A few weeks ago, I jumped on the opportunity to visit Philadelphia for the first time. The trip was planned last-minute, so I decided not to create an itinerary for the trip. I believe spontaneity adds to the excitement of a trip, so rather than schedule activities ahead of time I research and have a few places of interest in mind. I like to leave space in my schedule for the universe to jump in and show me something or take me on an unexpected adventure.

From a designer’s point of view, Philadelphia is a city alive with colors, textures, and a vibrant mix of world culture. Not only is Philly the first U.S. capital city and rich with history, but it is also home to several modern works of public art such as the Rocky statue and the LOVE sculpture that resides in Love Park.

There were so many exciting memorials, monuments, and symbols to immerse myself in, I was undoubtedly feeling patriotic by the end of the trip. One of my favorite moments was reading the beautiful epitaph next to Benjamin Franklin’s grave site:

“The Body of B. Franklin Printer; Like the Cover of an old Book, Its Contents torn out, and stripped of its Lettering and Gilding, Lies here, Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be wholly lost: For it will, as he believed, appear once more, in a new & more perfect Edition, Corrected and Amended by the Author”

While the Philadelphia Museum of Art was impressive and deeply inspiring, I also found inspiration exploring the heart of the gritty city. From the patterns and colors of the subway tiles to the cool signage outside of PhillyCAM’s Media Center, The City of Brotherly Love has a vibe of joy and a beat of its own.

This vibe can really be felt in Franklin Square, where tourists and residents alike gather to enjoy the mild weather, mini golf, carousel, and comfort foods. Of course, I just had to try a Philly steak while I was there, and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s obvious why the people of Philadelphia have so much LOVE for the place, and I hope I get to return someday. After all, I never got to try the cheesecake.

PhillyCAM Media Center Building

The statue of Religious Liberty

Downtown Philadelphia Subway