Advice on Philadelphia itinerary

Old Jun 19th, 2009, 02:09 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Advice on Philadelphia itinerary

Hi all


Thank you for all of your help on my previous question about my Philadelphia itinerary. I believe I now have something workable and would love to hear your thoughts.




Thursday 7/23


Independence Hall


Liberty Bell


White/Todd House


Portrait Gallery/Second Bank of U.S.


Franklin Court


Carpenter’s Hall/Congress Hall


**Reading Market –lunch




I know it seems like a lot, but I believe Carpenter’s and Congress Hall are relatively small….should I skip them if it’s too much?




Friday 7/24




Philadelphia Art Museum *Matisse exhibit


Franklin Institute *Star Trek exhibit (I doubt I’ll have time for the Galileo, which I’d love to see)


Eastern State Penitentiary tour


**I’d love to take the trolley tour of Fairmount Park – any idea of where it leaves from?




Saturday 7/25


Italian Market


Mummer’s Museum


Elfreth’s Alley/2 house tours




**I know I’m probably leaving myself some extra time, but I don’t mind. I don’t like running around on vacation, trying to squeeze everything I can out of a day.




Sunday 7/26


Poe House **what’s the best way to get there? I’m likely to be staying in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood


Headhouse farmer’s market (I think the hours are 12-6, but I’m not sure)


Physick/Powel Houses




Monday 7/27


Reading Terminal Market /breakfast


City Hall tour


Chinatown/lunch


**This is a short day. I would have preferred to do this on another day when I could also do the tour of the Masonic temple, but I couldn’t do it and still fit in some of the other things on my schedule. Any advice as to how else to fill up my time?




Tuesday 7/28


Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology


Masonic Temple


U.S. Mint (?)


*Again, short …




Has anyone seen the Lights of Liberty night show? It sounds like a fun and cool thing to do…..


Again, this is just a very preliminary itinerary. I needed to jot it down to see how much time I would need – I was planning on 5 days but I need 6…..Thoughts?


Thanks so much !!
Betsyp is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2009, 06:03 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 18,867
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The Omni Independence Park Hotel has a great location for seeing the historic area. It is directly across the street from the Second National Bank and about 200 yards from Independence Hall. The rooms are large and unusually nice - excellent views. You can walk to Chinatown in 10-15 minutes. For your dates it is priced at about $160 or so. Valet parking is $35/day, unlimited in and out.
basingstoke2 is online now  
Old Jun 19th, 2009, 06:47 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Basingstroke2

I don't usually stay at hotel chains when I'm on vacation- I find them all rather charmless ; rather, I stay at either boutique hotels or, usually, B&Bs. However, I haven't booked my hotel yet, so I will look into the Omni and see if it works for me. I don't want to stay in Old City - I stayed at the Thomas Bond House last time and enjoyed it very much, but I need a good night's sleep and I don't think I'll get one being in an area with a lot of bars and nightlife, lol.
Betsyp is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2009, 06:51 PM
  #4  
Amy
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,822
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
That's quite an itinerary! Just a few possibilities/suggestions:

Your first day is actually quite easily doable; in fact, you could include Elfreth's Alley and Christ's Church on this day with no problem. (Here's one possible route: http://www.usmint.gov/mint_tours/ind...n=philadelphia ) Do be sure to reserve your ticket at the Visitors' Center, though, for Independence Hall, or show up there first thing to be sure of getting the time that you want. Congress Hall is, of course, a part of City Hall, and as you're there, it's really a pretty neat little place. (It's where the US Congress met when Philadelphia was the capital.) Carpenter's Hall you can kinda walk through; it's got some pretty cool history, actually, what with the spy meetings and such.

Friday, you could also include the Waterworks down behind the Art Museum--and lovely Boathouse Row (hoping your weather is nice!) Alas, the Fairmount Park trolley tours are no more, it appears, except at Christmas. (I'd love to hear from someone who might have different info?) You can visit some of the individual houses, and the Pine Breeze Villa (Japanese house.)

Saturday, you're doing the South Philly bit with the Market and Mummer's Museum, so maybe a South Street walk and peek into the rather eclectic shops. There's a Mario Lanza museum, too...

For Sunday, the Poe House is easy to get to from the 47 bus, which you catch at 7th and Market; get off at 7th and Spring Garden. The Graff House (Jefferson wrote the Declaration there) is at 7th and Market. The Headhouse Market looks to be from 10-2, so you'll need to schedule 'round that.

