Cause everyone's your friend in Philadelphia / and everything looks beautiful when you're young and silladelphia
January 30, 2011 8:27 AM   Subscribe

PhiladelphiaFilter: Recommend me an awesome place in or near the city to go exploring. Either incredible parks, or incredible buildings, doesn't matter. I'm not looking for shows. (Any location on the Paoli-Thorndale line out of the city's fair play too.)

I have a friend in town and we want to see some incredible sights. But I don't know my own city well enough to know where some would be.

Help me, Ask MetaFilter. You're my only hope.
posted by Rory Marinich to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

If you're willing to take the R5 all the way out to Doylestown (and it sounds like you miiight be, to make a day of it), go visit the Mercer Museum and Fonthill. So much better than the website makes it seem.
posted by Chef Flamboyardee at 9:08 AM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Also, certain college campuses are sometimes like incredible parts. Swarthmore's Scott Arboretum is a beautiful place in the late spring and summer. You'll need to hop on the R3 for that...
posted by Chef Flamboyardee at 9:11 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

incredible parks
posted by Chef Flamboyardee at 9:11 AM on January 30, 2011

Jenkins arboretum, in Devon. It's nice if you like plants and sculpture, and free.
posted by moonmilk at 9:12 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Barnes Foundation, a jawdropping collection of Impressionist/Post Impressionist art. It's your last chance to see the paintings in the Merion location! Netflix is currently streaming The Art of the Steal, a documentary about the controversy surrounding the collection and its move (some say hijack) to center city Philadelphia.
posted by apparently at 9:13 AM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

if you can make it out there, Longwood Gardens is amazing, even in winter. they have a huge indoor greenhouse that is always in full bloom and warm, right now there's a huge orchid display.
posted by assasinatdbeauty at 10:15 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't know if you're looking specifically for neighborhoods or parks to walk around in, rather than museums, but two of my favorite places in Philadelphia that I think have no equal elsewhere are the Mutter Museum and the Eastern State Penitentiary.

The Barnes, as apparently said above, is also an incredible collection and now's definitely the time to see it, since who knows what it will be like once it's moved.
posted by queensb at 5:10 PM on January 30, 2011

I totally third the Barnes Foundation. It really is something special.

I'm a big fan of the park along Wissahickon Creek. It's a beautiful trail to walk and I imagine it would be really gorgeous if there's still snow on the ground.

Also, while mostly geared towards children you might like to stop by the Franklin Institute. I know plenty of adults who could easily kill a few hours there.

In addition to the Art Museum, there's also the Rodin Museum. Apparently, it's the largest Rodin collection outside of Paris. It's right on the Parkway, near the Art Museum. Just look for The Thinker.
posted by Shesthefastest at 5:56 PM on January 30, 2011

I'm a professional dog-walker in Philadelphia so I spend all day, every day walking around the city (Center City, not the outlying parts) and even though I usually visit the same areas every day, I find I'm still not bored because every neighborhood has something to see. My favorite section of the city though, has to be the little area between say, Lombard and Locust between Broad and 11th- the main streets themselves have plenty of cute restaurant and retail spots, but what I absolutely love is walking down all the little side streets (Fawn St, Iseminger St, Quince St, Filbert St, Addison St, Waverly, etc). There are some adorable houses and some unusual details. There's a house painted like a Piet Mondrian painting, all the way down to the design of the bars on the windows, there's a gothic looking Victorian house standing all by its lonesome on an otherwise desolate alleyway, there's houses that are two hundred years old and look it... I think it's pretty fun to walk around those little streets and get lost. And sometimes you discover cool things you didn't know existed, like the Philadelphia Sketch Artist's Club!

My other favorite area to walk is the fancy Rittenhouse area, specifically down Delancey St- such beautiful houses there, and lots of interesting details if you look closely.
posted by Aubergine at 7:17 AM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ah, great question. Aubergine's advice is great. Those tiny little streets (not much more than cartpaths, really) are very very fun to explore.

In addition to that, I would recommend the enormous campus of the University of Pennsylvania and the neighborhood to its west, commonly called West Philly, and occasionally University City (a term invented by realtors). The campus itself is huge, beautiful, and, modeled after Cambridge as it is, full of interesting niches, corners, and buildings to explore. Of particular interest is what's called the "bio-pond", a really amazing piece of wilderness squeezed between the school buildings.

Head further west down Baltimore avenue and explore acres of (in my opinion) Philadelphia's most beautiful neighborhoods. Each direction you head in will yield a host of breathtaking buildings and streets.

Get out there and walk!
posted by deafmute at 11:50 AM on January 31, 2011

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