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Philadelphia - 1st time there - in what area to stay???

Philadelphia - 1st time there - in what area to stay???

Old Apr 8th, 2010, 08:34 AM
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Philadelphia - 1st time there - in what area to stay???

For a first trip to Philadelphia (from west coast - haven't been back east in over 25 years!), what area(s) would you recommend staying in? We're interested in history, museums, food and local ambience. We'll probably be there 3-4 nights and I don't yet know if we'll have a car.
Thanks in advance,
Carol
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Old Apr 8th, 2010, 09:04 AM
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You want to stay in Center City. There are good hotels.
You have Independence Hall and the Historic area. Center City has many good restaurants. Reading Station is still an excellent stop. The Art Museum is walking distance. Have fun.

You can take SEPTA from the airport to Center City, but you'll still have to take a cab to your hotel. As the airport is not so far, you probably should just take the taxi straight to your hotel.
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Old Apr 8th, 2010, 09:34 AM
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I would definitely stay in center city Philadelphia. There are several top hotels. Plenty of good restaurants in center city also! For local ambience try The Reading Terminal (center city) or go to The Italian Market in South Philly.
You really will not need a car if you are staying in center city. The historical district & museums etc. can be reached by walking, public transportation or taxi. With a car you will have to pay to park. You will have to get a cheesesteak!!
I would try AAA for recomendations of where to stay. The Ritz-Carlton, Park Hyatt at The Bellevue, Doubletree Hotel are on South Broad St. in the heart of center city. There are hotels all over center city, some are in the historical district also, there is a Holiday Inn Historic District at 4th & Arch Streets. There are several boutique hotels also.
see www.visitphilly.com & www.gophila.com & www.wheretraveler.com. Check out Philadelphia Magazine also.
It is usually hot & humid in the summer! Actually hot & humid today!! We are in the middle of a unexpected heat wave!
Enjoy your visit to the City of Brotherly Love!
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Old Apr 8th, 2010, 02:44 PM
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Absolutely stay in Center City. Take the Airport Line direct from the airport to CC for $6 per person, or spend more time and ride a cab for $25 plus tip.

For a three day visit, renting a car would be insane. Everything you would want to see in three days could be visited cheaper, faster, and with less hassle by mass transit or walking. You can take a cab if you not sure how to get somewhere. For %10 a day, you can ride an unlimited amount of regional rail, bus, subway, and Phlash.
www.septa.org/fares/pass/independence.html
www.visitphilly.com/tours/philadelphia/phlash
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Old Apr 8th, 2010, 07:19 PM
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Just to reiterate what others have said:
1) you do not need and do not want a car
2) Stay in Center City; you'll be able to walk to most sights
3) Check out the Phlash bus - a great way to see Philadelphia when your legs are tired: http://www.visitphilly.com/tours/philadelphia/phlash/
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Old Apr 9th, 2010, 07:27 AM
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WE flew into Philadelphia from California, took the Septa R1 to I believe Market, walked up to Walnut and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Mid Town which has good rates and is very well located for walking to and around the historic district. It is also within walking distance of several restaurants. Oh and be sure to try Jim's for cheesesteak !
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Old Apr 9th, 2010, 07:58 AM
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Will heartily second Jim's for cheesesteaks. I've tried them at several spots in Philadelphia, and Jim's made the best version I had. They're on South Street, a reasonable walk south of Center City, and note that the business strip along this street is enjoyable to stroll. There are cheesesteak places (Sonny's, Campo's) in or very close to Center City, but they're definitely not as good. Other good (or reportedly good, as I haven't been to some of these) places, such as Tony Luke's, John's, and Cosmi's Deli, are not close by and tougher to reach via public transport. My experience also suggests steering clear of Geno's or Pat's, two well-known cheesesteak spots that have a reputation far better than their product.

Another iconic sandwich must is roast pork with greens and sharp provolone. DiNic's in Reading Terminal Market makes a great version of this. John's specializes in this, but I've never been here and they're hard to get to via public transport.
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Old Apr 9th, 2010, 12:09 PM
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Center City actually can include a pretty big area: there's "Old City", which is the colonial historic district, the Convention Center Area, Rittenhouse, and even out the Parkway. But Philadelphia is very walkable, and Septa does whatever you don't want to walk.

If your interest is primarily in colonial/Revolutionary era history, the Holiday Inn at 4th and Arch is an excellent location and has decent rooms. 19th century would be Rittenhouse area, for me, and I'd definitely include a visit to the Eastern State Penitentiary.

For museums, there's everything from the Rodin and Art Museums to the Constitution Center to the U of PA Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology to the Mutter Museum...and so forth!

Here's a starting point for food: http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...iladelphia.cfm

Here's a thread with a lot of help, including a link to the "Franklin Walking Tour" (and a lot of other links, too):
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...-itinerary.cfm

and my all-time favorite Philadelphia trip report (with good restaurant info in it, too):
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...rip-report.cfm
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 07:26 AM
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Wow! Thanks for all the great information. This really helps.
Carol
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Old Apr 11th, 2010, 09:24 AM
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You do not mention budget - I would have loved to have stayed here:

http://www.rittenhousehotel.com/?src...usesquarehotel

But ended up using points and staying at the Marriott

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/trave...iott-downtown/

Which was a good location as well. We walked every place and enjoyed our time in Philly. I really enjoyed the National Constitution Center and loved the "Let Freedom Rise"

http://constitutioncenter.org/ncc_exhbt_Landing.aspx
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