Explore Philadelphia

My Philadelphia: Lu Ann Cahn

Award-winning journalist Lu Ann Cahn takes us on a tour of the Philly she loves

Lu Ann Cahn is a mother, eight-time Emmy award-winning journalist, breast and kidney cancer survivor who found herself “stuck” in 2009.  Facing an empty nest and a changing media landscape, she felt angry and out-of-step. To change her outlook on life, she challenged herself to do something new every day and blog about her experiences. Her book “I Dare Me” is a collection of anecdotes and memories from her blog, “One Year of Firsts.”

Which of your “One Year Firsts” was the most difficult?

One of the most difficult firsts was talking to a complete stranger. I went to Rittenhouse Square because of its diverse population—you never know who you are going to see—it ranges from millionaires to homeless people sitting on benches. I saw this African American gentleman and sat down next to him and said, “Hi! Nice day we’re having,” and he completely lit up. I asked him if he came [to the park] often and he said more often since his wife had died and that propelled us into a whole conversation. He told me his wife died of breast cancer and when I said I’m a breast cancer survivor, he just looked at me like I was some kind of angel. That conversation was so karmic.

Rittenhouse Square Park
You never know who you might meet at Rittenhouse Square Park. (©Anthony Sinagoga)

Which was the most fun?

I sled down the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on a very snowy day and the entire town was there.

What is one thing about Philadelphia that would surprise an out-of-towner?

How friendly people are and how open people are when you put yourself out there. I think people might think this is a big bad city but it really is a City of Brotherly Love.

What is your favorite thing about Philadelphia in the winter?

Well, there are a lot of things you can do inside [laughs]. I love Philadelphia’s museums. There are museums here for everything.

Do you have a favorite museum?

The Barnes Foundation. It does incredible justice to the collection. The architecture is gorgeous and it’s state of the art.

The Barnes Foundation
Visit the Barnes Foundation to view the artwork of artists including Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Pablo Picasso. (©R. Kennedy/Visit Philadelphia)

What are some of your favorite places to eat?

Talula’s Garden in Washington Square. They have the most incredible truffles in the world.  I also love Vietnam in Chinatown. I always get the house special with rice noodles.

Talula's Garden
Cahn sings high praises of the truffles at Talula's Garden. (©Courtney Apple Photgraphy)

What is one of your most treasured Philadelphia memories?

Every year, Living Beyond Breast Cancer has Yoga On The Steps. I did it for the first time in 2010. It is one of the most moving events I have ever been a part of.