Starting off day two, we slept in, had breakfast, and then headed into downtown Philadelphia. We began our visit at the Philadelphia Visitor Information Center.
We had planned on starting off with Independence Hall, but we found out that tickets are required certain times of year (March-December). They do tours 9 AM – 5 PM, but they suggest arriving between 8:30-10 AM to get tickets for that day. We were there before noon, and tickets were gone for the day. You can reserve tickets ahead of time for $1, but other than that option, tickets for entrance and the tours are free.
We decided to start by visiting a site across the street. The State House Bell – now known as the Liberty Bell – used to hang in the original Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall). It was ordered to be built in 1751. It has an famous crack and displays the message “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.” This message became an inspiration to abolitionists seeking to end slavery.
It is now displayed in its own structure across from the Visitor Center. There’s a small museum with a history of the bell and its iconic history as you walk towards where the bell is displayed.
The Liberty Bell weights 2080 pounds (943 kilograms) and is made primarily of bronze. The famous crack actually started much smaller and was widened as an attempt to fix it so it could ring again. Some people believe it was rung to signal the signing and reading of the Declaration of Independence (on July 4 and 8, 1776, respectively), but there is only evidence that it was rung to mark the Stamp Act tax repeal.
After admiring this historic and iconic American symbol, we headed outside to find our next site to head to. We got a ticket for the Philadelphia PHLASH, which is a $5 day pass that brings you around a downtown loop. This was a great deal and saved us on Uber and parking fees.
My trip down to Philadelphia was a bit wild. My plan was to drive to Logan Airport (about two hours south) and park there, but upon finding parking to be $50+ a day, I made a last minute (at 1 AM) decision to take a Concord Coach bus down. I quickly ordered tickets, and then after arriving at the Portland Transportation Center, I found I had ordered South Station tickets and not Logan Airport, so it was a mad dash to fix that before the 3:15 AM bus! I am awful at packing ahead of time, so I was left to pack around 9 PM and of course it was a whole process, so I ended up not sleeping. I have a whole intriguing montage of the packing process on my travel Instagram account @wanderlustadventures97 (see highlight “Philly ’19 pt 1).
I headed on over to the Portland Transportation Center and stopped at Denny’s for a good ol’ breakfast with myself seeing as I had emptied out 90% of my fridge and most importantly, needed coffee.
The bus ride down was uneventful, and I slept for most of it. Probably with annoying snoring due to my current allergies/congestion. I fell asleep on the plane before it even took off, too! I was also asleep long after it landed and was the last to get off the plane, forgetting my personal item under the seat. I ran back to get it and apparently that is NOT okay, and I was roasted by a flight attendant about that and told me to never do it again. My response, “Hopefully it doesn’t happen again.” My favorite and most intriguing part of this trip was that I needed to wear a face mask because I was on steroids (which lowers immune system). It felt wild and embarrassing, but that’s the price you pay to avoid the flu.
After landing, my friend came to pick me up, and we drove about 20 minutes back to her house in Wallingford, PA (about 20 minutes outside of center Philadelphia). This is one of my sorority sisters that I was active with when I was in college. I had never visited her before (and never been in Philadelphia or Pennsylvania either) so it was bound to be a fun adventure from the beginning.
We got settled in, and while my plan was to take a nap, I decided I wanted to hit the ground running and head downtown.
We stopped to have brunch that would soon become a favorite for the week, Tom Jones, a local small-town diner.
My friend recommended us starting with the Franklin Institute, which is one of many museums in the science and culture-rich center of Philadelphia called the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Pricing is a flat rate of $23 for adults with additional costs for escape rooms, special exhibits, or the IMAX theater.
The Franklin Institute, created and named after Benjamin Franklin, is the most visited museum in Pennsylvania and top-5 tourist destination in Philadelphia. Founded in 1824, it is one of the oldest and currently one of the largest and leading science centers in the United States. The museum reaches over a million people each year and provides hands-on learning around science, research, culture, and innovation.
There are three floors, with most of the exhibits densely packed on the second floor.
“Giant Heart” exhibit, complete with a heart that you can walk through and mimic how blood goes through the arteries and lungs.
“Your Brain” exhibit
After visiting the museum, we walked around the parkway a little and enjoyed the area.
We headed back to Wallingford and then got ready to go out for the night. With it being Halloween, we wanted to find some fun event to attend. There was strong winds and rain, so a few things were actually cancelled. We got tickets to a ’90s party at Punch Line Philly and drove out there.
To be honest, it was a bust. There was almost no one there. But, it was still fun because we walked around and saw a different area of the city. We also did stay at the club for a little bit and enjoyed some music.
Then, we went back home for some very very much needed sleep.
I’ll be having a busy November with two trips! These were both quickly planned and fairly unexpected!
My first trip will be to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). I’ve never been here before, and it’s been on my list. I have a friend who lives there, and I planned on going when a cheap flight sale came around. I got an email from jetBlue about a Halloween sale, and I booked a round-trip ticket for $78. Pretty lit. I’ll be staying with my friend, and we’ll be exploring Philadelphia by day.
The Philadelphia trip will be October 31-November 5, and then a few days later on November 10, I’ll be heading to New York City (USA) again with my mom! We haven’t done a trip together recently. We did fly to New Jersey for a concert when I was in late middle school or early high school, but that’s been the only “far-away” trip anytime recently (and that’s been about 10 years!)
We’ll be doing a few of the same things I did on my last trip, like the Statue of Liberty and Immigration Museum, but also some new adventures as well. I planned the trip around the 10th American Beatbox Championships which I’ll be going to myself on Sunday night (our trip is Sunday – Tuesday). I went to ABC back in 2017 with Brady. Maybe I’ll make a back-dated post about that trip someday (and perhaps New Jersey, too).
Our flight is fairly early Sunday, and then late afternoon back on Tuesday. We’ll be flying into LaGuardia, which is an airport I’ve never been to. But, we’ll be flying out of JFK, which I’ve been to a couple of times.
We’ll be staying in a hotel because, like last time, when looking at costs of AirBNBs and transportation to central areas, a hotel is fairly comparable. We’ll be staying at Pointe Plaza Hotel, which seems fairly nice and in a good location for things.