10 Things I Have Learned About Philadelphia

Posted on 20. Jan, 2014 by

About a year and a half ago I moved to the Philadelphia area not knowing what to expect. I had always heard great things about Philadelphia like “there is always something going on” or “there is so much history”, but what I quickly learned were these 10 things…

  1. You can park in the middle of the street. That’s right, in the MIDDLE of the street. You know how normally two solid yellow lines in the middle of the road mean “do not cross” and “stay on your side of the street”? Well, not in Philadelphia. Apparently you can park all willy-nilly wherever you want; except Philly also has some of the strictest parking authority around. I know; none of it makes sense. Every time I see it I get perplexed all over again. Here is a picture as proof:

(I mean, seriously? And you can just park in whatever direction you feel like it.)

2. Street signs make NO sense. One minute you are driving on Henry Avenue, the next minute you look over and you are on Ridge Avenue. I am confused. I didn’t realize streets could just change names with the blink of an eye. Then, there are streets that go in two different directions. Like so:

Not to mention the 8 point intersections – am I supposed to turn sharp right, slight right, or even slighter right? I never pick the right one.

One more thing – do they always place traffic lights where you can’t see them?! Like conveniently behind a giant tree? Maybe it’s just me, but Philly makes me look like a student driver all over again.

3.While we are on the topic of driving/street signs…so many people run red lights. At first I thought it was just my imagination, but I just kept seeing it happen more and more. They don’t run red lights the way you think they would run red lights, they run red lights because they get too impatient waiting for it to turn green and just drive right through the intersection. Now maybe it is just my part of town where all of the red lights seem just a little too long, but none-the-less it happens a lot.

4. The Love Park sign is sadly under-whelming. I hate to admit it, but you always see all these great pictures of it and it always looks like this gigantic-ly awesome piece of art, and then you see it in real life and realize it is actually quite small. You know when you get really worked up to finally see something you always wanted to see and then you get that feeling of “oh, that’s it?”, that’s how I felt the first time I saw it. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a totally awesome picture background and a great tourist spot, but don’t be surprised when it is WAY smaller than you expected.

5. Many places don’t accept credit cards. Coming from Charlotte, NC where literally everywhere accepts credit cards, this was/is a really hard thing for me to grasp. I never, and I mean never, carry cash on me, so it is always quite embarassing when you are finishing a meal with colleagues and realize that you don’t have any money to pay your bill. Sorry guys (not really). I have recently learned that a lot of small “mom and pop” shops have to pay high merchant fees for credit card payments, so it is much more beneficial for them to only accept cash – I totally get it.

6. There are a million-and-one amazing places to eat. Some of the best chefs come out of Philadelphia (like Iron Chef winners Morimoto and Jose Garces) and we have the privelege of eating their delicious creations whenever we want! In just a short walk from my office I have access to some of the best restaurants in Philly. I will never, ever get tired of going out to eat around here.

7. Despite what some people may think, Philly fans are totally awesome. Sure, they are loud, but it is only because they are really, really, really passionate about their sports teams, and quite honestly it is fun to be around people who care about something so much. Not to mention, they throw an awesome tailgate.

8. There are literally statues for everything.

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9. The history in Philadelphia never gets old. I will always love being a tourist in my own town. On any given day you can take a horse and carriage ride around historic Philadelphia, visit the Liberty Bell, take a look around the Constitution Center, and see old Independence Hall, and every time you go you will learn something new. Then, when you are done you can grab a bite to eat at one of our famous restaurants.

10. There are so many awesome music venues around here and musicians almost always make a stop in Philly. Some of my favorite artists that I have always wanted to see but never could, are coming to Philadelphia in the near future and for that, I am forever grateful.

All in all, this past year and half has been amazing and I wouldn’t change my time spent in Philadelphia for anything. Although Philly has some quirks, those quirks are what makes this city so awesome. If you are thinking of making a stop in Philadelphia during your summer roadtrip, I highly recommend it.