Category Archives: travel

philadelphia, i love you

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hey! sorry i haven’t posted in such a long time, i’ve been extremely busy this past month. today is pretty much the last day of my spring break, and i’m set to go back to boston tomorrow. i’ve really enjoyed this past week, and the weather in new jersey has been for the most part amazing. it’s been in the 40s-lower 50s so it hasn’t been perfect almost-spring weather, but at least it hasn’t been freezing. i didn’t really do much this week, besides start filling out job applications because i want to try and get a job this summer, and just relaxing at home doing some arts and crafts. i went into the city with my mom once this week, which was nice because i hadn’t been there since winter break. i had really missed it.

anyway, what i wanted to share with you were some pictures from a day trip i took with my family down to philadelphia. believe it or not, in all my years here in nj, i had not once ever visited philly, even though it’s unbelievably close to where i live, maybe an hour and a half drive away. i was really excited because my favorite thing in the world to do is traveling and i absolutely love visiting new cities, especially large metropolitan cities like philadelphia.

my parents and i arrived there midday, and we basically only did touristy things, like visit landmarks and famous sightseeing areas around the city. i don’t think i was never bored once. but that’s just me, nerissa, u.s. history nerd. it was, thankfully, sunny out most of the day, but it was slightly chilly. however, since we spent all of it walking long distances, i don’t think we felt it as much.

like i said, we pretty much only visited the places most people who go to philly visit, and i enjoyed them all thoroughly. here are some of the pictures i took of the places we went, in the order we visited them.

liberty bell                                    independence hall

obviously, the first place we went to was independence national historic park/ the independence mall area. it’s most notably the place with the liberty bell and independence hall, aka the place where the declaration was signed, the continental congress held meetings, etc. a lot of history happened here. we also got to take a (free!) tour of independence hall which was pretty sweet.

we then walked all the way from independence mall to the edgar allan poe house, which was probably about a fifteen minute walk. on the way there, we also passed by the electric factory, a philly concert venue that i had heard about a lot, and i was very pleased to find out that the venue is in an actual factory! i just thought that was pretty cool.

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we ended up getting to the edgar allan poe house at around 4:30, around closing time for the museum/house, but we got to see the entire place before five o’clock, which was good. it was free admission, and you had the option to take a self-guided tour, which was what most people did. we first went into a small theater in the front of the house and watched like an eight-minute documentary on poe’s life, and then we began the actual tour. you could virtually go anywhere you wanted in the place, in whatever order you wanted, but they also give you a pamphlet that serves as a guide for what’s on each floor. we started from the first floor to the third, and although most of the rooms were completely empty, i still i found it awesome that we were in a place where one of my all-time favorite writers inhabited. also, before we visited the house, i was telling my mom about who poe was and what he wrote about, and while we were in the visitor center at independence mall, she had read about how the house is believed to have served as inspirations for some of his mystery stories, so basically, she went in convinced the place was haunted and was scared the entire time. my dad and i found this absolutely hilarious. there is nothing scary about this place.

after that, we decided to make our way to JFK Plaza, a.k.a. the place where the famous “LOVE” sign is situated. we walked all the way there, and luckily, we also passed by some cool places, like the chinatown and downtown areas.

philly chinatown arch                         philly city hall

the philly chinatown is the fifth metro-area chinatown i’ve ever been to; my mom loves to visit the chinatown neighborhoods and the shops when we go to big cities like chicago or san fran, but unfortunately, we just passed by. also, from what we could tell, it was mostly restaurants and small shops. but, i managed to snap a quick picture of the gate!

from there, we quickly entered the downtown area, where the convention center, most commercial shops, and jefferson station are located. we also had to pass through the city hall, which is literally the most beautiful city hall i think i’ve ever seen in my entire life. the architecture is absolutely stunning, and it has four points that you can walk through. it put the city hall here in boston to fucking shame, that’s for sure. but then again, i think every building is better-looking than the boston city hall. the only one uglier that i can think of is the xanadu building back home in jersey. and i don’t even think that’s a real building to begin with.

anyway. you know, i expected philly to be similar to boston, but it sure is not. sure it’s not as big as new york back home, but it certainly is bigger and more metropolitan than boston. don’t get me wrong, boston is beautiful and i love it, but i hate when people act like boston is as metro as nyc or chicago or something. it’s really not. i think i would feel better if there were more taller buildings all clustered together downtown. and if there was more shopping than just newbury and fanueil. i don’t know.

once we made it through city hall, we finally made it to JFK plaza, which is right across the street. the place was really underwhelming and pretty much desolate, but i think that’s because there’s still no greenery and most of the fountains are empty. people only come here for the LOVE sign, which i suppose is nice. *sips tea* i say this because there’s an exact same one near the MoMA in new york, and it’s bigger. just my onion.

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the one thing i did like about JFK plaza is THE VIEW!!!!!! holy cannoli, right where the LOVE sign is situated, you have an INCREDIBLE view of the philadelphia museum of art, a.k.a. the place with the “rocky” steps of cinematic fame. you can see the place all right, but the only thing was, it is FAR, at least by foot. but we did it anyways!

we walked all the way to the museum, and passing by, there are a number of other museums on the same street, like the franklin institute, and the rodin museum.

we probably arrived there after 20 minutes at around 6:00, and we decided to actually go inside the museum. (pro tip: college students, use yo’ student discount!!!!! you can usually get like five bucks off admission) we didn’t run up the steps like a lot of people were (actually!!) doing, we simply took our time walking up to the top. and it was pretty rewarding. there’s an excellent view of the skyline from the top of the steps, and the surrounding area. i took a looooooooot of pictures.

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like i said, my parents and i decided to go inside the museum, and let me tell you this place is MASSIVE. if you couldn’t tell from the outside, you can definitely tell from the inside. there are only three floors, but the museum makes up for that in width. we only got to see five sections of the museum, and essentially only one floor. i was delighted to find out that the pmoa houses many paintings by monet, van gogh, and picasso, three artists i absolutely adore and admire immensely. i only managed to get a couple of pictures of some of the works that i liked, but here are some of the most important ones!! (i am still reeling from finally seeing one of van gogh’s sunflowers in real life!!!!!!!!!!!! please!!!!!!!!!!)

unfinished klimt          mystic truths         van gogh sunflowers

also, i don’t know if there was some kind event going on while we were there, but there was a jazz band playing at the front of the museum, at the base of the great stair hall, and they played the entire time we were there. i really enjoyed it. since it was friday, the museum closed a little bit later, at 8:45, but we stayed there until about 8. we decided to take a bus back to independence mall, because by that time we were pretty exhausted, and it would still end up being a relatively long trek if we decided to walk all the way back.

all in all, i had a wonderful day exploring philadelphia for the first time with my family on the last few days of my spring break. there are many, many more places i want to visit in this wonderful city, and i’m definitely going to go back as soon as i can.