Write your own history in the unforgettable city of Philadelphia
By Bonnie Siegler
So much history has been immortalized in Philadelphia; it’s been the centre of American politics since the 18th century, when the Founding Fathers met to sign the Declaration of Independence and write the U.S. Constitution. And then there is Philadelphia’s grit on the silver screen in “Rocky,” though the City of Brotherly Love has come a long way since those scrappy days. Thanks to top chefs and buzzed-about restaurants and beer gardens, boutiques, museums, and tony neighbourhoods, Philadelphia offers plenty of places to eat, drink, shop and sleep.
A walk through history
Hotel Monaco, located in the Old City, is situated in the country’s most historic square mile. Across the street from the hotel sits the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, and down the street lies Betsy Ross’ house. Hotel Monaco’s interior design of “old meets new” encourages guests’ exploration of both the property and the city itself.
“The hotel has incorporated elements of the local surroundings into its decor,” says Christina Paonessa, area public relations coordinator for the hotel. “Liberty Bells are drawn into the guestroom wallpaper and photos of Philadelphia Mummers line the hallways.”
Moreover, the hotel’s rooftop bar, Stratus Lounge, is a very popular nightspot with fantastic views of the city below. It boasts Philadelphia’s only true indoor/outdoor rooftop lounge, making it a great place to relax with friends or party at night.
“We hope our guests take away a fun, well-rounded experience in Philadelphia, experiencing both its rich history and exciting new developments,” adds Paonessa.
Grab a bite
Conveniently located adjacent to Hotel Monaco, the Red Owl Tavern has everything from burgers to fresh fish dishes from sustainable fisheries. Famous 4th Street Deli in the Queen Village neighborhood has been serving tourists and locals towering corned beef sandwiches and rugelach for over 90 years. Sampan, found in the Washington Square West neighborhood, has delicious Asian food while El Vez is a must-visit for churros dipped in thick chocolate or fresh guacamole and chips. If you’re looking for something more upscale, Talula’s Garden has a delicious menu with outdoor dining and a drinking patio for brunch or dinner. However, you can’t go home without trying a famous Philly cheesesteak—Sunny’s on Market in Old City or Jim’s on South Street both offer delicious options.
Play tour guide
A stay in Philadelphia means a walk through political history—so make sure you have comfortable shoes. Sample some of Philly’s most famous landmarks, like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Be sure to visit Signer’s Hall, which has 42 life-size bronze sculptures of the Founding Fathers. You can walk through the room and even touch Ben Franklin’s head—his glasses have worn off three times from so much intimacy, and have not been replaced a fourth time. On your way back from Betsy Ross’ house, stop by Christ Church on Fifth Street. There, you can find Benjamin Franklin’s grave strewn with pennies galore in honor of his famous saying: A penny saved is a penny earned. The National Museum of American Jewish History is also a uniquely relevant destination for those visiting Philadelphia—take a tour of the museum’s 5 floors for a fascinating look into Jewish culture and their collective history.
The Rocky Steps that lead to the East Entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art are as famous as the Liberty Bell. When you make it to the top of the stairs, mimic Rocky’s triumphant celebration, and make sure you turn around for the breathtaking view of the scenic Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the city skyline. It’s worth your determined effort.