One day in Philadelphia

May 5th, 2004, 07:09 AM
  #1  
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One day in Philadelphia

We are going to have one full day in Philadelphia (a Sunday) on a driving trip from Chicago to New Jersey/New York. I know it's not enough time to do the city justice but can anyone help with suggestions on must sees. We've never been and at least want to get a flavor for the city, especially the historical sites.
swalter518 is offline  
May 5th, 2004, 07:15 AM
  #2  
 
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Head for the historical area (5th and Chestnut Streets) and don't miss the new National Consitutional Center. This interactive museum could take a whole day but it is amazing!!!! and really gives you a feel what living in 1776-1780 was like. Make sure you see the "play" that is the opening exhibit. Right nearby (1-2 blocks)is the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Betsy Ross house, Franklin Court (house and exhibit on Ben Franklin)
elmom is offline  
May 5th, 2004, 07:31 AM
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I was also going to suggest the National Constitution Center and the opening play. Very well done. Everything the previous post mentioned is a must-see in Philadelphia. You can park under the Constitution Center building. If you have time, walk across the bridge towards the Delaware River (pedestrian bridge near the Sheraton Society Hill) to Penn's Landing. There is an area of "Philadelphia Firsts" in a park-like setting. Not sure of food ideas over there, but you can have lunch most anywhere in the city where you are. City Tavern (also near the Sheraton) was very nice - but I didn't think there were too many things on the menu for children - unless they changed menu since I was there 4 yrs ago. Have Fun!
Fairway is offline  
May 5th, 2004, 07:43 AM
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Thanks for the tips. Are there plentiful garages/parking around that area since we'll have a car?
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May 5th, 2004, 09:13 AM
  #5  
yk
 
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Hi swalter-

I agree with the above suggestions. There are plenty of parking garages around the area, so you shouldn't have trouble with your car. If you're lucky, you might even find street parking. Be sure to check the meters, since some require feeding even on Sundays.

When you arrive in Philadelphia, you should head to the Visitor Center first because you'll need to get a timed ticket (free) to get into Independence Hall. Depending on how busy the day is, the tickets may run out . After you get the tickets, you can then figure out how to best use your time to see all the sites around there. For more info about the Independence Hall area and the timed tickets:
http://www.nps.gov/inde/

If you have time left at the end of your visit, you can hop on one of the trolley tours (1 is an old-fashioned trolley, 1 is the Big Bus company, and 1 is the Duck tours) and those should take you to other areas of Philadelphia (such as the Art Museum, Penns Landing area). It's better to take the trolleys than to try to drive yourself.

For more info on Philadelphia, go to :
www.gophila.com

Hope this helps.
yk is offline  
May 5th, 2004, 09:58 AM
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There is garage parking underneath the Constitution Center (on Race Street) and also at the Bourse (4th near Chestnut). You could start with a nice brunch at any of the restaurants between 2nd and 5th on Market (Fork comes to mind: www.forkrestaurant.com) and take advantage of the valet parking along that strip. If you're looking for something quicker, there's a Cosi across from the Bourse on 4th Street. The Constitution Center itself has an outdoor cafe that faces the rest of Independence Mall. All the sites you would want to visit or just stroll by are in a very compact area -- roughly between 3rd and 5th, Race and Walnut. Hope it's a beautiful day for you.
dbenya is offline  
May 5th, 2004, 11:48 AM
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Do you think we should make a reservation for Saturday night? We were just planning on stopping at a Holiday Inn Express assuming there are those expressway side hotels outside of Phili.
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May 5th, 2004, 02:41 PM
  #8  
yk
 
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Hi swalter-

If you are planning to stay at a hotel outside of Philadelphia, I think you'll be fine.

