Monday, April 21, 2014

One Month Left Until The End

Hi! It's my last blog post before the end of the semester, meaning that there are only 3-4 weeks left. It's hard to believe that the semester is already almost over- it went by so quickly... :(

Since the weather warmed up, I've been exploring DC and almost am through with my bucket list.

Here are some pics:

Cherry blossom trees
WWII Memorial - beautiful day out 
Cherry Blossoms in peak
More cherry blossoms because they're beautiful
Friends

My best friend from home, Justine, came to visit this weekend! She arrived Friday night and left Sunday morning, so we really only had one full day. But, we got through a ton of monuments and memorials, plus a nice tapas dinner at La Tasca. 


Korean War memorial - a little creepy at night...
Mr. Abe
TJeff
Reflecting Pool 
yummy yummy tapas at La Tasca
CMC's Alumni Chapter invited the Washington Program to a Nationals Game on Saturday, and it was great. Sarah, Sarenna, my best friend from home, and I went to brunch at Busboys and Poets on U Street before the game - definitely recommend it. When we got to the game, everybody was so happy: the weather was awesome (a bit hot, but not scorching hot), beers, and baseball. Unfortunately, the Nationals lost to the Cardinals by one point, but it was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Nationals vs. Cardinals

Excited

Excited pt. 2 

AWWWW 

I have been dog/housesitting for a friend, and she let me invite a few friends over for an Easter dinner. Unfortunately, half the program had plans, but the ones that could make it got to enjoy some BBQ ribs, shrimp, sangria, and fun!

Easter BBQ Dinner with ribs and sangria
Lucas came over to help me dogsit Koda last weekend
To conclude, the Washington Program has been an amazing experience and taught me so much. I've definitely learned to appreciate good weather, and the precious time that I have. It gave me a real-world experience-- how to find an apartment and figure out the leasing contract, how to navigate my way around a new city, a 9-6 job, etc. I don't think I have done anything more mentally exhausting than I did this semester, especially because I just wanted to sleep after my job, but sometimes had to spend time doing homework or going to class. However, it is very rewarding, knowing that I can do it.

After the Washington Program ends, I will fly home for a couple weeks to finally see my friends and family. Then, I'll return to DC for a summer internship somewhere, but will have a different apartment and internship (and no classes!). After the summer ends, I'm off to study abroad in Spain!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

April 13, 2014


 
There are only four weeks left in the semester! Luckily, the weather is improving and the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom this weekend. With the warmer weather and later sunsets, I have been walking to and from work for the past week. The city is very easy to navigate and almost everything is within walking distance. Both my roommate and I knew the internships we were seriously contemplating at the time we were looking for a place to live and we took this into consideration when looking at different housing options. If possible, I recommend you do the same. It is always nice to walk to work on a sunny day instead of taking the metro or the bus. It doesn’t hurt to save money either.

Nice weather is also the perfect opportunity to take a trip to the grocery store. The entire district has been abuzz since a new Trader Joe’s opened in the U Street corridor -- I’m not kidding! There is only one other store in the area, so this is a big deal for the chain’s fans. Although the store is only two stops away on the metro, carrying tons of bags is unwieldy and cumbersome. I joined the ranks of shoppers and the elderly who use grocery carts by buying one online. It may look dorky, but it’s been amazingly convenient and all my intern coworkers have been asking where I found it!



With the convenience of my cart, I easily stocked up on fresh produce and new ingredients to make some great dishes this past month!





I love breakfast and brunch, but it’s often hard to justify going out and spending $20 first thing in the morning on something you can do at home. It can also be hard to justify that stack of pancakes sometimes! My solution – I made corn bread and peanut butter pancakes that are gluten-free. Not only did I save money, but I saved my cholesterol level too.

 




















 These weekend cravings are the reason I keep all purpose gluten-free flour and cornmeal in the house. It has definitely come in handy when I need a pastry fix!







I forgot, however, to reduce the recipe size and ended up with leftover batter for days. I was eating pancakes for two weeks, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy them -- especially when topped with black currant preserves.



For dinner last week I made a multi-layer gratin with all the great items I picked up at Trader Joe’s. Unlike in California, the grocery stores here don’t usually carry produce that’s out of season, so I haven’t had very good luck finding certain fresh vegetables until now. I took advantage of the stocked shelves at Trader Joe’s to stock my fridge in kind.

