Philadelphia: Museum of Art, Kung Fu Necktie, Sketch Burger, and drinking Philly style


This is our third and final month in Philadelphia. Over the past couple weeks, we've taken trips out-of-state and revisited some of our favorite restaurants and attractions, but there is still plenty to write about.

Philadelphia Museum of Art: I went early to avoid the crowds and bypassed the Rocky Statue. This wasn't my first visit and I was going mainly for the Duchamp/Cage/Cunningham/Johns exhibit. It didn't disappoint. In addition to the citywide live performances ongoing since October, chess was a focus I didn't expect. An entire gallery room was dedicated to chess documents, boards, and art pieces created by the artists. One board (display only) played different sounds based on the players moves to create a new song with each game. Boards were also set up for play on the second floor of the main hall.

New Year's Eve Fireworks: Fireworks are shot from a barge on the Delaware River at 6pm and midnight on NYE. This is the view at midnight from the fourth floor of our building. If you go to the earlier set, go early or don't go at all. Traffic comes to a complete stop up and down the river due to inadequate parking around 5:30.

Ballroom Spies @ Kung Fu Necktie: Not much to say about the venue, but the band rocked and I had my first Citywide Special. "The Special" is just what it sounds like, a drink special, but it's not exclusive to one bar. You can ask for the special at bars all over Philly and you'll receive a can of PBR and a shot of Jim Beam for $3. Another fun tidbit, ask for a lager
anywhere in Philadelphia and most parts of Pennsylvania and the bartender will hand you a Yuengling.

Ballroom Spies plays again on 1/25. Check them out here.

Ralic's Seafood: Brand new seafood restaurant with vegetarian and vegan options on South Street. I thought we were double-dating the meal and arrived to a surprise birthday dinner complete with presents, balloons, and cake. Service, food, and beverage options are worth the visit if the octopus on the roof or Manneken Pis replica statue by the bathrooms aren't enough for you.

Govinda's: Another great restaurant. This one full vegetarian in center city on Avenue of the Arts. They have everything from seitan chicken nuggets to duck and shrimp substitutes. Very informal dining with cafe/deli setting. Eat for under $10 a person if you don't get excited and over-order like we did.

Sketch Burger: We went for the great vegetarian burgers and sauces but the crayons, paper, and sketches covering the walls were a fun bonus. No, I won't be reposting our creations.

Philadelphia Coffee Houses: Map "Coffee" in any decent sized city and your results will be in the hundreds (Philly pictured below).

It's easy to find a shop jump into for a quick coffee, but it's also worth taking a few minutes to find the best drinks or atmosphere if you're in the city for long. In our S. Philli area, Starbucks on South and 5th has upstairs seating with a nice view of the tourists but, it's Starbucks. A better option, further south on 5th is Cups and Chairs. They have outlets for every table, a delicious amaretto mate, and a community atmosphere. Philadelphia Java on 4th is a runner up and Last Drop further west has a great Italian Soda a nearby park. I'll stop here since better guides can be found below.

Great guide to coffee in Philadelphia including 65 locations from Philly Magazine (needs update)

The Best Coffee Shops in Philadelphia (2013)
Some of the comments under this recent article are more helpful than the article itself.

Check back over the next couple weeks as we squeeze in everything we still want to do (Mint, Battleship NJ, Philadelphia Orchestra, hockey, and more). We'll also be deciding where to travel next! 

Previous weeks here: Post One / Post Two / Post Three / Post Four / Post FivePost Six