Weekend Trip to Philadelphia

This summer has been filled with lots of short, weekend-long trips – I actually haven’t even been fully unpacking because I know that I’ll just have to re-pack things a week later! The most recent trip was to Philadelphia. My sister had a bachelorette party to go to, and I tagged along because it’s actually easier for the whole family to travel together. I’d also never been to Philadelphia, even though it’s in the same state, so it was the perfect opportunity to see the city!

We didn’t have a ton of time in Philadelphia – Friday and Sunday were both driving days, so I really just had Saturday to explore. Our hotel was in Center City, which seemed like the “downtown” area. Luckily, it was also dog friendly, so Lily was able to come with us – she’s still not the best traveler, but she’s getting better! There were so many things within walking distance, which was amazing. I started my Saturday out at Drybar – I’m always so excited to find one in a city that I’m traveling to. Hotel bathrooms can be questionable, accessibility-wise, so knowing that there’s somewhere I can go to get my hair washed and styled is a huge relief. And luckily for me, it was about a 10 minute walk from the hotel, which couldn’t have been more convenient.

From Drybar, I headed to Rittenhouse Square – it’s a really cute park-like area lined by tons of restaurants and coffeeshops and stores. I was hoping to get a coffee from La Colombe, but unfortunately there was a step to get in and no ramp! It’s such a bummer when I’m really looking forward to something only to find out it’s not accessible. It’s not surprising, because I encounter it all the time, but it’s still disappointing each and every time. Instead, I had a delicious macchiato from Joe’s coffeshop, which didn’t have any steps!

We walked to what I’m going to call the touristy/historical area next – Independence Square. This is where the Liberty Bell is and Independence Hall are, plus a few other buildings. I do not enjoy lines, so this did not end up being my favorite part of the city. We actually skipped the Liberty Bell line and just saw it through the viewing window they have from outside the building. Honestly, the view is almost as good, as we saved at least 30 minutes waiting in line! We also went over to see Independence Hall. We thought we had lucked out, because the security screening line was only about 5 minutes long. But then we found out that there was ANOTHER line once you were inside for the actual tour of Independence Hall, and that line had a wait of about an hour. Since we would have only been able to tour the first floor anyway, we decided it was not worth that wait.

We headed back to Rittenhouse Square for dinner – we were hoping to eat outside, but some of the restaurants had a strict rule about no more than 2 people at the outdoor tables, and they wouldn’t push tables together, either. There were so, so many different places to choose from, but since we didn’t have a reservation anywhere, most places had a super long wait. We ended up at Parc and had a delicious dinner!

I loved that Philadelphia was so walkable, because it meant that I happened upon incredible sunsets like this one. What I did not love, however, is that they decided to mill/re-pave so many side streets at once. When you mill a street but don’t get around to re-paving it yet, you’re left with a HUGE gap between the curb cut and the street – it basically becomes a step rather than a curb cut, and it’s so incredibly bumpy to drive across in a wheelchair. One street would have been annoying, but I ran into at least 10 that were like this. In some cases, it was so bad I actually had to cross not at the crosswalk but drive on the street with car traffic just so I could make it across. Not the most comfortable! However, if you didn’t want to walk, the city does have wheelchair accessible Ubers (UberWAVs), which is great.

All in all, though, I really enjoyed Philadelphia. I totally get the appeal – it’s not as overwhelming as NYC, but it’s definitely more of an urban city than Pittsburgh is. Hopefully I can make it back again soon, with a little more free time to explore.

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