Scavengerhunt-esque list of things to find/photograph in Philadelphia?
September 1, 2010 7:08 AM   Subscribe

My sister (bless her heart) wants me to design a two-person urban scavenger hunt (really, just a list of things she has to either obtain or take a picture of) for her and a friend to do while they are in Philly this coming weekend. I've been to Philly like once, so I need help. Help.

I agreed to do this, and now I fear I'm running out of time to do it properly. Here is what I need: a list of things that are related in some way to Philadelphia, which would push her and her friend to run around the city and see a bunch of stuff and take pictures of the stuff or bring back stuff.

For pictures, a good mix of specific ("Get a picture of you in front of Specific Monument") and less-specific ("Get a picture of you in front of a sign over 20 feet tall with the word Philadelphia on it" or "Get a picture of two guys in Stereotypical Philadelphia Somethingerother"). (Bonus points for stuff that is specifically happening this weekend!) For items, I want stuff that would be specifically tied to someplace Philadelphia-ey, but not-too-expensive/cheap/free. Coaster from a certain bar? Business card from a certain tattoo parlor? Autograph from a not-hard-to-find local celebrity? Getting one nail done from a certain nail salon? Candy bar you can only find on the east coast? Something like that.

I'm pretty open to any suggestions, but the main focus should be more on having fun than racking their brain trying to figure out how they're going to do something. They will be there Friday-Monday, and have access to a car. If you're from Philly, live in Philly, or have been there more than once, help a brother out.
posted by 23skidoo to Grab Bag (25 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
A photo in front of a specific mural?

Photo of the Love sculpture?

Napkin from a cheesesteak place? (I'm not a native and am not wading into the which one is best controversy!)
posted by JoanArkham at 7:20 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Go to the Mutter Museum and get a photo with the Soap Lady/a baby in a jar/a sculptural representation of syphilis. Admission is $14, but this place is only in Philly so it may be worth it.
posted by xo at 7:22 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine runs an authentic, old-timey iced cream parlor, The Franklin Fountain (named after Ben), at 116 Market. I imagine your sister could get some pretty fun photos there. (Behind the counter? Frowning at the camera? With a 'mustache'?)
posted by Alt F4 at 7:24 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

1. Rocky Statue
2. The Clothespin sculpture
3. The Love sculpture in Love Park
4. A mural done outside
5. A cheesesteak
6. An order of scrapple
7. The Liberty Bell (naturally)
8. A coin from the Philadelphia US Mint
9. Ben Franklin's grave
10. A horse-drawn carriage
11. A coaster or napkin from Mac's Tavern (owned by Rob McIlhenny from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia")
12. A bottle of Champ Cherry soda
posted by inturnaround at 7:26 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Run up the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps, a la Rocky?
posted by brand-gnu at 7:26 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

*squeal!* This sounds awesome!

- A picture of them eating a cheesesteak on either Frank Rizzo or Nancy Spungen's gravesites (both accessible from Philly): 100 points.
- A cheesesteak eggroll: 5 points
- A pencil-rubbing from one of the heavily-knifed booths at Dirty Frank's: 5 points
- A pine cone: 15 points (this was IMPOSSIBLE to find during my last Phila. scav-hunt)
- A live animal that is not a lobster: 35 points (hey, we have a GOOD Chinatown)
- A ticket stub from a recent show at the TLA/Troc/Electric Factory: 10 points
- A picture of the Giant Clothespin: 5 points (easy, but I love that thing)
- Business cards from more than five stores at the Reading Terminal Market (can be had for free if you're friendly, and would represent a great tour of one of the city's greatest places): 25 points
- A picture of one of them climbing on/getting kicked off of a Calder sculpture: 30 points
- A picture of a sign from a department store that hasn't existed for more than 50 years: 25 points, 30 if it's Gimbel's or Lit Brothers: Hats Trimmed Free of Charge.

Oh, man, I could go on and on...
posted by julthumbscrew at 7:32 AM on September 1, 2010 [5 favorites]

A picture in/at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens?

