terminal Market, between 11th & 12th and Market & Arch Streets, also has amazing foods, sights and smells. Try to go between Wed. and Fri. when all the Amish vendors are there. Bring an appetite!

    - The steps of the Art Museum, aka the "Rocky steps," are fun to climb and give a great view of the city. On Sunday's the Art Museum is Pay As You Wish, or you can bring some cash and pay the entrance fee. It's huge!

    - I've still never been, shamefully, but the Mutter Museum (21st and Chestnut-ish) is supposed to be awesome. It's a museum of medical antiquities and I don't know anyone who hasn't gone and loved it. Very bizarre, it's got all these old weird things people used to use for medical procedures. I'd go before lunch if you have a weak stomach.

    - Catch a movie at one of the three Ritz movie theaters in Old City. They play all sorts of cool indie and foreign films. (

    - Check out the lobby of the Comcast building, the tallest building in Philly, at around 16th and Market. It's got this crazy cool screen that puts on little mini-shows throughout the day. Hard to describe, but it's neat and fun to walk through while you're downtown.

    - Shop along Walnut St. west of Broad. They've got lots of great shopping, from name brands to little indie shops, and you can end up at Rittenhouse Square.

    - Rittenhouse Square is a beautiful park, one of four "squares" that make up the corners of the original city of Philadelphia. It's a great place for people watching, sitting with a coffee (or a picnic blanket, a book and a bottle of wine) and just relaxing.

    - Kelly Drive/Boathouse Row. If you go over to the Art Museum, you can walk behind it and down over to Kelly Drive which runs along the river, and Boathouse Row, where all the old guard crew houses are set up. There are running/biking paths all through the park. On a nice day, you could spend an entire afternoon on the trails and forget you're in the city!

    Have fun, and best of luck to your husband on his boards!

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  11. I'd 3rd? the Reading Terminal comment. Great to wander around. We're out by Valley Forge Park, so, like above, don't get into the city all that often. But, of course, the park is great if you have time on your hands! ;) And in the battle of the cheesesteaks, I prefer Geno's to Pat's, but yeah, you can get good ones a lot of places.

  12. I've never been but my husband goes all the time. He says to avoid ghetto because it's pretty bad. But the liberty bell and all the historical down town is really cool. Philly's baseball stadium is super nice. And he said the philly chease steak is the best in the world and he would kno sense he has been everywhere. Have fun!!

  13. The Mutter is cool and I'd also recommend the Franklin Institute. If you have Levi with you avoid the Please Touch Museum at all costs--everyone recommends it for kids but due to all that touching I've never been there and not had at least one (and usually both) of my kids sick within a few days.

  14. No, do not eat at Pat's. Eat at Gino's!!!! (They're across the street from each other). It's a neverending rivalry...but Gino's is better. You have 3 cheese options: mozzerella, provolone, or cheez whiz. and onions or no onions. so, simply say your cheese choice, and "with" or "without" depending on whether or not you want onions. For example: "whiz with" or "provolone without" and that's all you have to say! :) Cheesesteaks are all they serve, and there is always a line down the block! But you only have to say 2 words when you order, so the line goes quickly! Enjoy!

  15. (Longtime reader, first time commenter...)

    Yay! Philly rocks. Enjoy yourself! I second (or is it third?!) the nomination of Ginos for a cheesesteak. Yummy. And also the tourist stuff is fun (liberty bell, independence hall, etc.). Oh, and after you eat your cheesesteak you can burn off those calories running up the Rocky steps. :)

  16. I've never been to Philly, so I don't have any advice! Have fun and post lots of pictures of your trip when you come back!

  17. Love Reading Terminal Mkt, and you shouldn't miss the historical stuff if you don't think you'll make it there again.
    If you are going to be able to go out to a fancy dinner at all check out Stephen Starr restaurants. Pretty pricey, but definitely an experience!
    Also, (and this is one of my favorite things)if you're there over a weekend, check out Watson Adventures scavenger hunts. They are a super fun way to get a quickly explore the city and to learn some stuff that you probably would never get to on the beaten path. We haven't done the specific ones they are offering in October, but the other three we've done have been so much fun!

  18. It's been YEARS, but when I was going to school at Weidner Univ, we loved shopping at Franklin Mills Mall!! :)

  19. 1. Ditto on Reading Terminal Market - (and the Amish are still there Saturday). If you want one of the best soft pretzels, go to Miller's Twist (near the Amish) - great stuff, made by a high school classmate of my husband's. And, if you're driving at all, you can park for free for 2 hours at the parking garage across the street with a $10 purchase - get your parking ticket validated by whichever stand you buy from. Check it out here:

    2. Italian Market - I've never been but it's highly recommended!

    And good luck to your Husby - my husband took the same exam the other year - gotta love the STEP exams...

  20. I just moved away from Philly :(

    Capogiro Gelateria (several locations, look online) has the best gelato you will ever have in your life, and their shops are so cute. I miss it :(

    I love to walk through Rittenhouse Square and down Walnut Street to shop. I really dislike Reading Terminal Market because it's dark and boring and dingy and it's not in the prettiest area either.

    If you're looking for a special dinner out, get reservations at Friday Saturday Sunday YUUMM!!! Or Rembrandt's (within walking distance of the Art Museum, which is also a great place to check out) has the best Sunday brunch in the world... go sit in the bar part, not the fancy restaurant part.

    Parc on Rittenhouse Square is a GREAT place to have brunch, sit outside and people-watch. It's a Stephen Starr place.

    And...I know everyone says Pat's or Gino's for cheesesteaks, but we discovered the best at Campo's, at 2nd and Market near the waterfront so you can go for a walk along the river afterwards and through the old historical district. Much cuter area and way less processed that Pat's or Gino's.

    OK I'll stop...

  21. LOL I was gonna say eat a cheese steak at Pat's or Gino's....they've both been featured on Travel Channel multiple times, but everyone else seems to think that you should do that too!

  22. Just walking around Rittenhouse Square on a beautiful day--the best! I lived in Philly for 2 years in law school, it's a great city!

  23. LOL, I totally agree-- Pat's and Gino's are way overrated, BUT they are a Philly classic. And, when in Rome... :)

  24. It's been a long time since I've been there, but all the historical stuff is really cool...if you like history, which I do! The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Betsy Ross' house, Ben Franklins house/business. I think we also went to the US Mint which was interesting. Valley Forge is also nice. I can't remember for sure as it's been so long ago, but I also think there's a big shopping mall -King of Prussia mall or something like that?? Maybe someone else will be able to give more info on that.

  25. I'm SO CLOSE to Philly! :) You definitely need a cheese steak...and there are PLEEEEEEENTY of places to do some damage with money! ;)


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