I’m no stranger to Philly – I’ve visited the city numerous times over the years. Naturally, this means I’ve checked all of the touristy things off my Philadelphia bucket list. I’ve had my picture taken in front of the Liberty Bell, I’ve been to Independence Hall and I’ve even jogged up the “Rocky” steps. So when I found myself with 22 hours to kill in Philadelphia during a long layover, I decided to head off the beaten path and explore parts of the city that most first or even second time tourists don’t typically see.
First things first, though, I had to find a place to stay. I wanted to ensure I had a good hotel room waiting for me after a long day of wandering around Philadelphia, so I checked out HotelTonight’s app. Within a few minutes, I had booked a great hotel room in Philadelphia, and it just happened to be located in one of my favorite neighborhoods in Philly. With my hotel taken care of, I was ready to head out and see just why Philadelphia locals love their city so much.
I’ve heard of the Mütter Museum before, but I always decided against checking it out because, to be honest, I’m a bit squeamish. So the thought of browsing a collection of anatomical oddities, such as strangely shaped skulls and conjoined twin skeletons, freaked me out. However, I decided to venture outside of my comfort zone and bought a ticket to the Mütter Museum – and I’m sure glad I did. I’ve never been to a museum quite as fascinating as the Mütter, and it’s definitely one of the most interesting things I have done during my travels.
After seeing so many skulls and brains in jars at the Mütter Museum, I needed some fresh air, so I made my way to the Spruce Street Harbor Park for lunch. This “urban beach” is a great spot to kick back, relax and enjoy the weather on warm spring or summer days. There’s plenty of good food on the waterfront boardwalk, and there’s definitely no way to beat the laidback atmosphere of the Spruce Street Harbor Park. I grabbed some food and a newspaper and spent hours just chilling on this trendy urban beach. These low-key hours were probably the highlight of my day in Philly.
When I finally decided I had relaxed enough near the water, I decided to take a leisurely one-mile stroll to the Philadelphia Magic Gardens, an indoor/outdoor space filled with creative, inspiring works of street art. It’s easy to get lost in the wonder of this urban art space, as there is seemingly endless imaginative artwork here, from wild sculptures made out of kitchenware to detailed mosaics of seascapes. If you want to see cool artwork without browsing massive, sterile museums, you’ll definitely want to check out the Magic Gardens the next time you’re in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia is ranked as one of the top craft brewery destinations in the country, so I knew I had to taste some local brews during my brief visit. While you can pay for various brewery tours, I decided to just create my own little brewery tour and stopped at some of Philly’s best-known craft breweries, such as Philadelphia Brewing Co., Dock Street Brewing Co. and Yards Brewing Company. I had flights of beer at every brewery so I could really get a sense of Philadelphia’s craft beer scene, and by the end of my little tour I definitely knew which brewery I need to return to next time I’m in Philly. I’m not going to tell you which one was my favorite, though – you’ll just have to try them for yourself during your stay in the City of Brotherly Love.
After all that beer, I wanted some good food, so I headed over to the Night Market. As soon as I arrived, I realized just how popular this street food festival is. The area was packed with locals (and a few tourists) looking to socialize and try some delicious food truck grub on a warm summer night. There was every type of food truck imaginable, from grilled cheese to Thai food to lobster rolls, and it was almost impossible to decide which truck to order from. Spending the evening amidst all of the excitement, energy, and tasty food at the Night Market was the perfect way to end my quick trip to Philly.
While we all know Philadelphia as the birthplace of American democracy, there’s so much more to this city than what you read in a textbook. During my stay in Philly, I experienced a completely new side of the city and realized there’s something for every type of visitor to enjoy. So if you find yourself in Philadelphia, even just for one day, book your accommodations with HotelTonight so that you can plan your own Philly adventure.