Home BAM Travels BAM Travels: Independence Day Family Weekend In Philadelphia 

BAM Travels: Independence Day Family Weekend In Philadelphia 

by Nellie

Independence Day Family Weekend in Philadelphia


Philadelphia is like New York on Xanax. So much fun everywhere but a ton more chill.

I’ve been there so many times I’ve really lost count, if it isn’t blogging conferences, or half marathons, flower shows or just simply hanging out–I love Philadelphia. It was a no brainer to go for Independence Day weekend because why not visit the place where America first claimed their independence?!

We took the Amtrak down and we were there in less than 90 minutes. We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard, right in Center City and steps away from all the fun.


We booked a package that included tickets to the Big Bus Tour and free breakfast. (They had me at Free Breakfast). The hotel was So beautiful (and spacious!!).

The first thing we did was drop our things and head to the Please Touch Museum. Separate post on all that fun coming soon!

Afterwards we headed out to the Hard Rock Cafe. I have been many times but it was the first time I took the whole family. The food was fantastic–we ate our fill. What I loved about the Hard Rock Cafe was that they had a full package for the kids–a coloring book AND crayons. Makes things so much easier on me and plus it saves me from having to give up my phone when they get restless. Since it was right down the block we walked back super easy and knocked out.


Day 2 – Independence Day

We woke up early–just kidding my youngest wakes up at the crack of dawn daily and this vacation was no exception.

We walked over to IHOP to grab some eats and it was really delicious. Sorry for the lack of makeup, I forgot my eyeliner–the one thing that makes me look alive. Lol. I quickly got some right after though!


Finally it was time to jump on the Big Bus. This was personally my first time on a Big Bus even though I’ve seen and waved to many at home and especially in Times Square. Since it was July 4th I was a little worried that we wouldn’t get the full experience because of the many parades and such downtown. I was assured that there would be minor detours. Unfortunately my gut was right on the money.


It’s started off innocently enough. Plenty of Philadelphia facts and “did you knows”. Then we started getting stopped by the police. No left turn here, can’t go straight, can’t turn right. We ended up on the outskirts of Philly without a clue on how we were getting back. Oy. Finally after an hour or roaming around we were able to get back on course but with very little major landmarks. I decided we’d try again later and hope for a better result.


After being dropped off way earlier than we expected and the rain beginning to fall we decided to take advantage of the indoor pool. The boys had so much fun which was great because they were restarting swimming lessons the very next week!

Later on in the evening we jumped back on the Big Bus with a tour guide that was so awful I’m pretty sure she will haunt me in my nightmares. Our objective was to get as close to Benjamin Franklin Parkway as possible so we could see the festival BEFORE the big concert. SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC

The festival was really good! It reminded me of all the festivals in NYC lots of fried foods and lemonade. The familiar smell of roast corn and cheesesteaks everywhere you turned. Lots of corporate vendors were out in full force too.


We walked all the way back to the hotel–it turned out to be around 2 miles but the boys didn’t complain. We had dinner at the hotel and after the boys went to bed J and I were able to see the fireworks from the concert.

Day 3 – Homeward Bound

On Sunday morning we took advantage of our  free breakfast. What I absolutely loved was a little nook that fit all of us but had a TV with Cartoon Network! Why can’t all restaurants be like this?!


We walked out a couple blocks away to the famous LOVE Park. The boys had a great time: but I will let the pics speak for themselves.SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC

Afterwards we jumped BACK on the Big Bus (you can see how determined I am!) and finally we were able to see the beauty of the city in all its glory. It was long, but it was awesome. I wish I had more time to really jump off and on like I wanted to but I will save that for the next trip.


All of this Philly fun convinced me that I might want to give the Philadelphia Half Marathon a second go. It was my favorite half of 2014 and this time I can plan ahead and get a decent hotel. The race memory gives me happy feelings and I think that is reason enough to go back! Now this will be 3 weeks after my first marathon so I’m not expecting any crazy here but it would be a nice note to end my racing season on. We shall see!

Have you ever done a double decker city bus tour? What did you think? What is your favorite monument in Philly? Should I run the Philadelphia Half Marathon 3 weeks after my first full?

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CARLA July 13, 2015 - 5:36 am

ahhh and now I cant remember what made my girl ask me this weekend if we could go see the liberty bell!!
Ive been there so many times—I cant believe she never has.
It’s philly time here too.
#mamaoops 🙂

Judy July 13, 2015 - 5:44 am

Sounds like a GREAT weekend!

I wouldn’t run a half after a full, even tho I’ve never run a full, but then again it could stave off those pits marathon blues.

I think I’d barely be walking after a full!

Coco July 13, 2015 - 6:58 am

Your kids are so freaking precious! I was just in Philly for a conference and wish I had more time to explore. I did make it to the Rocky statue one morning!

Janine Huldie July 13, 2015 - 7:27 am

Looked like the perfect way to spend the 4th of July with your family and I say give the marathon a try as you have nothing to lose. Can’t wait to hear what you decide though and am so psyched for you 😉

PegSter July 13, 2015 - 10:50 am

This looks like such a fun trip. I love Philly too and your boys definitely look like they had a ball

Janelle July 13, 2015 - 11:38 am

Great photos! I always love seeing the perspective of Philly from a visitor. Sometimes living here I forget how nice we have it!

That bus experience sounds like a nightmare…I’ll be sure to stay away from The Big Bus! Your boys are just TOO darn cute!

Jenni July 13, 2015 - 11:41 am

We’ve never been to Philly, but it’s on our list. I’ve never been on a double decker bus tour, but I want to go on one. Maybe when we’re in NYC this summer. Your boys are SO cute!

Kita July 13, 2015 - 12:57 pm

Love Philly my bestie use to live there (she has moved to Texas for better jobs) and I use to visit her often. Looks like you had fun. I have always wanted to go on one of those buses too.

Tamara July 13, 2015 - 4:37 pm

You look just as awake as always, even without eyeliner. I couldn’t tell!
Growing up in NJ, we were between NYC and Philly so we did a lot of fun explorations, and even field trips, in both.
I remember South Street Diner! And We did Franklin Institute a few times and of course had cheesesteaks.

Leslie July 14, 2015 - 2:28 pm

Gah! We almost went to Philly for that same weekend to visit my BIL. I can’t believe your Big Bus stories. You would think they would know what they were doing, right? Loving all the pictures of your boys at Love Park, too. T still remembers being in Philly last year for WGS, and wants to go back to the giant heart installment at the Children’s Museum.


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