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Back from Philly

Old Jul 6th, 2003, 08:51 PM
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Back from Philly

A little report on the "City of Brotherly Love" from Independence Weekend:

The city's downtown is probably one of the best laid-out in America, and hands-down the best one I've experienced. The blocks are small and very walkable. The streets are narrow and sidewalk space is sufficient for the most part. You can actually see people enjoy themselves on the squares ("parks" in most other cities). In other words, it was made for people, not cars or skyscrapers.

The National Constitution Center is simply wonderful, with a mission so basic I can't believe it took 200 years to decide to do it. Every American ought to add it to their must-do list. It makes learning about our democracy so compelling. The Freedom Rising presentation is utterly powerful -- if don't come away relishing your citizenship, you must be... you will. Why? Because in dramatic fashion, it shows how just a few phrases represent the American ideal.

The restaurant scene is bursting at the seams, and my only regret was not having enough $$$ and time to do them all. For this visit, I enjoyed Novelty's Sun-Thurs. $27.50 prix fixe special. Rittenhouse Square (esp. on Walnut) offers a stunning array of world class dining. Old City offers a terrific scene as well.

If I have a recommendation to make, it's to take your time on Society Hill and Old City, the oldest parts of Center City. Philadelphia has done a terrific job of juxtaposing the old with the new -- so that with old structures that have been preserved -- such as Christ Church and Independence Hall -- slow down and imagine what it was like to live during Revolutionary times. You need tickets to explore IH, and they can be attained at the fantastic Independence Visitors Center.

South Philly offers a terrific look at Italian-American life. The smell of fromage stuns you as you hit the DiBruno Bros. cheese shop.

JFK Plaza on the end of Benjamin Franklin Parkway, is a scene to behold. An inviting fountain, Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture, and an awesome vista of the Philadelphia Museum of Art evoke a great scene.

Reading Terminal Market offers another dizzying feast of the senses.

I spent an evening at Zanzibar Blue, the pre-eminent jazz establishment in Philly. Easily the most handsome jazz club I've ever been in. The view from the bar, though, is impeded by a glass wall.

My visit to the Museum of Art was, at an hour, too brief. A stunning beauty, though.

My only inconveniences were a seeming aversion to credit cards and the limited hours of the Phlash transport system. Other than that, a very enjoyable visit.
designmr is offline  
Old Jul 6th, 2003, 09:08 PM
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Lucky you to have visited Philadelphia. Thanks for the good report. I miss the city I lived in during my salad days!
Old Jul 7th, 2003, 04:27 AM
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Yes yes yes! I agree

So glad you enjoyed it, when are you going back?
I want to drive down in the fall, I imagine Philadelphia is lovely in the autumn~
Scarlett is offline  
Old Jul 7th, 2003, 09:01 AM
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The best time to visit Philly is in May or Sept/Oct. It's defintlely an underrated city because of its proximity to New York City. It's mainly a convention/business destination, but is becoming more of a tourists destination as well. I must make time to see the Constitution Center.
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Old Jul 7th, 2003, 09:13 AM
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I'm glad you enjoyed Philly. It's the city where I would most want to live in the USA, and one of my 3 favorites overall in the country...for many of the reasons that you mentioned.

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Old Jul 7th, 2003, 03:33 PM
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I don't know when I'll be going back. Maybe in Sept./Oct just as Elkin mentioned. The Museum of Art and more restaurants would be at the top of the list.
designmr is offline  
Old Jul 7th, 2003, 04:03 PM
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I was sorry that we had only enough time to see the Degas exhibit when we were there. I want to go through the entire museum plus the Rodin!
There are so many good restaurants in Philadelphia also, I want to try some more
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Old Jul 7th, 2003, 04:38 PM
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I'm trying to decide on where to spend my vacation this fall and Philadelphia is under consideration (along with Baltimore or Charleston). I'm glad I came across your posting and will check out Philly's website for more details. I'm a single girl and will probably travel alone so I'm wondering what are the neighborhoods or areas I should avoid while there?
Chloe4 is offline  
Old Jul 7th, 2003, 05:14 PM
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Chloe4, from what I've heard, the areas to avoid are North Philadelphia (north of Center City's Vine) and the area west of University City, where Penn and Drexel are located. A local may give you a better description. At any rate, Center City seems to be safe. Walking the streets for me at midnight posed no real threats; still for a girl walking alone, the story may be different.

If you must walk alone at the wee hours, stick to Market St. - the major east-west street IMO. It will take you to from City Hall to the nightlife of Old City. Going north-south, I would use Broad St. - the "Avenue of the Arts", a nicely boulevarded thoroughfare that sees a lot of action as well. Scarlett, does this sound like good advice?
designmr is offline  
Old Jul 7th, 2003, 08:11 PM
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We stayed close to Christ Church, the area is full of young people and lots of restaurants and shops. There were people out walking around and sitting at cafes, late into the night. I think that area is quite safe.
As in any city, a woman alone should stay where there are people, bright lights and activity. Cabs are not expensive in Philadelphia which is good.
Scarlett is offline  
Old Jul 7th, 2003, 08:12 PM
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sorry~yes, that advice was good
Scarlett is offline  
Old Jul 7th, 2003, 08:31 PM
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I lived in Philly many years as both a single and married woman and lived all over the city (from 5th & South to Chestnut Hill, and most recently the Rittenhouse Square area [21st and Spruce]), I think the safest streets for a woman alone to walk on in Center City are along the main residential streets--i.e., Spruce Street. It's well lit, people will probably be out and about. I would NOT walk Market Street alone late at night--it attracts a questionable crowd after hours. Also avoid the smaller residential street (i.e., Panama) because they are not as well lit and can be deserted.
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Old Jul 7th, 2003, 09:12 PM
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Philly is such a great city. I was surprised at how much there is to see and do there. It's one of the best restaurant cities I have benn to outside of New York or Chicago.
Sweeney is offline  
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