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As a Pittsburgh native, it is REALLY hard for me to admit that I enjoyed a trip to the other end of the state…just kidding, but I did absolutely love a recent trip to Philadelphia!  I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share some details about our trip in case any of you are looking for a weekend getaway or activities in the city.

blog_philly wyndhamFirst and foremost, we needed a hotel room for Thursday night and this was my first time trying the “name your own price” feature on If you don’t know how it works, you choose a star level and submit a bid…but you don’t know what hotel you are bidding on until your bid is accepted! After my first (unreasonably low) bid was rejected, I chose a 3 1/2 star hotel in the Historic District — Penns Landing area, bid $140 and it was accepted. We ended up snagging the Wyndham on Arch Street for $176 with taxes and fees when the hotel runs around $237 a night without taxes and fees. I will definitely try this again for future trips!

On Thursday evening, Alex and I went to see Armin van Buuren and Kygo at Festival Pier…the tix were his birthday present this year since he loves EDM! I’ve never been to an event at this venue before and I do have to say that it would probably be better in the summer. The drinks were pricey ($15 for a mixed drink and $11.50 for a 24 oz. beer…eek!) and it was a 16+ show, so the crowd was a little rowdy…but we still had a great time listening to the music. Despite the chill in the air, the outdoor venue right on the water was still a pretty cool backdrop for the music and dancing.

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On Friday, I HAD to eat cheesesteaks for lunch. After living in Pennsylvania my whole life, I may be the only person who has never ventured to Pat’s and Geno’s to taste test their sandwiches! Alex’s brother Matt and his wife Christina flew in for the weekend from Florida so we all visited the cheesesteak landmarks in South Philly. We ordered a “wit whiz” from Pat’s, which means the sandwich came with onions and cheez whiz. We forgot the onions at Geno’s, so it wasn’t a complete apples-to-apples comparison. Both sandwiches were very good, but for this Pittsburgher, Pat’s won the duel!

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After our taste-testing, we had a few hours to spare and decided to visit the Philadelphia Zoo…the first zoo in the nation! If you know anything about me, you know I have a slight obsession with animals. It was so amazing to see so many creatures up close and personal, including my favorite…the big cats! We spent about 4 hours walking around and exploring…it was a great experience.

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Following our visit to the zoo, we ate dinner at Harvest in University City. There are five locations in southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey…and I highly recommend that you visit this restaurant if you get a chance! Christina and I shared the Porcini Gnocchi and the Seared Sea Scallops…both were absolutely amazing. We finished dinner with some chocolate and peanut butter mousse!

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Here is where the trip gets a little scary…literally, frightening…because we decided it would be a great idea to go to Terror Behind the Walls at the Eastern State Penitentiary. This was an activity on our fall bucket list…so we can cross it off! I’m a little obsessed with the TV show Lock-up and learning about prisons, so it was just really interesting to be in the historical landmark. Add hundreds of actors dressed as zombie prisoners and ghostly guards, and it was a really legit haunted experience!

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When you enter, you can choose to be “marked,” which means the actors can grab you, separate you from your group or take you through hidden passageways. I was against being marked, but everyone else talked me into it. It really made the event even better…I was shoved into a cell with a zombie prisoner who scared the crap out of me while he pretended to cut my fingers off. Sounds terrifying, but it made the experience even more interactive and exciting! If you want to visit, you better hurry…the attractions are only around until November 7th.

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On Saturday, we spent the day relaxing and catching up with Alex’s parents, his brothers and their wives and girlfriends. It is always so wonderful when we can all be together in one place…it doesn’t happen often enough! After a relaxing day, several of us visited Linvilla Orchards…which allowed me to cross off another activity on the fall bucket list! Alex and I picked out pumpkins and we all enjoyed the trip.

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It truly was a wonderful weekend in the City of Brotherly Love.