First of all, I want to congratulate everyone, including myself, for making it to the last week of the semester. I can’t recall ever wanting to say goodbye to a year more than the year 2016. It certainly will be a four-digit number that will feature prominently in every history book published henceforth.
I do not know your plans for this winter break, but before you hastily evacuate the east coast (for those of you that live here… my condolences), how about stopping by an incredible city this weekend?
For those who read my blog posts, unlike Boston, to get to this city you don’t need to spend half a day getting back and forth. Take the NJ Transit from Princeton to Trenton for a fair price of $6.75 and transfer to the SEPTA going towards 30th Street Station for an additional $10. In the end you will end up in the city of love, Philadelphia.
Essentially, there are two ways to go from here. You can head to the University City, where you’ll find the beautiful campus of the University of Pennsylvania. You can also choose to cross the bridge to head over to Center City, the heart of Pennsylvania. Personally, if you haven’t visited the UPenn campus, it is definitely worth the visit. It’s very different from our campus, and the students are incredibly friendly. Make sure you check out the bookstore where they sell the infamous t-shirt with the label “Puck Frinceton”.
After looking around the campus for a bit, which will probably take you around an hour or two, head over to Center City. Call an UberX from campus and you’ll arrive at Center City for about $8 dollars.
Think of Center City as a 19th century NYC. There are definitely distinctive skyscrapers such as the Comcast Center, but the city is also full of traditional American architecture such as City Hall and Independence Hall. There are plenty of things to see and do, and most importantly, eat. One of my favorite restaurants at Center City is Barbuzzo. It has an amazing ambience and the price is not too steep for us struggling college students. My favorite is their Margherita pizza, which you can buy for $13. If you are over 21, make sure you taste some of their cocktails as well.
Although Barbuzzo is great, I occasionally find myself craving Philadelphia’s trademark dish, the Philly Cheesesteak. I have to admit, not all cheesesteaks in Philadelphia are good. However, I was able to discover a gem in the heart of Center City, thanks to the help of a good friend working for Comcast. The place is called Steve’s Prince of Steaks. They serve the epitome of a Philly Cheesesteak for a very decent price. They served the best cheesesteak I have tasted so far, and I think that you’ll find it delicious as well.
After enjoying a good meal, you can head over to City Hall to ice-skate. The city of Philadelphia annually converts the front of City Hall into an in-city Ice Rink, and the atmosphere is absolutely gorgeous. In fact, when I went to ice-skate, a young, brave man proposed to his fiancé in the middle of the ice rink. It was an incredibly romantic sight, certainly befitting of the city of love.
Returning to Princeton is incredibly simple, and the trains run all the way past midnight. However, staying the night at Philadelphia might also be a great choice, just because there is so much to see. I suggest using Airbnb. I was able to book a room for about $70, and I was very satisfied with the quality. However, if you want to save money, it’s time to call up that long-lost friend who goes to Penn.