Monday you could add in the Atwater Kent Museum, an eclectic little collection, and/or perhaps the Liberty Museum with its glass sculpture. Or it would be a good day to explore the artisan shops of the 13th street area--Capogiro, duross and langel, Naked Chocolate, and so forth. If you can get a tour of the Academy of Music, that's another interesting site right in the area. And don't forget to visit the Iggle (Eagle) at the former Wanamaker's (now
Macy's) and maybe take in an organ concert there. Could you get the Masonic Temple for this day? The Academy of Fine Arts is also a good visit right in the area.

Tuesday--U of PA museum: yay! That's good for a morning, and there are some good campus walks out that way. The Mint isn't an absolute must--a catwalk above the coin making "factory"--but there is a cool little park nearby with a miniature golf course with Philadelphia landmarks and a carousel. This could be a good day to finish up historic sites, too?

I haven't done Lights of Liberty yet, but those I've known who have found it worthwhile.

Happy trails, and let me know if you need more specifics!
Amy is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2009, 06:56 PM
  #5  
Amy
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,822
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well, humph, that's what I get for posting on and off (over the time period of an hour and a half while on the phone with my sister and taking care of laundry.) I done went and posted the wrong link up there; it's this one: (insert d'oh emoticon here)
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...iladelphia.cfm
Amy is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2009, 07:17 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,315
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Some thoughts, which each might make your visit work better:

1) The Art Museum is open till 8:45 pm on Fridays. You might want to make this museum the second one you visit that day.
2) On the other hand, if you visit the Franklin Institute after 5 pm on most weekdays (you'll have to check which ones), you can pay to see ONLY the special exhibits. You'll save a bit on admission by choosing not to see the rest of the museum.
3) The Poe House is basically the shell of a house that Poe happened to live in. There is not a single artifact from his stay there; indeed, we're not completely sure which room was his at the time. Funding for this place is WAY down on the list of NPS priorities, so there's not a lot there. For Poe super-enthusiasts ONLY.
4) The Chinatown in Philly pales VERY badly in comparision with other Chinese enclaves in North America, simply because it's smaller that the others. It's not a place I can genuinely recommend.
5) Carpenters Hall just happens to be where the First Continental Congress met, at which they decided to meet again at a later time. No major decisions were made here. Unless you are REALLY fascinated by the American Revolution, this can be easily skipped. On the other hand, you can see everything of interest in about ten minutes.
PaulRabe is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2009, 07:28 PM
  #7  
Amy
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,822
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
One more link that seems like it might be the kind of thing you're interested in: http://www.preservationalliance.com/...king_tours.php

These are, from what I understand, the descendants of the Foundation for Architecture tours, which I've thoroughly enjoyed in the past. I've not taken any of these yet, but if they fit your dates they do look good.
Amy is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2009, 08:40 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Amy, wow - thanks for your reply!

Can I walk to/around Boathouse Row from the Museum? Ooh, I hope that's not true about the Trolley tour - that would be disappointing.

As to Saturday, if I can include the Elfreth's Alley house tours on that first day, then that would leave me extra time to explore South Philly. I'm not really familiar with Mario Lanza, but if I'm there...why not?

Thanks for the tips about Monday! Hmm, Capogiro (though I read that there was a fire at this branch) and Naked Chocolate -yum. I saw the eagle at the Macy's the last time I was in town - I thought the store was really beautiful (wouldn't mind checking it out again). The Masonic Temple is closed on Mondays otherwise I would do it then...

Do you think I'm doing too much? I can always pare my itinerary down - I don't want to be running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.

Thanks!
Betsyp is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2009, 08:49 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Paul, thanks! I wasn't aware of the late hours the Museum keeps on Fridays.....

I may skip the Franklin Institute - depending on reviews I see about either the Star Trek or Galileo exhibits - and spend more time at the Art Museum.

I still want to check out the Poe site - I don't exactly have a statue of a Raven in my house, but I am a fan.
Betsyp is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2009, 08:51 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
One more question....

Just one question - is the Rittenhouse Square area a good place to stay? I really want to book a B&B there (Lippincott House), but in looking at the maps in my guide book, it's a tad out of the way. The Phlash doesn't go there, but I think I can take the trolley if I just walk a few blocks from Spruce to Market. The Square itself is so beautiful and I don't want to say in Old City again because the nightlife - I loved the Thomas Bond House when I stayed a few years ago, but I prefer a quieter area.

