I try my best to write something that the locals will give their nod of approval to, bad jokes and all. But here is the thing, I lived in PA until I was 22. And while I did not grow up anywhere near Philadelphia, this week was not to be taken lightly. Because Philadelphians are extremely passionate people, who intimidated me, but only a bit.
I've visited, I've explored, I've heard the wildly serious arguments for which cheesesteak is best. I even went as far as making sure my best friend, who I met randomly in college 8+ years ago, grew up in Philly JUST for this very moment. Hi @Kellyspurpleriot! Don't you dare say I'm not dedicated. So when I asked Kelly how not to screw this up, she said... "It's called the city of brotherly love for a reason! People are real and authentic with each other here. The people of Philadelphia have the deepest pride and love and respect for their city. There's a real sense of belonging and community in Philadelphia. We aren't bullshitters, we'll tell you how we really feel and you'll love us even more for it because those kinds of genuine conversations with strangers feel so much harder to find anywhere else. We prefer wooder ice to water ice, and our pretzels soft. Our city is full of murals, history, pride, struggle, art, culture, incomprehensible sports fandom, and the best cheesesteaks you'll ever find. People don't just live in Philadelphia, they live for Philadelphia." Which is way better than anything I could come up with, so there you have it. Good job, Kelly!
This week, we're lucky enough to have one my favorite photographers and Philly local Billy Cress @billycress showing us around to his favorite spots. What pulls people into @billycress's work is his unique approach to documenting the city, particularly the way it once was and what it is now. His love and passion for his hometown are evident in each photo. Be sure to check out his feed, as well as his other project. "I have a collaborative photography project with Austin Hodges @austinxc04 called Philly Home Portrait. You can tag your home portraits on Instagram with #phillyhomeportrait"
Stay passionate, Brianna @campwilson
BILLY CRESS @billycress
First stop on my tour of Philadelphia is Race Street Pier! RSP offers a great view of the Delaware River Waterfront (@delawareriverwaterfront) which has been going through a huge transformation in recent years. Set just under the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, RSP is beautiful in all seasons and is a must see while visiting Philly.
(at Race Street Pier)
Next on my Philly tour is an old favorite: Johnny Brenda's. This bar, restaurant and music venue is located in the heart of Philadelphia's Fishtown neighborhood. It maintains the feel of an elegant, iconic historical social hall with design elements reminiscent of a turn of the century burlesque club or theater. Johnny Brenda's @johnnybrendas is built on a philosophy of supporting the local community, serving all-draft, high quality beer from local brewers as well as an eclectic menu using fresh ingredients supplied from area farmers.
(at Johnny Brenda’s)
Next on my list is a unique outdoor clothier with its own coffee bar: United By Blue @unitedbyblue UBB isn't just a retail space however. They're driven by the idea of associating the sale of each product with a concrete environmental action. For every product sold, UBB removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways through company organized and hosted cleanups.
(at United By Blue)
Eastern State Penitentiary @easternstate is a touristy Philadelphia destination that even the locals love. It was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin with crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Touring this history rich icon is a must do while visiting Philly.
Next is a highly suggested restaurant and cocktail bar located in Rittenhouse Square. Twenty Manning @twentymanninggrill pairs seasonal, classic fare with a beautifully relaxed aesthetic. This restaurant prides itself on being a welcoming neighborhood spot.
(at Twenty Manning Grill)
The first café on my list is a Fishtown favorite. ReAnimator Coffee @reanimatorcoffee is driven by the experience of coffee. They are passionate about their craft and care about their neighborhood. ReAnimator had added a second café in nearby Kensington which is housed in a refurbished factory and where they do their roasting.
(at Reanimator Coffee)
One of the best spots in Philadelphia to catch a sunset is the Ben Franklin bridge walk. This steel suspension bridge first opened in July 1926 as the Delaware River Bridge connecting Philadelphia with Camden, NJ. You'll find the bridge walk used by hundreds of runners, dog walkers and photographers alike.
A visit to Philadelphia isn't complete without a stop at the PMA. @philamuseum is one of the largest and most renowned museums in the country. From its brilliant permanent collection to its beautifully curated exhibits, PMA is a must see for any museum goer.
It's easy to imagine you're at a giant, royal, European garden while strolling around @longwoodgardens. One of the United States' premier horticultural displays lies a short ride outside Philadelphia. Longwood Gardens consists of over 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands and meadows that contain 11,000 types of plants and trees. A must see while in the Philadelphia region.
(at Longwood Gardens)
The next spot on the list is La Colombe's flagship café located in Fishtown. This spacious café also houses La Colombe's @lacolombecoffee distillery and a mural by street artist Stephen Powers.
P.S. & Co. @psandco is an organic, gluten-free, vegan, kosher parve cafe in Philly that will win over even the most diehard cheesesteak and soft pretzel guy. Try their cold-press drinks for a delicious treat!
(at Pure Sweets & Co.)
Last stop on my tour of Philadelphia. This is the view of Center City from South Street Bridge. This bridge connects the neighborhoods University City and Devil's Pocket and bridges the Schuylkill River. SSB offers one of the best views of Philadelphia's downtown and has recently added the Schuylkill River Banks Boardwalk which runs over the river, connecting to the bridge.
Thanks for following along. I hope you enjoyed my tour of Philadelphia!
(at South Street Bridge)