Photo: Bilanol/Shutterstock

9 Unique Philadelphian Traditions That Are Hard to Give Up

by Alicia Raeburn May 28, 2019

The dreaded time has come, you are leaving Philadelphia. After years of developing into someone only recognizable to your fellow Philly people, you may have to take a look at your behavior. No matter how far away you move, these nine Philly traditions will be hard to give up.

1. Talking in Philly speak

No one else uses “jawn” or “youse” in spite of the fact that they are the most efficient words in the Philadelphian language. If you want to be understood by those outsiders you’re going to need to drop this habit. However, if you have no intention of connecting with others, then, by all means, carry on.

2. White-knuckle gripping the steering wheel out of fear of potholes

It can be hard to imagine, but there are places where you can confidently drive down the street without the heart-racing image of you ripping through yet another tire. Leave your crater-sized pothole fears on the streets of Philadelphia, where they will also be dutifully neglected.

3. Bracing yourself for the weird wind tunnels on certain cross streets

Why are you like this, 19th Street? Outside of our dear city, you can walk the streets with your hair done because it will actually stay that way.

4. Expecting a beer and a shot to cost $6

A dying service in Philly, and non-existent anywhere else. The world is apparently not ready for the Philly special.

5. Half parking on the sidewalk

Streets in other cities may be wide enough for you to drive down and park on them. What a world.

6. Getting weirdly defensive whenever someone mentions Philadelphia

An immediate trigger is set whenever someone not from Philly dares to give their opinion about it. It gets worse when you’re in other places, best to drop this one if you’re looking to ever make any friends. Or hold onto it and tell them to shut their mouths when they approach the subject of how this one guy was rude to them that one time in Old City, because who needs new friends?

7. Not going anywhere if it’s not within a 15-20 minute walk of your neighborhood

If you live anywhere in Philly, chances are you know that part of the city well and only that part. Except for the occasional weekend “road trip” to Fishtown, you won’t find Philadelphians outside of a five-to-ten block radius of their homes. Unless you live in those neighborhoods where there’s nothing to do and everything is residential, then you’re probably leaving as often as possible.

8. Thinking you have a good chance of getting an outdoor space with your apartment

Roof decks, backyards, weird “balconies” that are 10 square feet, space that’s standing room only jutting out from your window — we take them for granted. Even if your Philly place doesn’t have an outdoor area, you know someone who does.

9. Suggesting a night out on a Tuesday

You’ll probably get a response that you’re not ready for, warranting a “Sorry, I must have misheard, you only go out on weekends? I mean, sure, I guess that’s one way to live.”

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