I love Philadelphia so last week when I took the day off I forced my boyfriend to come with me on a Philadelphia day trip.
Philadelphia is great but I’m not quite sure why I love it so much. I just think it’s really great! Okay…already said it was “great.”
As a kid I grew up closer to Philadelphia than NYC. So even though I lived in New Jersey, “the city” to me meant Philadelphia. We didn’t call it “the city,” we called it “Philly,” which now sounds very grating for whatever reason and causes pain in my ears when I hear it. So I make sure to fully pronounce “Philadelphia” when speaking about it.
Not sure if you’re aware but in the southern and western parts of NJ things are pretty different. A good different! It’s part of what makes New Jersey the best, our ability to absolutely kill it in every category. Especially, but not limited to, completely different and even opposite categories.
But this is about a Philadelphia day trip.
So here we go.
30th st. station.
I’m absolutely obsessed with riding the rails, so yes I will begin with the train station.
But even before the train station I would like to discuss Amtrak. Amtrak is one of my top 10 favorite things in the actual universe. I am that pleased with it. Riding Amtrak feels glamorous and relaxing and comfortable and efficient, all in one.
The journey from Newark Penn Station, in Newark, to 30th St. Station, in Philadelphia, takes about an hour and 10 minutes via regular-ass Amtrak. If you’re rich AF or your company is paying for it, you can ball out with an Acela ticket and it will take UNDER AN HOUR. This is a journey that traverses 88 miles!
It is the perfect mode of transportation.
Newark Penn Station is overall a garbage fire. But they do their best. It’s a cool old building and it always smells like delicious popcorn, so they have that going for them.
30th St Station is certainly an upgrade in comparison. It’s ALSO in a cool old building but is better maintained and has more space and cool old building features and even has a FOOD COURT.
Speaking of food courts, on this particular day trip to Philadelphia I went to Reading Terminal for the first time. I don’t know why I’ve never gone but I do know that it reminded me of Grand Central Market in LA. Like it was essentially the exact same place.
So what I wanna know is…WHO COPIED WHO? Not that I really care. Just for my records.
Either way there was a ton of delicious food. When we entered, in my mind I had this idea that we were walking around and looking at the food and then we would collectively make a decision of what foods to try and we would get them and share them.
I don’t know where I got this idea from because this isn’t something that we have ever really done. I also did not express this idea outside of my own mind so I shouldn’t have been surprised when it didn’t happen.
Because of this I ended up just getting a donut. Out of all of the delicious food…I got a donut at Beiler’s Donuts. It was a FANTASTIC donut. But I feel like I kinda blew it and should go back. Not blew it in choosing the donut but blew it in ONLY choosing the donut.
It was a veritable smorgasbord (orgasbord-orgasbord) after all.
Wawa is a 100% necessary stop on any trip to South Jersey/Philadelphia. It’s not up for debate. You must go. I don’t even care what you say. I’m not even listening.
During this time of fear and terror, it was interesting to go to another city and state and see how they’re dealing with the fear and terror there. Just for science.
As we approached Wawa I wondered how we would be served. We were going for coffee, and usually at Wawa you serve yourself. I didn’t know if that would be the case or if THEY would serve us our coffee. I JUST DIDN’T KNOW. I got myself all freaked out and hyped up about it. It was super fun.
Then we walked in…and it was the same! It was still self-serve! I didn’t have to speak to a person and go through the pain of not being able to hear them and not being able to see their mouth move and having to ask them at least 3 times what they said until they got super angry and thought I was messing with them.
Because that’s what happens every time I have to talk to a person in a store. And it is not a good time.
I helped myself to the make it yourself coffee and checked out and only then did I realize that by all the coffee dispensing machines and containers and accoutrement they had boxes of those little donut wax paper things. And those things were there because you were supposed to use them as a sanitary barrier while touching the coffee dispensing machines and containers and accoutrement. Ugh I’m a stupid tourist and I blew it.
the rail park.
The Rail Park was god damn beautiful and a special highlight of the trip for me. I really loved it. We were lucky that it was such a disgustingly perfect October day as well. Clear blue sky, friendly temperature, leaves in their cute fall outfits, all the stuff.
I really love the High Line in NYC, it’s my fav NYC park, so I was super excited to check out The Rail Park because it looked similar. And it was! But it was still its own thing too, of course.
The park had these really cool giant swings to sit on…AND TAKE PHOTOS FOR INSTAGRAM.
But also to sit on and rest and enjoy the sun. I mean it.
And it’s just always nice to be among plants. I can’t say it enough but it brings me peace. These parks that are built on old elevated railroad stuff are literally PARKS IN THE SKY and I feel so happy about their existence.
The Rail Park is a must see. I didn’t want to pick a favorite but fine you talked me into it this was my favorite.
We walked A LOT. The thing is, I really, REALLY like to walk. I don’t care how far it is, I’ll walk there.
Every city I go to I view as a “walking city.” And I’m like, we’ll walk. When I’m making the plan I’m thinking, “What is the route to walk there?” I don’t really pay attention to public transportation and maybe I should. I just love walking so much and it seems so natural. But sometimes it’s too far to walk, which is rare for me but whatevs.