(I'm a fan of the Giant Colon at the Mutter Museum, if that's on the list)

A poker chip from the Tattooed Mom?
posted by peagood at 7:39 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Death Row at Eastern State. Not only will they go to Eastern State, but Death Row isn't on the basic tour, so they'll have to do a little exploring too.
posted by The Michael The at 7:48 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here's what you will need:


The Liberty Bell
The Love Park Sculpture
Betsy Ross' House
Rittenhouse Square
Boathouse Row
The Chinatown Arch
The Magic Garden
Elfreth's Alley
Logan Circle Fountain
City Hall
A society hill stoop
30th Street Station
Eastern State Penitentiary

Quirky Additional Pictures:
Reading a book in the Free Library
Posed with a Ben Franklin impersonator
Posed with a Schuyllkill River crew team
From above (the cafeteria in the comcast tower is great for this view, but I'm not sure how accessable it is)
A collection of murals (give them a set number to collect - it can be obscenely high and they'll still be fine)
Eating something at Reading Terminal
Eating a cheesesteak at Pat's or Gino's or both
Posed with Poe's (Actually Dickens') raven (in the Rare Books Department of the Free Library)
eating a water ice and a pretzel on South Street
posed with someone who was alive over 200 years ago (check the cemetery at St. Peter's on 3rd and Pine)

and. of course.

Posed like Rocky on the Art Museum Stairs
posted by greekphilosophy at 7:48 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would definitely say Giant Colon. But it's not really a hunt if you just *tell* them it's in the Mutter Museum.
posted by xueexueg at 7:55 AM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh! and walk through the Giant Heart!
posted by peagood at 7:57 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Phillies are in town this weekend. Lots of great stuff around Citizen's Bank Park. You can get a picture with a Phanatic statue, or if you're lucky, the Phanatic himself!
posted by drinkcoffee at 8:03 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Toynbee tiles- they're everywhere in Philly.
posted by Merzbau at 8:04 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

julthumbscrew's are awesome and really insider, tour-of-Philly.

Alternatively (or in addition):

- Italian Market. Pick a vendor. Take a photo. +5 points if the vendor is scowling. +10 if vendor is scowling and holding something threateningly.

- A picture of the organ at Macy's.

- A factory converted to a yuppie condominium (for a tour of Philadelphia's beautiful Old City north of market street, which will tails into . . . )

- The Philadelphia skyline at sunset from the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. (Best view of the Center City skyline I know of).
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:05 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

To help you with this, Philadelphia Public Art has good listings of outdoor landmarks with thumbnail photographs and information about the sculptures. They also organize them into helpful tours, like The Parkway Tour.
posted by gladly at 8:14 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Can't... stop!...

- A bottle of Black Cherry Wishniak soda: 5 points
- A picture of something on fire which should NOT be on fire (trash barrel, etc.): 5 points
- A picture of one of them swimming in either a public fountain (a proud, trashy Philly summer tradition) or dipping a toe in the Schuylkill: 10 points.
- A picture of one of them hugging new pro-school students in their uniforms (culinary kids in their whites, med students in their scrubs): 5 points.
- A picture of one of them climbing the giant "spiderweb" play structure at Smith Playhouse: 10 points.
- A used piece of tattoo tracing paper from one of the shops on South Street: 15 points.
posted by julthumbscrew at 8:24 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

julthumbscrew (and everyone else, really) I am loving your suggestions so far! LOVE. VING.

To those who have already commented: please feel free to pop back in with more ideas if they come to you. I am feeling super excited about my sister's scav hunt now.

posted by 23skidoo at 8:48 AM on September 1, 2010

I have heard that Philadelphia has more statues of Ben Franklin than anyplace else on earth, so one item might be to get as many photos of yourself with Ben Franklin (statues, impersonators, businesses, etc) as possible, and award points on a cumulative scale with the larger numbers getting more and more points.
posted by CathyG at 9:48 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

There are huge game pieces (monopoly, scrabble) outside of City Hall (actually, outside of the Municipal Services Building between City Hall and Love Park). You could always pose on the hat, or next to the iron...
posted by kellygrape at 9:56 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

- A picture of one of them using a boot scraper
posted by Jego at 10:28 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

- picture of one of them with Mummers memorabilia; bonus points if it's a Mummers costume; wearing a Mummers uniform for the win.
- Soft Pretzel from a street vendor or the Soft Pretzel Factory
- picture at the Magic Gardens
- Video of one of them ordering a wooder, not to be confused with water, at a restaurant
- picture of one of them waiting (stressing waiting) for a SEPTA bus or subway.
- picture of one of them yelling at a television at a bar showing the phillies game
posted by Jego at 10:41 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

