Philadelphia: A 24-Hour Tasting Menu

Philadelphia’s recent marketing campaign is crafted to combat its reputation as the poor red-headed stepcousin of every other American city.

“Eat me” would have worked too.

A vibrant art scene, great sports complexes, and food choices sure to make you go “mmmmmmmm,” are just a few of the morsels you can sample in a 24-hour tour of the city.

Choose a Center City hotel for a convenient base of operations. Loews features Uniquely Local Offers© with a double room, free overnight parking and a Welcome Gift recently advertised on their website for $219. A similar room in a New York luxury hotel would cost significantly more. Happy surprises like this abound in Philly.

Photo by G. Widman for GPTMC

Once you’ve checked into your hotel, head over to the Reading Terminal Market, the city’s historic indoor farmer’s market, for your first taste of Philadelphia. Let your nose guide you down aisles stuffed with cheeses, oils, and pretzels. Try DiNic’s famous roast pork sandwiches, touted by Travel Channel’s Adam Richman as the “best sandwich in America.” The best sandwich in America? Fans of Philly’s other great sandwiches – cheesesteaks and The Schmitter– probably beat the crap out of Richman when he made that particular declaration.

From the market, stroll west to City Hall, proudly billed as the largest stone-masonry building in the world. Clearing up a common misconception, it’s not Ben Franklin on the roof but William Penn and it is possible to ride an elevator to view the city from the observation deck. Continue west to LOVE Park, named for Robert Indiana’s famous sculpture. Kiss someone. If it has to be the guy offering to take your picture for five bucks, so be it.

Citizens Bank Park Philadelphia

If you figure out what the Phanatic is, please advise.

Now it’s time to “play ball!” Or drop a puck, depending on the season. Philadelphians are crazy for their Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers and showed their love by constructing fantastic new stadiums in one section of South Philly, easily accessible via I-95 or the SEPTA Broad Street line. Head down there and catch a game, or, if it’s one of the three days a year when no team’s in town, catch a band at Xfinity Live!, an entertainment venue located in the complex.

For breakfast, try Green Eggs Cafe. Just be prepared to wait. The Locust Street location is extremely busy, for very good and very fattening reasons. Balance the sweetness of their famous Red Velvet pancakes with a savory breakfast burrito. The plates are massive and meant for sharing.

Green Eggs Cafe

Photo by Jack Ramsdale.

Adjacent to the cafe, is one of Philly’s famous murals, Philadelphia Muses. Once you’re able to push back from the table, travel the Mural Mile, a self-guided walking tour of 17 works by street artists. Begun in 1984 as an effort to combat graffiti, the Mural Arts program is embraced and celebrated by the city and may remind you of contemporary versions of the building frescoes in Oberammergau, Germany.

Speaking of Germany, on your way out of town stop at Morgan’s Pier, a biergarten on the Delaware River with a stunning view of the Ben Franklin Bridge. Although you might not be really hungry after breakfast, you can probably manage to slide down a few lamb kebobs and some snack bacon. Is there ever a time when snack bacon is not a good idea?

Morgan's Pier

The view of the Ben Franklin Bridge from Morgan’s Pier.

“I once spent a year in Philadelphia. I think it was on a Sunday,” quipped native son W.C. Fields. If given the chance, the comedian might find that a year full of Sundays still isn’t enough time to sample all that the City of Brotherly Love has to offer.

6 thoughts on “Philadelphia: A 24-Hour Tasting Menu

  1. Speaking of odd and charming, can’t wait to head back down to catch Open Air, an installation of 24 robotic searchlights controlled by voice messages sent in by the public.
    Re: the PLCB – the PA Liquor Control Board? What are the issues?

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