Philadelphia: Rants & Raves

The Weirdness of Philly

One of my goals in moving from Chicago to Philly has been not to constantly compare Chicago to Philly. This is proving difficult.

Both are vibrant, world-class cities with impressive arts, foods and parks. And, of course, both cities have their own local quirks. When you’re new to a city, these quirks have a special way of sticking out. Cue the weirdness of Philly.

You pay for the train with special tokens.

What is this? Chuck E. Cheese? When I first put coins in the machine only to receive more coins out of it, I thought surely it was broken. It wasn’t.

There’s no alcohol at the grocery store.

One of my favorite chicken recipes calls for white wine. In Chicago, that’s aisle one. In Philadelphia, that’s down the block at the spirits store.

Ben Franklin is to Philly what the 1990’s Bulls are to Chicago. 

He’s bigger than big.

The streets smell delicious. Like, start-drooling-as-soon-as-you-leave-the-building delicious.

Only in Center City, where food stands dot every corner, does the air smell simultaneously of greasy meat, gooey cheese and fresh, hot bread. Chicago is a gluttonous place (see: deep dish pizza, Italian beef, Chicago-style hot dogs I COULD GO ON ALL DAY), but Philly sure knows what it’s doing.

Is everything a hoagie?

Honestly, I’m not sure. From what I can tell, you can’t buy subs in Philly.

There are no “sides of buildings.” Only beautiful murals. 

Everywhere I go, I see stunning mural after stunning mural. According to the Internet, there are more than 3,600 murals in the city. This might be my favorite quirk of Philly’s. “An open wall? Quick, grab your paintbrushes!”

Logan Square is a circle.

I’m just saying. That’s simple geometry right there.


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