In front of Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

I lived in a suburb in PA for almost 2 years, and Philadelphia used to be my go to when I wanted something from the city. Now, after I moved to NYC, I decided to go to Philly on Thanksgiving because I wanted a moment to relax. I chose Philly because it’s a very easy drive from NY and because there are many options of things to do there. Places that I didn’t go to when I lived in PA.

My recommendations of historical places to visit are the Rocky Statue and Steps, the Museum of Art, and the Independence Hall. If you are interested in those types of places, I highly recommend those open bus tours. I did one and it was so much fun and I was able to see so many places in couple hours!

At the Love Park

Don’t be fooled by any “Best Philly Cheesesteak” sign in front of any restaurant. Many places say that they are the best place serving the famous sandwich. But after I did some homework (aka reading tons of yelp reviews) I figured out that the two best spots are: Pat's King of Steaks and Tony Luke's I tried both so I could have my own opinion about it and I liked the Tony Luke's slightly more. I have to confess that I was expecting a little more awesomeness from them.

I loved having dinner at Mixto: a 2-story that serves delicious Latin food, at Chinatown in a place called Sang Kee (must try the roast pork), and the coffee shop Square One has a beautiful decoration and is super cozy.

On Black Friday, we took an hour drive to the King of Persia Mall, which is the 2nd largest shopping mall in the US. Although it was a busy day for shopping, it was not too crazy and we had a lot of fun.

I stayed in the Le Méridien, and apart from being a very comfortable, clean, and beautiful hotel, the location of it was the best part of the trip. It was super easy to walk around and explore the city without having to worry about driving and parking.

Even though it was not my first time in Philadelphia, it’s always so nice to look the city with “tourists eyes”. I was able to appreciate simple things I didn’t notice before, get to know new places, and relax just the way I wanted.

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Raquel Paiva

Brazilian fashion and lifestyle blogger based in NYC