I had an extraordinary time and can’t wait to return in the summer, hopefully for longer, to take in more that I didn’t get a chance to see my first time
My first time in the City of Brother Love was a breeze. I love Philadelphia. We arrived at the Sonesta Philly and were greeted with warm faces. The front desk gave us vouchers to Art Bar, the hotel restaurant, for free drinks for the wait. We decided to head out into the city, and look for a local brunch spot.
We came across Sabrina’s Cafe & Spencer’s Too – the Art Museum location – on Yelp. Apparently, aside from being the state that basically started America, Philadelphia has a keen admiration for art. It’s a nice local diner spot about a 15-minute walk away from Sonesta Hotel which is located in downtown Philly. We were seated immediately and the hospitable waiters our orders. I ordered the Bella Vista Omelette where you can create your own, up to three items. I requested the bacon, onions, and tomatoes for my 3 toppings, white toast with butter, and the homemade fries – which were delicious – as my complete order. My friend Dre Dotty, ordered the Ultimate Mexi Scramble which was scrambled eggs with pepper jack cheese, tri-bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes, served with black bean grits, cilantro pesto, corn chips and avocado on top. A good suggestion for anyone who is a vegetarian, by the way.
When we left, we made our back to the hotel and stumbled across one of the “LOVE” signs written in Spanish and of course took pictures.
We arrived back to the hotel and took our luggage to our room which was located on the 21st floor. They were so generous enough to give us the corner room which had amazing views at every angle. When you first walk in, you see the bedroom with bath to your right and the hotel to the left. I wasn’t expecting to basically have a miniature apartment! It was beautiful. The bed was huge, probably a king sized bed and had the most comfortable top for relief the minute you lay down to unwind. It makes you almost never want to get up to explore the city.
The bathroom was well lit, perfect for anyone doing their makeup or taking selfies. There’s a white light surrounding the main mirror and even what I like to call a “sexy” light in the shower. It was superb.
The living room has a couch, two chairs, and a tv. The couch is pullout which was perfect because my friend/photographer on this Philly trip was able to sleep in his own bed. The pillows and comforter for the pullout couch is conveniently left in the drawers of the tv stand.
The view of downtown is amazing. Nothing but busy taxicabs and cars speeding past and beautiful skyscrapers surround us as we are located directly on Market Street in the center of it all. To my understanding, Market Street can be comparable to Woodward in Detroit. There are two other main streets known as Chestnut and Walnut street and the two of them can also almost be compared to Southfield Rd and Coolidge for those located in the metro-Detroit, Michigan. We were in Rittenhouse which is the name of the part of Philly we were located in. My guess is the name Rittenhouse can be somewhat comparable to New York and how they have certain names for certain areas of the city, such as SOHO, NOHO, Times Square, and so on and so forth. Either way, I love Rittenhouse Square. The area is filled with beautiful businesses, homes, cute neighborhoods, and amazing alleys take all your photos for the gram.
The hotel also has a gym, which is perfect because I travel a lot, it leaves me not on schedule with my trainer. It was well accommodating and had a lot of the latest workout equipment.
Later in the day, we first decided to explore Chinatown Friendship Gate and eat sushi at Megami Sushi. Afterward, we ended up going to Mission Escape Games in Philly which came from New York. It was just the two of us and we had an hour. Neither of us had been to an escape room before and although I saw the movie The Escape Room – and thought it was corny, I might add – the actual escape room was fun and I was always terrified, as I am the easiest to frighten. We solved our mission, in case you were wondering. I was the brains and Dre was the brave. We make an awesome team.
Afterward, we hit a bar right across the street from the escape room called Las Vegas Lounge just in time for happy hour. We got slithered, lol.
We decided we were hungry and took an uber over to Khyber Pass Pub. I decided to be brave and try something different which were alligator nuggets. And of course, my usual shrimp and grits. The shrimp and grits were good but those alligator nuggets were amazing. Who would’ve thought? I eat alligator now. I’m fancy.
The next morning, I ordered room service in the Sonesta Hotel. I ordered my usual omelet with bacon, onions, and tomatoes, white toast with butter, and cranberry juice and Dre Dotty ordered the French toast with bacon and a platter of fruit with orange juice. We smashed.
Our mission for day 2 was to make sure we made our way to a reputable Philly Cheesesteak spot somewhere in the hood and visit the museum. We needed all the hype Will Smith was gassin’ in Fresh Prince of Belaire. We wanted all parts. After reaching out to my followers on the gram for their suggestions, the most popular two we came across were Max’s and Ishkabibbles. We chose Max’s. We made the right choice.
Before heading Max’s, we explored Rittenhouse Square a bit and came across some beautiful homes and neighborhoods and of course took pics. Afterward, we stumbled across a restaurant called Marathon on the Square for some wine. We had two glasses of white and red wine. Both were fantabulous and we instantly felt the buzz. After about an hour and a half of sipping and conversing, we made our way to the cheesesteak. It was time.
The minute we walked into Max’s located in North Philly (fun fact: where Fresh Prince was from), they knew we weren’t from Philly. They could sniff us out like police dogs. They noticed the way we were dressed. The considered us “dressed up” which was the funniest thing I’ve heard that day considering I felt pretty bummy. The cooks were nice and helped us select what to put on our cheesesteaks They gave us each a “half” which is almost comparable to me to a footlong at Subway. I ordered a cheesesteak with sweet peppers, American cheese, and onions. Dre got everything which includes all that I named above, plus spicy peppers, pickles, mayo, and a few others I didn’t get to look into. It was delicious. The cook told us when we finished, the cheesesteak would put us right to sleep. He was right. On our Uber ride back to downtown, Dre was knocked out in the car within seconds. We didn’t have an opportunity to stop into the museum as we’d like, for we knew we wouldn’t have time to see all we wanted to, get our cheesesteak and do more site seeing.
When we arrived back downtown, we did a little shopping at Bloomingdale’s because I’ve never seen or been to one before in my life considering Michigan doesn’t have any branches. Afterward, we made our way to One Liberty Philadelphia which is a tourist spot for tourists to take an elevator ride all the way to the top and get a bird’s eye view of the city in all directions. It was beautiful. I wished the weather had been sunny because we would’ve been able to catch the sunset but nonetheless, it was still worth the trip to have my breath taken away by such a beautiful city.
We made our way back to Sonesta Philly Hotel and decided to get dressed for dinner. Downstairs, the hotel has their own restaurant called Art Bar. This place isn’t my favorite or goto, but they do have good options for small plates if you’re not hungry for a full meal. We ordered the steak bites, fried calamari, and two glasses each of the house chardonnay and red wine.
By the end of the night, we decided to celebrate both our first time in Philly with some drinks so we made our way to the nearest Target. When we got there, again, the employees instantly knew we weren’t from around those parts. Fun fact: Pennsylvania is one of two states that is not allowed to sell alcohol in stores because it is considered a merman state. You have to go to the actual liquor store, which we later found out closes at 10 pm. So we went on our dummy mission back to the Khyber Pass Pub and ordered some drinks and fries and headed back to the hotel. In the morning, I had a hangover, but it was well worth it.
Overall, I enjoyed my stay in Philadelphia. Seeing Philadelphia for the first time was refreshing, breathtaking, and came at the perfect time. The fact that I was able to stay at the Sonesta, heightened my experience ten times over. It was an amazing time and the hotel is conveniently in the center of it all, making my experience that much greater.
I had an extraordinary time and can’t wait to return in the summer, hopefully for longer, to take in more that I didn’t get a chance to see my first time. When next visiting Philly, highly suggest you cop a room at the Sonesta. You won’t regret it.
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