Philadelphia and ???

Sep 17th, 2008, 09:06 PM
Original Poster
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Philadelphia and ???

I am going to be in Philadelphia for a work conference from November 12 - 14th. I am really looking forward to seeing the city for the first time and would welcome any suggestions of what to see and do while I'm there.

I am also considering combining this trip with a side trip to a nearby city or area from November 8 - 11th since I will be flying from Western Canada and would like to take advantage of the opportunity.

I am leaning towards New York City right now but I would love to hear more suggestions for other cities or areas to explore because I have already visited NYC (though would love to go back!). Is it pretty easy to get around with Amtrak?

I am a 26 year old female, love the outdoors and traveling. It's possible that my husband may join me on the weekend getaway but not certain at this point. Thanks in advance for your help!

trav10 is offline  
Sep 17th, 2008, 09:23 PM
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Hi trav - have you been to DC? I am visiting Philly in Oct and taking the train from there...
MomDDTravel is offline  
Sep 18th, 2008, 02:07 AM
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Both NYC and Washington DC are reasonably easy, but with the time that you have I'd suggest staying in the Philadelphia area with perhaps a day trip out to Lancaster County or to the Brandywine area.

Since you'll be at a conference for three of those days, you won't have a lot of time for exploring the city itself, and there is a lot to see and do. Some threads to help you get started on that:

Happy planning!
Amy is offline  
Sep 18th, 2008, 03:47 AM
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In Phila. you can take a walking tour of the historic area.
I love the Constitution Center. You can go to the Visitor's Center and get a free timed ticket to visit Independence Hall. You don't need the ticket to see the Liberty Bell.
Phila. is a great walking city.
The Art Museum is wonderful also.
For loads of info, go tot
schmerl is offline  
Sep 18th, 2008, 04:10 AM
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Either New York or DC are excellent suggestions for your Nov 8 to 11 side trip. You can fill weeks let alone a few days in either city. One factor to consider is that DC will be much easier on the budget than NYC. Manhattan hotels are incredibly expensive. DC digs are much more modest. Smithsonian and national monuments are no fee visits.

However, you can stay very active in Manhattan at modestly priced destinations like the museums and galleries.

Have fun.
stumpworks73 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2008, 04:20 AM
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Hi Trav10

Baltimore Maryland is another option that nicely fits the bill(accommodation tends to be less expensive than DC (and far less than NYC) too); Amtrak takes you from Center City Philadelphia to Penn Station Baltimore, which is a 20-minute walk or 5-minute cab ride from the Inner Harbour. One can even take a day trip via suburban MARC train to DC from there. Exploring the markets, Inner Harbour, Mount Vernon, Federal Hill, Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Art Gallery, water taxi to Fells Point and Fort McHenry can be good fun! Certain neighbourhoods accessible by transit are interesting too... Hampden and Mount Washington come to mind.

First place I'd head visiting Center City Phila. would be the Reading Terminal Market, Italian Market, South Street and Rittenhouse Square; do take some time to just admire the architecture on the side streets (13th/Walnut area) as well. Agree 100% about Independence Hall and Art Museum too.


Daniel (also in Canada)
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Sep 18th, 2008, 04:29 AM
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I'll just add that in addition to Amtrak which can be expensive, there's a train option b/w Phil and NYC that involves a SEPTA train chain in Trenton, NJ. There's also new bus service from and which I understand are both good.

A while back poster Myer did a trip report of a Phil./NYC visit that I thought was excellent.

In the process of looking for that, I found this Phil. trip report from someone who was also on a conference.

Hope this helps.
mclaurie is offline  
Sep 18th, 2008, 04:30 AM
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Should read SEPTA train change in Trenton.
mclaurie is offline  
Sep 18th, 2008, 09:43 AM
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Wow! Thank you all very much for your thoughtful and extensive feedback! I've got some reasearch to do! Many thanks
trav10 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2008, 12:26 PM
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I lived in Cherry Hill, NJ (just across the water from Philly) and would often explore the surrounding areas and take family and friends on "whirlwind tours" when they would come to visit. I had a car which helped logistically (sometimes). Will you have a car at all?

A typical 4 day visit would look like this (again, this is whirlwind and not for everyone):

Day 1: Explore historic Philly. Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, Constitution Center, walking tour of historic area. Mint if time allowed. Then we'd have a nice Italian dinner and maybe go to a jazz club.

Day 2: Amish Country (Lancaster, Bird in Hand, Intercourse) and Valley Forge.

Day 3: New York City. To get into the City, we would drive to a New Jersey Transit system station and take the New Jersey Transit train in (I recall it being about $21 round trip). We would try to take the first train out and last one back. This allowed enough time to see the highlights which seemed to always include: Statute of Liberty, Wall Street, World Trade Center site, Broadway show or David Letterman taping, then Central Park.