I put some of my favorite vegetables in this dish, including zucchini and kale. I’ve also learned from past cooking endeavors that putting a layer of thinly sliced potatoes (I prefer Yukon Gold) on the bottom and top of the dish help give the gratin structure and prevent it from falling apart.








I sautéed the kale and a chopped red onion until they were soft so they more easily fit into the glass baking dish.







Beneath the sautéed vegetables is a layer of potato slices and sliced zucchini. After sprinkling a heavy dose of shredded mozzarella cheese on the mix, I poured about ¾ a cup of cream evenly over the layers to give the dish some additional moisture while baking.




 
 










 Once I added another layer of sliced zucchini and potatoes, I scattered some Parmesan cheese over the top level in order to give the potatoes a nice crispiness.




Although I like to experiment with my dishes and cook to my taste, it always helps to follow a good recipe. My dad sent me a wonderful clipping from the food section of The Los Angeles Times for cremini and shitake mushroom bisque. Unfortunately I don’t have a blender here and, after a brief and failed attempt to blend some mushrooms with a hand mixer, I decided to make the bisque chunky.






 

















I sliced the baby bella cremini and shitake mushrooms and lightly pan-fried them with a diced onion before adding three cups of vegetable broth.





 














 


The recipe is for vegan bisque, but I had a lot of difficulty finding cashew cream and I ended up using a smaller amount of table cream instead.




After letting the soup simmer, I garnished it with freshly chopped chives and a little black truffle olive oil. 



I had plenty bisque left over and easily took it to work in a Tupperware container to reheat at lunch. This was by far my favorite dish! I guess the LA Times food columnists know what they are talking about.






Monday, April 7, 2014

So, you think you want to be a Hill intern? Part II: Getting the job


In my last post, I gave you a run-down of what to expect from a Hill internship; in this one, I'll be giving you a slew of tips that will make you a stand-out applicant for a House personal office. This advice won't apply to all committee or Senate-side internships, as many of them will be particular to the duties that I outlined last month, but I'll denote tips that are useful no matter where you work in a color.

Applying, accepting, and what you should worry about before your internship begins

Writing and submitting your application

Applying for Hill internships will be daunting. Every office has its own recruitment procedure, so it'll seem as if you're applying to completely separate offices, but there are some similarities that are worth noting. First of all, let’s run down time-frame issues. Here’s a general look at when you should look at applying to Hill offices. This chart airs on the side of caution, but abide by these deadlines and you will never make the awkward follow-up call only to find out that they filled up their program two months before.

Term
Timeframe
Begin applying
First follow-up
First-round decisions made
Second-round decisions made
Last-minute decisions/offices made
Fall
September-December
May/June
Late May
June
July
Early September
Spring
January-May
November/December
Late November
Early December
Early January
Late January
Summer
May-August
January/February
Early February
Late February
Late March/Early April
Early May

More on follow-up later, but for now, let’s turn to the actual application. Every office will require a cover letter and a resume, and some will ask for a writing sample:

The resume- Absolutely keep it to one page, and make sure you use your formatting techniques (read: bolding) to highlight the items of note. Having no DC or office experience won't stop you from getting a position, but certainly highlight government classes you've taken if this is the case. They want to know that you have a feel for what happens in DC, and that you understand the basics of the legislative process. Also highlight any leadership positions you've held and any direct connection that you have to their district. They want interns that have a feel for the geography and constituents in the district, so make sure they know where you're coming from if you have a connection. Aside from this, you can use the same resume for all of your applications.

The cover letter- First off, remember KISS: keep it simple, stupid. Hill staffers are extremely busy, and desirable offices can get hundreds of intern applications in peak season. Your cover letter should be short and easy on the eyes. Open with the dates you are available (be sure to note if you're available full-time!), briefly mention your particular interest in their office, and close with one or two sentences about your past experiences. If your cover letter runs more than about 400 words, including greetings and salutations, you're doing it wrong. You can use a template for all of the offices you apply to here, just make sure that you do personalize somehow to the individual member.

Also, be sure to address your cover letter to the intern coordinator by name. Call the D.C. (not district) office and ask for the name of the intern coordinator. Use their first and last name for the greeting.

The writing sample- Not all offices will require a writing sample, but it never hurts to include one. Keep the sample under 500 words or so (two pages, double spaced). They most likely aren't going to read it thoroughly; they'll skim it briefly just to make sure your writing skills are up to par. Any good writing will do, but if it's a Government paper, even better.

