Philadelphia recommendations, summer special snowflakes inside
June 29, 2014 7:08 PM   Subscribe

What things should I be sure not to miss when visiting Philly July 6-11th? Difficulty: Attending a conference but free in the evenings, solo traveler, nervous driving in cities.

I'm visiting Philadelphia for a week-long conference this Sunday-Friday, July 6-11th. I'll have the evenings free after 5, and I'd love suggestions for fun and cheap things to do near the University of Pennsylvania. I love taking exploratory walks, cool libraries, cheap and healthy eats, and fun stuff for an introvert traveling alone in a city that I haven't thought of. I have never been to Philly before, and I'm interested in everything from the obvious cheese steaks, to photos doing the Rocky pose on the famous steps, to local favorites. Any 3-5 mile routes to jog that would be safe for a solo lady near the area would be appreciated, too.

I prefer not to drive too much, since I'm a little nervous driving in unfamiliar cities by myself.

I really appreciate any recommendations about Philly and any special events the week of July 6-11th! Thanks, guys!
posted by shortyJBot to Travel & Transportation around Philadelphia, PA (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

At Penn check out their archaeology museum.

Walk up to market to grab the market Frankford subway into center city. You'll want to buy tokens instead of the higher cash fare,

The subway, trolley and bus system is pretty decent, you shouldn't need to drive anywhere. Use the transit directions on Google maps on your phone to find out how to get around.

Check out capogiro for awesome gelato, theres a location near Penn.

Feel free to memail me if you have more Philly questions.
posted by TheAdamist at 1:10 AM on June 30, 2014

There's a great jogging/biking path on the east bank of the schuykill that runs from the south street bridge all the way up into fairmount park. Perfect for a 3-5 mile round trip run.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 5:28 AM on June 30, 2014

Go eat at the Sahara Grill (on Walnut St between 13th and Broad. Also, Broad = 14th street, fyi). It's a great Lebanese place and is a nice longish walk from Penn right down Walnut, or you can easily take the el there.

Northern Liberties is a fun neighborhood to check out. Take the el to Spring Garden Street and walk north on 2nd street (then back down 3rd and 4th). There are tons of restaurants and bars there. Also, spend an evening in Old City (unless you like the just barely post-college bar scene, go on a weeknight).

The Reading Terminal is really great too, but I don't think it's open in the evenings. If you can sneak out for lunch, it's definitely worth a visit.

There's also the perennial recommendation: the mutter museum. If you like medical history and specimens, you'll love it. If you're easily squicked out, you might want to skip it.

Philadelphia's a great city for walking - there are lots of great neighborhoods that are accessible on foot or via public transit from Penn, so just go for a walk and check them out.
posted by snaw at 7:29 AM on June 30, 2014

Walk over to the Phila Museum of art and catch the Philly Phlash Bus. You can ride it all day for $5 and hop on and off as much as you want. It takes you through much of the city so you can go and explore more.

Get to the parks in the eves. Rittenhouse Square and possibly Clark Park for activities. Check out for happenings.

Penn might still have their botanical gardens that you might like.

See a show at World Cafe Live.
posted by PeaPod at 8:08 AM on June 30, 2014

Make your way down to the gorgeous main branch of the Philadelphia Free Library. It's open till 9 on weeknights.
posted by ActionPopulated at 10:41 AM on June 30, 2014

All suggestions above are great. I just want to add in that you definitely will not need to drive, at all. Besides taking the Phlash, you could take the green or blue lines into center city, or even walk (it would take about 30 min, but you might not want to walk there too late) . The Art Museum is close by and definitely worth a visit.

Hop on the blue line to go to Chinatown (get off at 8th and Market and walk north); it's fun to walk around, with some cool shops and restaurants. Chinatown is in center city and not far from Rittenhouse.

Like people said, the city is very walkable, especially center city, and it won't get dark till close to 9 so you're fine.

City Hall at 15 and Market is pretty cool to walk through and look up at!
posted by bearette at 1:35 PM on June 30, 2014

There's a ton of good and mostly cheap food in West Philly/University City, especially if you like food from around the world. I don't get over there much but know there are restaurants clustered along Baltimore Ave and also I want to say Chestnut. Little Baby's ice cream is not cheap but is delicious and memorable. The popsicle shop is also very good. Neighborhoods around Clark Park are nice to walk around.

For libraries, we have tons. My favorite to look at is the Furness Library at Penn. The central branch of the Free Library is also great. The Library Company usually has interesting exhibits, and the Athenaeum is like going back in time from what I remember. Also it's on Washington Square, which is lovely. The Rosenbach museum is another.

The Schuylkill Banks trail is very nice, and extends to a trail along Kelly Drive that's scenic. The Wissahickon would take a bus or train ride to get to (or very long jog) but is beautiful.

Uwishunu, City Paper, and Philadelphia Weekly will have event listings. And yeah, you have to go to Reading Terminal Market.

Center City includes a couple neighborhoods, all of which are nice to walk around in, and I would also recommend Queen Village and Passyunk (east of Broad) depending on what you like to look at. Just avoid Old City Friday nights, it's nice during the day and week nights. If you walk across the South St bridge you can either get on the Schuylkill trail or wander north and eastish through Fitler Square neighborhood and up to Rittenhouse Square. They also just opened two pop-up parks, one at 15th and South and one at Penns Landing on the Delaware around Locust. I haven't been but the one last year was really wonderful.
posted by sepviva at 8:23 PM on June 30, 2014

In terms of healthy/cheap restaurants, I would recommend Fuel. I've only been to the Center City location, but I've enjoyed it. Plus, wandering down Walnut Street is always fun. Closer to Penn, there are two Hip City Veg locations, if you like vegan food.

Nthing the central branch of the Free Library; you might want to see if you're interested in either of the free author events they'll have while you're in town.

The two museums I would recommend close at 5, but the art museum is open until 8:45p on Wednesdays and Fridays.

I would second wandering around Old City one evening as well. I didn't grow up here, and it still amazes me to casually wander by Independence Hall. If you're interested in American history, I think the free (or cheap, if you book online) tour is worth it (and you don't need a ticket after 5:00p, according to their website). (I am less impressed by the Liberty Bell, and seeing it from the sidewalk is perfectly sufficient to me, but it's also free if it's a must for you.) Many of the sites in that area are open until 7:00p in the summer.
posted by pitrified at 1:40 PM on July 1, 2014

Thank you so much, guys! I ate at Capogiro today and it was amazing! Tomorrow will be the first day actually venturing into other parts of the city, but I've enjoyed walking around the Penn area. We ate dinner as a group at Tap House and Distroto. I still need to eat a cheesesteak, and I'm hoping to visit Reading Terminal Friday afternoon when the conference ends early.

Thanks again, guys!
posted by shortyJBot at 6:25 PM on July 8, 2014

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