Growing up near DC, I tend to take ownership of it. When people ask me where I’m from, I’ll happily say “a suburb outside of DC” until they press me for more information and I have to admit I’m from Maryland (which I also love, but just a little less). My summer move to Philadelphia has been overwhelming and exciting. One challenge, though, has been figuring out all I need to do, see, and eat before I leave. While I’m still in the process of learning the ropes, here are some helpful tips for all my fellow transplants trying to find the who, what, when, and where.
1. Start An Instagram Collection
People will LOVE to let you know what should be at the top of your to-do list. I’ve gotten so many restaurant suggestions my pant size is already starting to expand at the thought of all the future meals. It can be really overwhelming and hard to remember the suggestions so as people give them to you, start a note in your phone to keep track. Later, look up the places on Instagram to get a feel for if you’d enjoy it. If yes, add it to a collection in your saved Instagram images so you can easily remember, find, and identify it based on photos! Also, don’t be afraid to skip suggestions that don’t feel you. Fancy Asain food restaurants, no matter how high they’re rated on Yelp!, will never make it onto my Musts list.
2. Research the Neighborhoods
For most big cities, there are almost little micro-cities inside, each characterized by individual personalities and activities to do there. Put a little time into getting to know what the best things from each neighborhood are and try to figure out where they are in comparison to each other. I truly believe the only way to get to know a city is by foot, so lace up your Adidas and hit the streets. This weekend, I walked over 10 miles through the city (half because Ubers were too expensive, half because adventure vibes). It can be really cool to see some of the things you’ve seen online or learned about in school while you walk.
3. Ask for Help
A lot of people strongly identify and love where they live. Don’t be afraid to ask people for directions, suggestions, and advice as you explore. For public transport, Google Maps is a great guide, but it’s not always the easiest. Consider popping into a store, stopping a pedestrian, or asking the subway stop workers for the easiest, best, safest way to get from A to B. Also, take advantage of those around you! I make sure to ask for weekend tips at work and events happening in the area. So far, I have a DIY Skyline Night at the Philadelphia Art Museum and a nighttime trip to Boathouse Row on my list. If you’re with other transplants or use social media, see what people in your network suggest. I’ve found they’re an awesome resource for food and fun reccs.
This past weekend started with a spin class and ended with a dairy-free froyo run. Don’t worry there was a ton of thrifting, pride parading, flea market hunting, and park visiting in there, too. Can’t wait to keep learning this city’s grid and sharing all the secrets.
And obviously send me any Philly musts immediately. Contact via DM. Open to all suggestions. Extra open to all trendy, Instagram-ready, coffee serving suggestions.
Stuck in my head: Mission to Mars // RKS
Snap it: The Gayborhood, PHIL