I've heard of some offices doing a quick writing test, in which they give you a set time (usually an hour or two) to email them a written piece on a topic of their choosing. Doing very well on these assignments can make you a standout applicant, but they are really aimed at weeding out applicants that have poor writing skills. As long as your writing is clear, concise, and grammar/spelling-error free, you've got nothing to worry about here.

Occasionally, an application will ask for a list of references, and even rarer, a letter of recommendation. The letter of recommendation can come from any professor you have a good relationship with, or from any boss you've had in the past. Most offices will take these letters into consideration, but they won't be a make-or-break for your application. Just make sure you provide one, and you're good to go.

Different offices prefer to receive your application in different ways. Most will have a form on their website, so go ahead and fill that out and attach the appropriate documents. Some will request that you send a resume and cover letter to a specific email address. Go ahead and do this, as well. While emailing the intern coordinator your application directly can seem like a good idea, and it can be in certain situations, consider this before you do it:

With so many applications coming in, the intern coordinator may have it set up that so that the information goes straight from the form into a spreadsheet, or straight to a specific inbox. It's good to be proactive, but if the office has a system, you don't want to create an unnecessary hassle for them by thinking you're too good for their spreadsheet. There are other ways to distinguish yourself that I will detail below, so focus on those.

However, if someone you know has a connection in the office, absolutely have them forward your application materials to the staffer that they know. The Hill thrives on connections, so even a quick note that accompanies a resume from someone the staffer knows can go a long way. It definitely won’t hurt to also submit your application through the standard channels, but work your connections if you have them!

Follow-up

A few people have asked me before: how many offices should I try to apply to? With no DC/Hill experience, I recommend that you apply to at least five offices, and here’s why: intern coordinators on the Hill are notorious for not getting back to you about your application. You can work for weeks on your applications, submit them in all of the right ways, and you will almost certainly not get a phone call (especially not immediately).

One of the issues you will face on the Hill is that it can be very hard to get a person’s attention. As I’ve mentioned before, staffers are constantly swamped with far more work than they can handle. The intern coordinator is usually a staff assistant or another junior staffer, and considering internship applications will only be at the top of their to-do list for maybe a week, tops. So, it’s important to make sure that your information is in front of them at the right time. Follow-up phone calls and emails can be an appropriate way to do this, but there is a balance you need to consider: if you call too many times, the office can write you off as either annoying or desperate for work, neither of which you want to be.

Here’s an example of a good timeline for follow-up for a Spring semester internship:

Nov. 10th- Call the office and ask who the intern coordinator is.
Nov. 15th- Submit your application
Dec. 1st- Make a follow-up call to the office. Note the name of the person you are speaking to on the phone. Let them know that you have already submitted an application, and ask to speak to the intern coordinator just to get an idea about a timeline. You will most likely be told that the staffer is unavailable/ in a meeting, and to follow up with an email. Do this.
Dec. 10th- Call the office back. Indicate that you have submitted an application and followed up via email, but have not received a response. Ask whether internship interviews will be conducted before or after the holiday recess. Try your best to schedule an interview at this point.
Jan. 4th- Follow up with another email to the intern coordinator and a call to the office. If they do not get back to you at this point, consider the office a dead end and explore your other options.

While this may seem unreasonable, it is quite common to just never hear back from the office at all. You are much more likely to be scheduled for an interview if you call the office and speak to the intern coordinator, rather than waiting to hear back. Again, there is a balance between annoying and appropriate that can vary between offices and be very difficult to read. However, if you wait 10-14 days between your calls and inquire only about the timeline that you can expect to hear back regarding an interview, you’ll probably have some luck.

Interviewing

If you apply to several offices and follow up appropriately, you’ll probably get a few phone interviews. They will generally be straightforward and brief. Be polite, but amiable. They’ll ask you about your background with politics, your personal interest in the office, and usually about your strengths and weaknesses as a team player. The interview is really trying to vet two things: (1) is this a smart, well-educated person? (2) Will this person do a good job on the phones, as the first (and only, usually) point of contact for constituents? To do well, you need to come across as well-educated and friendly, but also professional. There isn’t too much advice I can give here unique to Hill offices, so just follow general interview ettiquite!

After the interview, send a follow-up email thanking the staffer for their time. At this point, they’ll usually either reach out to offer you a position quickly, or they will not get back to you at all.

Accepting (or declining!)

