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Why We Love Mt. Airy

Meet the El Idrissi Family to learn why they love living in Mt. Airy, courtesy of AMC Photography Studios.

When planning where you’d like to raise your family there are so many things to take into consideration. Many people are invested in finding a neighborhood that feels right for them. In this series, we’ve invited a few of our Philadelphia Family Members to connect us with a local family they’ve served to explore why they love where they live.

AMC Photography Studios is proud to share their work and introduce you to Alaa and Kristin El Idrissi, son Amir, who own a judo academy in Mt. Airy. They share why they love where they live.

One of the defining features of Mt. Airy is its historic homes and buildings. Located in the northwestern section of Philadelphia it is known for its diverse population, historic architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. The neighborhood is home to a mix of different racial and ethnic groups, including African American, Jewish, and LGBTQ communities. This diversity is reflected in the neighborhood’s many cultural events, such as the annual West Mt. Airy Jazz and Arts Festival, which celebrates the neighborhood’s music, art, and food. In addition to its cultural scene, Mt, Airy also has a strong community spirit. The neighborhood has a number of community organizations and civic groups that work to promote local businesses, preserve the neighborhood’s historic architecture, and foster a sense of community among residents. Mt. Airy also has a number of parks and green spaces, including the 50-acre Wissahickon Valley Park, which provides opportunities for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities.

What drew you to the neighborhood?

“We had been running a judo program on Bainbridge Street since 2017 and during the pandemic were excited to find our own space to grow judo opportunities within Philadelphia. While exploring the city, we fell in love with the Mt. Airy area. The amenities of the city, immense options of small businesses, mixed with the closeness to the Wissahickon trails made us feel in touch with nature and able to shop local, while staying in the city we love!”


What does a typical weekend look like for your family?

“Every Saturday and Sunday we enjoy some eggs together, then head out to teach our kids judo classes at 9 am. Afterwards we enjoy the open space of the dojo, enjoying some time to run around and play together a bit as a family.  Then we usually take an adventure – either on a hike, to the zoo, or to a special event in the city.  No weekend is complete without a meal out as a family.  Sunday night we plan for the week ahead- are there special events we want to go to as a family, what babysitting needs coordinated, and what are our plans for the dojo so that our students can continue to grow and flourish.” 


Which membership does your family get the most use out of? 

“The Philadelphia Zoo!  Thanks to Alaa’s dojo work schedule we especially love mid-day mid-week visits, when there are less people exploring the incredible open space.  Even on rainy or cold days we can take advantage of the numerous indoor areas. No matter the weather, we always leave ready for a nap!”

Which local park or playground is your favorite place to hang out?

“We love Seger Park. The toddler area is sectioned off and is stacked with donated push toys and ride ons which is a huge hit for our wheel-obsessed son!  Also, the spray area is second to none in the summer heat!”

What is the best piece of parenting advice you’ve received? 

“To have fun with your kid. It is so easy to get caught up in all the important adulting that must get done. But taking 10 minutes to get down on our hands and knees to race, jump in leaves, wrestle, have a tickle fight, stack blocks, stare at flowers, or explore whatever it is your kid is really into – tend to be the best parts of our day.”


You have friends visiting from out of town. What are your must-do local attractions?

“After the Rocky Statue we like to break bread at Reading Terminal Market. If a family is visiting, we usually recommend a choice of the Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia zoo, the Please Touch Museum followed by lots of playground trips.”

Tell us about a family tradition you have started. 

“We kick off our birthdays with cake for breakfast.  Waiting all day to blow out candles after dinner usually leaves little room left for cake (which you have waited all day for!)….so we start off our birthdays with a song and a slice!”

AMC Photography Studios is a professional photography company specializing in capturing stunning and creative images for commercial and event clientele. With near two decades of experience, their team of skilled and passionate photographers provide clients with exceptional service and high-quality photographs. AMC Photography Studios believe that every photograph tells a unique story. That’s why they are committed to capturing the special moments and emotions of their clients in a way that reflects their personality, commercial brand, or milestone event.  

Established in 2004, Ann Marie Casey Photography, LLC specializes in event and commercial photography throughout the Philadelphia area. The studio is located in Bryn Mawr, in the heart of the Main Line. www.amcphotostudios.com