Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hipmunk City Love: Philadelphia - Enjoy the Simple Things (An Opinion Piece)

The largest city in Pennsylvania and the second-largest city on the East Coast, Philadelphia has what you would expect and more as far as cultural offerings go, but it also has a comfortable small-town feel thanks to its individual neighborhoods. If you're planning a trip to Philadelphia, the city offers many simple pleasures that will make your visit memorable. Of course, you'll probably want to see some famous attractions too.

Photo by Emma via

The Simple Things


My most recent trip to Philadelphia was with my son to visit the University of Pennsylvania. He greatly enjoyed sitting on a park bench next to Benjamin Franklin (a statue), and I got a kick out of taking pictures of the two of them. We were both awed by the beauty of the BioPond, its wildlife, and the surrounding peaceful scenery. The famous Love statue on campus was pretty cool too.

Photo by Damien Talese via


It's definitely true that Philadelphia has the best Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. There is really no way to put into words how deliciously better they are than their namesake copycats. The best way to order them is sticking to the basic recipe: fresh, greasy beef; Cheez Whiz; and sautéed onions and peppers.

While steak is not a “Philadelphia” food, Philadelphia is the place where my son learned to order it the way he likes it best: Pittsburgh-style. It's cooked over high heat and charred on the outside but melt-in-your-mouth rare on the inside. I must say, I love it this way too.

The Hotels

There are many hotels in Philadelphia, but we wanted to stay in the neighborhood of University City because we were visiting the University of Pennsylvania campus. We stayed at The Inn at Penn, a Hilton Hotel. We had a comfortable, spacious room with two double beds that was perfect for us. The rates were reasonable, and the onsite restaurant was convenient and tasty. This is actually where my son learned how to order his steak Pittsburgh-style.

My son got a true taste of collegiate life in University City, and it brought back fond memories of my college years.

The Famous Attractions

History buffs will not want to miss a visit to the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution: Independence Hall. There's also the National Constitution Center, an American history hands-on museum. They are both amazing experiences. When children are first learning about American history, they love seeing the Liberty Bell; I sure did when I was young.

When visiting several years ago, my children couldn’t get enough of the Philadelphia Zoo, which happens to be the first zoo in America. And I always love the incredible collection of art and the special exhibits at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the United States’ oldest art museum.

Photo by Esther Levy via

These are just a few of the amazing sights and attractions in Philadelphia. It seems like there's always something new, or old, to discover on every visit.

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