travel notes | philadelphia.

I really liked Philadelphia. After a long day of travelling I was very relieved to arrive in this beautiful city late at night after being awake for a staggering 25 hours. For someone who requires and adores a lot of sleep, that was pretty hellish.

{please note, this post is an edit of the original version which was posted in june 2016, i’m trying to rewrite old content so it can be actually ~ useful ~  for people exploring philly}


We flew to the US through JFK so I have no experience with arriving internationally or domestically to Philadelphia airport. We hopped on a bus from NYC to Philadelphia and whilst it was cheap, it was stressful and not the best idea after a seven and a half hour flight. In Philadelphia itself we did a lot of exploring on foot thanks to where we stayed but the subway system is very extensive and quite easy to use.


We were visiting Ali’s best friend from the Bahamas en route there and she was a lovely host. I really enjoyed experiencing American college culture as we were staying with her in her Drexel University dorms. It was super different to my own university and the freshman dorms were all in one area and it had a real campus feel to it. There was a lot of green space with events being organised and food outlets for the students on your doorstep.


The weather was incredibly hot in Philadelphia – especially what I was compared to. Philadelphia is a huge city as well so we were never going to fit everything in combined with the weather situation. Our first stop was the Porch which a giant outdoor ‘porch’ located next to 31stStreet Station and took some photos near the iconic ‘xoxo’ sign. Love is a bit of a theme in Philadelphia so make sure you stop by the ‘Love’ sign in Love Square.

I wanted to soak up all of the American shopping culture so we explored the city centre and spent some time browsing the shops including a huge GAP outlet, Uniqlo and of course, Victoria’s Secret. I am very chuffed with $20 bra that I managed to find. It feels such good quality and I’m so excited to wear it.

We also explored Philadelphia’s Magic Garden. This is a giant outdoor piece of artwork covering half a block by artist Isaiah Zagar. It is beautiful and so intricately designed. It is fully immersive and you can really see all the incredible details. It costs 8$ entry with a student ID (including British ones).

Old City is another must to explore if in Philadelphia. You can soak up the history by seeing the Liberty Bell and the house of the woman who designed the American flag. We also stopped by an animal shelter called Paws which is full of lovely animals waiting to be rehomed.


Rebekah had a food plan with ‘dining dollars’ and ‘meal plans’ which meant she treated us to breakfast every morning at a café called Urban on the campus. I had two delicious bagels (although they were a strange shape) and a croissant but there were lots of pastries and fruit on offer. We ate a couple of places on campus whilst there as we hung out with Rebekah’s friends and I can’t remember the name of them. We definitely had fried chicken and I had an iconic chilly cheesesteak one night too! It was filled with students and university staff and it gave me a taste of student food culture across the pond.

A great place to stop for a coffee or a snack is Saxbys. They are an independent coffee chain across Philadelphia and feel like a Starbucks but with more character and charm. I still think about them to this day!

The US is one place I’ll break my rule of ‘no chain food unless it is McDonald’s’ so of course I had to try Chipotle. I adore Mexican cuisine so having it as fast food and so well-priced is right up my street. There are lot of different options and I would 10/10 recommend.

My favourite meal in the whole of Philadelphia however was at Reading Terminal Market. I adore a food hall as much as the next person and this one felt special. You can grab any type of cuisine here from Philly cheesesteaks to fruit and veg vendors to doughnuts. I finally settled on a delicious chicken sandwich with lots of yummy extras like mozzarella and jalapenos followed by a delicious M&M chocolate doughnut for only 99 cents.

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