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Benjamin Franklin Bridge against the Philadelphia skyline (Photograph by John Cardasis, Getty Images)

Emma’s Philadelphia

Emma Fried-Cassorla can probably get away with saying she’s from the City of Brotherly Love after spending most of her life there. In addition to working a day job in communications at the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, this hometown enthusiast shares her insider intel on Philly Love Notes, a blog she describes as “a collection of reminders” to help people rediscover places that have been “forgotten or overlooked.” Here are a few of Emma’s favorite things about the city she calls home.

Follow Emma’s story on Twitter @PhillyLoveNotes 

Philadelphia is My City

When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is to the 33rd floor of the PSFS building.

The last couple of weeks in April is the best time to visit my city because there are so many festivals.

You can see my city best from the bridges.

Locals know to skip cheese steaks and check out roast pork sandwiches instead.

Center City Pretzel Company is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs (warning, hours are from midnight to noon).

In the past, notable people like Roots drummer Questlove, American Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, and architect Frank Furness have called my city home.

My city’s best museum is the Wagner Free Institute because no one really knows about it, it’s free, and they’ve purposefully kept it the same for more than a century.

If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s to walk or take public transit; there is no reason to rent a car.

The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is at one of the two waterfronts (but I’m biased because I work on the Delaware River).

My city really knows how to celebrate Independence Day because, well, it’s where it all started.

You can tell if someone is from my city if they pronounce water as “wudder” or call Italian ice “wudder ice.”

For a fancy night out, I get the “dump dinner” at Oyster House where they cover your table in newspaper and throw down a bunch of delicious seafood, potatoes, corn, and sausage. That’s my kind of fancy.

Just outside my city, you can visit a beautiful museum and castle (aka the Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle) made out of concrete.

My city is known for being a Bud Light kind of town, but it’s really a craft beer mecca.

The best outdoor market in my city is the Headhouse Square Market.

Federal Donuts is my favorite place to grab breakfast, and Little Pete’s is the spot for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read

My city’s biggest sports event is probably any game involving the Eagles or the Phillies, but I go for the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby. Watch it during the Trenton Avenue Arts Festival in May.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I eat pho, tons and tons of pho, at Nam Phuong.

To escape the crowds, I go to Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park in South Philadelphia.

If my city were a celebrity it’d be a reality TV star because it puts it all out there.

The dish that represents my city best is a real Philly soft pretzel, and “Fishtown Iced Tea is my city’s signature drink (or at least the Fishtown neighborhood’s).

City Hall is my favorite building in town because…just look at it.

A random thing about my city is Elfreth’s Alley, America’s oldest street in continuous use.

Johnny Brenda’s is the best place to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out Medusa Lounge.

Watching tourists continuously run up and down the steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art could only happen in my city.

In the spring you should walk along Kelly Drive when the cherry trees are in bloom.

In the summer you should check out the city’s many free public pools. There’s nothing like floating in a pool while looking at row houses and the skyline. My favorite is the one located at 17th and Catharine streets.

In the fall you should go to Laurel Hill Cemetery or Woodlands Cemetery (two of the nation’s oldest garden cemeteries) for a picnic.

In the winter you should enjoy some of the city’s finest gastropubs with fireplaces.

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss the Please Touch Museum or the Academy of Natural Science.

The best book about my city is Prayer for the City, by Buzz Bissinger.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is “Summertime,” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (aka Will Smith). (By the way, I crowd-sourced that answer.)

In 140 characters or less, the world should heart my city because even though we can be rough and critical, we’re secretly in love with our home.

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