Go Philly with TWC

Go Philly with TWC


What led me to Philly during such a tightly-packed weekend? Curiosity! A lot of friends told me Philly is a city for fans of history, and worth visiting for a day trip. I love museums, but I am not much of a fan of American history (even though I got pretty good grade in American history in high school). Because of this, I did not put Philly on my MUST-VISIT list this semester. However, my roommate, Francesca, once said that Philly is the most beautiful city, even better than New York, which immediately raised my curiosity. Therefore, I signed up for my second day trip through TWC and started the journey of unveiling the secret cover of Philly! Is it just an old city for history lovers or a beautiful city underestimated by its low profile?


How to do Philadelphia in just one day?

The bus ride to Philly and back can take up to 6 hours; that is, we only had seven hours in Philly to visit all the tourist spots and try local food. Is seven hours enough? In fact, it all depends on how well you plan out your day. Don’t worry: you are heading in the right direction to have a productive and efficient Philly trip, because I am providing our detailed schedule and secret tips for you!


1. Independent Hall and Liberty Bell | 1 hr



Independence Hall is where both the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and created. If you forget all the things your history teacher taught you, you shouldn’t go there. KIDDING!!! You should go inside the exact room where the declaration was signed and feel the atmosphere of its history and humble beginnings. As for the history part, the professional guide there will tell the story from beginning to end with passion, excitement and detail. I found myself actually preferring the old-fashioned style hall to the modern ones. The wooden, vintage decorations made me calmer and think deeper.


2. Geno’s Steaks | 1 hr, $10 per steak, cash only, French fries recommended



There are two popular cheesesteak shops right across from each other; one is Geno's, the other is Pat’s King of Steaks. Be prepared to line up for a while no matter which one you choose. The so-called cheesesteak, which is the MUST-EAT in Philly, is actually a hotdog sandwich with cheese and beef in it. To be honest, I was not very impressed by Geno’s cheesesteak, because the cheese is not as rich as I expected. As for the beef, since I am not a meat lover, I couldn’t tell if it was amazing or not. However, there’s one thing for sure: they have good fries! My fellow TWCers highly recommended the side dish!


3. Philadelphia's Magic Gardens | 1.5hr , $8 for entrance



Unfortunately, the gardens happened to close earlier that day, so we didn’t make it into the magic garden. However, the folk art environment and gallery space include indoor galleries and a large outdoor labyrinth. Therefore, we were still lucky enough to take a lot of pictures with these amazing mosaics that were made up of everything from kitchen tiles to bike wheels, Latin-American art and china plates. The whole area around this garden is unique and stylish. Just walking around here can be a total escape from the pressure of the fast city pace.


4. The Rocky Statue near the art museum |1.5 hr



The famous Rocky statue needs no introduction. The interesting thing is that this well-known statue brings so many boys lining up in front of the steps of the art museum. Without the Rocky attraction, they may have never paid a visit to the museum. What a good design! In fact, the art museum area is more than just lining up and posing exaggerating poses with the Rocky statue. The plaza and the stairs in front of the museum give tourists the best birds-eye view of Philly, where amazing modern architecture and antique historical spots harmoniously exist.


5. LOVE Park, Reading Terminal Market, Chinatown | 1hr



We didn’t have enough time to visit these places thoroughly, but they are close to one another, making it easy to cross them out in a pleasant walk back to Independence Hall. I have to say that the scenery along the streets in Philly is so pretty and cozy that it reminds me of Heidelberg in Germany (I’ve been there for summer school, so it’s proven!).


Tips for making the most of the 7 hours


1.Take Uber/Lyft and split the fee| $4 each person for 2 rides!

We took an Uber twice during this trip, saving at least one hour of walking. Of course, it’s not necessary to take rides all the time, because you’ll miss the cute local street stands and scenery. However, when the tourist spots are more than a mile away, it’s better to gather a group of friends and let the car take you to destination and spend most of your time at these spots.


2. Check the opening hour and best times beforehand.

The opening hour will determine the priority of the tight schedule. For instance, if the cheesesteak stand is open until midnight, then we should first go to the gardens, which is only open until 3:00 p.m. (unless you are starving)! Also, timing is important because light, crowds and weather all play important roles in taking a satisfying picture. The museum plaza is more beautiful and romantic near dusk than at noon, while the inside of Independence Hall has no limit. Make sure to take these factors into account to sort out your wish list by priority.


3. Don’t miss the local street stands!



This is not a time-saving tip, but it will definitely make your Philly trip more rewarding and unforgettable. The local street stands along the way are very unique, exotic and CHEAP! Cheaper than Walmart? Of course! Three big boxes of blueberries for $2, three boxes of blackberries for $1 and one big bag of fresh seedless grapes for $1! It’s no joke, and it’s right there in Philly! Save time and money by buying some local fruits at a bargain price during the trip!


To wrap up...


For me, Philly is half like D.C. and half like New York, keeping the best part of both cities. I really enjoyed every single minute there during the trip. Philly is just the third city in U.S. I’ve been to, so it’s way too early to rank it as the top three; however, I think Philly is worth as much of a visit as New York. If you’re planning to go to NY, why not take a break and stop by Philly!


Read Jill's previous blog posts here

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