One Day in Philadelphia - What to do?

Mar 23rd, 2006, 10:38 AM
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One Day in Philadelphia - What to do?


My fiance and I are driving to DC from NYC. We are planning to stop in Philadelphia for our first night. We'll probably arrive Philly about 11am and depart the next day around noon. Neither of us have been before and we're left wondering what to do. We don't have much time but we'd like to see some highlights. The first thing that comes to mind is the Liberty Bell. Are there any other historic spots that are a must? After reading through the guide both the Reading Terminal Market and Antique Row on Pine Street sound like fun. We like little crafty, boutique, upscale shops with unique items. I know it depends partially on how quickly we do things but how much of this is realistic to do in a day and a half? Also, any recommendations on where to grab a philly cheesesteak or have dinner? Any input is greatly appreciated!

Rael8l is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 11:28 AM
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Not sure where you are staying, but if your meandering takes you within 5 blocks of this place, it is a "must":

The new Constitution Center (close to the liberty bell) is also a nice museum. I was very impressed.

I would also plan on a stroll along South Street.
bardo1 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 11:47 AM
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Check out Lots of good info there.

Most of the historic attractions, such as the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, The Constitution Center, etc. are very near each other. Walk to Elfreth's Alley - the nationís oldest continuously inhabited street. That's probably enough to keep you busy for the day.
BarryK is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 11:58 AM
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Don't forget an inexpensive lunch at "El Fuego" on Walnut Street between 6th and 7th - cheap, TASTY burritos and coronas, MMMMM (drooling now).
Mr_Senor is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 01:05 PM
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The entire historic area is walkable and I would second a visit to the Constitution Center:

There are rules about getting into, around and out of the Independence Hall/Liberty Bell area, but you'll see that it's a small, manageable place:

Not to dis Pat's and Geno's, but you could start with a cheesesteak lunch at Jim's (4th and South) and then walk north along 4th, straight into the historic area.

You don't say where you're staying, but there's no shortage of excellent dinner options in Old City, which borders on the historic area. Buddakhan (Chestnut between 3rd and 4th), Amada (Chestnut between 2nd and 3rd) Farmacia (3rd between Chestnut and Market).

Antique Row is not what is used to be, but Reading Terminal would be worth your while on the second morning for a bite before you leave town:

dbenya is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 01:11 PM
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*I* think the best cheesesteaks are at Jim's on 4th and South.
karens is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 01:22 PM
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Thanks for all of the info! Since it is just one night I was thinking we'd go the cheap route and stay at Motel 6 near King of Prussia.
Rael8l is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 02:56 PM
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So you'll come down 95 into the city, see the sights and then drive about 45 minutes west? If that's your
plan, then I'd skip town the 2nd morning, take 76 east to the Blue Route, the Blue Route south to 95 and then on to Washington. Otherwise, you'll spend your morning in rush hour traffic from the western suburbs. It won't be fun.
dbenya is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 03:34 PM
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A good inexpensive option is the Comfort Inn at Penn's Landing - it's right of I-95
(and I mean RIGHT off it - look up and there's the highway). It's also a 10 minute walk to the historic area from the hotel.
bardo1 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 05:25 PM
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I didn't realize King of Prussia was that far away from Philly. According to mapquest it is only 19 miles. Is the traffic generally slow between the two?

I checked on the Comfort Inn at Penn's Landing. They want $220 a night compared to the $50 we'd be paying at Motel 6.
Rael8l is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 05:28 PM
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Rachel -

Just a couple things to add. I third the vote on Jim's Steaks on 4th & South. Yummm

If you go to Priceline, you can bid on a Center City hotel room, and can probably find something for well under $100 - I have seen people on tripadvisor get rooms as cheap as $60. Check it out, maybe you'll find something.

If you consider Buddakan for dinner (highly recommend), try to make reservations soon (don't know when you're planning your trip, but on weekends, you need reservations at least 3-4 weeks in advance).

Enjoy your visit!
teaberry is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 05:29 PM
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I'm not a Philadelphian...but I do love Philly and here are 3 things that I think ROCK:
1. Drinks in the Rotunda at the Ritz Carlton.
2. Pizza (by the slice) at Lorenzo's on South Street
3. A City Tavern Cooler in the "bar" area of City Tavern.
LittleSalty is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 05:35 PM
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Oh, also invest in an inexpensive map of Philly - it will probably come in handy.

And consider taking the hop-on/hop-off bus known as the Philly Phlash
It only costs $1 for each time, or $4/day. It makes about 20 different stops, all over Center City, and will take you to quite a few interesting and popular areas, including the Ben Franklin Parkway and the Art Museum, which is truely nice to see even if you don't go inside.

Then, if you like, check out the Rittenhouse Square area, where not only the people watching is fun, but there are plenty of shops, boutiques, and restaurants to give you a real taste of the area.

Hop back on the Phlash to get to the historic district.