Thanks again! I'm really excited about coming down to Philadelphia again - it's a fantastic city.
Betsyp is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2009, 09:10 AM
  #11  
Amy
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,822
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well, Betsy, there's another Capogiro right in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, so that's one plus. Such a pity about the fire in the original one.

RIttenhouse is a great area, and actually about sorta between where you want to go on the Parkway and the historic sites. It depends, of course, on how much of a walker you are, but I've frequently done the Art Museum to RS area or RS to historic area. And there are a number of busses you can get to any of the sites: go to www.septa.com and use the "Plan your trip" option to find the times and routes. (For instance, the 42 goes from 20th and Chestnut down to the Independence Hall area.) You can get tokens or day passes for easy Septa travel.

You can most definitely walk Boathouse Row (and the Waterworks--beautiful Greek Revival building--) from the Art Museum; down the steps and around to the back. Here's some pictures of the area; Kelly Drive, as it's called, is a nice walk. http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/334838255hjfcWf

Another South Philadelphia spot (that I've not been to yet!) is the Samuel Fleisher Art Memorial, another adjunct of the Art Museum. Usually you're best to keep the "neighborhood" stuff together, as it's very easy to get around in a particular area. The Queen Village neighborhood, also this area, is a good spot for restaurants.

I don't think you're doing too much--to me, Philadelphia is much more compact for getting around in than, say. NYC or Washington DC--but of course you'll also allow time for just sitting in the many park squares and that thing called serendipity. In fact, you could even explore the Germantown/Chestnut Hill area in the time you have, with the gorgeous Victorian houses and Underground Railroad and Revolutionary War sites. (Oh, dear, I do get a little overenthusiastic about my city, don't I? Not much good at cutting back!)
Amy is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2009, 10:00 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 20,584
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I just picked up a copy of the Philadelphia Inquirer's Walking Tours of Historic Philadelphia which looks pretty good. My husband and I will be heading to Philadelphia several times in the fall to move our son into his college dorm and for Parents' Weekend. We are looking forward to exploring the city.

I'll be interested to hear what B&B you choose. We are hoping to stay at some when we become empty nesters.
Vttraveler is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2009, 10:15 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Amy, I love your enthusiasm, so no need to hold back!

I tried to keep myself generally in the same area during the day to avoid extra travel. I'm glad I have some built in time - Germantown/Chestnut Hill sounds lovely. Thanks for the pics - Boathouse Row is just beautiful. How old are those homes? Isn't Kelly Drive named for Grace Kelly's family? I think I remember hearing that the last time I was in Philadelphia.....pretty neat, actually.

Vttraveler, I'm pretty sure that I'm set on the Lippincott House. It's just off Rittenhouse Square......Here is the link:

http://www.lippincotthouse.com/
Betsyp is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2009, 12:42 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 14,417
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
You may want to visit these sites:

www.funphilly.com

www.gophila.com
schmerl is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2009, 01:13 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 17
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Amy should be a tour guide - she's spot on! Though I'm confused by the comment about Congress Hall & City Hall. Not next to each other at all. Congress Hall is by Independence Hall; City Hall is over by Macy's. I work a few doors away. She's right about your seemingly packed itinerary being doable too. It's one of the most walkable cities I know.
I live right by Headhouse & it's a great farmer's market. Absolutely 10-2, so you could get lunch here. There are only a couple of stands at the farmer's market that actually sell prepared food, but several restaurants/pubs right around there. Dark Horse has decent sandwiches. And this is within a few blocks of Powell & Physick Houses, both of which are cute & quick to tour. This is a really charming neighborhood.
So is Rittenhouse. Will be interested to see what you come up with for B&Bs. Lipincott looks nice & that's a good location. Per Am's comment, center city is so compact that it's hard to have a bad location convenience-wise. B4 I lived here I stayed at the Lathrop a few times. It's very cute & handy to Rittenhouse & the Walnut Street shops.
Boathouse Row isn't actually homes. They're clubhouses for the rowing clubs.
Germantown isn't very lovely. Seems clear that it once was, but I find it pretty scary now. Chestnut Hill is lovely. I think Chinatown is pretty unimpressive too (also right by my work). It does have 1 of my favorite restaurants, Vietnam (not to be confused with Vietnam Palace across the street). Be aware that all the Amish places in the Reading Terminal Market are closed Sunday-Tuesday (or is it WEds? should say on the terminal website). The best breakfast place is the Dutch Eating Place, so you might rethink when you breakfast there. Downhome Diner is open every day & it's OK too. A good breakfast place at Rittenhouse is Marathon Grill (there are several; this location is Marathon on the Square).
colomonica is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2009, 01:59 PM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Colomonica, thanks for the tips! I love farmer's markets, so I'm very much looking forward to Headhouse.

