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While Meg and I were living and working full time in Washington, DC we were constantly looking for quick getaways to maximize our time together. I was working in the car business, and Lord knows they don’t care if I ever spend time my wife. Averaging just 6 days off a month and never two consecutive days was a constant struggle. So when we had the opportunity to head to Philly, I more than willingly burned a vacation day to run away and adventure together.
Philly is within a 3-hour drive to Baltimore, New York City, and Washington DC. If you would rather skip the driving part there are cheap and easy public transit options from all three cities. This Philly guide from Go Do Trip has a great section about public transportation in the area. Philadelphia has a bunch of lesbian specific events and LGBT festivals but it’s LGBT friendly year round. If you’re looking for a place to start check out the Gayborhood, complete with rainbow street signs and crosswalks.
A little-known fact of Meg and Lindsay is that we met online. We actually met on Plenty of Fish, so heyyyy if you’re a Plenty of Fish PR rep and need a couple of spokespeople we’re here. 😉 Meg was living in New York, I was living in Hershey, Pa and Philly was where we decided to meet for our first date. You know because a weekend away is a normal lesbian first date. After I texted my friend Mer and Meg snapped a picture of us together to send to her roommates confirming I wasn’t a 50-year-old man catfishing her – all was good – we continued on to Longwood Gardens. Naturally, our first trip back to Philly after getting married had to include a stop at the place everything started.
The Longwood Gardens is over a 1000 acres of gardens, woodland, and meadows in Kennett Square, Pa. From experience, I can tell you it’s a perfect date spot. No matter what season you visit it is beautiful. Obviously, it’s incredible when the flowers outside are in bloom but in the winter it’s all done up in lights which is equally magical. We wandered and just took inventory of how much life has happened between our two trips. It will always have a special place in my heart.
Check into The Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square which is in the most perfectly walkable neighborhood. The hotel has seamlessly painted the historic building with vibrant colors and updated technology. It is located right in Historic Rittenhouse Square, we were able to park the car and get around on foot for most of our stay. After getting changed, head to dinner. To be honest the amount of great options within walking distance is almost overwhelming. After looking at a handful of menus displayed in the windows, we settled into our seats at Opa, my very first Mediterranean restaurant. The food and experience could not have been better. We ate Beef Dolmades, Chicken Souvlaki, Tzatziki, Spicy Feta and enough fresh Pita to feed a family of five. After dinner check out Stimulus, one of the cities best queer women’s dance parties. It’s held monthly at various locations in the city so make sure to check their calendar before you plan your trip.
Head to one of America’s largest and oldest markets, Reading Terminal Market for breakfast. We are suckers for great markets all around the world and this is honestly one of our favorites. They have stands selling fresh produce, meats, cheeses and baked good. What’s really incredible is the diversity of what’s available. Meg’s favorite item was the cookie from Famous 4th Street Cookie Co that she grabbed for a snack and I went with the Philly Classic, a cheesesteak from Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies and Cheesesteaks. It’s probably not traditional breakfast food but that’s kinda half the fun at the market.
Visit the One Liberty Observation Deck to get a 360-degree view of the city. The view is so good it really doesn’t matter what time you get up here. You’ll find it on the 57th floor of One Liberty Place in Center City. A pro tip is to get the Philadelphia Pass which gets you into the Observation deck, Longwood Gardens, and 30 other Philadelphia attractions. You’ll save a little money and hassle buying tickets along the way. If you have some extra time, stop by Giovanni’s Room, the oldest gay new and used bookstore in America and support a locally owned LGBT business. From classic lesbian pulp novels to biographies of notable LGBT celebrities, they’ve got it all. If they don’t have it on their shelves they can order it for you and have it sent straight to your house.
Head over to Bud & Marilyn’s for dinner, not only is the food great but you’ll also have a chance to snag your rainbow crosswalk shot for the gram. We tried to narrow down what to order but couldn’t seem to do it – so YOLO, one of everything, please! Seriously, the food is great! Particularly favorites are the Crispy Cheese Curds, Nashville Hot Buns, and handcrafted sodas. They also have a weekend brunch that sounds incredible, certainly had us wishing were in town a little bit longer.
Grab a quick breakfast at The Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square before taking off for the Mutter Museum. Be prepared for a whole bunch of weird and creepy! This is a museum dedicated to medical oddities and antique medical equipment. The museum itself is a bit small but is packed with a mind-blowing amount unique stuff. You’ll see lots of skulls, information on medical experiments and trials and unique diseases. It was a fun way to spend a couple hours.
Our favorite stop was to the Philly Magic Gardens. A mosaicked work of art you truly have to see to believe. Every inch of the garden is covered in bottles, bike rims, and intricately placed glass tiles. The garden takes up three city lots and is practically built for taking photos. A major perk is Big Gay Ice Cream is only a short walk away!