Have fun.
teaberry is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 06:00 PM
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Everyone has hadreat suggestions but here is my 2 cents, since I live in the area as well. IF you want to consider quality time in Philly-you really must syay in the city. How about the Holiday Inn near the Reading Terminal? 8th street?? but the price may be right. also--the hip area now for boutiques is around 12&13th Sts. between spruce and Walnut. There is the cool ElVez at 13th across from the awesome gelato place. Around south street is Southwark, dimitri's, Pumpkin.We have great restaurants !! Good luck but do try to stay in the city, the traffic out to KofP is herendous.I trave to DC alot and you came get onto 95South from there as well. Good luck!!
hglightly is offline  
Mar 24th, 2006, 03:26 AM
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<"I didn't realize King of Prussia was that far away from Philly. According to mapquest it is only 19 miles. Is the traffic generally slow between the two?>"
The answer to that is YES, YES, YES!!! Traffic can be a bear between King of Prussia and Phila. You have to deal with the Schuylkill Expressway. There always seems to be some sort of jam up on that road. I live in the King of Prussia area. To be honest, there are those rare occassions where we can make it into Phila. in about thirty minutes, but that's with very little traffic. If you can manage it, stay right in Center City.

schmerl is offline  
Mar 24th, 2006, 04:03 AM
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East is the river and New Jersey. South is Delaware. So the largest suburban area begins about five miles west of center city and then spreads along the Main Line and beyond. There are two ways in and out -- Lancaster Avenue and the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76). Even people in the northern suburbs take the Blue Route (I-476) to 76 into town. I live 20 minutes west of Center City, know how to get to KOP without taking the expressway, and still budget 45 minutes to get there. Trust us. We live here. We know. Stay in town. It'll be worth the extra 50 bucks.
dbenya is offline  
Mar 24th, 2006, 07:09 AM
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Another "NO" vote to staying outside of the city. The traffic is horrible - even on a weekend.

Go for Priceline, you should be able to get something for $50-$60. If not, check out
and see if there're any packages.

And make sure you read the link given to you by dbenya on the Independence Hall/Liberty Bell. I'm pretty sure you'll have to get advance timed tickets in order to get in. If the tickets are all given out for that particular day, you won't be able to get in.

The South Street area is over-rated, IMO. It's rather grungy, not what you're looking for - "little crafty, boutique, upscale shops with unique items."

FYI, I'm pretty sure the shops on Antique Row are closed on Sundays - in case you're visiting on a weekend.
yk is offline  
Mar 25th, 2006, 03:38 PM
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If you can get tickets online for Independence Hall on the day you plan on being in Philadelphia, definitely do that. You can do that and the Liberty Bell in a relatively short period of time, and then you will be close to all sorts of other historical sites. I wasn't too impressed with the Constitution Center, but I think I'm probably in the minority. Maybe it is because there were several rowdy school groups there when I was.

I enjoyed tours of the Todd House and Bishop White House. You have to get tickets for those also, but you can do it when you pick up your tickets for Independence Hall. It should be easy if you check out the websites and plan ahead.

Check out It is a self-guided walking tour. There are way more places than you will have time (or probably want) to visit, but the website has a good list of historic sites, with brief descriptions and links to their websites. My favorites were: Independence Hall, Congress Hall, Todd House, Bishop White House, City Tavern, and Christ Church.

Have fun!
KatieL is offline  
Mar 26th, 2006, 11:52 AM
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As a former Philadelphian, I have to agree that the traffic from King of Prussia to center city is a nightmare. Can I suggest the Alexander Inn? It is a boutique hotel near Antique Row, and they might have a room within your budget. Also, you might wish to consider a bed and breakfast. Shippen Way in is very reasonable, and yet is close to South Street which has a colorful nightlife.

As for sights, here some additional choices to consider. If you like Impressionist Art, there are two great choices--the Rodin Museum and the Barnes Collection.

The Rodin Museum has the second largest collection of Rodin sculpture. (The largest collection is in Paris). The museum is on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway near the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Even if you do not go into the Philly Museum of Art, try to drive to the museum and keep driving until you are in front of the museum. The panorama from here is stunning.

The Barnes Foundation has an impressive collection of Impressionist paintings. In fact, if an European tourist comes to Philly, chances are excellent that they came to visit the Barnes. The Barnes is located in Lower Merion Township adjacent to St. Joseph's University. You need to reserve in advance if you want to visit.

One last museum worth mentioning is the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. This museum houses one of the best Egyptology collections on the East Coast.

For really good shopping, I like Rittenhouse Square. There is a good park with really good people watching. One really great clothing store to go to is Anthropologie, the upscale version Urban Outfitters. This is the flagship store for Anthropologie, and was the flagship for Urban Outfitters. They have really excellent, fun clothes for men and women.

For a nice place to have dinner, there are endless choices. I always used to take out of town guests to either Tangerine, Opus 251, Django, Fountain Room at the Four Seasons, La Locanda del Ghiottone, Joseph Poon, the Rose Tattoo, or Tequila's.

Hope this has been helpful.
FlyingMaltese is offline  
Mar 26th, 2006, 12:48 PM
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Did you know The Wyeth exhibit runs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from March 29 until July 16, 2006?
mclaurie is offline  

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