What to do in Philadelphia
March 27, 2005 12:15 AM   Subscribe

I find myself with an afternoon to kill in Philadelphia. I'd like to see City Hall (the whole Rocky thing), and partake in an artery-clogging cheesesteak. Is there anything else in the City Hall vicinity that I should take a look at? What's the best cheesesteak place near City Hall (Pat's seems to be far in South Phili)? Any travel advice on transport in Philadelphia and between downtown and the Wissahickon/East Falls area? Any other general input also appreciated.
posted by ruwan to Travel & Transportation around Philadelphia, PA (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
How about the Masonic Temple which is just a short walk from City Hall? Pat's (and Geno's, which is better, but no matter) are just a short - 10 minute - subway ride away.
posted by fixedgear at 1:51 AM on March 27, 2005

If you're talking about the famous Rocky run up the stairs thing, that's the Phila Museum of Art (not City Hall).
posted by sexymofo at 4:53 AM on March 27, 2005

You can get a good steak at Rick's in Reading Terminal Market... which is right next to city hall and whatnot down there. It's no Geno's, but it's acceptable in a pinch.

Really, though, Geno's is something special. It's worth the trip out there...
posted by ph00dz at 5:56 AM on March 27, 2005

South Street has a very indie vibe. Cool shops, weird (good) food, and plenty of action (stuff to see). I'm not sure how Sunday's traffic would be, but Saturdays are bumping.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 6:12 AM on March 27, 2005

As sexymofo pointed out, the Rocky run was at the Philly Art Museum. The Museum itself is a good place to visit though, and I believe they have a Salvador Dali exhibit going now.
posted by thebabelfish at 6:13 AM on March 27, 2005

Oh, and on Sundays the art museum doesn't charge admission, but instead lets people pay whatever they want (including nothing, if you really wanted). I don't know if they're open on Easter sunday or not.
posted by thebabelfish at 6:15 AM on March 27, 2005

I don't know if they still do it, but when I was there about seven years ago, they had a "walking tour" of historic Philadelphia. A little hokey, but interesting. Some great history there.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 6:28 AM on March 27, 2005

The Mutter Museum is walkable from CC. The Civil War Museum and Library is close, too.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:23 AM on March 27, 2005

I second the Mutter Museum. The place is weird as hell, a one of a kind, and old too.
posted by flummox at 8:00 AM on March 27, 2005

Things to do in philly.

Gotta tell you - city hall isn't that great. I think you mean Independence Hall (where the Decleration of Independence is) as well as the Liberty Bell across the street.
That's at 5th & Market.
Between 2nd-3rd and Market is Sony's Steaks. Great Cheesesteaks. Now, frankly even a bad cheesteak in philly beats the pants off of a good cheeseteak in California.

Six LONG blocks south (down an even number street, where in that part of phildelphia Odd #s run north, even #s run south) is South Street, a mecca of bars, shopping and the punk scene/cruizin' with the bass playing on a Fri/Sat night.

At 8th four long blocks below south (8th and washington) is the Italian Market where Rocky ran through (and about a block from Pat's & Geno's the mecca of cheesesteaks)

The Art Museum is at 26th & the parkway, a good two miles from Independence hall (cab ride) - where rocky ran up the steps.

The Dali Exhibit has been mobbed and hard to get tickets

The Rocky statue which was once at the Art Museum is now at the sports complexes.

Philly's public transit is...well...so-so. There's a line that runs from the train station (30th street) to 8th (and then over the bridge into Jersey)...but the signage is poor (unlike say, DC or Boston.)

FWIW, on April 10th there's a MEFI meetup in philly.

posted by filmgeek at 8:37 AM on March 27, 2005

If it's your first time, you have to try both Geno's and Pat's and decide for yourself...
posted by isotope at 6:07 AM on March 28, 2005

If it's your first time, and you've only got an afternoon, skip Pat's and Geno's and go to Jim's on South Street. It's not the best in the city, but it's very, very good. It's also much more centrally located.

Take a cab from City Hall to Independence Hall (it's a short ride, but a hair further than you probably want to walk). Wander around there a bit, then head down through Society Hill (a beautiful historic neighborhood) to South Street. Get your steak, and wander over to Penn's Landing if it's a nice day.

The art museum is pretty good, but it's out of the way, and will end up being the only thing you do. Though, if you're dead set on art, the Rodin Museum is incredible.
posted by mkultra at 7:29 AM on March 28, 2005

Second the Rodin Museum, everything in there is just mindblowing. I must say that the art museum is also fabulous, but mkultra is right in saying that it will absorb your whole day. However, going there for the view from the top of the stairs is almost worth it, as well as checking out the gorgeous arciteture of the building itself (know that if you run to the top of the stairs and start shadowboxing the locals will scorn you). When I lived in Philly my normal "lets hang out and waste some time" routine looked a lot like what mkultra described. I miss walking down South Street to Front Street to Old City. Just stay the hell out of North Philly, whatever you do.
posted by baphomet at 11:11 AM on March 28, 2005

The Masonic Temple is absolutely stunning (the free tour starts in the temple's library, which displays among other things Tom Thumb's masonic apron) (scroll down).

If you're into beer, Monk's Cafe at 16th and Spruce (about 6 blocks from City Hall) is one of the 5 best beer bars in America.
posted by sixpack at 12:17 PM on March 28, 2005

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