Christmas Trip to Pennsylvania

Nov 27th, 2008, 04:33 PM
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Christmas Trip to Pennsylvania

I wanted so much to travel to Morocco, Paris, Prague for the holidays...but have been making payments on my credit cards instead. (I dream big, but do try to be realistic!)

I have decided to make the big trip home to Pittsburgh instead. We fly out on Christmas Day. We will stay in Monroeville for a few days and then drive on over to Philly on 12/28. I have never seen the Liberty Bell and would like to do that this trip. What else should we do? We are leaving at the crack of dawn on Jan 1.

I am 39, with 2 teenage boys - 16 and 18. I thought they might like the Eastern State Pen., Edgar Allan Poe's place, the US Mint in addition to Independence Hall. We all enjoy history and some culture.

Any suggestions?
abasketcase is offline  
Nov 27th, 2008, 05:02 PM
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First go to the Visitor's Center to get your timed tickets to get in Independence Hall. They are free, but you need the ticket. You do not need a ticket to see the Liberty Bell, but it makes sense to do them together since you have to go through security.
Also right there is the Constitution Center. It takes several hours to really appreciate all that is there though.
In addition to the things you mentioned, also visit Frnaklin Court.
Jan 1 is the day of the big Mummer's parade in Phila. It starts pretty early and a lot of the streets will be closed for the parade.
For some great info, go to
schmerl is offline  
Nov 27th, 2008, 05:05 PM
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If at all possible take the State Pen tour. It is in unheated buildings and you have a voice guide to help you with important spots along the tour. It was great this past year with my family of four. Remember to take a ton of pix as you will see so much.
Great trip to you !
Mr. Matt
MrMatt is offline  
Nov 28th, 2008, 03:27 AM
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Thanks guys!

Thanks for the link, it is helpful. I saw something about New Year's eve fireworks, so I am looking in to that.

I am glad to hear your family enjoyed the "Pen". We all have long johns and will definitely bundle up and be prepared.

Also, we can't miss the Hard Rock Cafe!
abasketcase is offline  
Nov 28th, 2008, 04:07 AM
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If you have the time, a day or two at Gettysburg would be so worth while and it's on your way from Pittsburgh to Philly.
cd is offline  
Nov 28th, 2008, 08:19 AM
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Definitely do the tour of Eastern State Pen! My teens loved it. They were less interested in the Edgar Allen Poe House. It's just a small old house with period furnishings, etc. Unless you are all big Poe fans, I'd skip it. You may want to consider going to the Independence Seaport Museum. My 18-year-old son enjoyed going on the ships there. Finally, my son's high school U.S. Government class recently visited the National Constitution Center in Philly and he said it was really good.
longhorn55 is offline  
Nov 28th, 2008, 10:00 AM
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How about The Franklin? (It used to be called the Franklin Science Center.) Great place.

GBelle is offline  
Nov 28th, 2008, 10:01 AM
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My bad -- the Franklin Institue
GBelle is offline  
Nov 28th, 2008, 10:56 AM
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It is feasible to take a train to NYC for a day?
abasketcase is offline  
Nov 28th, 2008, 11:10 AM
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abasketcase my dd really enjoyed Constitution center at Independence Hall. We spent 3 nights in Philly and it could have easily been 2 full days. I would think about taking the train to NYC - I think your boys would love it.
MomDDTravel is offline  
Nov 28th, 2008, 04:53 PM
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It is possible to make a trip to NY in a day, but with so much to see and do in Philadelphia being sandwiched between quite a long ride from Pittsburgh and then the trip home, I'd suggest staying in Philadelphia this time.

Since you wanted to go to Morocco, do try to visit Marrakesh Restaurant at 5th and Leithgow (just north of South Street) for a laid-back and pleasant Moroccan dining experience. (You will need reservations have to knock on the door to get in.) It's a seven course meal, and you're seated on cushioned divans (is that the word I want?) around a big brass table; all the touches are there, from bowls of water to wash your hands to the mint tea being poured from a height so that it gets bubbles.

This thread has a lot of good Philadelphia info in it, including links to other threads!

Happy travels.
Amy is offline  
Nov 28th, 2008, 08:39 PM
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Eastern State Pen. is probably good for boys. They might also enjoy that whole "Independence Mall" area with the Constitution Center (most interactive and might appeal most), Christ Church, etc. I'd also recommend seeing City Hall, especially taking the elevator up. The usual "touristy" thing is pretty great.

As for the Poe House, though, that mights be a lot boring for a couple of boys (or most people, really). It's basically an empty house, and while it might interesting for someone who likes Poe, it will probably be very dull for everyone else. If you're doing a "literature stop" of sorts, I'd skip Poe and go to the Pearl S. Buck House.

I think the PMA is quite fantastic, not quite the caliber of a Met. or anything but really very good. In that same family, the Rodin Museum is probably my favourite of the art museums in town.
saturnwings is offline  
Nov 29th, 2008, 05:33 AM
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Be sure to look at before you visit. It's a fabulous site with info on both well known and lesser known points of interest in Philadelphia and, if I recall, the entire Delaware Valley. There are also routes and info for walking tours around the city.

New Year's Eve fireworks are on the Delaware-- something to keep in mind when selecting a hotel room.

Also, by leaving at the "crack of dawn" on New Year's Day you are missing one of our greatest traditions-- the Mummers Parade.
MLTimes is offline  
Nov 29th, 2008, 06:00 AM
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Take the boys to the Mutter Museum.

They will love it. It is a museum filled with interesting and historical medical specimens including giant skeletons and mummies.

If the boys are college shopping, you could look at UPenn and Drexel in University City, just over the river from Center City, but it will be quiet at that time of year.
Birdie is offline  
Dec 29th, 2008, 05:04 AM
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Thanks for all of your wonderful suggestions!

When I checked AMTRAK and found that the tickets to NYC were $192 each way, we quickly decided to stay in town.

We are just going to poke around at our own pace, relax and enjoy ourselves. (We arrived last night and so far everything looks great)

We do plan on heading to the Delaware River for fireworks Wednesday night...any suggestions on how to make that a successful adventure?
abasketcase is offline  
Jan 1st, 2009, 06:45 PM
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Thanks to all for your ideas and suggestions!

We did enjoy the Eastern State Pen tour. It was sufficiently creepy to entertain the teens.

We also enjoyed the tower tour of city hall. We almost missed it...the ticket saleswoman sold us tickets to the 3:45 tour on New Year's eve, not realizing that her co-workers were heading home for the day at that time. The elevator operator did run us up quickly, and the views were amazing. But we promised to leave quickly so the film crew could set up.

We could not get in to the 3:00 Masonic Temple tour, the fellow just shouted that the building was closed.

We were late for the Independence Hall tour, so we flew past the Liberty Bell and found the building to be closed after our tour.

We truly were slugs on this trip, but the weather was so nice, we walked to just about everything (or took the hop on hop off tour bus) and had a nice time. We did not get to see near as much as we would have liked, but we made time to visit the Reading Terminal Market each day for a crepe!

Thanks again for all of your really made our trip enjoyable!
abasketcase is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2009, 06:08 AM
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I'm so glad you enjoyed your time in our wonderful city.
I thought the weather was cold and windy, but it was sunny!
schmerl is offline  

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