Going to Philadelphia...

Dec 19th, 1998, 07:54 PM
Posts: n/a
Going to Philadelphia...

My wife and I are planning a two-day stopover in Philadelphia next spring, and I have a few questions. (My wife is terribly paranoid of big cities and I don't want her to be scared of her own shadow during our stay!)

What areas of Philadelphia should a person avoid, whether in daytime or at night?

What IS the best way to get around Center City, the Historic District, and points westward through downtown? Is it feasible to drive your own car, or would walking it be a better answer.

Any other input will be very much appreciated
regarding the City of Brotherly Love!!


Chris in Wisconsin
Dec 20th, 1998, 07:18 PM
Donna F
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We only spent part of a day in Philly so I don't have a lot of info for you. We stayed in the Valley Forge area and just went in for the day. Driving was too bad but finding a place to park was awful and expensive. It looked like there was a trolley we could have gone on if we wanted to go around the city. We went to the science museum which was nice and used their garage. Usually in cities it is best to use a cab or one of those trolleys that let you get on and off at certain tourist spots. I have visited NY several times and we've walked all over...keep your eyes open and look at the people around you. You can tell when you should cross to the next block. As long as you see plenty of family groups, people in business attire, etc it's ok. Have a good time.
Dec 21st, 1998, 01:51 PM
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Went to Penn for college--philly is a great city! I'd say you'd be better off using public transportation or taxis around town--not necessary to worry about parking and all the hassle!

Yes, Philly has some rough areas, but that is mostly west of Penn's campus (above~44th street) or the north side of Philadelphia. If you are staying around center city/rittenhouse square/the historic district, you'll be fine, night and day! Lots going on!

One of my favorite romantic restaurants (don't know if it is still there though) is SPQR--marvelous Italian cuisine!!

Be sure to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art--terrific!! And boat house row is always a fun stroll, esp. if there are rowers on the river. But this area is prob. not so great _at night_... although as a stupid college kid, we did it w/o problems...

Have a wonderful time!!
Dec 23rd, 1998, 02:52 PM
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Thanks Donna and Deborah for your responses. I'm taking notes!!!

Some more input from others who encounter my post will be appreciated.
Dec 24th, 1998, 03:12 PM
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Hi Chris - Philly is a great city and very east to get around. Would suggest public transportation and forget the driving. The Seaport Museum was surprisingly nice and worth a stop. Don't miss the 'historic' stuff (Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Betsy Ross House, etc). Would also recommend stops at Elfreth Alley (near the Betsy Ross House), and for some lively entertainment (a great place to people watch), head over to South Street.

Like any big city, use your common sense (don't flash the $$$)and you won't have a problem. We were in Philly a couple of summer's ago and thoroughly enjoy it. We walked quite a bit, but also took public transportation, and saw quite a bit of the city.

If you have time, a quick-and very differnt diversion-is to drive over to Atlantic City (about 1 hr away). You may not have time for this with only a 2 day stop in Philly, but it's something to consider if the weather is bad for touring in Philly.

Enjoy your trip. Stop and eat at Bookbinders if you get a chance. If you enjoy fresh seafood, you won't be disappointed.

Merry Christmas,
Dec 28th, 1998, 08:04 AM
Chris Collinson
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As a lifelong suburban Philadelphia resident, I have spent much time working & playing in the city. Mayor Rendell has done a tremendous job of cleaning up the city & associated crime. However, like any big city, it still exists, and you must be aware of it. Stay out of north Phila(above Spring Garden St.), & west Phila (except University City) & you'll be ok most anywhere else night or day.

I recommend walking around town, using the subway system & The Phlash (tour bus) during the day, & taxis at night.

You didn't mention your interests or what type of exploration you'd like to do, so I'll give you a few highlights of our fair city with a few insider tips. If you e-mail me I'll gladly tell more.

Bookbinders is an overrated, overpriced, tourist trap. Don't go. For seafood downtown, go to Phila. Fish Co. or Sansom Street Oyster House. Go to South Philly for a great Italian meal: I recommend Ralph's, Felicia's or Cent' Anni(just ask for directions). For a great authentic cheesesteak, go pretty much anywhere in South Philly (Pat's & Geno's are landmarks, but somewhat overrated). I like Johnny Barrell's & Tony Lukes on Front for cheesesteak & Italian roast pork respectively. Get soft pretzels from any street vendor. For water ice, go to Pop's on Oregon (near Broad)in South Philly. For a great steak, go to either Ruth's Chris or the Palm (Broad St.).
Try the Reading Terminal Market for great food also. Lots of trendy, high-priced restaurants on Walnut St around 15th-16th Streets. Also, one of the best cigar stores on the East Coast in Holt's.

Art Museum
Franklin Institute Science Museum (fun)
Academy of Music
Walnut St. Theatre or Merriam Theatre
Lots of others, too numerous to mention but you could spend 2 entire days in any of the above.

People-watching, recreation, feel
Fairmount Park (not at night), Boathouse Row(not at night), Rittenhouse Square(not at night), South Street (especially at night), Penn's Landing, Manayunk (little town west of Phila. also w/great restaurants & shopping)

Liberty Place, all of Center City (10 block radius around City Hall)

Shampoo(all music, very hip), Five Spot(retro swing), Tin Angel (great bands) Warmdaddy's (blues), Zanzibar Blue (jazz).

Hope you enjoy your visit. Come back soon.
Dec 28th, 1998, 09:32 AM
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I have lived in the Philadelphia Area my entire life. If you are planning on traveling within the city, I would recommend the subway or taxi. The area of the city that is best patroled at night is anywhere from 16th St near City Hall to the historical district down near the waterfront. Stay away from North & West Philadelphia at night.

There is also the King of Prussia Mall about 20 minutes from downtown. It is the largest mall on the east coast with some nice stores.

If you are planning a trip ouside the city, be sure to rent a car. Taxis and shuttles out of the city to the suburbs are expensive, and public transportation will take forever to get to the destination. Feel free to drop me an e-mail with any other questions. Remember, you heard it from a native.
Dec 28th, 1998, 03:00 PM
Posts: n/a
Thank you VERY MUCH, Chris & John, for
the valuable information you gave me
about Philly. It will make our stay
there much more worthwhile when we
know a little about the city.

I hope Philadelphia has many more helpful people like the both of you.
Thanks a bunch!!!

Chris ([email protected])

Dec 28th, 1998, 07:32 PM
Posts: n/a
I've never lived in Philadelphia but I visited it 4 times and just have the following observations to share. First, the attractions are great: The Art museum is world-class, independence national historic park is impressive, etc. However, I found the city to be quite empty and deserted. Ben Franklin Parkway (the gorgeous street that goes from the city Hall to the Art Museum) is basically empty except for the occasional joggers. So is the area behind the museum I think its called Kelly Drive or smth. The downtown ares were also not as crowded, even on weekdays, as those in NY, Chicago, or most other cities I've been to. Furthermore, the neighborhood around the Independence historic park area has a lot of empty blocks where one can't help but feel somewhat uncomfortable. Finally, the streets are filled with an unparalleled number of homeless people. Now I don't mean to scare you or your wife away, but those were just some of my thoughts on Philly. They do, however, have this trolley called the Phlash which takes you to all the sights around Center City and I found it to be convenient, and safe.
Jan 1st, 1999, 11:42 PM
Posts: n/a
Thanks for the reply, Mike.

Was your experience in Philly on a
weekday by chance? Many larger cities'
downtown areas seem deserted during the
day at certain times.

Nevertheless, it could be to someones
advantage to have a less crowded environment to explore a new place.

Really looking forward to Philadelphia next Spring!!


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