One of the perks of Jay’s multitude of credit cards is annual free nights in certain hotels. We needed to use our free night at a Hyatt hotel before the end of the year, so we chose Philadelphia as our destination. I always love visiting cities during the holiday season. Plus, a new museum opened up recently that we wanted to check out. So, last weekend we packed our bags and drove down to the city for a night.
Hyatt at the Bellevue
The Hyatt hotel is located in a wonderful location – right near Rittenhouse Square and City Hall. They also offer a spot in a parking garage next door for only $35 and you can stay until 5pm on the day you check out. Parking is always a hassle in my opinion, so this option was a breeze.
Our room on the 17th floor wasn’t huge but it was nicely decorated. The strangest feature was walking in the door and finding the bed directly in front of you. I’m used to a hallway or bathroom separating the bed from the entrance. This made the noise in the hallway throughout the night easier to hear, but it wasn’t too bad. Otherwise the room was comfortable and perfect for our one night stay.
There are a seemingly endless number of restaurant choices within walking distance of the hotel. However, I took the opportunity to visit a place I’d heard about often when I was living in South Jersey – Brauhaus Schmitz. During our honeymoon in Germany, we fell in love with German food and beer. It was a lot of fun feeling like we were back in Munich.
Jay chose from a selection of sausages with potato salad and sauerkraut and I picked the chicken schnitzel with spatzle and red cabbage. He definitely picked the better dinner (as usual), but we both thoroughly enjoyed the beer!
Museum of the American Revolution
The following morning we trekked a mile to visit the Museum of the American Revolution. This museum just opened earlier this year in Old City. It is dedicated to telling the story of the American Revolution and fits in perfectly with the other historical sites nearby. Tickets are $19 for adults and $12 for ages 6-17.
I think both of us were surprised by the quantity and quality of the content in the museum. We spent a good two hours there wandering through the exhibits. They also start off your experience with an informative movie that provides an overview of the war. As a bonus, the museum store is well stocked with unique gift items related to the Revolution.
After the museum we stopped by one of our favorite used bookstores, The Book Trader. This gem contains two floors completely filled with books. Despite the sheer number of volumes, it’s well organized and easy to shop through. Most books are $5-$8, so although it’s pricier than our usual library book sales it’s always nice to support small businesses.
By this point, we were both ready for lunch. I’m a huge fan of Reading Terminal Market, so we hiked back to center city. Unfortunately, even at 2pm the market was absolutely packed. I picked up chicken potpie and Jay grabbed a cheesesteak, but there were zero seats available. After waiting a while, we gave up and walked back to our car to sit down and eat. Not the best lunch decision I’ve ever made! Luckily the food was still delicious 🙂
The last item on my Philly to-do list was the Christmas village in LOVE park. More than 80 vendors sell crafts, gifts, and food items to the masses from authentic German style huts. It’s a beautiful set up, but once again it was overrun with people. The crowds made it difficult to even get close enough to see the goods for sale. I still loved the Christmas spirit, but we didn’t linger and didn’t buy anything.
Word the wise – it’s probably best to visit on weekdays or earlier in the morning/later in the evening on weekends! Despite the madness we still had a lot of fun getting away from the house for a night for a mini vacation.
What are your favorite places to visit during the Christmas season in your town?