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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Trip Report Independence Day In Philadelphia - Review

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We've been to Philly many times over the years since it's a quick hop from Manhattan.

When we are not sure what to do, we end up in Philly. In order to change it up a bit we try a differnet hotel each stay. In chronological order we've stayed at the Four Seasons, Downtown Marriott, Sheraton Society Hill, Omni, Hyatt Bellevue, Latham, Loews, and this time the Sofitel.

We caught the Amtrak from Penn station and within 80 minutes we were at the 30th Street Station. (If you want to save a couple of bucks, get the train without the Cafe car, it was $10 less per person each way.)

We hopped a taxi to the Sofitel and were very pleased with the lobby as we entered. We had a deal for a free upgrade to a suite, if available, with "if available" being the operative words. We were told that due to the holiday weekend no suites were available on Saturday but we could get an upgrade on Sunday if we wished. It was a bit disappointing that nothing else was offer in place of the upgrade but we didn't feel it was worth making an issue of , since our requests for an early check-in, high floor and late check-out were honored.

The room was large, antiseptically clean, with plenty of light and a nice city view, we couldn't ask for much more and the rate was reasonable considering the quality of the hotel. Our only real complaint was the door slamming after midnight, but that is more of a societal thing and not the fault of the hotel. The location of the hotel is great, just around the corner from Rittenhouse Square. (The Palomar and Westin share a similar location.)

After checking in, we taxied over to the Franklin Institute for lunch and the "Cleopatra Exhibition". If you have any interest in antiquities it's quite an exhibit. Having never been to the Franklin, we explored the entire museum and than headed back to our hotel to relax before dinner.

We had reservations at PARC in Rittenhouse Square and it didn't disappoint. The food was excellant but it was really for the ambiance that we went. We sat outside overlooking Rittenhouse Square and watched it turn from day to night. I don't think I'd recommend PARC in the Winter or on a rainy day, since the opportunity to sit outside was the main draw for us.

The next morning we had breakfast at Marathon, about a block away from the hotel, the place was crowded and the food was abundant and reasonably priced. A little to greasy for our taste but all in all not a bad pick.

We headed out to the Independence Day Parade in the Historic District and enjoyed it for the most part, but didn't understand why the parade included floats and groups from other countries like Bolivia, China, Viet Nam, etc. One group had a banner declaring July 4th as Unity Day. It seemed a bit to PC for me.

After the parade we explored the Visitors Center and the Constitution Center, having lunch there.

We than headed back to our hotel and on to Ruby Tuesday for dinner, it's about a block from the Sofitel. Since it was 4th of July night we thought it would be best to stick close to the hotel since we don't generally like to be in large crowds at night with fireworks. If you are looking for a good slab of ribs, Ruby had a very good deal. Also all premium brand drinks are $5 all day. You can't beat that.

We watched the Macy's Day fireworks show on the 42" TV in our room and than tuned in the Philly fireworks and could hear the explosions and see some of the fireworks from the window of our room.

The next morning we had breakfast the Little Petes, a small diner about a block from the hotel. It was listed as one of the Top 5 places for breakfast in Philly. The portions are large and the prices small. No credit cards and you generally have to wait for a table or counter space. We took counter seats and really enjoyed the experience, it seemed very authentic. It's open 24/7 and has been around for 25 years. A nice way to end the trip.

The train back to Manhattan was uneventful and fast.

All in all a good weekend and an appropriate place to spend Independence Day.

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