In the Neighborhood with ESPN SportsCenter Anchor
Traveling is a fabric of my life. It always has been. My parents took me to India on my first trip before I turned one. By the time I was nine, I had been back to India three times with stops in London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and several trips to the Niagara Falls. As a result, I crave the entire experience of new cultures and being immersed with the locals.
I would spend my perfect day in Philadelphia because it's home. It's considered a big city but every downtown street corner gives you a neighborhood feel. You can smell the history off the cobblestone bricks in Old City.
My most memorable moment was in South Philly at Citizens Bank Ballpark watching the Phillies in the 2008 World Series. I waited 25 years for a winner and was worth every minute of heartbreak and disappointment through the years.
The activities that can't be missed
1. If you're in the mood for some serious shopping, get in the car and drive West for 25 minutes to King of Prussia.
2. If you decided to enjoy nightlife in the city, head down to Old City for drinks and food, and cap it off with a walk down South Street.
3. Tailgate with Eagles fans on a fall afternoon or catch the Phillies on a summer night while scarfing down some Chickie and Pete's crab fries. It's worth the long wait down the rightfield line at Citizens Bank Ballpark.
4. If you want to experience a true Philly sporting event in the winter, go to the Cathedral of College Basketball - the Palestra in West Philly on Penn's campus; you'll understand what real passion is for the sport if it features two Big 5 teams.
My favorite places to eat
1. My favorite place to eat is Ralph's in South Philly. If you love the romance of a vintage Italian restaurant, it's the only place to go.
2. Osteria on North Broad serves up great Italian.
3. You can't leave Philly without a Cheesesteak and my favorite spots are Tony Luke's, Jim's and d'Allesandros on Wendover Street. The true test of any good eating place - the locals go there. One bite and you'll know.
The places you should definitely see
1. You have to check out the Independence Hall and the new Constitution Center. It's the American thing to do. Plus, where else will you get up close and personal looking at a crack in a bell that signifies a city - as the Liberty Bell shows you, we don't break.
2. Valley Forge to see where George Washington and the troops held up during a treacherous winter during the Revolutionary War.
My favorite hidden gems
1. Every time I'm in town with someone new, I make it a point to stop by Khyber Pass Pub.
2. Standard Tap, a gastropub in the Northern Liberties neighborhood.
3. My favorite hidden gem is my favorite bar, Monk's Cafe, for a cold beer without the pretentious crowd.
I would stay at Rittenhouse 1715 in Center City, a cool boutique hotel with the perfect location. It's a great place to drop your stuff and go out and explore the history of the city as you're steps away from William Penn's stomping grounds of Rittenhouse Square.
The most romantic thing you can do is go to Valley Forge Park with someone you want to impress. Pack some hoagies from Wawa and have a picnic on a summer afternoon. There are many places where you can find yourself sitting there alone in a field with deer bouncing by and no one else in sight. Trust me.