Philadelphia. It’s beyond revolutionary.
As soon as we arrived in Philadelphia, it made sense to check into our hotel because it was the prime location of all of our sights. The Kimpton Hotel Monaco was a really cool combination of modern four-star amenities on the inside (a Japanese soaking tub!) and an iconic architectural gem, The Lafayette Building, on the outside. It didn’t take long to set out to discover some of the most historically relevant attractions in United States history.
We decided that the first order of the day was to jog up the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps (72, if anyone’s counting) just like the main character did in the popular Rocky movies. At the top we found Rocky’s statue, which of course was larger than life. We worked up quite the appetite, so we headed to Reading Terminal Market for lunch. A Philly Cheesesteak never tasted so good, and with good reason. The market is made up of family-run vendors with too many specialties to count and is in a venue that dates back to 1893. It was fitting that our lunch was a lively one (thanks to the coverage of the World Cup broadcasting at one of the open-air bars). Reading Terminal Market sits on the spot where trains used to converge en route to the rest of the country dating as long ago as 1893.
We moved on to what may be officially called John F. Kennedy Plaza, but has come to be known as Love Park because of a famous modern sculpture with block letters that spell the word LOVE. How fitting that Philadelphia is also known as “The City of Brotherly Love”, right? Also at Love Park is Philadelphia City Hall. It’s the largest municipal building in the country with exterior sculptures that represent all of the seasons and continents.
What came next can only be described as a feast for the eyes. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is an urban renovation project that feels more like a gallery. What started out as a neighborhood that was destined to be torn down to make way for a freeway evolved into several buildings that are fully decorated with mosaic art. Isaiah Zagar is the main artist behind the magic and his time spent in the Peace Corps in Peru influenced his work to reflect Latin American culture.
What visit to Philadelphia would be complete without a lesson in the events that led to the birth of United States as an independent country? When we decided to have dinner at City Tavern, not only did we enjoy the menu of historical recipes and a grand, spacious setting, but we went back over 200 years. Our Colonial guide played the role of a printer and other characters led us through Liberty Hall at the very spot where the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776.
Before we called it a day, we found ourselves in a place that was all modern. The backyard setting of Morgan’s Pier gave us the perfect chance to sit down and relax for a while. Twinkling lights, live music and so much to talk about as we wound down another great day on the road.