However, if you want to stay in town, you'd be better off making a hotel reservation. This month is graduation month, so I would suspect hotel rooms might be hard to come by.
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May 5th, 2004, 02:59 PM
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I bought tickets on the website in advance. It must have been the national park service. When we got there we realized we wanted to change times and it was no problem. If you know the day, get tickets for mid-day, you can always see the liberty bell and the other exhibits before and walk the nearby historic neighborhoods. Also the Reading (sp?) market which is like a huge combination farmers market and food court, great for lunch and trying Philly specialties from cheese steak to Amish to sushi, it has it all. Also, if you are going to be there in the evening, I hightly recommend the evening tours with the special stereo headsets. (Can't remember the name but search Fodors or other websites about Philadelphia you can't miss it.) It is a bit expensive, but like you were really there in Colonial Times. Also, be sure someone points out the little house where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. As my husband said, "how convenient for him, right next to the parking garage for easy commuting and across from the Dunkin Donuts for breakfast!" (LOL) Enjoy your trip!
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May 5th, 2004, 05:11 PM
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Coming from the west, the hotels closest to the city that are right off the expressway are two not great choices on City Line Avenue. Another 15 minutes and you're right downtown. In the historic area there's a Sheraton between Front and 2nd on Walnut. An Omni at 4th and Chestnut. The Thomas Bond House bed and breakfast on Second between Chestnut and Walnut. The Penn's View Hotel on Front near Market. Any northbound street on that side of Broad (5th, 7th, 9th . . .) will take you to the Vine Street Expressway, which feeds into I-95 north, which feeds into the New Jersey Turnpike.
dbenya is offline  
May 5th, 2004, 07:24 PM
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Some things to know about places noted here:

Reading Terminal Market is a great place to visit, but it's closed on Sunday.

The story that Betsy Ross had anything to do with inventing our flag is an obvious hoax. Her name was not Ross when she lived in Philadelphia. She never lived at the housed called the Betsy Ross House.

No eye witness of July 4th, 1776 records that the bell in the Statehouse rang that day. That's why the bell was almost sold for scrap in the 1840s. It's transformation to a national icon did not start till after that.

I do agree that Independence Hall is one sight all Americans should visit; it's the sight of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
PaulRabe is offline  
May 6th, 2004, 02:21 AM
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Our favorite walk in Philadelphia starts at 2nd and Delancey...walk up Delancey, passing beautiful homes (many Colonial, many 19th century, a few new), little gardens, until 5th or 6th Street, then turn left and pick up Pine Street, walking up Pine, past all the antique shops, etc. (a few open on Sunday), crossing over Broad Street, and staying on Pine until 17th Street, then turning right and picking up Delancey Street/Delancey Place again. If you've seen The Sixth Sense, Delancey between 20th and 21st street will look very familiar, as that was the block where the Bruce Willis character lived in the movie. You can either continue up Delancey to 23rd or so and stop in Fitler Square, a pretty hidden little park, or cut over to the right at 21st and then turn down on Locust Street to Rittenhouse Square. The walk will take a leisurely hour.
BTilke is offline  
May 6th, 2004, 04:14 AM
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On the slightly off-topic subject of walking in Philadelphia: during the very hot summer when I was pregnant with our son, I would take a mega walk once a week. We lived on 49th between Pine and Osage. I would walk down Spruce, through Penn, over the South Street Bridge, through Fitler Square, down Pine, have a light lunch somewhere on Walnut, continue through Society Hill, treat myself to a matinee at the Ritz and then take the 42 bus back. It's wonderful to see the march of architectural history -- the buildings get bigger, then smaller, then closer together. The pocket parks. The different crowds at different times in the same city. It was great fun.
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May 6th, 2004, 08:01 AM
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I'm disappointed to hear the market is closed on Sundays! I've seen it on the Food Network and it looks great. Thanks for all the tips. Keep them coming!
swalter518 is offline  
May 6th, 2004, 08:50 AM
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If you're there only one day, I'd skip Penn's Landing/the waterfront area. From the Independence mall area, I'd walk around Old City (2nd Street). The Rittenhouse area, going up Walnut to about 22nd Street, is also nice.

For motels, if you head over the Ben Franklin bridge (and past Camden into Cherry Hill), I remember there being places to stay there. And that is on your way to NY
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May 6th, 2004, 02:24 PM
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yk
 
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One more thought on hotels. You can consider bidding on Priceline for areas: Valley Forge, or Plymouth Meeting/Norristown, or City Line. Go to biddingfortravel.com for more info.
yk is offline  
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