Getting the Most from a Philly Bus Tour
September 30, 2012 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Best way to tour Philadelphia with an 8-year-old?

My 8-year-old son and I will be spending a long weekend in Philadelphia visiting friends later this month. One day of our visit we'll be on our own while our friends are in school and at work. I thought we might enjoy one of the bus/trolley tours to get an overview of the city. I wonder if anyone has advice about the best way to enjoy this? Places to get off? A great place to have lunch along the way?

I think he's a little old for the "Please Touch" museum, and we'll be spending the next day at the Franklin Institute. He is a smart kid interested in everything. He loves adventurous food--last time we were in Philly, he ordered an enormous crab from the tank for his dinner in Chinatown, and ate the whole thing. We may have a vegan friend along with us, so a restaurant with good vegan options within easy walking distance of one of the stops would be great to know about.
posted by not that girl to Travel & Transportation around Philadelphia, PA (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I, personally, am a fan of using the Philly Phlash to get on and off around downtown, but that's more of a self-guided thing rather than a tour.

As far as sights, I recently took a visitor up in the City Hall Tower, and it was definitely a cool thing that an 8-year-old might enjoy. Nice views.

Is he the kind of kid that would think the Mütter Museum is cool, or not quite yet?

I am no gourmet (although I am a vegan), so I will just say that many restaurants downtown have good vegan options, especially those of the Middle Eastern/Indian/Chinese/Vietnamese persuasion.
posted by pitrified at 10:45 AM on September 30, 2012

If you're up for the expense (I think it's something like $50), a horse-drawn carriage ride around old city is a nice way to tour around.
posted by belau at 11:36 AM on September 30, 2012

Oh, I'm sorry I misread the question - bus tour would be fun, definitely try to see the Mutter Museum if your kid is at all up to it!
posted by belau at 11:38 AM on September 30, 2012

There is a huge complex of playground + play house for kids - free/suggested donation - called Smith. I don't know how it will be for his age, but might be worth looking up online or as a kid-friendly picnic lunch spot.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:18 PM on September 30, 2012

Do not under any circumstances do the Duck Tour.
posted by chaiminda at 4:20 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

pitrified, the Mutter museum is perfect for him! He loves anatomy and medical stuff. Thank you; it's definitely going on the agenda.

belau, don't apologize. I'm thinking about the horse-drawn carriage ride. Thanks, folks.
posted by not that girl at 4:49 PM on September 30, 2012

I always love to take people to the Magic Gardens - a house and lot that have been completely covered in colorful tiles and mirrors and found objects. It's a short walk south of Center City. Disclaimer that the artist does incorporate tasteful nudity into his artwork, so consider your sensibilities and your son's maturity.

There's also the Academy of Natural Sciences (near the Franklin Institute) if he's into dinosaurs. And I haven't been here before, but maybe the Independence Seaport Museum, a museum about boats and the sea that includes tours of two historic ships?

As far as places to go with your vegan friend, Vedge is vegan and fancy and amazing and would be my #1 suggestion except that it might be a little too grown-up-tastes for a kid? But if your friend is not from Philly or hasn't been to Vedge before, this place will blow their mind. It's on the eastern side of Center City and not far from the Magic Gardens.

HipCityVeg skews more toward the fast-food end of the spectrum but is still delicious and is completely vegan. It's on the western side of Center City, close to the Mutter Museum.

There are also so many ethnic restaurants and gastropubs with vegan options that it's hard to decide what to recommend. If you post again once your agenda is firmed up - or if you have specific ideas of things you might like to eat - I'm sure several of us can offer more suggestions!
posted by jessypie at 5:05 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

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