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One Day in Philadelphia

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A guest submission by Kei A.

Start With SEPTA

Today, I spent the day in Philadelphia.  The first thing I did was buy myself a one day pass on SEPTA. This is the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.  One convenience day pass is enough for 8 rides on any bus, trolley, or subway in the city.

Reading Terminal Mkt.

The first place I went was the Reading Terminal Market.  It is better to go there in the morning before it gets crowded.  I went to Market Bakery because they seemed to have the most variety.  I had a hot cup of Reading Coffee Roasters coffee and a Baker Street Bread Company croissant.  I sat there and ate peacefully until about 10 a.m. when more people started crowding the market.

Visit the Palestra 

I am trying to get more into college basketball, so after breakfast I went to visit the Palestra.  Also known as “The Cathedral of College Basketball”, this arena is famous for being the home gym of the historic University of Pennsylvania Quakers basketball team where the most storied and greatest rivalry of city college basketball teams would play, called, “The Big 5” (Penn, Villanova, Temple, St. Joseph’s, and LaSalle).  

Cathedral Basilica

There was no game going on so after that I went to visit another famous cathedral in the area. This one has a much higher religious following than the University Pennsylvania Quakers. This was the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. This beautiful structure was built as early as 1864 and was built during a time that the relationship between Protestants and Catholics were tumultuous.  In fact there are no windows on street level because there were religious riots going on at the time.

The Philly Cheesesteak

I decided to go to the place where the cheesesteak was invented, Pat’s King of Steaks.  According to Philadelphia’s official tourism site, Pat Olivieri invented the cheesesteak in the 1930s.  Located in the corner of 9th and Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia, the two most famous shops serving cheesesteaks 24 hours, Pat’s and Genos always have a line.  I decided I wanted one without oinions, but with cheese. I had to practice before I hit the order, counter and I ordered, “one wiz without” (which means I wanted one cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz but without onions)

Independence Hall

After lunch, I wanted to see my country’s history by visiting Independence Hall.  After the constitution was ratified, Philadelphia was the nation’s capital for a little while.  Independence Hall was where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were both drafted and adopted.  Unfortunately, the only admission was allowed by tour so I had to go with a group of people instead of being able to enjoy my time alone.  

Find Philadelphia attractions.

The Liberty Bell

I walked over to the Liberty Bell across the street after I was done. There is an inscription on the bell that reads, “ Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof.” Initially, the inscription was meant to commemorate the Charter of Privileges in 1701 that allowed the people of Pennsylvania religious liberties and self-government. In the 1800’s, it became celebrated by abolitionists but I feel that the phrase is representative of this country as a whole.  

Dinner at Penrose Diner

My day was coming to a close.  It was late evening, and I was hungry again.  I went to the famous Penrose Diner. It is located near the professional sports stadiums in South Philadlephia.  I’m glad I took public transportation because there was no parking to be found anywhere. Afterwards, I came back to my hotel room and called it a good day.


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