In West Philadelphia...
Every city I visit, I have a preconceived notion of what I think the vibe will be–it turns out most of the time I am wrong. Philly was no exception to this. We last minute decided to make a roadtrip to Philadelphia since my sister would be there for the weekend and it was quite the delightful surprise.
My major *this is an amazing city* moment came from how close everything is–or at least everything that we went to was. We never had to drive over 2.5 miles to get anywhere. I'm not sure why I felt like everything was going to be so far and something like New York but it thankfully wasn't.
1. PHILADELPHIA'S MAGIC GARDENS
My favorite place we visited! It was absolutely magical–because really that's the only word that does it justice. When I say it is aptly named.. I mean it. What is it, you ask? It's around a half city block of drenched in mosaic tiles. They say Isaiah Zagar began tiling in the sixties and, well, it doesn't look like he's done much since.
2. FUNCTION COFFEE LABS
If you know anything about me, you know I love coffee. I am absolutely one of those humans who wakes up and NEEDS it–one of those people who can't function without it. Maybe that's where they got the name Function Coffee Labs? Anyway, I was so impressed with this place. Not only was the atmosphere great; inside and outside seating.. lots of open windows; but the barista was so friendly and welcoming. I am so not about those pretentious coffee people and I was delighted with this aspect of Function for sure.
3. INDEPENDENCE MALL
For obvious reasons, it's essential to visit the history in Philadelphia as it's quintessential America. Even if you don't find yourself particularly fond of history, it's worth it to at least walk by. The Liberty Bell is easy breezy to walk in and see, but it's crucial to grab your tickets to Independence Hall beforehand–it will most likely already be sold out if you try to buy day of.
4. GRAFFITI PIER
Graffiti Pier is an Instagram dream-of-dreams. The former pier was abandoned in 1991, and has since been taken over by art and Mother Nature. Make sure to go early enough that it doesn't get dark on you–it's a bit sketchy.
5. SPRUCE STREET HARBOR PARK
I think that Spruce Street Harbor Park might be the type of park every city imagines having. It's clean, full of art, people, music, and genuine fun. The rainbow hammocks, vibrant lights, and of course the craft beer area were the personal favorites of mine.