The Taste, Touch and Smell of Philly

Many American schoolchildren travel to Philadelphia to visit the old liberty bell. They get off their buses, take a quick tour, and head back to their hometowns without ever getting a chance to experience true Philly. GoNOMAD writer Jennifer Kim offers an insider’s tips to the city including the best cheesesteaks, and some of the best places to enjoy the nightlife. Here are some of her recommendations for taste, touch and smell. For sights, sounds, and more on the first three senses, check out her article Experiencing Philly With All Five Senses.

Cheesesteaks are an original Philly creation, dating back to the 1930s. The clanking of the metal spatula against the grill, the clouds of steam rising from the sizzling grilled meat, and the procedure for ordering your cheesesteak all contribute to the Philly cheesesteak experience.

Sylvester Stallone’s famous performance as Rocky Balboa in the film Rocky is an unforgettable underdog tale of a club fighter facing his opponent, the reigning heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Every morning, his intense workout regimen goes through the streets of South Philly, ending with the 72 steps of The Philadelphia Museum of Art. In an act of triumph, he ritually throws his arms in the air after his last step of the entranceway to the art museum is climbed.

Spurts of Italy are strewn all over the block. My nose has guided me into the very heart of the Old World — the 9th Street Italian Market. With over thirty authentic shops and more than forty produce stands lining the streets of South Philadelphia, the eclectic aromas of the market are whirling in the air. More than a hundred years worth of immigrants linger in the community as seen by the antique shops handed from generation to generation.