If you receive an offer from your interview, congratulations! You should try to let the office know within a week if you are able to accept; at this point, you can call the other offices to which you’ve applied and let them know that you are currently sitting on an offer. This can also potentially speed things up in other non-responsive offices, so that can be a plus.

If you receive another offer that you prefer, that is just fine! Politely let the office know that you will be declining, but ask the office to keep your resume on file. Check in with the office every six months or so to let them know what you’re doing, even if the emails go unanswered. If you do this, you can keep them as a connection to help you get a job after you graduate in some circumstances. As long as you are civil and upfront, you aren’t burning a bridge with the office and stay in touch! Turn-over on the Hill happens quickly and frequently, and that staffer may know about a job opening at a perfect time for you that you wouldn’t have heard about otherwise.

That being said, if you accept an internship with an office and then back out, you probably won’t remain on good terms with the office, so definitely try to avoid doing this.

Alright, well, I think that’s about all the advice I can give you! To sum up, be brief, appropriately persistent, and cheerful. Those three qualities will get you a long way here. My final entry will detail how to do well once you’ve secured a Hill internship, so keep your eyes peeled!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Congratulations class of 2018

First, I want to refute what Annie said in the previous blog about Shake Shack. It is nowhere near anything as good as In-N-Out. Blasphemy.

Now here's my post.

My internship is with a consulting firm called Development Transformations (DT). Mostly, it handles government contracts for international development and military training work. Currently, DT has consultants in countries like Afghanistan, Libya, and Yemen, among others, and trains soldiers and officers on military bases all around the country. DT approves grants and works on developing, stabilizing, and/or political reporting in each of these countries. The soldiers DT trains learn how better to communicate and work with community leaders in places like Afghanistan, to find solutions that help both the US and the individual community they are deployed to.

My job is mainly supporting these consultants by helping them plan their travel and keeping them well supplied and well paid, then going to embassies to get them visas (Yemen, Libya, and Afghanistan so far) and supporting the home office staff (in DuPont circle) by researching current events and taking care of administrative tasks for them. The stories the people I get to work with tell are incredible, as most of them are brilliant and have extensive field experience working in areas of conflict.

Most of DT's funding comes from the government or private NGOs and charities. What this means is that a government agency, in this case either the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) or the Department of Defense wants to get something done, but can't do it directly, doesn't have the means to do it by themselves, or wants to let the private sector do something. The agency then releases a description of what it wants out into the world, and contracting or consulting firms like DT will try to demonstrate to the agency that they would be best able to help the agency out. The process is far more complex than this, and is partly responsible for issues like the initial Affordable Healthcare Act roll-out and some of the private military contracting going on, but also responsible for great things like a lot of foreign aid and the work DT does.

One of my favorite things about my internship is that although it has offices in California, DC, and Yemen, DT isn't an enormous contractor like many of its competitors, so I still get some of that small business feel. While there are certainly benefits to being an intern for a large organization, as the only full time intern, I get tasks from every member of the organization, from the Program Assistant to the Managing Directors. Instead of having 'the press intern', 'the social media intern', 'the development intern', 'the accounting intern', 'the receptionist intern', 'the research intern', and who knows what other kinds of interns, DT has Lucas. I get to learn how to do all of these things, and I get to feel more like a valued member of the team. If I need some advice about my summer plans or help with my research paper, I can get anyone in the office to take some time out of their day to talk it over with me. Again, this is not to say that people interning with larger businesses don't enjoy certain things I don't (like going to big events and talks every day, or running into the President in the hallway) I just want to illustrate the benefits I have found of working for a smaller business, and why I feel it was right for me.

I found my job because my boss went to Pomona and was actually in the DC program as a student. She sent an e-mail to Dr. Spalding who forwarded it around to the rest of us. As an ROTC cadet, the military aspect definitely appealed to me, and as a student of Arabic and international culture and development, the conflict stabilization work appealed to me as well. After consulting with friends who had worked in other offices I was thinking of working in, and doing some research of my own, I decided DT was the right call for me, and I'm glad I did. My boss is looking for another Claremont intern for the fall or summer and I can't recommend it highly enough. Please feel free to check out the website at DevelopmentTransformations.com or ask me about it any time.

Here are some pictures from the non-profit I volunteer with's trip to the National Cherry Blossom Festival event at the National Building museum. More to follow as soon as I can make it out to the actual cherry blossoms, the weather here has been ridiculous. The only nice thing about getting back from spring break in 80 degree Miami and landing in 38 degree, raining DC was seeing the cherry blossoms along the river on the metro ride back from the airport.

