What’s the difference between a tourist and a local? Not much it seems other than where they sleep at night and where they go to work during the day. Both put their pants on one leg at a time too. But really, that’s about all the similarities I can find or have found over the last three days here in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love.
I’ve been to both typical tourist and typical local locations. Both are great for their own reasons. I spent my first night here at a Phillies game and got seats in the third row on the first baseline that would have cost $200+ back home in Boston at Fenway Pahk. Most of the folks sitting around me were locals, cheering on their home team who ended up winning in the 15th inning 2-1 over the near cellar-dwellers Houston Astros. Funny though, the guy sitting immediately to my right was from Boston. Small world. There was a lot of different types of food representational of the locals including Crab fries (I didn’t ask further), big Bavarian-style soft pretzels, and of course Yuengling beer, a favorite brew of Pennsylvanians for decades now. I even saw the Philly Phanatic whose costume has become iconic in the world of sports.
I ate lunch yesterday at Tony Luke’s whose classic Philly cheesesteaks have made them a legend in the culinary world of street food. I got the cheesesteak with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone. Delicious! It wasn’t the cheesesteak that made my lunch, although it was excellent, it was the knowledge that the other customers were generally, to the best of my knowledge, locals. I saw construction workers, cops, guys in suits and ties, more guys with hard hats on, and mailmen (mail-persons, excuse me). I knew I had the best the local flavor could provide when I went to a place that has been featured on food shows and travel shows worldwide and where the locals continue to return day in and day out. Always trust a local for a food recommendation when you ask him or her where the locals go to get the best (insert your favorite cuisine here).
You may ask about the tourists…don’t trust them unless you’re discussing their home town. Walking through the Independence Hall and Liberty Bell area, all I saw was fannie packs, sun burns, strollers, cameras, backpacks, and I heard many foreign languages. I love that these folks come to see where my great country was founded but wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them for any advice about the best of the city in which I stand.
When visiting a city outside of my home territory, I prefer to be a traveler, and not a tourist. If you have to ask the difference, you’re a tourist. If you know already, you can be counted among the travelers. Travel on…