Day 4: Atlantic City or D.C. (depending on if the visitors were flying home out of Atlantic City or Baltimore). We drove to D.C. so I don't have any experience with getting there on the transit system. D.C. is fantastic. You'd have to really narrow down what you wanted to see though (same for NYC).

You have the time to accomplish as much or as little as you wish---all are great cities you could spend the entire 4 days in, or you could just get a taste of them all. People who visited me seemed to want a quick taste of it all so I gave "whirlwind tours".
mindibz is offline  
Sep 18th, 2008, 01:11 PM
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mindi - I went to high school for a year in Cherry hill...
MomDDTravel is offline  
Sep 18th, 2008, 05:15 PM
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My Must-Sees in Philadelphia:


Independence Hall/Carpenters' Hall/Liberty Bell, National Constitution Center, National Liberty Museum, Walk Around Society Hill, Historic Religious Sites of Society Hill (significant for both Colonial and Underground RR History)

See Philadelphia:

City Hall Tower, Walking Tours by Philadelphia Society for Landmarks, Walk/run the Boat House Row loop (@8 miles)


Mural Arts Tour, "1% for Art" Sculpture Tour, Art Museum and Annex, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Rodin Museum, Barnes Foundation, Institute of Contemporary Art


Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies (and/or other museums devoted to African-, German- and Swedish-American ancestry and history), Poe House


Mutter Museum, Mummers Museum


Gayborhood/Midtown Village, AIA Bookstore, Old City, Walnut Street (Broad - 20th), Northern Liberties,

Can't Miss Food:

Reading Terminal (especially Salumeria for hoagies, DiNic's for a Pork Italian), Take out from DiBruno's and lunch on a bench in Rittenhouse Square, Italian Market (for cheap and amazing Mexican food and bahn mi), Gastro Pubs (Good Dog, N. 3rd, Standard Tap, Yello'Bar, Memphis Taproom, SPTR)
BYOBs (Mercato, Branzino, Cochon, Lolita), Capogiro Gelato, La Colombe coffee
MLTimes is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2008, 04:30 PM
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MLTimes's "can't miss" on food is excellent. Also will suggest:

Philly cheesesteak: Jim's (on South St.). Rick's in the Reading Terminal Market is a decent second option.

Greek seafood: Estia.

Burmese: Rangoon.

Ice cream: Bassett's (in Reading Terminal Market), Franklin Fountain.
bachslunch is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2008, 07:33 AM
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I forgot about Rangoon. Also Kanella for Greek. At RTM, also forgot to mention Dutch Eating Place for breakfast (particularly scrapple).

I really don't want to start yet another cheesesteak debate (where to get one, what kind of cheese, how to order) because I personally wouldn't eat a cheesesteak (let alone wait in line to get one) unless it was 3am and I was very, very drunk. But I agree that if you want one, Jim's or Campo's are decent (not great) and more conveniently located for visitors than Pat's, Geno's, Chink's and other places that are frequently named as local favorites.
MLTimes is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2008, 09:23 AM
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Hi trav10!

Wow-I LIVE here (well, in Chadds Ford) and still havent seen all the great things you guys have recommended!

Trav10, since you enjoy the outdoors Id agree most with Amys suggestion to head over my way (Brandywine, then into Lancaster). Rolling hills, open meadows, cows/horsies/sheep etc. In addition to what Ill call the natural beauty of the area theres also the Brandywine River Museum and Longwood Gardens.

Heres a FANTASTIC website if you decide to come around these parts:

Have a wonderful time!!

NatureGirl19317 is offline  
Sep 30th, 2008, 01:18 PM
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A Philadelphia Photoblog for visitors and everybody else.

See Philly through my eyes!
wheninphilly is offline  
Sep 30th, 2008, 01:28 PM
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are you advertising? It is not permitted here.
MomDDTravel is offline  
Oct 4th, 2008, 03:40 PM
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I'm not advertising. I'm not selling anything. I just thought I would be helpful.
wheninphilly is offline  
Oct 4th, 2008, 06:26 PM
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all good info -- good ideas. the official phila website of what to do is -- the only bad idea is the train from Trenton to NY it's a big waste of time, personally, I would go to Washington DC (on Amtrak train) b/c all the national museums in Washington are FREE!! Don't miss the newish museum of the American Indian, the East Wing art of the smithsonian and the Air&Space Smithsonian --- these three would cost you about $65 in NY. Great restaurants in DC too... the train can be as fast as 2 hours Phila to DC
elmom is offline  
Oct 9th, 2008, 04:51 AM
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I would like to suggest Lancaster, PA. It's laid back and you can view the Amish culture plus Lancaster City has 30 plus art galleries and quaint shops. Our Central Market is opened on Tuesday, Fridays and Saturday morning. Several of the outling villages have their own shops and the enitre area is filled with early American history. I would recommend the Lancaster Arts Hotel downtown, The Amish View IN and Suites for a country stay and the Eden Resort Inn for a beautiful hotel close to major highways.
Jgroff2506 is offline  

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