What do we think of when we think of Philadelphia, well we can say it was the birthplace of America, the constitution was signed here. It is also where Bruce Springstein's song, "Streets of Philadelphia" took place. That movie, Rocky Balboa took place here also. We can picture Rocky running up those stairs of the Philadelphia Museum, and Philadelphia has their beloved football team, the Philadelphia Eagles, which are more like the Philadelphia "Pigeons" to many New Yorkers. But anyway, Philadelphia, or "Philly" as the locals call it, has some great things to offer for a solid day or weekend trip. The "Italian Market" located along several blocks of 9th street has many authentic Italian foods. In case you were wondering, Rocky Balboa was running through here.
Philadelphia is a little over a hundred miles away from NYC, but it is very easy to get to using public transit. You can hop an Amtrak train for about 50 bucks, depending upon when you go, and that will get you into 30th station Philly in about an hour and twenty minutes. For about half the price, you can take the NJ Transit commuter train in which you would then have to transfer to the SEPTA commuter train in order to get into Philly. This method, all in all will take you about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. So pick your poison wisely. Philly has some decent intercity transit, with two subway lines running perpendicular to each other. Each line passes through Center City, which is like Philly's version of midtown manhattan, although it's 3 times as small, just for comparison's sake. Philly also has a very extensive bus system so there is a pretty good chance you won't be stranded.
When people come to Philadelphia for food though, they automatically think of getting a cheesesteak. You've seen the Travel Channel. You've seen those shows such as "Sandwich Paradise," or Food Paradise, whatever the hell it is. You see these people blabber about which cheesesteak they like the best, either from Pat's or Geno's, just to name the two well known competetors. Now listen, if cheesesteaks are you're thing, I would suggest exiting this page right now! Go watch the Travel Channel or go on Yelp for that matter. Although Anthony Bourdain made it clear that he would not even talk about cheesesteaks at all in his show of "The Layover" when he had like 36 hours in Philly or something. Me? I'm with Bourdain on this one. Cheesesteaks will NOT be covered in this blog. Did I make myself clear? Good.
Philadelphia has a very wide range of cultures and foods to choose from. First, I'll talk about the most iconic food store in Philly, the Reading Terminal Market. Yes, all the travel guides say that you must go here, but I'm telling you, this place is an absolute must! Once a formal train station, this colossal 60,000 square foot bazaar has got it all; from hoagies, to fresh produce, meat, and fish. There are also many amish specialties such as amazing pretzels and other baked goods. This is a must stop in Philly. Philadelphia is also know for having a very large Italian population, especially in South Philly. Head down to South Philly to the Italian Market, which runs along 9th street. This place has the true authentic Italian fare. The burning garbage cans add a tough, sketchty vibe to this place.