I’m starting this section by saying that because I honestly don’t know how we got to any of these stores. We walked, yes. I personally enjoyed the walking, yes. I had to try to keep my boyfriend from losing his mind when he felt like we were needlessly wandering…also yes. It was tough.
Philly AIDS Thrift was recommended to me by a friend and it was super cool. It was a giant cavern of all kinds of different stuff, and it was a fun maze to walk through. I didn’t take any pictures because I’ve gotten in trouble taking pictures in vintage stores in the past and if there’s one thing I hate it’s getting in trouble.
I first went to Retrospect a couple of years ago on a trip with friends and got a white rabbit coat there. IT IS BEAUTIFUL. This time I just browsed there.
But speaking of fur coats, I got a new light brown faux fur coat at Raxx Vintage. ALSO BEAUTIFUL. Also speaking of getting yelled at, I thought I was getting yelled at when I was trying the coat on. But the employee was just helpfully telling me that anything I tried on needed to go on a special rack to be sanitized. Whew. Not in trouble.
I’m no professional but personally I think vintage and consignment shopping in Philadelphia is better than in NYC, Jersey City, or even Asbury Park, because the prices are overall more reasonable for the same quality of stuff. Yes of course I’ll still shop for vintage/consignment in Jersey City because JC is my entire heart and soul but I would like to return to Philadelphia for a vintage shopping specific trip. Please join me!
There’s all kinds of American history shit in Philadelphia and that’s fun to walk past and think about for a minute.
We took a stroll by the Liberty Bell and peeked into its window. When we were kids the Liberty Bell lived free and wild, out in the fresh air. Now the poor Liberty Bell is trapped in a glass case of emotion, doomed to breathe in the hot stifling breath of panting tourists for all eternity.
I’ve heard the spotted lantern fly population in Philadelphia was pretty bad this past summer, but luckily we only saw one and it was on the wall of the Liberty Bell’s shack of misery.
franklin square park.
As we approached Franklin Square Park we heard loud music playing and when we got closer we realized it was the Rocky theme.
This seemed to fit the scene, as it is Philadelphia, so we walked deeper into the park and saw that it was a fountain performing a water dance to the beat of the Rocky theme.
Fountain performances crack me up because they are silly and ridiculous but also delightful. I was glad to see it and would highly recommend it.
I really REALLY wanted to go to South Fellini. It was one of my main reasons for organizing a Philadelphia trip! But I’m a moron and didn’t realize they’re closed on Thursday and we went on a Thursday.
I stalk them on Instagram (@southfellini) and they really encompass what Philadelphia IS…in my mind. And that is a fun place that doesn’t take itself too seriously but is still proud and has a ton of entertaining and fantastic regional words, accents, and mannerisms along with some of the silliest and most adored sports mascots of all time.
I freaking love Philadelphia and one day I WILL make it to South Fellini and get a whole outfit of JAWN MERCH.
the navy yard.
It was called “Where the Wild Jawns Are” (hehehe jawnssss) and I was so glad I got to see it. Again, I stalk this store hard on Instagram and they posted this a while back and I was like I need to see this shit in person and will travel to another city to do so.
The “wild jawns” are part of M.I.M.O.S.A which is 1- the best name of all time for a collection of public art and 2- had some really pretty art. The Navy Yard was incredibly far from the rest of our life and there was a lot of walking between the art and it seemed a little desolate but it was worth the journey.
There was also a ton of insanely gorgeous fall foliage in The Navy Yard so we got in our leaf peeping for the day.
Oh! And there were also big ass boats! Like unbelievably big. They didn’t look real. They looked like they were painted onto the sky. I’m not making this up.
second district brewing.
The final stop on our trip was Second District Brewing. It was just a random brewery I picked because it was on the way back to the train station from the Navy Yard, but it was great! We sat in the sun outside and drank beer and there were pumpkins and we reflected on our day.
It was a nice little brewery. They also have food but we didn’t get any because we were tired and full, but next time I would try it.
Philadelphia, like most cities, is a city with art. Luckily there is a lot of public art that you can see while you walk around! Here’s just a quick sampling of some of that public art.
I wanted to do a full-on public art walk kinda thing but it was exhausting to try to plan so I gave up. Maybe in the spring we can go back and I’ll have more energy to map it out.
I feel really bad for Trenton because Trenton is a garbage city and there’s nothing to do there, so Trenton’s closest city is Philadelphia and not itself. They have a sad little bridge that says “Trenton Makes the World Takes” which used to be true during the Industrial Revolution but isn’t anymore. It always makes me feel bad when the Amtrak goes by, and that is a traditional milestone that I see on every Philadelphia train trip. Feeling bad for Trenton feels like home.
Unlike Trenton, I get really excited when the train goes past New Brunswick, home of my alma mater Rutgers University. R-U RAH RAH. Before you get to New Brunswick you’re in the woods and then bam you burst out over the Raritan River. Badass.
Okay, my only random thoughts were more things about the train ride.
Oh wait! We did get lunch at some deli with ENORMOUS portions but it wasn’t my favorite. But they DID have HUGE slices of cake and I should have gotten one.
Where are your go-to Philadelphia trip spots? What foods should I eat next time? I feel like I wasn’t sufficiently food-focused and that was an issue. Thx.