The city of Philadelphia has long been allusive to me as I have ranged up and down the east and west coast. Unlike my native connection to Chicago, I really had no reason to check out the inland City of Brotherly Love. Curled on the Delaware River, the city does not have appeal as a coastal destination, making it a unique outcrop of urban culture in a somewhat dull landscape. As I slowly make my way to and from Philly I’m picking up the lay of the land and a few key sights to see.
I call Philly True Grit because it’s definitely rough around the edges. Philly has not had the dramatic force of Chicago and New York City mayors who have aggressively polished their cities up. In Philadelphia, it seems like there is a layer of history and grime that has been better brushed away in some spots rather than others. What I’m getting at is a little friendly caution to Philly that it can’t rest on it’s liberty bell laurels any longer.
I am a Philly novice at this point and very much open to suggestions but here is what I have found so far that gives the city some cultural edge.
Coffee Shops: Elixr Coffee Roaster (see review here), and La Colombe (review on the way).
Museums and Cultural Sites: Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens are a must. They stand as a good example of when city grit is correctly buffed up into something sparkling. The Barnes Museum is also a must. Classics, upon classics, hung in the most eccentric way in a beautifully designed building.
Food: The Redding Terminal is a great food hall next to the convention center. The amount of stalls make choosing your meal quite difficult. Finally Federal Donuts are a must. They rival top donut shops such as Doughnut Plant and Doughnut Vault if I do say so myself. The donuts are made hot and fresh right before your eyes and fall into two categories: Hot Fresh and Fancy. The favors are have some variation and are very unique. The Hot Fresh selection includes Vanilla Spice, Strawberry Lavender, and Cinnamon Brown Sugar. The Fancy include a mix of classics. It’s best to get a mix of the two and the the great thing is Federal always has some samples out. The freshness and subtle flavors push the donuts to the next level. The West Philly location has cute desk like chairs that make you feel even more like a giddy child when gleefully enjoying your treats.
As I said, this is just a start and I expect more in-depth reviews to follow. Readers: I am definitely seeking suggestions of where to go next.