Stop me if you’ve heard this one.
An analyst and a blogger walk into a bar….
This bar just so happens to be the bar from the hit TV show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Husband and I took a seat towards the back of the bar at Paddy’s, passing the grizzled regulars seated near the entrance. The place is a total dive bar, small and narrow, dingy and smokey. A glorious place to grab a beer and rest our feet.
Another Obvious Tourist Couple enters the bar. They come and sit next to us in the back of the bar. A regular lights another cigarette as the lone bartender serves him a drink.
The bartender comes to get the Obvious Tourist Couple’s drink order. I’m not sure what they asked for. Before the bartender leaves, Obvious Tourist Girl asks her the question I’m sure they get asked every day.
“Is this the bar from that TV show?”
“It’s Always Sunny, yeah this is the place.”
Obvious Tourist Girl looked confused. “If this is the place from the show….why is it so small inside?”
Welcome to our 2 days in Philadelphia.
We went to Philadelphia because we found $90 tickets on the Flight Deal newsletter (Which I learned about while writing my post about how to find cheap flights) I’ve been to Philly before, but I was 17 and on vacation with my family. Husband hadn’t ever been before, so we decided to bite the bullet and wake up at 4 am on a Friday for our early morning flight to the City of Brotherly Love.
Our flight arrived at 8:30 am but we weren’t able to check in to our hotel until 4, so we went straight to the historic district and started sightseeing. We took the SEPTA Train from the airport to the city. It’s $8 each way and can only be paid for in cash on the train…something to remember if you’re planning a visit.
After seeing the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall (both free, although you need to get tickets for the Independence Hall tour), we took the Philadelphia Duck Tour. I am not ashamed to announce that I love Duck Tours. They’re fun and can really help you get oriented to a city in a way that you couldn’t get on your own. Plus my feet hurt so I got to sit down for an hour and a half.
The Duck Tour took us all around the city, showing us the main sites (and giving us an idea of how to get to them on our own afterwards). That’s also how we found out where Paddy’s Pub was. We saw the Rocky steps, drove through the beautiful historic district, and went down and cruised on the Delaware River for a bit.
After the obligatory sightseeing, it was time to get down to business: eating. Oh did we eat. Day 1 had us eating Philly Cheesesteaks for lunch, dinner, and second dinner. We went to 3 of the most recommended places in the , city: Sonny’s Famous Cheesesteaks, Geno’s Steaks and Pat’s King of Steaks.
Our first stop was Sonny’s Famous Cheesesteaks for lunch. I loved the fries there, but it was my least favorite of all of the cheesesteaks. I would go again though, because I don’t think I ordered the best sandwich (I didn’t use Cheez Whiz, which is the not-so-secret ingredient in good Philly Cheesesteaks.
My favorite cheesesteak in Philadelphia was definitely from Geno’s Steaks. I could have eaten all 3 cheesesteaks here. The meat was really flavorful and with the Whiz it was like a party in my mouth. Mmm.
Literally right across the street from Geno’s is its main competitor Pat’s King of Steaks. So as soon as we finished our first dinner at Geno’s, we walked across the road and ordered second dinner. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Pats was almost as good as Geno’s, although I didn’t think the meat was as flavorful. Or possibly it was only the second best because I was so full by the time we got there that I couldn’t enjoy it as much. But Pat’s is definitely good, so good that Bill Clinton has eaten there. Through my travels I’ve been to a lot of places Clinton has visited, so I always get excited when I find another. I obviously have the taste of a president (The Two Week Traveler for President 2024).
No meal is complete with dessert, so we found some ‘water ice’, or Italian Ice to the rest of us.
We woke up feeling full from the night before, but with less than 24 hours left in Philadelphia, we knew we had to push through the pain.
After a morning of tourist stuff, like the creepy Mutter Museum and the Love statue in Logan Square, it was time to get back to business. All of our Philadelphia-wise friends said we had to go to Reading Terminal Market, and they were right. If you love food, this is the place for you. One stop shopping!
Reading Terminal Market ( 51 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107) is basically a huge farmer’s market where you can find almost anything you could possibly want. Chinese food? They have it. Indian? Yup. BBQ? Of course!
There are also a lot of Amish vendors at Reading Terminal Market. If you love pastries, you must find them. Donuts, pretzels, cookies-they’re all the best you’ll ever have.
I ate the best grilled cheese ever from a stall called Valley Shepherd Creamery and Meltkraft Grilled Cheese.
You know how you get that feeling that, while you want to do something really bad, it’s just not a good idea? But then you do it anyway and totally regret it? That’s the story of our final dinner in Philadelphia. I found out there was Malaysian food in Chinatown. I haven’t had Malaysian in ages. I just had to go.
We went to a restaurant called Penang and of course I had to order some roti. My god it was good. Just look at that! By the time our food came out, we both felt like we were going to barf and then die.
It was actually pretty sad. The food was delicious but we had hit the saturation point and could not go on. After a few bites, we had to get to-go boxes, which we ended up forgetting in the room when we left the next morning at 5 am. 2 days in Philadelphia were all our bodies could handle.
Philadelphia’s food got the best of us, but we are certainly up for Round 2 if the opportunity presents itself. Who knew it was such a foodie heaven? Not me!