I’ve always wanted to see what it was like to live in large city and get around without a car. I know people do it all the time, I had just never experienced it myself. But when my son parked his car on the street after our day trip to Valley Forge and Amish Country, we didn’t get back in his car until our return trip to the airport several days later. Thus, Ken and I got an unexpected, but welcome taste of the car-free lifestyle.
Here is some of what we were able to see by either walking it, bussing it or riding the train through Philadelphia in just one day.
And let me just say, putting the whole car-less thing aside, if I had to pick one word to sum up our findings, it would be “charmed” by this city of brotherly love.
Just down the street from where my son lives, there’s a small square, a triangle really, that is a blocked-off section of the street to serve as open air seating.
Raise your hand if you would find a book to read, a hot cup of joe, or any number of good reasons to hang out right here as often as you could.
As we walked the blocks toward the train station, I couldn’t help but notice the cozy ambiance of the narrow streets and the rows and rows and rows of brick homes.
Each door has a small cement stoop that was probably stone or wood at one time, and most of the buildings have an attached cellar in front for storage. Notice all of the cellar doors? One of my son’s friends told us that the restaurants and stores use these cellars for deliveries to this day.
I like to imagine how at one time a horse drawn wagon would have pulled up and dropped off goods that went right down those stairways.
Downtown Philadelphia is filled with history, starting with the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall which were “must dos” for us.
But I was really charmed by the quantity of statues and sculptures and their unique placement in many cases, which was on the rooftops, spires or steeple tops of many of the buildings.
Of all the sites we saw on our car-less tour, I think what made Philadelphia most unique in my experience was the many rooftop statues.
The final trek on our walking tour was to the Philadelphia art museum (aka, the Rocky steps to those of us who might be culturally challenged.)
After Rocky ran up the steps, this is what he turned around to see. A parkway designed like that of the Champs-Elysees that overlooks the downtown. Stunning, beautiful, charming.
Social Consciousness sculpture outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art
And way more enriching to visit than merely to trace the Rocky climb. No offence, Sly!
Washington Monument Fountain outside of the Museum of Art
So, that’s a snapshot of all that we were able to see in one day by traveling from South Philly to downtown Philadelphia without a car. It also allowed me to check “car-free for a day in a big city” off my bucket list.
If I tell you now that the very next thing we did after leaving the Museum of Art was to call Uber for a ride to Geno’s for Philly steaks will you judge?
Enjoy the day ~ Amy