- A subway token: 5 points (because we have abundant public trans, and they ought to utilize it).
- A picture of the fanciest ceiling they can find: 5 points (30th St. Station's is pretty awesome. And the Mellon Bank Center's is covered in silver foil!)
- Matchbooks from both extremely fancy hotels (the Ritz!) and the seediest of dives (not sure how unwholesome you wanna get, but there are at least a FEW strip clubs downtown): 10 points.
- A pigeon feather: 5 points.
- Something made by an Amish person or Mennonite: 5 points.
- A picture from a high floor of a major office building: this should be worth a LOT of points, because security is tight as hell post-9/11. I took a pair of Ukrainian kids up to the top floor of my building awhile back; they were sweetly, absurdly grateful. And did not bomb it.)
- A lawyer's business card (we've got SCADS of 'em): 1 point.
- A snotty neighborhood-centric bumper sticker ("UNIVERSITY CITY IS A MARKETING CONSTRUCT: IT'S WEST PHILLY"): 30 points.
- A box of Sweetzel's Spiced Wafers (5 points) or a Zitner's Butterkrak Egg (25 points - they're out of season).
- A ticket stub from either the Roxy, or one of the Ritzes (awesome indie-ish theaters): 5 points.
posted by julthumbscrew at 10:52 AM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

- eat something at a lunch cart
- find some obscure meat product (most likely at the Italian Market or Reading Terminal Market) - pigs feet, alligator, elk, snapping turtle, etc. Bonus points for eating it.
- find a trinity house, ideally on a tiny walkway that comes off an actual street. they are two or three stories with only one room on each story.
- tastycakes. possibly from Wawa. peanut chews will also be available here
- if they have time and would be interested, go to something from the Fringe Festival (many are free, or cheap)
- you can go up to the base of billy penn's feet on city hall
- you can also get up on the big glass vault over the Kimmel Center
- some excuse to go to eastern state penitentiary.
- purchase a soft prezel from the factory after midnight
- eat porkroll, if you want something more "insider" than scrapple.
- the walk along the Schuylkill River by boathouse row is very pretty, with a bunch of sculptures and the water works. Dickens thought the waterworks were attractive.
- on weekdays you can wander around the old navy yard, which is large and industrial and has a lot of menacing ships and the urban outfitters hq.
- get on a ship at penn's landing - many options here, from battleships to even older sailing ships (one is a restaurant) to a ferry and bunch of private boats.
- get a toe in both rivers - I like Penn Treaty Park, next to an impressive old power plant
- photo of a busybody
- a business that looks like it hasn't changed in 50 years, or is a variety you didn't think existed anymore
- drink a local beer, if they drink beer.
- the eagle in wanamaker's/macy's
- a photo of each of the squares (actually, Franklin Square is pretty dull).
- the mosaic in the Lippincot Center
- the weirdest public art they can find.
- mummers. oh yes, mummers. or see if you can get someone to demonstrate the strut for you.
- photo of a place that makes instruments - for some reason there are tons of them here.
posted by sepviva at 4:48 PM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Pictures in/around Elfreth's Alley
Throwing a penny on Franklin's grave - 2 points
Pictures of three non-current American Flags (ones with 13 stars are abundant in Olde City/Society Hill) - 10 points

If you're not local, or your guests are looking to do this in a set amount of time, please realize that a lot of these ideas will have them going ALL OVER THE CITY. Trying to hit Boathouse Row, Independence Hall, and the Italian Market in one day on foot would be exhausting (in my opinion) - try to plan accordingly, or split the scavenger list into areas. I see that they will have a car, but parking in some of the areas can be a nightmare.

Using a neighborhood map would help with organizing some of this - suggest they really explore two or three neighborhoods per day.
posted by kellygrape at 8:46 PM on September 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just got off the phone with my sister, and she said the scav hunt was fricking awesome. I think I used at least one suggestion from everyone who commented in this thread. If the physical things actually end up getting sent to me, and if the pics wind up on flickr, I'll drop back in and let y'all see the awesomeness that you had a part in.

Thanks so much. Faves for everyone.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:42 AM on September 7, 2010

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