Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Philadelphia :: Highlights

I thought I'd share a few highlights from our brief, but fun, trip to Philadelphia last week. Since I knew I was going to have a toddler in tow, I wasn't sure what to expect or plan for, when it came to exploring the city. Luckily, Henry was very excited about all of the trucks, cars, buses, and people so he was happy to be out and about in the stroller.

Our hotel, the Crowne Plaza (Center City), was in a great location (Market Street and 18th Street), only a few blocks from Rittenhouse Square.

I highlighted in orange the area of the city was able to cover, on foot (with a toddler) in two days...not too shabby!). You can find an original copy of this map here.

I highlighted in black, most of the streets we hit (many more than once) and put a star to note some of the places of interest. I stayed in the main corridor between Market Street and Walnut Street. Walnut, Chestnut, and Sansom Streets have tons of restaurants to choose from (national and local), as well as plenty of places for shopping (ranging from luxury chains to really cute boutiques). A great place to stop for snacks, or maybe something from the bakery (or to take back home) is Di Bruno Brothers. It's a very Dean and Deluca sort of gourmet food market that also carried lots of regional items.

I believe, from my crude calculations, we walked about 10 miles over two days.
A really fun place for lunch is the Reading Terminal Market. Lots of really neat local and regional food. Very easy with a stroller, especially before the lunchtime rush (and even then it wasn't horrible). I was there about 11am and then later at Noon. It gets really crowded, really fast, for lunch.

Henry enjoying a pretzel.
Having a cheese steak and fries.
We shared a red velvet cupcakes from the Flying Monkey Bakery in the Market.
I'm not quite ready for the Pumpple Cake (at Flying Monkey Bakery).
Thursday night we went to dinner at Monk's Cafe (on the recommendation of two friends). It wasn't exactly kid-friendly--it is a bar after all. We were on the early side (about 5pm) so it wasn't really crowded and Henry behaved. We didn't have the luxury of getting to enjoy some of their more popular dishes (would take too long to eat) or to drink any of the amazing beers on their menu, but we did have a nice short meal and a beer or two. And we had a nice little walk to the restaurant, which is located just off Walnut Street in a pretty residential area.

You wear your sunglasses at the bar if you're cool.
It was such a lovely day on Friday that eating lunch outside at Parc Brasserie at Rittenhouse Square was too good to pass up. Plus, you know how I love all things frenchie!!
I love how they have the chairs facing out toward the street.

For the second meal in a row, Henry ate french fries. He has had no interest in fries until this trip. Oh yeah, and my tomato tart was FANTASTIC.
Rittenhouse Square, one of the original open space parks laid out by William Penn, was a great place to let Henry run and play. He even made a few new friends.
Blond and blonder.

We did stroll all the way down to the oldest part of the city where the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are located--Independence National Historic Park. I knew some of the buildings were undergoing renovations, so I wasn't too heart-broken when we got down there and many were closed. Henry is too young to be interested in the buildings and monuments anyway.
That's the Liberty Bell at the bottom.
Independence Hall.
It was about dinner time after we checked out Independence National Historic Park, so we hopped across the street to Jones. The atmosphere was cool and retro, just slightly upscale. It sort of has an upscale diner feel and fairly kid-friendly (we were there early and the crowd was mellow, but I'm sure that changes a bit after 7pm). There isn't a kids menu, but plenty of items on the menu that most kids will eat (not mine, he just ate bread that came with the meal).

It's hard to tell because my flash didn't fire, but Henry is double fisting the "purple people eater" drink his daddy ordered for him (grape juice, lemonade, and Sprite).
On the way back to the hotel, walking up Walnut Street (my main route north to south, even though I did venture off here and there), I spotted Max Brenner so we stopped in with our already sugared up toddler for dessert.

I had the hot chocolate (which is my favorite there), but Kirk ordered this disaster for himself and Henry to share. It was some sort of peanut butter and chocolate ice cream sundae that also had hazelnuts and carmelized bananas. Henry just ate that bowl of chocolate sauce (on the left) with a spoon.

Sugar coma.
So after Henry was fully recharged, we headed back to the hotel with a toddler on the loose. He did enjoy a little after dinner jogging and dancing.

We had a great trip to Philadelphia and I really can't wait to go back with Henry again. Other than some of the stores and restaurants being a little difficult to access with a stroller (and some being impossible), everything was easy and Henry had a great time!

No comments: