After spending several months in Pennsylvania I felt somewhat guilty that all I'd really seen were the vance expanses of green that stretched across glittering lakes and woodland forests. I needed to see more of the state and Philadelphia seemed like the perfect place to go.
It is the second largest city on America's east coast and is one of the state's most visited locations. This could be because there's something for the history buff, the ultimate movie fan, the food critic and the more bohemian type among us.
To reach Philadelphia we took the two hour Megabus ride from New York which cost a mere $10-bargain! Bus travel across America is the cheapest way to get around and companies like Megabus and Greyhound are extremely reliable and offer regular services cross-country.
Whilst getting there was cheap enough, finding affordable accommodation was slightly harder. Philadelphia has plenty of hotels but only a handful of hostels that can be expensive.
We opted for the cheapest hostel we could find, and although it was located in the stunning Fairmont Park, it was a good while away from the city centre. Chamounix Hostel is a beautiful, white building that depicts a classic, american suburbian home. The green bench hangs from the porch and a picket fence nests neatly around the garden. Set amidst the lush green park, woodland creatures surrounded the property and the only sounds that can be heard are that of the gospel choir practicing each morning. Paradise.
It was a great place to stay, but taking taxis in and out of the city bumped up our expenses. We should have weighed up the price of a hotel against the taxis we'd be paying for.
Nevertheless, we packed our days full of culture and all things Philly. That includes the renowned Philly steak sandwiches and the super soft pretzels; it was mandatory to get munching.
The top attraction on our list, like most who visit the city, was the Liberty Bell. This is an iconic monument steep in american history symbolizing the US's independence. Myths and legends surround the bell which is what draws thousands of tourists to the site each year.
Extremely uncultured as I was, I wasn't quite sure how excited I could get over a bell, but as I walked around I was fascinated by the history behind it. Visiting the bell and the centre is free and so definitely worth going, especially as the location offers great views of the nearby Independence Hall.
Moving onto something for the boys...If you've seen the Rocky films, which I had not, you will know that Philadelphia is the home to the famous Rocky steps. Parts of the three Rocky movies were filmed here and it's one famous scene in the movie that brings fans to this spot. It's the moment Rocky races up the steps to prove some manly "I'm no underdog" thing.
Traveling with a group of boys meant it was a must-see and, unfortunately, I was given the role of camera woman as they took it in turn to sprint up the 72 steps. These are located in front of Philadelphia's Museum of Art and next to the bronze statue of Rocky himself. Of course this meant another great photo op for the boys to get their muscles out.
Aside from these top attractions, just taking a walk around the city is a great way to absorb Philadelphia's quirky culture. The architecture and art work located at every corner makes it a beautiful and serene city and taking a dander is a cheap and cheery way to see what it's all about.
Love Park was a treasure we just happened to stumble upon, as was the Schuylkill River, and then there was South Street. This is a quirky, and extremely bohemian road that stretches across the city creating its southern border.
Along the street is an urban mix of kooky shops and restaurants littered with unique art pieces and murals. Bright colours, original artistry and all to the sound of Bob Marley- South Street is Philadelphia's true treasure and an absolute must.