Big City Tales

Every City Has A Silver Lining | January 24, 2013

Image of Philadelphia's City Hall Building

Philadelphia’s City Hall is one of the finest buildings of its kind in America.

Prior to visiting Philadelphia in the fall of 2010, a friend of my sister’s had this to say:

“Why do you want to go to Philly?  It’s a dump!”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement for a city of incredible historical significance to the American people, and one that is equally proud of its rich sporting traditions, renowned cheese steak sandwiches, and refined arts community.

Undaunted by the less than favourable review, we decided to keep Philadelphia on our list of East Coast historical cities to see and made it our mission to discover the beauty within this Pennsylvania landmark.

Truth be told, the beauty was at first hard to find.

Approaching the city from the north where industrial plants are abundant, my sister and I looked at each other in a moment of utter defeat for Philadelphia did, in fact, look like a “dump!” Further, it appeared to be a veritable barren wasteland. Granted, it was a rainy, overcast day so the grey of the dimly lit sky was not helping matters, but we still couldn’t help but think we may have been a tad overly optimistic about uncovering any hidden pearls in the midst of this less than awe-inspiring scenery.

Such was our mindset as we exited left off of the interstate and headed for the inner city. With each passing mile, our spirits were buoyed and even though the rain was still pelting down with a vengeance, the city’s silver linings were nonetheless all around us shining in all their splendor.

Here is a sampling of what we took in:

  • On the city’s south side, Wells Fargo Center, Lincoln Financial Field, Citizens Bank Park, and the iconic, still-standing at the time Philadelphia Spectrum formed the impressive cornerstones of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex.
Exterior image of Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia

The Philly Fanatic is the well-known and much-loved mascot of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team.

  • In the city’s core, the downtown skyline beckoned with the resplendent and expansive City Hall complex as its prime showpiece.  Another feast for the senses was the Reading Terminal Market, a large farmer’s market boasting everything from Amish specialties to more urban street fair.  The Market is definitely the place to grab a bite to eat, but be prepared to have a tough time choosing from the many diverse options.  Of course, you can’t go wrong with a classic cheese steak, whichever way you prefer it prepared!
Image of LOVE statue in Philadelphia

Feeling the LOVE in Philadelphia!

  • Just east of downtown, despite being in the midst of a restoration at Independence Hall, the historical district glimmered as the clouds eventually cleared on day two of our visit and the sun cast a warm, welcome glow. There’s nothing like walking the grounds where the founding fathers toiled over the United States Constitution. And you can’t miss paying homage to the Liberty Bell.
Image of The Signer statue in Philadelphia

The Signer statue sits outside Independence Hall, where the U.S. Constitution originated.

  • To the north, sights along the picturesque, Champs Elysees-like Benjamin Franklin Parkway included Logan Square (where the famous LOVE statue is located),  the Franklin Institute, the Rodin Museum, and la creme de la creme, the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Image of Rocky Balboa statue at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Yo, Adrian, now that I’m champ we should go see the Museum of Art!

Yes, things may have initially looked very bleak from the outskirts of Philadelphia, but the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ opened its arms and we heartily soaked up what it had to offer.

Fast forward two years and the release of the new hit movie, Silver Linings Playbook. Based in Philadelphia, the film is more than just an exploration of recovering from mental illness, it is a celebration of a great city that does, indeed, have its fair share of silver linings.  Check it out and be your own judge!

Image of Independence Hall

Independence Hall was the home away from home for America’s founding fathers.

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