It took me quite a while to start writing about my trip to the US. After Christmas, the New Year and some work I had to do, it is only coming now… In December, I spent 10 days in the US. The first 5 days in Philadelphia.
We landed in New York because it is usually cheaper to do so and also more convenient. After a lot of delays with the plane and then the bus that was taking us to Manhattan, we almost missed the coach to Philly. Luckily, it was late as well so we managed to jump on it (literally). We took a Greyhound. It takes around 2 hours and it’s really cheap. We booked the tickets about a month in advance and it was $10 each for one way. I love taking Greyhound buses because for me they are the typical « I’m travelling the USA » buses.
Accommodation wise, we stayed at some friends so it was great! Even if Philly is cheaper than Ny or Chicago, it’s still nicer to be station with relatives. FYI, a night in an Airbnb private room is around the £60 mark.
We did not stop exploring. The city is quite small (for America!) so it’s easy to do a lot in a relatively small amount of time. Therefore, it’s also nice to be able to walk rather than being in transports all the time. Our friends live in Manayunk so we had to take a train in the morning and evening but otherwise we walked everywhere.
On the first day, we explored the city to get to know it better. I like to do that when I arrive in a new place, just wandering around for the first hours/ day is good to get a glance of what you’re going to do for the next few days. We went to Reading Terminal Market which is a cute covered market, full of food stands. Basically, you get something to eat at one of them and then you go to the area where the table and chairs are to eat. We also went close to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, amazing at night time! We also walked to Elfreth Alley, a tiny street which looks like it could be in London rather than in the US. Love it!
Then, on the second day we started visiting. First, the Barnes Foundation. It’s an art museum created from a private collection. Even though the paintings are incredible (all the Renoir!!!), I was a bit disturbed by the layout. The donor wanted the paintings to be arranged like he wanted it. This means there is no logic, no chronology or anything. Of course, the collection is so amazing that I would highly advise you to go!
(Info: closed on Tuesdays, free for students on weekdays, adults $25.)
Following that, we went next door, to the Rodin museum. It is clearly a Philly staple for sculpture lovers. Incredible works of art but smaller than we thought.
(Info: closed on Tuesdays, donations to enter.)
We also went to the Christmas market which is in the courtyard of the City Hall. It is very nice, a lot of things are written in German because of the proximity of the Amish people. They sold Christmas mugs, I obvs had to get one. Then, we went to Macy’s which is a huge store like Selfridges where there were the most epic Christmas lights.
On the third day, we went to the Liberty Bell and the Independence Hall. (Info: both are free but for the Independence Hall you need a ticket because the tour is compulsory.) It was very iteresting to learn more about the History of the US that we don’t always know that well (I think). I was happy to see where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written and signed. After a coffee and a donut, we went shopping in an outlet outside of the city. From the bus, we saw the biggest mall in the US, « King of Prussia ». So so impressive!
On the fourth and last day, we started with the Magic Gardens. (Info: closed on Tuesdays, adults $10, students $8.) I really wanted to go there because it seemed different to what we could be used to. It’s a house and a garden completely redone by an artist. He basically covered everything with mosaics and works of art. It was truly beautiful!
After that, we went to the Eastern State Penitentiary. (Info: open every day, adults $14 and students $10.) It’s structure was a pattern for loads of others prison worldwide. Al Capone stayed there for almost a year. Finally, we went to the Museum of Art. (Info: closed on Tuesdays, adults $20 and students $14, donations on Wednesdays after 5PM.) This museum is huge! We focussed on European and American art. It is a museum where I would totally go back because you’ve never done it all!
Philadelphie is a city that I loved! It has a unique charm thanks to its important place in US history. Also, it is relatively small so it is easier to get to know it better and in a short amont of time. I would go back there with great pleasure! The fact that we went in mid-December allowed us to visit without a lot of people around. I think it’s a great time to go there if you don’t mind the cold. The Christmas decorations make it very magical.
A video on this trip is going up very soon on my Youtube channel, don’t forget to check it out. Also, there’s also going to be a blog post on NY in the next few days.
Thank you for reading 🙂