Philadelphia hotel and itinerary question

Old Jun 8th, 2009, 01:59 PM
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Philadelphia hotel and itinerary question

Hi all!

I'm planning on a visit to one of my favorite cities and I was hoping you could help me out with a couple of questions I have.

The last time I visited Philadelphia, I stayed at the Thomas Bond House (B&B). I had a very nice stay and it was particularly convenient to Independence Hall and related sites. I'm considering staying there again, but I'm also considering the Sofitel and or another B&B in the Rittenhouse Square area, the Lippincott House. There aren't any recent posts on the Sofitel. Has anyone stayed there before and, if so, what did you think? Is it more convenient to most of the sites except for the Historic area? One thing that's important to me is that I have a good, quiet night sleep - is that area particularly noisy at night?

Just off the top of my head (I'm figuring maybe 4 or 5 days), I'd like to see the following:

Independence Hall, etc..
Constitution Center (visited the last time I was in Philadelphia and loved it)
Mummer's Museum (this looks like a lot of fun)
Reading Terminal Market (love this place - I'm getting hungry just thinking about it)

Franklin Science Center for the Galileo exhibit *** If anyone has checked out the exhibit, I'd love to know what you thought
Philadelphia Museum of Art (I love the Met in my native NY, but this museum is my next favorite - I just love it)
Italian Market **Is this market open every day?
Edgar Allan Poe museum * my favorite author, so I have to do this

Is Valley Forge a reasonable distance from Philadelphia? Do they have tours going there?

I'm sure I'm missing something, but I don't have to squeeze everything in as NY is such a short trip and I will definitely be back. If however, I am missing something that is a must-do, I'd love to hear about it.

Thanks so much !
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 02:02 PM
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Valley Forge is about a 45 minute ride from Phila. depending on traffic. Yes...they have tours through the park.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 03:09 PM
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yk
 
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Have you looked at the reviews on the Sofitel over on Tripadvisor?

The Sofitel is near rittenhouse Sq, so it's not particularly close to any of the sights you listed. However, it's close to restaurants and shops; and a nice 15 to 20-min walk to the Historic area. So, it is not more convenient for sightseeing, but more convenient to other activites.

If you want quiet - consider the Four Seasons at Logan Circle. That part of town is quieter at night, esp if you have a courtyard view room. And the 4 seasons is next to Franklin Institute and closer to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 03:33 PM
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Just a block away from the Franklin is the Academy of Natural Sciences, which I enjoyed much more than the Franklin. We stayed at the Embassy Suites which is also on Logan Circle and would stay there again; unlike many in the ES chain, it's not built around a noisy atrium.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 05:08 PM
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Thanks for your responses! I guess a hotel in Old City is probably best for me - I prefer being closer to the sights and I don't mind cabbing it to restaurants. I think Logan Circle is a tad far from the center of things, but I will consider it..... I don't believe I went to the Academy of Natural Sciences when I was last in Philly. I did go to the Franklin Institute - if it wasn't for the Galileo exhibit, I wouldn't go again. I'm not sure if this is a definite for me -I want to see what the exhibit entails because it sounds very interesting just on the face of it.

Just a couple of more questions:

Is the tour of the Eastern State Penitentiary worth it? I'd never even considered it, but from what I'm reading, people seem to think it's fascinating. It sure is a different kind of history than what you normally think of when you think "Philadelphia".

How about the US Mint? I'd like to do some things I didn't do on my last go round in Philadelphia and this was one of them......

Should I make a point to check out the University of Penn's Museum of Archaeolgy and Anthropology? I'm interested in both of those things - what can I expect to find there?

Thanks so much! I will be researching the heck out of this trip and will not be pestering you too much - I get more out of a trip when I do most of the leg work myself. I appreciate your help!
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 05:21 PM
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I've been to Eastern State Penitentiary once - for Halloween - I was bored to death. I think it's more interesting for kids than adults.

The Penn Museum is supposed to be great, but I've never been.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 05:29 PM
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Have you been to Mutter Museum? If you like science, medicine it is pretty interesting.


http://www.collphyphil.org/mutter.asp

Way better that the Human Body thing that is traveling around the country.

Deb
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 05:30 PM
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I don't know if you are a Trekkie, but the Star Trek Exhibit is also at the Franklin Institute (now called The Franklin) until Sept.
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 06:36 PM
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Hi Debi!

Yes, I went to the Mutter Museum the last time I was in Philadelphia - I got there near closing, so I only had about an hour there. I'm a squeamish person, but it was certainly.....interesting, lol. I might go again just because I do feel like I was rushed a bit.

Schmerl - I love the original Star Trek series. Wow - I had no idea that that was at the Franklin Institute. Well, that has to be a definite for me.

