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Suggestions for weekend in Philadelphia

Bunk

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My wife and I will be spending a long weekend in Philadelphia in mid September (we miss the Made in America Music Festival and the Pope's Visit).

These four attractions look interesting to us: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Barnes Foundation, Longwood Gardens, Franklin Institute. Would you please recommend two that you suggest we visit. (Please feel free to add any other places. We like art and science museums and botanical gardens, and are not looking for historical tours this time around.)

In addition, I'd appreciate it if you recommend places that we can visit for a nice walk or exercise. I was thinking of walking around Rittenhouse Square and maybe doing some bike riding or other exercise. I'm hoping you can suggest other places also.

We plan on going to the Reading Terminal Market.

Thank you for any suggestions.
 

vacationhopeful

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Rittenhouse Square is SMALL ... I could walk totally around the outside edges in less than 10 minutes.

If you want a exercise plan .. the city has 5 squares the size of Rittenhouse. It was planned by William Penn in a grid with the outside corners each being a GREEN space and the center square.

So all 5 squares STILL exist - so of.

The Center Square is City Hall. The corners are Rittenhouse, Independance Mall, Franklin Square (base of the Ben Franklin bridge) and the square toward the Art Museum which had the Cauder Fountain in the middle of the JKF Parkway.
 

Quilter

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Take a drive to Valley Forge. Lovely walking out there.

We spent a day in the City with new In-Laws. It was just one day. 6 adults 50+ and our daughter. SIL was at his base in Italy. I overheard a conversation she had with him while we were walking. She said "getting around with these old people is like herding cats". :D

This was the main focus of our day: http://www.visitphilly.com/museums-attractions/philadelphia/national-constitution-center/

It was great! Make sure to start with the presentation in the theatre.

We also stopped by the Franklin Museum and had a presentation at Independence Hall. Didn't try to do everything because we plan to go back now that we have in-laws in Philly area.

We had lunch here: The Red Owl Tavern (across from Independence Hall)
And dinner here: The White Dog

Both very good.
 

linpat

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Also take a walk down Elfreth's Alley - it's the oldest continuously inhabited street in the country. It is a charming walk and not very long.
Also definitely the Philly Museum of Art (one of Van Gogh's Sunflowers) and the Barnes Foundation.
 

vacationhopeful

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If you at all like the concept of Philly Cheesesteak you have to go to Pat's.

You don't have to go to Pat's Cheesesteaks .. there no corner pizza place with a grill who can't do a kick ass version of a great cheesesteak. The rolls ALL come from one of 2 bakery's and the slice meat from one provider and you can ask for what ever cheese that a pizza joint has. Now add fried onions for sure but you can also add green peppers and/or mushrooms.

The rolls are baked FRESH every day and delivered; the meat is frozen; the cheese generally comes in a brick and sliced on sight.

And it is NOTHING like a Subway cheese steak (really VERY bad) or a WAWA if NOT a northeastern US store.

An ex-bf from the PHX and HOU area ... told me HE loved Subway's cheese steaks ... I told him, I rather not eat anything than eat that trash. When he finally came up to visit me ... I took him to a local SJ pizza shop (yes, a chain) and got him a REAL cheese steak. He moved him so much he found a job here and brought a house ... and never ate another Subway knockoff. And friends who visited him here ... asked why he put up with me, lived in the woods, worked at lower paying job (than being a roadweary contractor) .... he would order take-out to his house of a couple of cheese steaks ... then they understood.

PS There is no happy ending ... he gained 50 lbs ... I don't get food delivered to my house. He liked his cheese steaks way too much. :shrug:
 

timesharejunkie4

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Bunk, you have made good choices of things to do. There is a ton of non-historical things to do; you will not be bored. In the city you could also walk around Penn's Landing which is on the Delaware River or along the Schuykill River and Boathouse Row by the Art Museum. There is always the Philadelphia Zoo, the first zoo in the US.
I am guessing you will have a car if you are going to Longwood Gardens which is a good choice. In the opposite direction to Buck's County, Peddler's Village and New Hope are great places to walk around. At Peddler's Village, www.peddlersvillage.com there is a Scarecrow Competition and display starting on September 14 through October with a Scarecrow Festival September 19-20.
Have fun!
 

Bunk

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On TripAdvisor's top questions, they recommend 4 places for cheesesteak:

Jim's, 4th & South Streets . Convenient to the historic area, Society Hill, The Italian Market, and, well, South Street. You'll know you're close when you smell the fried onions, so just follow your nose.

Campo's, 2nd & Market Streets . Most convenient to the historic area, Penn's Landing, and Old City.

Sonny's, Market between 2nd and 3rd (same block at Campo's). Excellent quality ingredients in a very well-balanced sandwich.

Gianfranco's Pizza Rustica, 3rd just north of Market. In Old City. Very little seating so plan to take out. Their pizza is awesome, too.

Should I try one of these or do you suggest another place
 

mbh

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Exercise

You can rent bikes or walk through Fairmont Park, which is just past the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
 

Rene McDaniel

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If you are a fan of impressionist art, the Barnes Foundation has one of the world's most famous collections of impressionist art. There was even a movie about it "The Art of the Steal" which was streamed on Netflix for several years & detailed the fascinating history of the Barnes Collection. You can still get it from Netflix if you have their DVD plan.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_the_Steal_(2009_film)

from Wikipedia:
"The 9,000-piece collection of mostly late-19th- and early-20th-century art includes 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, 60 Matisses, 44 Picassos, and 14 Modiglianis. What makes the collection extraordinary is not just the artists, but that Dr. Barnes acquired so many of the very best works of each of those masters. The extraordinarily high overall quality of the works is the chief special attribute of the collection."

If you enjoy art, then definitely you must see the Barnes Collection. We saw a portion on our honeymoon when it traveled to the Orsay Museum in Paris (Sept 1993), and it was so spectacular -- we went back several times that week to see it again. Ten years later, we returned to Paris for our anniversary, we went to the Orsay, but so many of the best paintings were missing. That was when we learned that all those fabulous paintings were an exhibition just "visiting" from the Barnes Collection. It must be a real thorn in the side to the French that lowly Dr. Albert Barnes from Philadelphia put together one of the greatest collections of French Impressionism in the world.

Also, as an FYI there is a current impressionist exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It is only there through September 13, and this was it's only stop in the U.S. (so sad). Given a choice between the two, I am sure it cannot compare to the permanent exhibition at the Barnes -- but if you are in Philadelphia the weekend of September 13th, maybe you could squeeze in both.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/durand-...ow-tours-paris-london-philadelphia-1421447232

We just retired in June, and are headed east in October to see the Fall foliage in Vermont, family in Boston, daughter in New Haven, the Barnes Museum in Philadelphia, then a week exchange at the Marriott Mayflower in Washington DC. So excited for our first-ever Fall vacation.

Enjoy your trip to Philadelphia!
 
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Bunk

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Rene: I did see that documentary. I feel somewhat hypocritical about seeing the Barnes Collection as a result of that documentary. I'm not sure how I'll work that out.

Thanks for the information about the Impressionist Exhibit. We will be in Philadelphia the last weekend it will be open. Not sure if you know that admission to the Museum of Art includes the Rodin Museum.
 

Rene McDaniel

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Rene: I did see that documentary. I feel somewhat hypocritical about seeing the Barnes Collection as a result of that documentary. I'm not sure how I'll work that out.

Well, just keep in mind that it all started as a feud between 2 men (Walter Annenburg & Dr. Albert Barnes) who are dead and gone. What is left is the spectacular legacy of Dr. Barnes in his amazing collection. Having seen only a portion of it while it was on the road 20 years ago --- it is truly a must see for us.

Yes, Dr. Barnes would have hated seeing his collection end up on Benjamin Franklin Parkway. But, on the bright side -- everything is mounted and hung exactly as it was in Marion, PA -- and at least his collection has its own stand-alone museum. Plus, it is open and easily accessible to everyone now. Thousands more people will be able to enjoy those great masterpieces (whether they deserve to, or not) and THAT is a very, very good thing. Thank you Dr. Barnes for what you gave the American public. I read that his collection is currently valued at 240 Billion dollars.

http://www.barnesfoundation.org/

-- Rene
 

Archie1198

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On TripAdvisor's top questions, they recommend 4 places for cheesesteak:

Jim's, 4th & South Streets . Convenient to the historic area, Society Hill, The Italian Market, and, well, South Street. You'll know you're close when you smell the fried onions, so just follow your nose.

Campo's, 2nd & Market Streets . Most convenient to the historic area, Penn's Landing, and Old City.

Sonny's, Market between 2nd and 3rd (same block at Campo's). Excellent quality ingredients in a very well-balanced sandwich.

Gianfranco's Pizza Rustica, 3rd just north of Market. In Old City. Very little seating so plan to take out. Their pizza is awesome, too.

Should I try one of these or do you suggest another place





If you are going for the experience as well as the cheesesteak, I would definitely say go to Pat's/Geno's right across the street from each other and they both have people who are loyal to each. Up here in NJ/PA you will find 100 people divided on where the best cheesesteaks are and they don't always include the most popular names. Going by your list above my personal favorite other than Pat's is Jim's. I don't know exactly what you like but Jim's is located on South Street which can be an experience also. If you are sports fans, which you didn't mention so I am not sure, you cannot beat an Eagles tailgate in September!! Hope this helps and hope you enjoy your trip!! And if you get a chance Crab Fries from Chickies and Petes aren't bad either!!
 

Bunk

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If you are sports fans, which you didn't mention so I am not sure, you cannot beat an Eagles tailgate in September!! Hope this helps and hope you enjoy your trip!!

Thanks for the info. I'm a big sports fan, but I root for the New York teams and strongly dislike the Philadelphia teams. I do however appreciate the 76ers, because they may be the only franchise in the NBA that is close to being as screwed up as the Knicks.
 

Bunk

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I'd like to thank everybody for their advice.

We spent two nights in Philadelphia this past weekend. We enjoyed the City and had a very good time. We stayed at the Doubletree Hilton City Center, which was a perfect location for us. We went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and saw the Impressionist Exhibition, which was first class. Even without the exhibition (which just ended), the impressionist collection at the museum is terrific. When you buy a ticket at the museum you can go for two consecutive days, and also visit the Rodin Museum (which was worth while) and the Perelman Building and Historic Houses, (which we did not have time to visit). Also went to the Franklin Institute and did a lot of walking around the City.

We enjoyed all of our meals. We ate at The Prime Rib and the Farm and the Fisherman. Both are different types of restaurants and both were excellent. For a family get-together, we had brunch at Top of the Tower, which had great views and good food. Finally, we ate breakfast/lunch at Federal Donuts, where we loved the Korean fried chicken (I thought it was better then what we get in NYC) and at Dizengoff, where we enjoyed the hummus with brisket.
 
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