Like most life-long New Yorkers, I happen to be of the opinion that the world tends to revolve around the five boroughs. Who wouldn't want to live amongst the sights and sounds of New York City?
Yet this weekend I found myself in Philadelphia visiting relatives and I found, to my delight and horror, that I was falling in love with another city.
Philadelphia is so accessible--after all, it's on a grid pattern just like New York (though I admit I've struggled with directions in Philly with no Empire State Building to guide me). It's relatively quiet and it has a Brooklyn feel to it: So many of the buildings are town homes that you can actually see the sky.
Though I've spent a lot of time in Philadelphia these past few years, it was really only this weekend that I felt suddenly attached to the city.
The energy in the city was apparent: Both the Eagles and the Phillies were in town playing across the street from each other at the stadiums. Walking around yesterday I felt out of place not wear a green Eagles jersey or a red Phillies hat. That would never happen in New York--there's too much else going on, which is not to say that Philadelphia doesn't have a lot going on, it's just that its citizens really rally around a common bond.
This weekend I did all my favorite things to do in Philadelphia: Have dinner at La Baia, an adorable Italian BYO bistro in Center City that has the most insanely good pesto sauce around; went to Chick Fil-A, an addictive southern fried chicken chain that has only one outpost in New York and it's in an NYU dorm (trust me, I've tried to get in), in Liberty Place, a shopping mall; and walked the city.
On the way home last night on Amtrak, I found myself sad to be leaving. Philadelphia is the first city besides New York in which I felt at home. My love for Philadelphia is growing, certainly, and I can't wait to go back.
Take a look at my picks of my favorite spots in Philadelphia below.