By Katie Matresse
As I was walking into my office from lunch on Friday, out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone very familiar…my favorite person in the world, in fact! I hadn’t been expecting my mom until later, but this was the best surprise in the world!
I took her around the corner to my favorite coffee shop, I showed her my office, and I even took her to the Criminal Justice Center to hear the verdict of the jury trial I observed that week. To celebrate her arrival we went to Lolita , my favorite restaurant in Center City, for some amazing Mexican food, and then next door to buy some chocolates. We had to have some girly time. When you’re in Philly, you simply must check out these two places! They are two of many places on 13th street owned by the same two women — and all their places are fabulous! Lolita is a trendy take on Mexican food, including a bring-your-own-tequila deal for delicious margaritas (for the 21+ crowd, of course). At Verde we tried spectacular artisanal chocolates and shopped for hand-made bags, hats, etc. It was so incredible to experience Philadelphia as the authority on how to navigate and where to go!
Saturday we were ambitious. We started our morning at my favorite French cafe (shout out to Abby for the recommendation) and walked to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the Van Gogh exhibit . We couldn’t believe how much more powerful it was to see his work in person, and how much more intentional each element appeared on the canvas. We snagged lunch at Reading Terminal Market before seeing Independence National Historical Park (Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell), and taking a carriage tour of Old City.
Old City is home to the most historic square mile in our country — America happened here! We ended the night crashing in the hotel room absurdly early, resting up for our next day of adventuring! We tried to keep Sunday as low-key as possible. Mom and I took the trolley into West Philly for breakfast and for the big introduction to my housemates (yay!) and my neighborhood. We went back into Center City for a day of south Philly adventuring! We went to South Street to see the Magic Gardens, a 14-year project of artist Isaiah Zagar that features a labyrinth of mosaic art. We decided that it just wasn’t a trip to Philly without a cheesesteak from Pat’s King of Steaks, so we ventured to Passyunk to participate in a delicious Philadelphia tradition! What a weekend!
I’m ecstatic that I got to introduce my mom to this place, and even more ecstatic that she enjoyed the city (even though I admittedly did get us lost in South Philly). I could not have predicted how much fun it is to see Philly as a tourist/tour guide. We saw so much history and culture — a real Philly adventure! I wish we could’ve seen every single highlight of this place…I guess we’ll just have to do it again some time… My west coast and east coast existences will meet again in two weeks when my sister Jessica visits…oh yes!
And Mom, if you’re reading this, I miss you already!