Also, congratulations to the class of 2018.

Until next time,

Lucas Brooks
CMC '16



Sunday, March 23, 2014

SPRING BREAK


IT'S SPRING BREAK! And, so much has happened even though I went to work!!!

Monday
We had a snow day. I know, it's been a really long winter. It's mid-/late March, and we're still seeing snow... I hope that this upcoming Tuesday is the last of the snow, so that the cherry blossoms can finally bloom and we can all be happy.

Monday's intense snow
BEAUTIFUL!!!
I think the cherry blossom festival is supposed to start this Thursday, and it is going to be so beautiful and pink!

Tuesday
I wrote a press statement for an incident that happened in my Congresswoman's district and it got published on her website ANDDDDD the Los Angeles Times and a bunch of local newspapers quoted her press statement, meaning that I got to see my words in print!

I really love my new internship, and I am so glad that I switched. Surprisingly, I don't do as many admin tasks/work as other Hill interns do. I mean, I write constituent letters and pick up phone calls, but maybe like less than a quarter of my time there. The staffers give me substantial work, like revising and writing press statements and speeches; I get to go to hearings and briefings that interest me; and even on the slow days, I watch and read the news, and get the opinions of all the intelligent staffers.

Wednesday
Oh! President Chodosh came to visit Washington, DC, and so we grabbed lunch at this amazing restaurant called the Firefly.

It was great that he spent a couple hours of his time in his busy day to meet and get to know us, as did we vice versa to the prez. Prez Chodosh is great, and I am excited to see how he guides CMC in the future.

I stole this picture from Yelp, but cool interior!
Silly friends
Lunch
It was a prix fixe menu, and everything was delicious. Let me try to remember what I had: parmesan garlic fries, deviled eggs, kale salad, shrimp and grits, and coconut-lime sorbet! Omg, the parmesan fries were soooooo good - Jessica and I probably ate 2 baskets-worth.

But, that being said, there are so many great restaurants in DC. Despite it being expensive to eat out, I really encourage going out and trying a new place. The good thing is that you can always find a place that is suited to your budget; or, you can find deals on Groupon, or go during happy hour!

My friend came to visit last weekend, and we went to Hank's Oyster Bar for DOLLAR OYSTERS! And, the oysters were fresh and totally safe! I think we only spent about $12-15 each, including tip, for dinner by just going during happy hour.


After work, there was a CMC evening reception with alumni and parents in the Washington, DC area to hear and meet President Chodosh at the Metropolitan Club. It was great to hear advice from alumni and the path they took after graduation -- it made me realize that CMC has a such a great alumni network, and that everybody is willing to help if you ask.

Oh, the best part of the night was when John Faranda took us to Shake Shack! It was my first time there, and I must admit that it is maybe even a little bit better than In-N-Out. Young alumni, CMC staff, and President Chodosh also came for the late-night snack.


Prez Chodosh having a beer after his long day

Thursday
I went to a Cashmere Cat concert at U Street Music Hall! Here's my favorite Cashmere Cat song: Mirror Maru - Cashmere Cat. DC has a great nightlife, even for those of us, who aren't 21!!! You should check the calendars for 9:30 Club and U Street Music Hall - those are two of the best concert calendars in DC, in my opinion. Their prices are also way  more affordable, than some big concert venues that sell tickets for $60+.

The ticket to Cashmere Cat was about $20, including the service charge. I don't want to share any pictures because it was extremely hot and stuffy, and nobody looked good that night.

Friday
I was extremely tired from Thursday night (but, totally worth it!!!), so Nate, who was visiting for his Spring Break, came over for a movie (and wine) night. Yay Netflix!

Great movie

Saturday
I went to Georgetown early in the morning to get some research and homework done for my classes. It was a beautiful day of high-50s!

I studied outside on the lawn, and went inside the Georgetown library when it got a bit chilly. I must say that Honnold is way better and more organized than the Georgetown library.


After a long day of studying and working, I went out to The Tombs in Georgetown. By the way, I always have a great time there, especially because the crowd is much younger and college-ier.



I can't believe that half the semester is already over, and I still have a long list of museums, parks, and restaurants that I need to visit. When you're in DC or a new city, take advantage of all the free time you have, because the days pass by so quickly.
Annie



Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 16, 2014


Congratulations to everyone accepted into the Fall 2014 Washington Program class! Now start looking for jobs and housing.

