A Love Letter to Philly – Part Two

Philadelphia's Magic Garden - mentioned in Part One

Detail from Philadelphia’s Magic Garden (mentioned in A Love Letter to Philly – Part One)

Recently, my friend/colleague Jen Jones Donatelli traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her husband, Joe, on behalf of Travels With Two. Please enjoy reading more about her discoveries in Philly!

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Continued from
A Love Letter to Philly – Part One

Dear Philly,

You didn’t think we’d stop at Fishtown and Bella Vista, did you?

Joe and I may have only had a few days, but we were determined to see as much of you as possible on our “XOXO Philly” adventure. And, as we explored the Northern Liberties and Graduate Hospital neighborhoods, I realized I couldn’t fight this feeling any longer – Philadelphia, to know you is to love you.

Here are five more big reasons why:

Northern Liberties

Green Eggs Café: Sam I Am would certainly approve of this bustling breakfast joint, as did we. Green Eggs Café prides itself on serving up sustainable, affordable eats—sourced from the many nearby farms in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. (There’s also a rooftop garden where they grow their own herbs and spices for the kitchen.) The “green” part of their title is taken pretty seriously, as they follow a hardcore recycling and composting program. So, basically, you can save the guilt for the menu items, which range from an Apple Pie French Toast to a “Kitchen Sink” omelet. A great way to start the day! (P.S. We must have picked the magic hour—around 10 am—because it was completely packed but we had no wait.)

The Apple Pie French Toast is a must-order at Green Eggs Cafe.

The Piazza at Schmidt’s: The weather during our end-o’-September visit was picture-perfect, so we looked for just about any excuse to spend time outside. Enter the Piazza, an 80,000 sq.-ft. open-air plaza where on any given day you might find a free concert, flea market, movie screening or other fun gathering taking place. (Least surprising news ever: you also might spot a Philly sports game being shown on the Jumbotron.) Five restaurants and 35+ art galleries and boutiques are also found on the Piazza. Housed on the former Schmidt’s Brewery site, the Piazza is meant to mimic Rome’s famous gathering places and serves as a place for Philadelphians to mix, mingle and make merry.

An uncharacteristically quiet moment on the Piazza

SugarHouse Casino: Joe and I love to gamble, so we decided to head east toward the casino (about a 10-minute walk from the Northern Liberties neighborhood). And though the blackjack tables were indeed a fun (and ultimately expensive) endeavor, the reason I’m recommending a visit is actually for the boardwalk behind the casino—where you can catch a great view of the Delaware River and decompress for a moment.

Places I’d wish we’d had time to check out in Northern Liberties: Garden Variety, another open-air market not far from the Piazza where you’ll find a variety of food carts and (rumor has it) the occasional pop-up pool party; and Brown Betty’s Desert Boutique, where fresh and lovely pound cakes, cupcakes, and cookies await.

The view behind the Sugarfish Casino from the boardwalk


Graduate Hospital

Resurrection Ale House: When making plans to go to Philly, Joe and I were a bit bummed to realize we didn’t really know anyone in the city that we could visit while in town. That is, until one of Joe’s former improv buddies, Fred, saw our photos on Instagram and mentioned that he had moved from LA to Philly a few years back! Awesome.

Even more awesome? He works at one of the top craft beer bars in the city and invited us to come check it out. (Thanks, Fred.) What we found was 12 beers on tap and a menu that Philadelphia mag hailed as the “Best Bar Food” in town. We noshed on Pan Con Tomate (us), Resurrection Wings (him), and Cauliflower Pumpkin Risotto (me), as well as ample servings of pumpkin brew—and later wished we’d had some room left to sample the bar’s famous “Twice-Fried Chicken.”

Beer art signifies the craft tastiness to come at Resurrection Ale House.

Mutter Museum: Even though the Mutter Museum isn’t necessarily in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood (or “G. Ho” as some cheeky locals call it), it was a very brief three-minute bus ride from Resurrection Ale House, so I’m including it here. Consider this medical museum a “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” for all bodily things, from the 8’4” “Megacolon” to a death cast of the original Siamese twins to book bindings made from human skin.I especially loved the “Grimm’s Magic & Medicine” exhibit, which explored the famous fairy tales through an anatomical lens. If skulls and specimens are your thing, don’t miss this fascinating find, operated by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

Step inside for skulls, specimens, and other surreal stuff.

Places I wish we’d had time to check out in Graduate Hospital: Jet Wine Bar, where you can build your own flight with varietals from around the world; Julian Abele Park, a dog-friendly hang with a seasonal farmers’ market on Fridays; and Robert’s Twi-Lite Lounge, an under-the-radar haunt which features a jukebox (sold), soul food menu, and occasional live jazz.

‘Til next time, Philly, when I hope to check out more neighborhoods and finally climb those famed Art Museum steps Rocky-style. Parting is such sweet sorrow!





This trip was sponsored by Visit Philly, the Philadelphia visitors’ bureau,
who provided airfare, lodgings, itinerary suggestions, and reimbursed expenses.
However, all opinions and observations are her own.


Jen Jones Donatelli, aka “GirlGetawayJJ,” is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer who specializes in travel, lifestyle and all things “girl.” Her writing has appeared in a wide range of outlets, including LA Confidential, Blackboard Eats, Variety and Thrillist, and her photos can be seen in publications like the Los Angeles Times and Condé Nast Traveler. Her travel bucket list includes New Zealand, Turkey, Spain and Costa Rica. Jen can be found on Twitter at @GirlGetawayJJ, on Instagram at @girlgetawayjj and online at www.girlgetawayjj.com



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