A Long Weekend in Philadelphia

We took a little family road trip recently and explored Philadelphia. I hadn’t been there in about 30 years, since a class trip as a child. I was excited to share some of the history with my kids and luckily we had some decent spring days while there. Here is how we spent a long weekend in Philadelphia.

The road trip began with a stop over in New York City. We had pizza lunch there and drove on, arriving in Philadelphia around 4 p.m. After checking into the hotel (stayed at the Hilton Garden) we took a walk to Chinatown, had some dim sum and then walked to Love Park.

It was cool to see the sun setting in the distance, over the art museum.

On our walk back to the hotel we stopped at Trader Joe’s for some snacks!

Our hotel was next door to the Reading Terminal and that is exactly where I wanted to get breakfast the two mornings we were in Philly. The terminal is filled with food markets, bakeries, cafes, you name it.

From Reading Terminal we walked to the Old City area of Philly. It took us about 15 minutes to walk over to Elfreth’s Alley. It is the oldest residential street in the US! I loved it; right up my “alley” lol

Walking down Bladen’s Court to Elfreth’s Alley

We walked onto…Starbucks…(I’m laughing here). I would have preferred a mom and pop cafe but the kids always seem to look for familiarity while traveling. We were cold and enjoyed a quick warm up. We walked Arch St to the Betsy Ross house. It wasn’t opened yet so we admired from the street.

Nearby is the Christ Church graveyard. I didn’t know at the time that the actual church wasn’t in the same location and we never did get to see it. We viewed Benjamin Franklin’s grave from the street. We each tossed a penny next to the grave, making sure to not get them right on the stone. I read the pennies have been deteriorating the stone and we were not about to contribute to that.

From there we walked over to the Independence Visitor’s Center. A great place to stop first before the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. I had booked our Independence Hall tours ahead of time, a must do! FYI, the visitor’s center is where you can get your NPS stamps and junior ranger program guides (we are into that stuff).

After checking out the area of the first President’s house, we waited about 15 minutes in the line for the Liberty Bell. The line stayed long all morning! For the bell and hall you have to pass through security areas and that takes some time.

We had time to spend before our scheduled tour and used it to walk over to the very first post office! The hours said it was open but it was not. Apparently it’s open randomly. I didn’t get to mail myself a postcard, oh well.

The family and I explored that area of Benjamin Franklin‘s neighborhood.

I decided to head to Independence Hall from behind it, exploring the other colonial buildings and seeing the gardens. The spring flowers were all in bloom, so pretty!

I loved seeing all the old cobblestone roads.

Independence Hall tours take about 20 minutes, spending time in the room of the first Supreme Court and then the room across from it where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed.

Inside Independence Hall

A late lunch for us was at the Red Owl Tavern and I was thankful I had made reservations ahead of time because it was busy! The food pleased all.

With full bellies we walked back to our hotel room to have siesta time. Around dinner we walked around the Center City area and grabbed açaí bowls, having been stuffed from lunch. That area was definitely a lot noisier and crazier! I saw a guy walking with his pants down (with nothing underneath) and said it was time to go back to the room!

I didn’t sleep well from all the noise in the area so therefore would not recommend the hotel we stayed at. I enjoyed breakfast again at the Reading Terminal the last day. We had parked in a garage next door and grabbed the car at that point. I couldn’t leave Philadelphia without going to the Rocky Steps!

It was freezing that morning!

If I had more time I would have walked around the art museum but we had to head back to Connecticut. The drive was about three hours. A great family fun weekend!

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