I’m only slightly kidding. You all should be very excited about the amazing program you are going to take part in, but you should also take the preparation process seriously. Although I started looking for housing soon after I got accepted, we had some crises in the process and we did not end up finalizing our housing until the weeks between thanksgiving and finals. I was extremely busy and it caused me a lot of unnecessary stress during that time period. Thus, I would advise you to look sooner rather than later. Also, be wary of Craigslist and always verify postings with the property manager. You want to limit your anxiety as much as possible during this process, so do not be afraid to reach out to program alumni and friends in DC for help.

Now that I’ve given you some preparatory advice, I will return to discussing the experience in DC. Most importantly, I have some more recipes for you!

As a native Southern Californian, I am a huge fan of Mexican food. You can put almost anything in a tortilla with cheese and it will be delicious. (Even the Internet agrees!) Mexican-inspired dishes are also very easy to prepare on short notice with the food you have lying around the house. I always keep canned beans, frozen vegetables, tortillas (or some sort of wrap) and cheese on hand because they are perfect for a quick meal after work. In general, I suggest you buy canned and frozen vegetables because they are very inexpensive and will last the entire semester. You also never know when you’ll be trapped inside from weather! We have had numerous snow days this semester and having good food on hand has been enormously convenient. Last week I was really busy and was unable to go grocery shopping, but I had enough supplies that I could throw together a delicious and healthy meal after class in under 25 minutes. 





 

















I am a vegetarian and try to eat gluten-free, so I made this veggie and egg quesadilla with a teff flour wrap. The wrap can be unwieldy and fall apart, so it is easier to use if you cut it in half.





When I have more time on the weekends, cooking can be very relaxing. I’ve started amassing a repertoire of my favorite dishes and this one is definitely on the top of the list. It is a basil pesto zucchini pasta with sweet peas on a bed of arugula. The one tool you need for this dish that you might not have is a box grater – they are cheap and useful so I highly recommend getting one. The dish is fairly simple and the only labor intensive parts are finding fresh zucchini during the winter and then actually grating the vegetables. Otherwise, the ingredients are easy to find and the recipe is predominantly guided by personal taste.




First, I washed and grated the zucchini then pan-fried it in a little olive oil. Then I added about a tablespoon of crushed garlic – it is much easier to buy the jarred garlic and store it in your fridge than manually doing this.








After letting the zucchini cook until it was dark green and tender, I added two tablespoons of basil pesto and a tablespoon of Greek yogurt. You can add whatever dairy product you like or none at all.  





 




















Finally, I added half a can of sweet peas. I let them cook for a couple of minutes with the zucchini before placing the mixture on a bed of arugula. Topping the dish with
Parmesan cheese is also highly recommended!




Although staying home and cooking with friends can be fun and relaxing, sometimes it is also nice to get away on the weekends. Washington, DC is conveniently located on the Eastern seaboard near numerous vibrant cities. Moreover, it is unbelievably easy and fairly inexpensive to book a Megabus online, which departs from Union Station. You can take the metro right into the station to catch your bus. Sarah and I both have family in Pennsylvania, so last weekend we took a trip to Philadelphia. It was a four-hour trip on the way there (because we made multiple stops) and only three hours to return. Not only was it great seeing my family, but Philadelphia also has so many historic attractions! I love the impressionist movement and the Philadelphia Museum of Art has an extensive impressionist and post-impressionist collection. It is also connected to the Rodin Museum (not the Musée Rodin), where you can use your Philadelphia Museum ticket to see a moderately sized collection of the artist’s famous works. Of course, you can’t miss out on Independence Hall and the founding-era sites. It was very touching to visit the birthplace of our nation now that I’m working at the federal government. I highly recommend everyone do this at some point during your time here. 




The Rodin Museum





 Independence Hall





 View from the top of the steps Rocky ran at the Philadelphia Museum of Art




I cannot conclude this post without a culinary suggestion, so I have to mention Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal & Market. This huge indoor market occupies what once was the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad’s Terminal Station. It began operation in 1892 as a colonial-inspired market and now houses tons of diverse food and grocery stands. The bazaar-like atmosphere is exciting and the food is delicious. This in itself is worth the bus-ride. 


 



 Reading Terminal & Market (pronounced "Redding")