Yk, thanks! I'm trying to mix in some interseting/quirky things instead of just the usual history (which I adore - don't get me wrong. I am a history buff like you wouldn't believe, but I like to see a different side of Philadelphia)
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 07:20 PM
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Your plans sound great. A few of my favorites I'll also suggest:

I'm partial to the Liberty Museum, a small museum that's in the historical area. I don't see it mentioned too often for some reason, but everyone I've taken there has enjoyed it. Ditto on the Rodin museum, just down the parkway (a short walk) from the Art Museum.

And if you haven't seen it yet, don't miss stopping by the Dream Garden mosaic at the Curtis Center, on 6th St. between Walnut and Chestnut!

I too keep wanting to get to the Penn anthropology museum but haven't yet, but I've heard rave reviews, so if that's an interest area of yours, by all means go. I've enjoyed just walking around the Penn campus, too.

The Italian Market is not open on Mondays, at least not most of the shops/vendors. If you want lively, go on Saturday late morning. If you want less crowded, any other time! I highly recommend fresh mozzarella from Claudio's, bread from Sarcone's, and a fresh tomato from one of the outdoor vendors, if you're not coming too soon. I too LOVE RTM but my mouth waters even more thinking of these items!

There's also another smaller, fun outdoor farmers' market at Headhouse Square on Sundays 10 -2, if you're happening that way (2nd St., just north of South St.).

Oh, and I believe you need to arrange a tour of the Mint ahead of time with your Congressperson, but check me on that, I might be wrong.

I'm sure I'll think of more but it's bedtime Don't worry about "pestering" with more questions; we're here on these boards because what others might consider pestering, we find fun!
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Old Jun 8th, 2009, 09:23 PM
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We stayed at the Sofitel for 5 nights in April. Decent 4 star hotel although not as nice as their London or Buenos Aires properties which are close to 5 star. Location is good if you like Rittenhouse sq area. Pretty quiet hotel.
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 02:02 AM
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I love the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology; I've been going there since I was in fifth grade, so, well, that's a long time. Part of its appeal for me is the building itself, but I also particularly love the Chinese room (with the crystal gazing ball that was once stolen from the museum) and the Mesopotamian treasures. (Mesopotamia is a bit of a focus here; after all, they're the ones who've compiled the extraordinarily large cuneiform dictionary.) But there's a lot more there--it's rather eclectic--although of course not on the scale of, say, the British Museum. There's a large (two part) Egyptian section, Canaan/Israel, and more: http://www.museum.upenn.edu/

Have you been to the Rodin Museum? It's a lovely spot, and then there's the Waterworks buildings out behind the Art Museum as well.

Another spot in the city I love is the Pine Breeze Villa (Japanese house) in Fairmount Park, along with its horticultural center. It's a bit out of the way, but a lovely spot to be in nice weather.

And don't miss drinking chocolate at Naked Chocolate Cafe, the herbal flavors at Capogiro Gelato, or soap at duross and langel!
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 02:10 AM
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Oh, and a PS:

For more food suggestions, try this thread:
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...iladelphia.cfm

and, just in case you missed one of the funniest Philadelphia trip reports I've ever read:
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...rip-report.cfm

Happy travels!
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 10:00 AM
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I have to be quick about this as I'm on my lunch break but again....thanks for the responses!

Hmmm, I think I may be coming down on a weekend, so I would want to do the Italian Market on a Saturday. I normally don't love crowds, but for markets and things like that, I make an exception.

I've been to the Rodin Museum (and the one in Paris) and loved it. I may not get a chance to do it on this trip because I've already got a few museums on my list - I don't want to spend all my time inside

MJS, thanks for the info about the Sofitel....
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 10:02 AM
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Also, the Penn museum of Archaelogy and Anthropology sounds fascinating. Amy, I've already printed out those threads and will be reading them in short order....

Thanks!
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 05:46 PM
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Here's another voice in favor of Penn's Archaeology/Anthropology Museum. Excellent collection with good quality-to-quantity ratio that can take anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours to see depending on how thorough you are. A stroll around the campus and a pop-in at the Fischer Fine Arts Library to see the architecture is also worth including.
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 05:54 PM
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I almost forgot, Reading terminal Market for breakfast! Oh those Penn. Dutch baked good http://www.readingterminalmarket.org/

Deb
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Old Jun 9th, 2009, 07:27 PM
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Bachslunch, thanks! I already can't wait....

I LOVE Reading Terminal Market, DebitNM - I think I alraedy am dreaming about the pancakes at Dutch Eating Place (never been, but I've only read raves about it). I mostly remember Bassett's ice cream from the last time I was in town......
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