Beer seekers, thrill seekers and foodies will all be pleased with the next two stops on our away game roadtrip. The NFC East features plenty of staples found in a professional tailgater’s vacation list, in addition to a plethora of wonderful surprises. So here we go, prepare your palate and pulse for the excitement in Philadelphia, PA and Dallas, TX.
When most people think of Philadelphia, PA, they imagine cheesesteaks, water ice, soft pretzels and the loudest, most obnoxious fans in the world of sports. While some of that is true, particularly the latter (and yes, they’re proud of it), there’s actually a lot more to Philadelphia than fatty foods and Ben Franklin.
History buffs will certainly rejoice at the thought of visiting Philadelphia. Once (and briefly) the country’s capital and still the oldest city in the U.S., Philadelphia is filled with history that refuses to be renovated. But seriously, driving on cobblestone streets will make you rethink the idea of preserving our country’s historic areas. Oh-so cleverly named, Old City, or “Olde City,” is where visitors will find Betsey Ross’ house, the Liberty Bell and Franklin Court—which is where Ben Franklin’s house once was. Although his home was torn down in the early 1800s, a steel frame now exists where the building formerly stood.
A lot of foodies who are familiar with Philadelphia know the rivalry between Pat’s and Geno’s for the best cheesesteak. However, the most scrumptious of the greasy concoctions is likely to be found at either Tony Luke’s or Jim’s. It’s also worth noting that for delicious fries, you might want to make a stop at one of the locations of Chickie and Pete’s for their famous crab fries, which are topped with old bay seasoning and made to be dipped in a melted cheese sauce. Yum.
Speaking of Chickie and Pete’s, a kiosk location of theirs can be found in the barplex right outside the stadiums called Xfinity Live! The most avid sports fans are likely to have seen it on TV during a Philly game, considering its undeniable proximity and connection with the stadiums and sports (as well as being home to the largest LCD HD TV in the world.) The bars within Xfinity Live! range from Victory Beer Hall, named after a local brewing company and serving German food, to PBR (Professional Bull Riders), which you might remember from our trip to Houston, and Broad Street Bullies Pub, a sports bar named for the beloved Philadelphia Flyers. There’s no shortage of beer at XL, and Broad Street Bullies Pub in particular has an extensive selection that features over a hundred different beers—many microbrews and locals. Just make sure you’re prepared for some PG-13 comments from the fans if you dare to wear your team’s colors on their turf.
Of course, for those who would rather tailgate before and after as opposed to going to a bar, there is no shortage of parking around the stadiums, and a fun place to tailgate is FDR Park, which is just a block away from the stadiums themselves. The park has tennis courts, swings, a lake and the most unconventional and serene scenery for a city park. It’s an unusual location, and plenty of fun with fans gathering on park benches, picnic blankets, or just the bed of a pickup truck. And as for that famous Philly soft pretzel, you can pick that bad boy up on your walk to the stadium from any of the street vendors who set up camp for football Sundays. Game on!
Now, even the land of cheesesteaks has some options for the health conscious. Govinda’s is a restaurant on South Street that features vegetarian and vegan options, and all the food is absolutely delicious. Center City has a multitude of dining options, from dives to the upscale, and different flavors for just about anything your palate craves.
Center City is also the ideal location for any fashionista in your traveling bunch. From Urban Outfitters to Tiffanys to upscale Barney’s and thrifty Buffalo Exchange, the diversity is limitless.
Weather permitting, a fun spot to take a romantic stroll is Penn’s Landing. There’s just something sweet and charming about walking along the Delaware River with the Ben Franklin Bridge in the background. Plus, if all your sweet nothings have you working up an appetite, there’s always the Moshulu boat, permanently situated on the Delaware River, where you can grab dinner and drinks. During the wintertime, River Rink is also open and right on Penn’s Landing, just in case you want a cliché romantic winter activity. Whether you’re a fan of history, high cholesterol or good old-fashioned sports bar and tailgating fun, Philadelphia is bound to please. Don’t be shy, bring some mustard for that soft pretzel and embrace the City of Brotherly Love.
Again we venture to the Lone Star State, but this time to Dallas, TX. It’s quickly evident that Dallas is both a lively and diverse city, with a lot of highly unusual attractions in addition to activities that entice most sports fans. Hope you’re ready!
Where are my artsy personalities? The Design District is a must-see on your visit. Effervescent with art galleries and night life, this is a large hub in the Southwestern U.S. for interior designers to showcase their work and be inspired. Dallas’ Arts District has one of the best art scenes in the nation, with plenty of performing arts, symphonies and sculpture work to keep the right side of your brain buzzing. Additionally, The Bishop Arts District should be a vacation priority, as well. Boasted as one of the city’s “best kept secrets,” with hip restaurants and shopping, the Bishop Arts District’s retailers and restaurants all operate independently and heavily promote a lifestyle of shopping, eating and living locally. Dallas might rock blue jerseys, but they certainly don’t hesitate to go green.
Now, a taste of the unusual: Blazes is a Dallas Firefighters Museum (and free), just for everyone who had childhood dreams of red trucks and extinguishing flames. Traveling with adrenaline junkies? Zero Gravity is a “Thrill Park” where bungee jumping, free falling, skycoasting and “blasting off” at 70 mph can all be on your agenda. Who’s ready for a rush?
Speaking of primitive instincts and reactions, where are all the manly men at? Head down to Off the Bone on a Thursday between 6 and 8 P.M. and enjoy some all you can eat ribs for $30. And for the sake of some friendly competition, why not challenge some of the bros to see who can eat the most? There is no better excuse to wash down the grub with some fine local beer. Speaking of beer, M’Antiques is an antique shop that caters to guys, offering free local beer by Rahr & Sonos while browsing the swords, typewriters, books and coins.
For a postcard worthy view of the city, make sure you and your travel companions venture to the Belmont hotel, which is situated right on the city’s only hills, and provides the exact vantage point most skyline photos of Dallas are taken from. If you’re a creative personality, a thrill seeker or just enjoy learning your geography by the local brews, Dallas will have y’all coming back for more! …Despite that their team makes you want to puke.
Get your drinking hand ready, because whether you’re holding your own against the ravenous Philly fans, or tasting microbrews from Dallas locals, you’re going to be enjoying lots of new brews worthy of writing home about. Put those big boy pants on, and get ready for some thrills, whether they might be intellectual, artistic or physical (adrenaline, people, get your minds out of the gutter.) So grab your coozie and get your most artistic Instagram filters ready, the NFC East is guaranteed to leave you with memories to boast about for years to come.