Families headed to Philadelphia generally have cheesesteaks at the top of their list when it comes to food. For those who grew up in the City of Brotherly Love, we know that hoagies, soft pretzels, pizza and water ice have to be on there too. Families will not be lost for choice for any of the local favorites, especially if they come with an appetite and a sense of adventure to head out of the typical tourist zones and explore some of the neighborhoods.
Twenty years ago travelers would not have ventured into Fishtown or Kensington, but thanks to urban development, artists looking for cheaper rents, and galleries partaking in First Friday, these two neighborhoods have become a delicious place to explore. If you are a family of early risers, mom and dad can caffeinate at Leotah’s Place Coffeehouse, a local favorite in Kensington, while the kids munch on their own snacks and beverages in the play area.
Every food show and travel article about Philadelphia will tell you to have a cheesesteak when you visit the city and they are right. You really can’t come to Philly without sampling a cheesesteak. However, these same shows will tell you to go to Pat’s or Gino’s in South Philly. I’m here to tell you to head to South Street to sample one of Jim’s Steaks or head north to Gooey Louie’s. Make sure your cheesesteaks are smothered in cheese, whether that means with provolone or “wit wiz.”
When you are short on time or need to satisfy a multitude of taste buds, you need to head to Reading Terminal Market. Families should arrive before the lunch hour so they can beat the rush and sample as many foods as possible. DiNic’s is famous for their roast pork sandwich (with or without broccoli rabe) for a reason. Save room to devour one yourself or split it with a family member. Grab a cone from Basset’s Ice Cream, cannolis from Termini Brothers and sticky buns from the Dutch Eating Place. Take home a wedge of balsamic cheddar or Valley Sheppard smoked sheep’s cheese as a souvenir, after your kids sample several pickle varieties at the stall across the way.
Let’s just admit it right now parents, we use chocolate, candy and ice cream to bribe our kids into letting us stare just one more minute at that painting in the art museum, or go to just one more historical site that Ben Franklin walked across. When touring Old City you can bet your kids will cooperate with promises of a trip to Franklin Fountain, an old fashioned ice cream shop with seasonal flavors, like Jersey Blueberry and Carrot Cake, and fudge-filled sundaes that may require parental assistance to finish. Flying Monkey in Reading Terminal Market is also a fun stop, as well as Capogiro Gelato in Center City. Last but not least, Rita’s Water Ice is the perfect spot to cool down on a hot summer day. Never heard of water ice? The best way to describe it would be a mix between a snow cone and a Slurpee. Pick up a gelati, which combines frozen custard with water ice, if you want something a little extra special. Your kids will scream for more.
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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Keryn is an East Coast native living life as a freelance writer in Seattle surrounded by her two little boys and one incredible husband. When not dragging the men in her life across the globe you can find Keryn writing on her blog Walking On Travels, a site that gives hope to today's modern parent that doesn't see kids as a roadblock to travel, but an excuse to get out the door and explore. Keryn has laughed at the naysayers by bringing her boys to far off lands like China, Hong Kong, Japan, Hawaii, back and forth across the USA, Mexico, Canada, and even across Europe. Keryn loves to encourage families to take that first step out the door, the hardest step of all. Follow Keryn on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google Plus.
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