Oops, I misspoke about Boathouse Row - I knew they weren't homes.

Lots of museums and such are closed Monday, so that might be a day to just shop or play it by ear. I'll probably have lunch in Chinatown even if I don't do much exploring - any ideas ? I don't have to stay in the area....

I wonder if I should cut some things out. It's great if my itinerary is doable, but I don't want to be stressing myself out just to "do it all". If you had to cut things out, which would you cut?

Schmerl, thanks for the links! I'm going to save those......
Betsyp is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2009, 03:17 PM
  #17  
Amy
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,822
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
D'oh! That's what comes from typing beyond the speed of thought. (Not that that's very fast.)
Congress Hall is part of the Independence Hall complex (although, just to make things more complicated, the other "wing" of Independence Hall is...the old City Hall of Philadelphia. Independence Hall was, of course, the PA State House when the 2nd Continental Congress moved here.)

Betsyp, it's so hard to say what to cut out, as so much depends on your likes and dislikes. Me, I love architecture, quirky little things, can-only-do-this-here stuff...I'd say that you might not need to do all four of the houses (White/Todd/Powell/Physick) and the Franklin is similar to science museums everywhere, but then, it is Star Trek...Also, the U of PA museum, while I love it, is a bit out of the way (although reasonably easy to get to by train) and, again, you can see similar things elsewhere. On the other hand, though, the building itself is certainly worth a look!

Chinatown is great for a lunch and just a little stroll; there are some neat facades. http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/563154710eoxUAu But again, it's right at the Reading Terminal Market area, so not too far to go.

A lot will depend on your weather, of course; at this point it feels like we've had rain 24/7 for months, although that's not technically the case, of course--so we should be due for some sunshine soon! Again, so much depends on you (and on where you're coming from, as well; if I may be so nosy? For instance, the life experiences of a Manhattanite are going to be a bit different from those of someone who's always lived in, oh, Cedar Rapids. And nothing wrong with either one, just different things are likely to be more appealing.)

As far as Germantown is concerned, I wouldn't recommend strolling randomly, but the area of Cliveden/Upsala is fine and if you can get a tour here there's a lot of interesting places. http://www.gophila.com/C/Things_to_D...lroad/610.html The Quakers, of course, were very instrumental in the Underground Railroad (although Washington Square, in back of Independence Hall, was once the site of slave auctions. Oh, and mass burials during the Revolution and the yellow fever epidemic of 1793. There's a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier there.)

Hmmmm...just remember, if you don't get to do it all, it's a really good reason to come back!
Amy is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2009, 04:30 PM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Amy, thanks!

I agree that I don't have to try to see everything on this trip - after all, I'm just a short train ride from NYC and any excuse to come back to Philly is a good one!

Maybe I'll cut back to 5 days and forget the U of Penn Museum - for this trip. Philly has some wonderfully quirky things to do besides the historic sites (I've seen the Mutter - um, interesting is what I would call it) and that's what I'm trying to do. I don't just want to hop from museum to museum - I just want to soak in the atmosphere, get to know the neighborhodos. Maybe I'll check out the Rosenbach again - it's in Rittenhouse Square and close by where I'll be staying. Not only that, but I love books.....I think I just made up my mind, lol.

The White/Todd homes are a two for one type deal, but I don't have to do the Powel house......I have my basic itinerary down, so now I can just winnow out things to save for next time.

Thanks again for your help - I have a lot to think about, lol
Betsyp is offline  
Old Jun 24th, 2009, 04:47 PM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi all - thanks again for all of your help!

I just have one more question. I'm probably going to skip the Franklin Institute, but on the day that I go to the Art Museum and the Penitentiary, I'm thinking of checking out the Free Library (map collection, collection of old children's books, etc.....). I love books, so I thought it might be a nice stopover to pass an hour or so.....Is it worth it?



Thanks!
Betsyp is offline  
Old Jun 24th, 2009, 05:13 PM
  #20  
Amy
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,822
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I love the Central branch Free Library! (In fact, I did the decorating for a wedding there back in the fall--it was in the main entrance hall.) The children's section is particularly nice, I think, but then I have a bit of a weakness for children's books. Check out the NC Wyeth paintings, and the Rare Book Department.
Amy is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -