Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Philadelphia, I Am Going There

I'm going to Philadelphia this weekend. I don't know if I have any readers there or not, but if I do I'd love some advice from locals on what can't be missed, especially in the food department. I'm going to the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art hopefully and will see the touristy stuff like the Liberty Bell and all that.

Husband just finished watching all of his Tivoed episodes of "John Adams" so he is really excited about this trip. Much of the mini-series took place there, but I think they had to film it somewhere else since John Adams lived pre-cheesesteak. Now Husband wants to see the real historic sites where all the drama on the show went down. I really wanted to watch "John Adams" too. It seemed so intellectual. Stuff White People Like (which is not as funny or cool post-gigantic book deal and I guess I understand that, but it makes me sad anyway) should do a post about John Adams. White People love John Adams. Not the man, the mini-series. It has that guy from "Sideways" in the starring role even. But anyway, I wanted to watch "John Adams" in the same way that I sometimes long to be the sort of person who can listen to an entire Terry Gross interview and then go talk about it at a dinner party where the host, who is not Morroccan, is serving couscous out of her new tagine that she just got at Williams Sonoma. This is, however, not my life and as much as I wanted to I couldn't get through "John Adams." It didn't involve any poop humor, so it didn't hold my attention, although everyone had authentically disgusting teeth and everyone, except semi-hot Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, were really damn fugly looking and I think Jefferson and Hamilton were only decent looking in comparison to their company. So try as I might I couldn't suffer through "John Adams." Husband joked that if someone was able to watch the entire series that they should be able to list it on their resume under accomplishments. I guess he'll be updating his soon.

Please give me your suggestions for what to see and eat in Philadelphia in the comments section and thanks in advance. I'll take pictures.


Anonymous said...

Take a walk on South street and visit the Shubin theater. It's on Bainbridge, a block off south. Ask Denise where to go, she will know.

Dr. J

Wide Lawns said...

Who is Denise???

Nicole said...

are you looking for upscale food, or more laid back? I've lived in Philly all my life, so I can totally help you out!

Konstantine said...

Make sure you go to Pat's Steaks for a real Philly cheesesteak! The Old City area has some great restaurants and bars as well as beautiful buildings. South Street is a great place to walk and shop. And of course make sure to see the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the LOVE statue. Have a great time!

A said...

I used to live in Philly, until about a year and a half ago. The Philadelphia Zoo is good, my husband and I actually had a membership there when we lived there. Also The Franklin Institute.

Near the liberty bell is Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitute were drafted & signed. On the other side of the liberty bell is the Constitution Center, which is sort of geared toward kids but actually pretty neat. Across the street from that is a small cemetery with Ben Franklin's grave.

And of course you have to walk down the Ben Franklin Parkway to the art museum and run up the steps like Rocky!

South Street has good shopping. The food there isn't the best selection because it's a little touristy, but still fun to go.

For cheesesteaks, my favorite of the two most famous ones is Pat's (Gino's is right across the street from Pat's). There is also a place called Jim's steaks (there are a few of them) that are quite good.

If the Phillies are playing at home, Citizens Bank Park is a really fun park to go see a game in.

Ok, I know this is a lot, way too much for a weekend, but maybe it will help a little!

Jay said...

South Street is a must.

Take your pick of the big three for a true Philly Cheesteak - Jim's (on South Street), Pat's or Geno's. It's been awhile since I've been back home, but if people still sell soft pretzels on the streets you need to grab a bag of those too.

Penn's Landing is a nice park on the river and the Camden Aquarium (across the river) is a good time as well.

Enjoy your trip!

Claire said...

oh my god, if you love poop humor you MUST go to the mutter museum (http://www.collphyphil.org/mutter.asp). it's so weird and amazing. skip the touristy tripe and go to the mutter!

Kate said...

I live in Philly and the Phillies are playing at home tomorrow! Tix might be sold out, though.

If you're a big seafood fan, may I suggest Sansom Street Oyster House? Their oysters are fantastic and the bartender makes some mean cocktails.

Bar Ferdinand on 2nd Street is an awesome tapas restaurant, too. You can get lots of little tasty things and share.

The Mutter Museum is on Chestnut and 22nd if you're into really crazy medical oddities. They have midget skeletons and John Wilkes Booth's abscessed tooth and strange stuff like that. It makes for a really interesting couple of hours.

Just a few suggestions nobody's mentioned yet...

SoozieQ said...

Well for history I recommend For Mifflin and Eastern State Penitentiary. Both places are really cool and have great ghost stories. I’m actually going on a tour to them with some friends in the next couple of weeks. Try to find something with Mummers. It isn’t really Mummer season, but in this area there is always something Mummerish going on. They scare the bejesus out of me, but they make for interesting stories for the non locals. I have a feeling you would get a kick out of them. Everyone will tell you about Pat’s and/or Geno’s. The only way to decide which one you will like better is to try them both. There is a duck tour that shows you a little bit of everything and other than the fact that they give you these embarrassing duck quackers and it pretty much labels you as a tourist right off the bat, you see a lot of cool stuff and you can use it as a guide to what you would like to go back and see.

I’m from Jersey so I don’t spend too much time in Philly if I can help it. You want some good places right on the other side of the bridge just let me know and I can give you a few really great ideas.

Marisa said...

I live in Philly and work for the local tourism marketing organization (I've been reading your site for ages, I swear this isn't just corporate promotion), so I have to chime in.

In terms of food, I would say that you should definitely stop at Reading Terminal Market. The Dutch Eating Place makes the best breakfast, and while there is typically a bit of a wait, the line moves quickly and is worth it. If you are there around lunchtime, I would recommend the roast pork and greens sandwich from DiNic's, it is heaven on a bun (I actually think that it's better than a cheesesteak, but saying that out loud could get you killed around here).

This weekend is also the opening of the Farmers Market in Headhouse Square (2nd and Lombard), which is always fun. Outdoor markets have been held in that space since colonial times, so it's pretty cool.

Other restaurants you might want to try include Tinto (tapas), Zento (creative sushi), Dmitri's (mediterranean, mostly seafood) and Capogiro for gelato.

Feel free to get in touch if you need more suggestions!

Ms Bart said...

Come on up to Boston some time and see where John Adams lived. His birthplace, the birthplace of his son, Pres. John Quincy Adams, and their final home are all located in Quincy, MA.


And it only costs $5. That's for all three houses, the guided tours and the trolley to bring you hither and yon!

(Of course, it's 54 degrees here today, though.)

Tanya said...

I really like East Falls Glass Works-- a glass blowing studio and store; I wish I could remember where it is exactly, but they make beautiful things there, and it's lovely to watch the artists work and to talk to them about what they do.

Kate said...

Hi there,

So glad that you're visiting this wonderful land... with its fair share of crazy/entertaining people.

Recs for FOOD (some of these places don't have websites; for those I just used review/menu sites)...
1) (2ndish and Chestnut, near historic stuff)
UMAI UMAI (sushi, near Art Museum)
3) (near UPenn and Drexel)

For DRINKS + Food...
Jose Pistolas (15th and Spruce-ish, Center City, Belgian beers + mexican fare= general awesomeness)
2) (near Jose's on 15th St)

(also in cc, Belgian Deliciousness)

(Olde City, near historic stuff and AMADA )

Obviously we love our beer. However, there are great wine places too like

One more tip:
This city is full of BYOBs (bring your own booze!); an inexpensive way to enjoy a great meal with whatever beverage you'd like. My favorite is La Viola; someone else mentioned Dmitris. Both are solid, along with so many others...

Have fun in Philly! I'm a huge fan and would love to meet you...

Robin in Ohio said...

Come on, WL! My husband,our 14 year old son and I all watched the John Adams mini-series and really liked it.

I have to agree with you, though, the actor who played Thomas Jefferson was hot! (wink!) Hubba hubba!!

Estelle said...

Just say NO to Pat's, Geno's and Jim's Steaks! They all use the same shitty meat. Instead go to Mama's or Larry's steaks.

But if you REALLy want to eat and drink well, go to Monks (16th & Spruce). If they're too busy, go to The Nodding Head (16th & Sansom - I think, check them online). By far, the bast mussels, beer, and fries EVER at Monk's. Or go to the Caribou Cafe for some delish French Bistro fare. Or go to the Continental for drinks (18th & Chestnut).

The Mutter Museum is a MUST, as is the Magic Gardens on South Street. Pine Street is nicer than South (South is bit trendy and annoying). Pine (from about 13th to Front st.) is called Antique's row. Very cute and lovely.

Try to go to the Famous Deli on 4th & Bainbridge, as well.

Seriously, stay away from the shit-storm that it Pat's and Geno's and Jim's. They are gross and don't make really cheesesteaks, anyway. I don't care who started the whole thing.

Let me know if you want to go to good Record Stores as well, there are still a few!

Have a great time in my town. If the weathers nice, people are nice and friendly.

Anonymous said...

I agree, don't do Pat's or Geno's....it's what tourist THINK is a good cheesesteak. There's a little place in south philly called john's roast pork, and they have GREAT sandwiches, they've won some awards, but it's really like a little hole in the wall....

If you come down to south philly, go to the italian market.

There's a great italian place called dante and luigi's, but they only take cash, so keep that in mind.

Old city has some great places to eat, and some fun bars.

If you get into Center City, go to Continental Midtown, good food, but better drinks, and you can hang out on the roofdeck.
(Try a buzz aldrin!)

Welcome to philadelphia!

Anonymous said...

I totally recommend the Eastern State Penitentiary! I went there for the Halloween thing they do they, Terror Behind the Walls, and I'm dying to go back and do the regular tour (though I actually think that might be creepier than the haunted house thing).

Also, the Franklin Institue currently has an exhibit running on Star Wars, if you're a fan. :)

Of course, this is all a bit biased on the fact that I'm not much of a museum person, and more likely to do something like run up the art museum steps rather than actually go in...

booda baby said...

The Rodin Museum. It's not quite the Rodin museum in Paris, but ... what would be? It's great.

Assuming you like Rodin. I do.

Born-Again-Vegan said...

I saw that Frida show in Minneapolis. It was worth the 10 hour drive from SoDak. I cried! I was so moved. The two people putting it together did such a lovely job.

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