what I love about my city {a collaborative post}

The holidays are fast approaching, and for a lot of people that means travel. Travel to see family or vacation travel.

At a Cubs game!
I teamed up with Kendra (@KendraThornton), former Orbitz Director, current SAHM extraordinaire, all around lover of travel, to tell you a bit about what we love about our cities. Maybe we'll get Chicago or Philadelphia on your travel radar!

Let's start with Kendra:

My home has always been Chicago, and over the years I find myself loving it even more every day. Chicago is a city that is full of cultural diversity, good food and memorable landmarks. As much as I love to travel, I really can’t picture living anywhere else in the world. In fact, saying that I adore Chicago is simply an understatement. After years of living in the city, I’ve uncovered the best landmarks, restaurants and things to do. Here are a few examples of my favorite places.


Despite what people think, New York isn’t the best city for shopping. In my humble opinion, I think that Chicago takes the cake! On North Michigan Avenue, there is a very awesome stretch of the city called the Magnificent Mile, which has some of the best shopping in the world. It is full of stores where you can indulge in some ‘retail therapy’. Every store you can possibly dream up is here, from Bloomingdale's to Burberry.


There is never a time when I’m in Chicago and at a loss for places to eat. If I’m tired of cooking and need the night off, the options are endless to choose from. Chicago is famous for its food; everyone knows this. From the tastiest hot dog to some of the freshest seafood, Chicago is your place to go for some grub. One thing you have to try when visiting Chicago is a deep dish pizza.  One of my favorite restaurants in Chicago is definitely Lou Malnati’s. At this restaurant, your taste buds will get a truly out-of-this-world experience when your extra thick pie shows up! I use the site gogobot, which has huge sections of reviews and more on restaurants and hotels throughout the city of Chicago, to find new places to eat all the time. The pizza here is unlike anywhere else; it really reinvents why they call it a pizza “pie,” as the slices are so large! On top of that, the staff here always treats you well.

Outdoor Fun

I know what you’re thinking: big cities are just buildings and bricks. This actually is not true, as there are wonderful outdoor, grassy parks all over the city! If you want to see one of Chicago’s landmarks, one of the best is Millennium Park. I usually visit this wonderful national park when I want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. With live music and an outdoor theater, there is so much more to do here than just picnic, too.


I love enjoying the Chicago art scene. With so many talented artists, there are numerous places throughout the city that I can enjoy. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is a splendid place to visit. One of the biggest museums dedicated to the art of today, it brings contemporary art to viewers in the form of painting, sculpture, photography, video and film, and performance. This is a very unique place, and one I truly enjoy.

Chicago sounds amazing! Now it's my turn:

I moved to the Philadelphia area 9.5 years ago, fresh out of college! As a country girl, I've always been a big fan of wide open spaces. I'd always enjoyed visiting NYC, but had never spent a night in a city before. Philadelphia showed me that while my heart will always be in the country, a big city can be an amazing place to live. 


While Philadelphia isn't known for its shopping, it certainly isn't lacking in clothes stores! Liberty Place and the Galleries are full of stores, but we do have a secret weapon, just 30 minutes away is the mack daddy of malls: the King of Prussia Mall. It has ever store you could imagine or need, and more than your feet will be able tromping through. Don't worry though, when your feet get tired, just hit up one of its nail salons for a pedicure! 

Putting aside the big stuff, Philadelphia is full of tons of great little shops with all sorts of eclectic wears. South Street especially is well known for its array of hippie shops, off-beat clothes stores, as well as a few more adult choices.


Oh food... one of my favorite things about this city. Growing up where you had to drive 15 minutes to get to a McDonald or a little diner, it is amazing to me to have any type of food available to me within minutes. With amazing (and world renown) restaurants like Le Bec Fin, Morimoto's, Buddakan, and a litany of other Stephen Starr restaurants, you have gourmet food at your fingertips. If you are looking for a more casual meal though, let's not forget what Philadelphia is probably best known for (and one of my favorites): the cheesesteak! Now we have Pat's and we have Geno's, and I won't chose sides in that debate, but I've gotten some of my favorite cheesesteaks from some of Philly's great pubs. From Thai to Irish, sushi to salads, if you want it, there is an amazing restaurant for it here. 

If you can't decide what you want, head to the Reading Terminal Market, which is crammed full of stalls full of every kind of food. Then you can buy some great meats, cheese, and honeys driven in from Lancaster daily. 

And that's just the main course. If you are in Center City, you will absolutely want to hit up Federal Donuts or Insomnia Cookies; if you are in Olde City check out the Franklin Fountain for old school amazing ice cream creations or sodas pulled by a real soda jerk.

Outdoor Fun

There is something to do outside in every season in Philly. With its gorgeous parks and walking trails, it is easy to get outside in Philly. The city has more outdoor sculptures and murals than any other American city, and Philadelphia's Fairmount Park is the largest landscaped urban park in the world. The summer is full of outdoor concerts, many free to the public. In the spring, check out some of the awesome festivals that take place all over the city or take in a baseball game. In the autumn, head to a local pumpkin patch, hit up a park to watch the foliage change, or take in a football game. In the winter, bundle up then head down to Boat House Row and watch a regatta!

Art and Culture

There is plenty of culture to be found in Philadelphia. Our biggest museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is one of the largest art museums in the country. Even if you've never been, you probably know what the front of it looks like. The flight of steps to the main entrance are "the steps" featured in Rocky! There are numerous other smaller museums and galleries. 

If museums aren't your thing, then head to the Avenue of the Arts in Center City, where you will find the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (home of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Academy of Music - the nation's oldest continually operating opera house, home to the Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Ballet). There is also the Wilma Theatre and Philadelphia Theatre Company. Nearby you will also find the Walnut Street Theatre (America’s oldest theatre). 

If science is more your thing, then definitely check out the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the super fun and creepy Mütter Museum, and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. If you have kids, don't forget one of Gwen's favorites: the Please Touch Museum!


Philadelphia is known as the birthplace of Democracy. Head to Olde City to see the Liberty Bell, tour Independence Hall (where the Declaration was signed!), or visit the the Gloria Dei church; visit the homes of Edgar Allen Poe or Betsy Ross. For scary fun in the autumn months, head to Eastern State Penitentiary for their haunted house, Terror Behind the Walls. Or check them out for a historic tour during the day (still a little creepy!). ESP was the first penitentiary, and really changed the shape of the prison system in America. It even housed Al Capone!

Have you ever been to Chicago or Philadelphia? Are you a fan? What's your favorite city? What your favorite thing about where you live?


  1. What a great collab post! It's so fun to share things you love about your city :) Especially when it's near and dear to your heart. I love where we live - in Tempe. It's perfect for our family because everything is close by and it has a neighborhood feel but is so close to downtown at the same time! Thank you for sharing :)

  2. Beautiful post. I've wanted to go to Chicago so many times but the hubs has a distaste for it. BUT I don't listen to him since he was there in the winter for bootcamp. Pictures from the area during the summer though look amazing! Thank you for sharing so much about your city.

    Chelle from Oh, just stop already

  3. I've never been to either city, unless you count having a couple of layovers at the O'Hare and Midway airports. I'd love to go to Philadelphia, though. :-)


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