Walking the City


Recently I have had an internal debate on having a car in the city. Previously I have written the pros, with few cons, to having a car in the city. Well my sister and I decided to go a day without the car. Having no bus, trolley, or subway pass and deciding to skip out on Uber/Lyft, we spent the day walking the city.

This is not a choice for those out of shape. Even being in okay shape, we both felt the walk a few days afterwards. Our 7.5 mile trek of the city took us from University City to the Italian Market, Downtown Philadelphia, Old City, and Chinatown! While it is physically tiring I think it is a great way to see the city and experience it. You notice so much more than in a car. However I would not want to do this everyday for every little task as it is time consuming, tiring, and inefficient on a regular scheduled day.

Should you decide to spend a day or two in Philadelphia though I highly recommend spending at least one day walking it. There is so much to see in the city as it really is small enough to trek to each attraction. Plus it is great excercise on a vacation, especially if you are missing out on excercise otherwise.


Sidewalk Renewal

School may be out but there is no shortage of learning experiences all around in the city. Just this morning I watched a small crew of construction workers repair a portion of the sidewalk across the street from my apartment. It was an interesting process to observe.

The crew had already removed the broken sidewalk a few days prior so all that existed was the remaining sidewalk to attach to and the soil beneath it.

The started by leveling the soil. Soon a concrete truck came by an the men set about pouring concrete into the opening. Using shovels, rakes, and floats (they look like the linear mops but without the fluffy part) the men set about filling the entire hole evenly with concrete. The floats were used to smooth out the top of the concrete. Once this was finished a guy came by throughout the day to check on the sidewalk. It looked like he was using a leaf blower to dry it out faster.

From my previous construction classes I understood that water would be poured over the concrete or a cover would be placed over it to help it cure in proper conditions. Perhaps since this is not structural there is less concern about it curing properly. Rather the crew seemed more keen on getting it set and dried so that the sidewalk could be fully open to the public. Either way I am sure the storm this evening will help out the new addition to the sidewalk.


Chinese Lantern Festival


This event can be a day or night event depending on your interests. My sister and I went just before sunset and stayed after sunset to get the full effect of the lanterns. During the daytime you can see all the structure holding the paper of the lantern. It is much easier to inspect the arrangement, supports, and overall craft of each lantern. However, for the non art or construction major, the lanterns really shine at night. Each one is a beautiful display, some are even interactive changing colors with input from the viewer.

The only downside to this event is that it takes a short amount of time to see the entire thing (including photographing and modeling). Luckily the park it is located in has a mini-golf course and a merry-go-round. As well the festival has a show that repeats twice during the evenings to entertain visitors between lantern viewing.

For my sister and I this was nice as we went around twice to see lanterns during daylight, played a quick game of mini-golf (where we discovered why we aren’t golfers), and went lantern viewing again at night. Below are a few photos of the many stunning lanterns on display this festival:


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens


This place lies somewhere between rubble and art. At first glance it is an overwhelming series of walls of concrete and mostly glass. But the more you walk through this installation the more captivating it becomes. Each walk through reveals a new statue previously unnoticed, a unique perspective into a space below, or a fun phrase hidden in all the tiling. The website may suggest it only takes 30 minutes to walk through the whole installation but I would say take your time. It really is a place to stop, reflect, photograph, and enjoy the little discoveries.

My sister and I enjoyed these little findings through our impromtu photo session there. Below are the results of our practice:


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Italian Market



The Italian Market is one of the older sections of Philadelphia. Well known as an open air market with mostly Italian hertiage, it is now a magnet for a variety of people brought together through food. There are plenty of open air stores selling produce and beautiful plants, edible and non, at really affordable prices. Several indoor shops cater specifically to cheese and meat, staple foods.

In addition to the little Italian stores and open air markets, there are a few hispanic stores. One such store made really good tacos. Sadly I was so hungry and tired I didn’t note the name(nor take a photo as it is not the one shown above). Needless to say this makes the mystery taco store the treasure chest of the next Italian Market outing.


For a more traditional list of attractions and history on the Italian Market check out the links above. Better yet, go celebrate 100 years of tradition at the Italian Market Annual Festival this weekend May 19th and 20th!