Labor Day weekend is an expensive time to travel from the States. I had fully intended to visit Denver during the holiday weekend, however flights were averaging $450 from NYC airports. One of the most important keys to travelling on a budget is flexibility.
Upon realizing that flights to Denver were out of my budget, I decided to attend the annual Made in America music festival in Philadelphia. This 2 day festival features various musical artists and is a joint collaboration between Jay-Z and Budweiser.
This city holds a special place in my heart, as it’s the first city my dad lived in when he immigrated to the U.S.A. I am always down for a trip to the “city of brotherly love”. Driving to Philly was considerably cheaper than flying to Colorado. Two-day passes to the festival were $200 and all that was left to handle was accommodations.
The cost of hotels and AirBnbs close to the venue were running high. This is not uncommon during holidays or when special events are going on in a city. Luckily, my friend and I were able to snag a great deal on a 4 star hotel less than 3 miles from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where the festival was taking place.
It’s always best to compare prices across several sites when booking a hotel. The property we ultimately decided on was the Wyndham Philadelphia-Historic District . Although the property was available to book on different sites, the total price for a premium room with two queens beds and free WiFi differed on the 3 sites I checked (Booking.com, Hotels.com, and Wyndham.com).
Comparing the hotel cost across sites definitely paid off. The total cost for 3 nights on Wyndham.com was $520 + 9,000 Wyndham Rewards points. Utilizing Wyndham’s Go Fast Program allowed us to save nearly $500 off of the the prices quoted on Hotels.com and Booking.com!
If you’re not a Wyndham Rewards member sign up now for free. 15,000 points = a free night anywhere or you can use the go fast program for the cost of $150 USD + 3,000 points/night. Points may be purchased at a rate of 1,000 points/$11. Click the link above to learn more about the program.
Although I drove to Philly, finding parking can be a hassle, so my friend and I opted to use UberPool throughout the weekend. This feature in the popular ride sharing app Uber allows you to share a ride with strangers heading in the same direction as you. This almost always results in a cheaper fare.
We stayed in North Philly, but traveled all around the city for an average cost of $4/ride. Philadelphia is considered a major city, but traffic was practically non-existent all weekend. If visiting the city, save yourself the headache and use a ride sharing app to get around instead of trying to find street parking.
Philly is one of my favorite U.S. cities for food. Besides their world famous cheesesteaks, there is also a wide range of affordable cuisines available; from soul food classics to vegan desserts.
Everyone knows Ishkabibbles has the best cheesesteaks (not up for debate). However, on this trip I was on a mission to try other places recommended by Philly locals. My list was pretty slim but consisted of the following restaurants:
- Federal Donuts, 1632 Sansom Street, Philadelphia,PA 19103 (multiple locations)
- This casual restaurant is known for two things, fresh donuts and tasty fried chicken. As soon as my friend and I arrived in Philly we decided to walk over to the location closest to us. Unfortunately, because we arrived right before closing, there was no more chicken left. However, I was able to try a Vanilla Spice donut and a Cinnamon Brown Sugar donut. Both were prepared right in front of me and the flavor was amazing. My friend had a Guava Poppy donut which she enjoyed as well.
- I was determined to try the chicken from this restaurant before leaving Philly, yet I couldn’t find Federal Donuts on any of my food delivery apps. Thankfully I discovered Caviar. This is a food delivery service in major markets such as Brooklyn, Queens, Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia. I ordered Chili-Garlic Glazed Chicken Wings and a Tres Leche donut from the comfort of my hotel room. Within an hour my meal was delivered to my room and my taste buds rejoiced. If you’d like to try out the service click the link here to receive $20 off of your first order.
- Green Eggs Cafe, 1301 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA (multiple locations)
- This was one of the most frequent recommendations for brunch I was given. The menu for this cafe ranges from red velvet pancakes to cookie dough stuffed french toast. A wait of at least 30 minutes is to be expected on the weekends. The hostess have us a wait time of 45, but we quickly passed the time by exploring the “Gayborhood”. Once seated I ordered the Creole Shrimp and Grits and my friend ordered the Veggie Benedict. We were both extremely happy with our choices and agreed that we would return again. Please note this restaurant is cash only.
- Poke Bowl, 958 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123
- After a couple days of devouring greasy, fried foods my friend and I were craving a healthier meal. We discovered this restaurant on Uber Eats. The reviews were great and the prices were fair. Poke bowls, not to be confused with PokeBalls, are a seafood based dish originating in Hawaii. This unique restaurant serves up various cubed fish (tuna, salmon, etc…) over brown rice, kale, or seaweed. I created a small custom bowl and was not disappointed. The fish was fresh and the rice was cooked well. The best part was that the food was delivered right to my hotel room. If you’ve never used the UberEats app before and would like $10 off of your first order click here and enter the code eats-kydao in the promotion code field.
The Mural Mile
Philly has some amazing street art! After Sunday brunch, my friend and I decided to walk some of The Mural Mile. This is a 2.5 mile self guided walking tour that allows you to view some of the city’s most popular street art.
Audio guidance is available via your cellphone if you want to hear more info about each mural. We were able to complete about a mile of the journey before we got too hot and sweaty to continue. I’d definitely recommend checking out some of the art if you you will be in the area. I’ve included a map of all the mural sites below.
A great time, as always, was had in Philly during Labor Day Weekend. Stay tuned for my article on music festival do’s and don’ts.
If you have any questions or need help planning your trip to Philadelphia email me here.