It’s been nine months since we left Japan and although we did some exploring around Cascadia, I haven’t had much opportunity for travel since Viktoria left for Cairo. Fortunately, a recent work trip took me to Pennsylvania and I stretched it into a weekend in Philadelphia.
I dropped my co-worker for an early flight, which gave me an opportunity to get a jumpstart on sightseeing. I dropped the rental car off at my Airbnb in the historic Italian Market neighborhood, put on my walking shoes and set out on the town. The unseasonably warm November weekend would be full of walking as the transit workers decided to go on strike, but we’ve had experience navigating a transit strike before, so I was good to go!
48 hours and 60,000 steps later, I checked off everything on my Philadelphia bucket list.
The South 9th Street Curb Market, better known as the Italian Market, has been home to produce stands, cafes and shops run by not just Italians, but immigrants from around the globe, since the late 19th century. Today’s market has an increasing Latin American influence.
The beautiful Washington Park is home to the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier memorial. Completed in 1957, a bronze statue of George Washington overlooks the remains of either a Colonial or British soldier.
An icon of America, most stories around the Liberty Bell are more myth than fact. The truth is that the bell actually cracked during its first test strike and had to be recast twice. It was finally replaced in 1876.
Independence Hall as seen from Independence Square where a crowd gathered for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
The Assembly Room in Independence Hall. The “Rising Sun” chair at the front of the room is where George Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention that drafted the United States Constitution.
A sign outside the front door of Independence Hall, the birthplace of the United States of America.
A view of the Christ Church Burial Ground from a window in the U.S. Mint building. Benjamin Franklin is the cemetery’s most famous occupant
The gravesite of Benjamin Franklin and his wife Deborah in Philadelphia’s Christ Church Burial Ground. Visitors leave pennies in honor of Franklin’s motto of “a penny saved is a penny earned,” but the combination of weather and the penny tosses have caused damage to the gravestone including the large crack.
Outside the United States Mint. Photos aren’t allowed inside the largest of the Mint’s four coin-producing facilities. If your coin has a “P” or no letter, it was produced in this building!
A statue of a lion squashing a snake in Rittenhouse Square, one of the original five public park spaces planned by William Penn in the late 1600s.
Philadelphia’s City Hall was the world’s tallest habitable building from 1894 until 1908. Until the completion of One Liberty Place in 1987, builders in downtown Philadelphia had a “gentleman’s agreement” that no building would be taller than the hat of the William Penn statue atop the City Hall spire.
Located across the street from City Hall is the Board Game Art Park, home to an installation of oversized board game pieces called “Your Move.”
Since 1892, Reading Terminal Market has been the home to butchers, produce vendors and more. Today you can find Amish specialties and three shops run by descendants of original market vendors.
The battle of the cheesesteaks… in this corner, Pat’s King of Steaks!
… and in this corner, Geno’s Steaks!
The rowhouse has been the domicile of choice in Philadelphia since the 1700s. Even today, nearly 60 percent of Philadelphians live in a rowhouse.
Looking down South Broad Street toward Philadelphia City Hall early on a sunny autumn morning.
Dilworth Park outside of Philadelphia’s City Hall has been transformed into a community skating rink for the holiday season.
The Thinker sits outside Philadelphia’s Rodin Museum. Casts of the statue exist around the world today. We saw the original two-foot tall version in Musee Rodin in Paris during our travels around Europe.
Since 1897, George Washington has kept watch over Eakins Oval in front of the famed steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.
The Lion Fighter, cast for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, now stands outside the Philadelphia Art Museum.
A statue of Rocky Balboa, cast for the movie Rocky III, stands in the shadow of the Philadelphia Art Museum. Several visitors ran up the steps, recreating the inspiring scene from the original Rocky movie.
Boathouse Row lines the shores of Fairmount Dam on the Schuylkill River. The boathouses are home to 15 rowing clubs and is considered to be the home of rowing in the U.S.
The neo-Gothic Eastern State Penitentiary operated from 1829 until 1971 and pioneered the modern approach of prisoner reform vs. punishment. The gargoyles are not permanent, but placed as decorations for the annual Halloween haunted house event, “Terror Behind the Walls.”
A sign on St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church signifies that it was the site where Benjamin Franklin conducted his famous kite experiment, although the Historical Commission oval above it actually pays homage to the nearly 200-year-old church.
A ship is moored in the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility at Philadelphia’s Navy Yard.
I always wanted to travel, but never took the first step until I met my awesome travel buddy and wife. Together, we've been to more than 20 countries on five continents and don't plan on stopping anytime soon!