Summer with a Brother: Outdoor Fun in Philly

One day on my recent trip to Jersey, Cara, Kevin, Emma, and I went into Philly to spend the day exploring before heading to a Phillies game that night. This was the first time I visited the city in sunny, warm weather as both previous visits (this year and last) were marked by rain and wintertime temperatures. This meant that I got to experience a pleasant alternative side to the city.

IMG_0884The Italian Market–We kicked off the day exploring the city’s Italian market. Reading Terminal Market gets a lot of attention (especially its Amish doughnuts), but the Italian market can be equally enthralling. Outdoor vendors sell all sorts of produce, fish, and meats, while stores lining the sidewalks beckon visitors in with free chocolate samples. Though we didn’t buy anything, DiBruno Bros boasts a colorful selection of cheeses which require a good bout of willpower to not buy. After salivating over the cheeses (not over literally), we stopped inside Anthony’s Coffee for an espresso, which was good and strong but actually had some grounds in it. Regardless, their chocolate covered pretzels from the next door chocolate shop are a perfect quick treat.

Beer and games
Beer and games

Frankford HallFor my 21st birthday Cara and Kevin treated me to a beer tour of Philly. However, as they were doing a detox, I was the only one to get a pint at this boisterous beer garden. Ping pong tables and games of Jenga create the soundtrack at this outdoor venue. Local craft beer and German-American food (pretzels, sausages, burgers) come cheap and offer incredible value. We spent a good amount of time playing Jenga, enjoying notes that former patrons had scribbled onto the blocks. These ranged from dares like “Profess your love to a stranger at another table” to the classy “Chug your beer”. I’d never been to a beer garden, and Frankford Hall has made me want to visit others for the chance to enjoy a drink in a relaxed, fun, open-air and light atmosphere.

IMG_0908Yards Brewery–The next stop on our planned tour was to Yards Brewery, one of the largest in the city. The greeters offer visitors free samples upon entering, and their Brawler, the day’s sample, was one of my favorites to date: it has a bold and nutty flavor without being too heavy. Unfortunately, their tours were booked for the day as they are free, and we decided to forego a tasting and the crowds and head to another stop in the city.

North Bowl–Bowling may sound like a generic activity that you can find in any city, but North Bowl in Northern Liberties is more than an alley. Upstairs, they have pool tables, slap hockey, and Avengers pinball games. The lights and decor give it a hip vibe to match the neighborhood, and it’s a suitable retreat from the heat on a hot, sunny day. If you want something cool to drink afterwards, hop over to Euphoria down the street for a tropical smoothie.

IMG_0932Phillies Game–Our final stop of the night was to Citizens Bank Park to see the Phillies play the Marlins. The park was recently redone, which means great seating and clean facilities. They’re also known for serving a wide array of local beer and foods, including Federal Donuts! Crab Fries are a local favorite with their zesty toppings and melted American cheese dipping sauce, but they’ll cost you an arm and a leg ($9 for the fries and an extra $2 for the sauce!) Their hot dogs, though, are some of the best ballpark franks I’ve ever tasted. At any rate, the Phillies played well, which was a welcome treat, and it made for a relaxed end to a long day of walking and sweating in the sun.

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