Since we live in Washington, DC, we decided to take advantage of one of Travelzoo’s deals and booked a hotel for a 2-night weekend getaway in Philadelphia to see where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written.
Unique to Philadelphia:
- Eat Philly Cheesesteaks
- Visit Independence Hall & see the Liberty Bell
- Visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Rocky steps)
See Independence Hall & the Liberty Bell – Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are located across the street from each other, so you should see the both. We arrived fairly late in the day and were able to be the very last tour into Independence Hall. After waiting about 30 minutes in line, our tour guides let us into the hall where we saw 2 rooms on the first floor. We were sadly disappointed that we did not get to go up into the tower. So therefore we couldn’t see where National Treasure (we love that movie) was filmed. The Liberty Bell is located directly across the street and could be seen through the windows of the building it is stored in.
Eat Cheesesteaks – See below
We also managed to drive past
Betsy Ross’s house, Eastern State Penitentiary, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art which I wish I would have had time to see.
Next time I visit Philadelphia:
- Go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia can easily be visited by train and then once you are there you can take a cab around the city. We drove our car up from Washington DC in order to do some antiquing along the way
(Delaware has several nice shops). Parking was pretty difficult to find in the area near the cheesesteak restaurants, so we ended up just taking a taxi out to dinner.
Hilton at Penn’s Landing – Very nice, pretty standard, nothing fancy. Located close enough to walk to Independence Hall, but required a car or taxi to get anywhere else. Our hotel deal came with free drinks in the hotel lounge which we used. All in all, the hotel was fine for the price that we paid. I’m not against staying here again, but also not against finding somewhere new either.
Restaurants/ Meals & Drinks:
Pat’s the King of Steaks – When I researched Philly cheesesteaks, everything that I read said that there are two rival cheesesteak restaurants, Pat’s & Geno’s. They are located on opposite corners, which probably only enhances their rivalry. We selected Pat’s since they boast about being the “original” cheesesteak, although Geno’s is a slightly more impressive restaurant. My understanding is that the issue of Pat’s vs. Geno’s is pretty polarizing, so we can only say that our cheesesteak was good, although not the best one we had that weekend. We recommend a 3rd choice, Jim’s.
Jim’s Steaks – When we went out to dinner, we talked to our cab driver and asked for recommendations. He suggested Jim’s Steaks saying that it was far better than either Pat’s or Geno’s. So we took him up on his offer and have to agree, Jim’s Steaks is by far the best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia. The restaurant is cash only, so be prepared. You order on the mainlevel and then go upstairs and cross your fingers that you can find a seat. Oh well, all part of the experience! (I messed up and didn’t get any pictures at Jim’s!)
Amis – We wanted to go somewhere slightly upscale for a date night dinner on the town. After a lot of research and a recommendation from a friend, we selected Amis. Amis is listed as an Italian restaurant, which sounded like a pretty good choice. Unfortunately, neither Brian nor I was very impressed with our menu selection. Brian selected the strip loin steak and was frustrated that his medium-rare steak came out more rare & charred on the outside than he would like. I selected a bolognese pasta dish which was fine, but nothing spectacular. We also we frustrated with our table which crammed us in so that we felt like we were sitting with diners at the tables next to us. Overall, it was a pretty disappointing experience when you weighed in the cost (especially knowing how inexpensive cheesesteaks are) and we are unlikely to return.
Tips/ Things to Know:
- Parking is difficult to find. The sides of the roads are packed with cars.
- Overall a day or two is enough to see the highlights of Philadelphia.
- Based on my research, they are very serious about cheesesteak ordering. Apparently you are supposed to be as efficient as possible and order using as few words as you can. See this Guide for Ordering Instructions
My Time Spent Visiting:
- 2 days & 1 evening for a weekend getaway in January 2016