Philadelphia, PA (2018)
1 Peter 3:8: Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
I grew up in the suburbs of South Jersey, not far from Philadelphia. As a child, I would visit my dad at One Liberty Place and look out his office windows at the stunning views of Philly. In college, I interned at One Liberty Place, taking the PATCO Speedline into Philly and spending my lunch hour shopping in the Liberty Place shoppes.
Philadelphia has always had a special place in my heart and I loved showing my Louisville-born, Southern husband, Logan, our big city. Eventually, he and I would marry on 17th and Sansom and have our wedding reception downtown.
We were so excited to introduce Philly to our kids, meet our cousins downtown for some exploring and to discover some new kid-friendly gems ourselves.
First Comes LOVE, Then Comes Marriage… (2009)
The Jameses became one on May 23, 2009, standing alongside our large wedding party at the stunning and historic First Baptist Church of Philadelphia.
We chose this church because it was across the street from our desired reception spot, Sofitel Philadelphia. The ballroom where we had our reception was perfect and we still look back at these pictures remembering how wonderful the Sofitel was!
Then Comes the Babies in the Baby Carriage (2018)
We have survived x2 the baby phases and now love having our five-and-a-half and three-year old sons who can appreciate the new sights they see. And so, we decided to take them back to where it all started: Philly.
There are not really words on how special it was to show them our wedding chapel where it all began!
We also were so excited to stay overnight with them at Sofitel Philadelphia, where we enjoyed the beautiful accommodations of a Luxury Suite, viewed the ballroom which held our reception and got to “cheers!” at the LIBERTÉ LOUNGE.
I used to think that the Sofitel Philadelphia was best for weddings, events or corporate overnights, but it was super kid-friendly! The accommodations in the Luxury Suite were perfect for a family, with the living room couch becoming a pull-out queen bed. The kids were also given an evening snack of cookies and juice and the staff were so welcoming!
Another great benefit of the Sofitel Philadelphia is their amazing breakfast dining lounge, CHEZ COLLETTE. We had done our wedding food tasting there so it was super special to have breakfast together as a family there after our stay. And kids bonus: kids eat free for breakfast!
We decided to make a mini-trek out of it, and continue to explore the historic city of Philadelphia. And so, our cousins made the trek from South Jersey and spent the afternoon with us exploring all of the sights!
Here are some of our favorite kid-friendly recommendations in Philly (some old & some new!):
Duh! You’ve got to swing by and see this historic bell for yourself! Our five-year old was super excited as he had just learned about this artifact in preschool.
Chinese Lantern Festival
Hosted by Historic Philadelphia, the Chinese Lantern Festival was so much fun! Located in Franklin Square, Philly becomes illuminated with Chinese lanterns, acrobatic shows and the carousel, providing an awesome way to see Philly in the spring. Our kids had a great time and seriously enjoyed every second of this festival with their cousins!
Another iconic stop is LOVE Park and a great photo background for those visiting the City of Brotherly Love. We had some funny outtakes of our boys fighting with each other under the sign that showed how up and down our bros can be together. Brothers!
One Liberty Observation Desk
With my dad working for the majority of his career in One Liberty Place, it was a super special way to see the views of Philly from the Top at One Liberty Observation Desk. The kids loved the elevator ride up fifty-seven floors and the coloring pages of Philly-themed landmarks while up there, taking in the views.
Philadelphia Magic Gardens
Located on South Street, this hip and urban museum didn’t actually have flowers. These gardens are actually mosaic murals, made out of all types of materials from rod iron, glass, recyclables and more. It felt a bit like a maze in there as you explored the different levels of the gardens and viewed the works of art.
Our favorite part of the Gardens was their kids’ scavenger hunt, which takes kids on a hunt to look for animals throughout the mosaics. Kids five and under enter for free!
Trek Difficulty Level: (1): From South Jersey, Philly is super easy to access, just over thirty minutes and from where I grew up, closer to twenty minutes away. If visiting Philly from Ponte Vedra, FL, you can easily find a direct flight on American Airlines at around $200/ticket. The flight is just over two hours.
Trek Budget: $500; to visit all of the exhibits that we did and to stay overnight at the Sofitel in a luxury suite, I’d say $500 would be generous to achieve that goal. Sofitel Philadelphia’s rates in different types of rooms can be achieved as low as under $200/night through various savings sources. For the other sites, Liberty Bell is no charge, Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival tickets are $18/adult and $12/child (two and under free), One Liberty Observation Desk tickets are $14.50/adult and $9.50/child (two and under free) and Philadelphia Magic Gardens tickets are $10/adult and kids under five are free.
3 Trek Must-Dos:
- The homemade cinnamon pretzel at CHEZ COLLETTE is Sofitel for breakfast changed my world completely – amazing!
- Stop and have a cocktail at LIBERTÉ LOUNGE: we recommend the B.R.O. cocktail
- Stroll through City Hall and roll around on the grass at Independence Mall
Landon’s Trek Tip: “Be sure to see the Liberty Bell!”(5.5)
Griffin’s Trek Tip: “Stop in and see the church” (3)