1. The look on the cashier’s face when you hand her a quarter for “Pay What You Wish” day at the Philadelphia Art Museum.
That glare she gives you as she begrudgingly hands you your museum tag won’t make you feel guilty because you followed the rule. You paid what you wished.
2. The brutal honesty of a stranger giving you unsolicited advice.
It can come from anywhere. Behind you on SEPTA, next to you at the bar, or even in the next aisle at the Acme — the voice of a stranger weighing in on your life. And when you look at them confused, they’ll make you feel like it was your fault for discussing your matters too loudly in public.
3. Biking down Broad Street at 4am to get warm pretzels from the Pretzel Factory.
If biking down Broad when there’s no traffic isn’t a good enough reason for a 4am ride, then being downwind from the warm scent of sour dough is.
4. Breakfast sandwiches from an angry vendor in a silver food truck in University City.
No matter how cold of a morning it is, he’s sweating in his silver coffin of a food truck, too busy hating life to give you a smile with your ham, egg, and cheese sandwich.
5. Giggling with friends at the perspective of the William Penn statue from the Parkway.
William Penn looks like he’s been holding his “wang” since 1894.
6. Ordering late-night scrapple at Little Pete’s Diner.
With the grease still bubbling on this mystery meat’s gray surface, it’s hard to believe it’s Philadelphia’s favorite scrapple. That is until you take a bite. Then you’ll savor every bit because, with the looming threat that Little Pete’s Diner might close, you never know when it’ll be your last!
7. Perusing the galleries at Vox Populi for so long that the residents invite you to hang out on the roof.
You’re a friend of a friend, but these welcoming artists don’t mind sharing the skyline view from their warehouse roof. We all know it’s one of the best views of Philadelphia.
8. Singing along in harmony to “Move Closer to Your World My Friends” when Channel 6 Action News comes on.
Also Jim Gardner, whose voice has been welcomed into our living rooms for generations.
9. Ordering a Lager and the bartender understanding what that means.
You don’t think she heard you over the other patrons yelling at the Eagles game, but when she brings over Yuengling, you know she’s a true Philly bartender.
10. Walking through the center of City Hall.
Even if it’s out of the way, you purposely cut through the center of City Hall to enjoy how its stone walls muffle the noises of Center City. Standing on the compass in the middle feels like standing in the heart of Philadelphia. It’s a bonus when there’s a violinist taking advantage of the perfect acoustics.
11. Rejoicing with the Holy Spirit when Philly Jesus baptizes people in the LOVE Park fountain.
What turned into a walk through LOVE Park has turned into a sort of “Passion on the Parkway” as strangers confirm their faith with a random man dressed as Jesus. Regardless of your religion, the joy of that stranger emerging from the fountain is contagious.
12. Celebrating every occasion with a round of Citywide Specials.
$3.50 for a beer and a shot of whiskey is the best way to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and new jobs. For that price, you’ll be making up occasions to celebrate!
13. A greasy slice of Lorenzo’s pizza after a hard night out on South Street.
Nothing soaks up all of those Citywide Specials you drank like slurping the grease off of a slice of pizza that’s too large for the paper plate that it’s served on.
14. Random fireworks displays.
Is it the 4th of July? No. New Years? No. It’s a random Tuesday and Penn’s Landing is having a fireworks display just for the Hell of it.
15. Run-ins with Isaiah Zagar.
Whether he’s concentrating on building one of his epic South Philly found objects mosaics, or driving his dented minivan around town, seeing Isaiah Zagar is always a treat. Perhaps he’ll give you some profound life advice in the form of poetry.