Philadelphia by Train
January 18, 2017 4:57 PM   Subscribe

Help two ladies plan a fun filled day in the city of Brotherly Love

I'm headed home from Korea for the first time in two years. My best friend is coming to visit me where my family currently lives (my hometown is in Northwest Pennsylvania. My family moved to the Philly area while I was abroad). We'd love to spend a day exploring bits and bobs of Philly since neither of us are locals. We're probably going to take the train in from Colmar on the Doylestown Septa line. So what things should we see, do, and eat that can be easily accessed by public transportation? I'll be arriving in late feb so preferably things that are not good weather dependent. Interests: Indie rock, feminism, liberal politics, food (so much food), good coffee shops, museums, culture, anything really.
posted by FakePalindrome to Travel & Transportation around Philadelphia, PA (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Pop into Giovanni's Room! And get a coffee at The Last Drop while you're in the neighborhood.

The current booming foodie mecca is Passyunk Ave, which is not super-accessible by public transit, but if you don't mind a bit of a walk (or navigating the bus system), you can't go wrong with anything around there.
posted by kalimac at 5:05 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Reddit Philly has a pretty comprehensive visitors wiki,

Transit is pretty great, although the whole center city/old city/art museum area is within 2 miles or so by foot with stuff all the way. The market Frankford el will get you between city hall and old city if you don't want to walk.

Independence hall is cool, skip the liberty Bell, Philadelphia museum of art, mutter museum(medical oddities), Redding terminal market for food.

Feel free to message me if you have any questions, I live right over the bridge.
posted by TheAdamist at 5:33 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Passyunk Ave, which is not super-accessible by public transit

The trendy part is a 3-block walk from the Tasker-Morris subway stop, about a 5-minute ride from center city. There are numerous buses that go there too.

The bus system is not so hard to navigate either. Go to google maps and plug in your route.
posted by bearette at 6:06 PM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'll echo TheAdamist that Independence Hall is really cool, and definitely skip the Liberty Bell--it's a boring bell with a really long line. I just want to add that just around the corner, you should go into a door that you don't think you're allowed to go in, because it's the Old City Hall, where the Supreme Court met in the early days of the republic, and there will be a NPS staffer who will tell you really great stories. It was by far the definite highlight of our last trip.
posted by General Malaise at 6:23 PM on January 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You have to go to Reading Terminal for food. The Academy of Natural Science, on Logan Circle, isn't as well known as some of the other museums but has some beautiful stuff. The Philosophical Society is right at Independence Hall and although tiny I've been impressed with the exhibits I've seen. There are so many many museums.

For music, R5 and WXPN have a lot of good stuff. WXPN has free Friday noon concerts, though some you have to register for ahead of time. If you like dance, Ballet X is great.
posted by sepviva at 8:22 PM on January 18, 2017

Best answer: I can't remember the name right now and am on mobile, but there's an amazing glass-mosaic museum/house in Philly that you have to check out.
posted by serelliya at 8:55 PM on January 18, 2017

Best answer: > I can't remember the name right now and am on mobile, but there's an amazing glass-mosaic museum/house in Philly that you have to check out.

Magic Gardens -- Isaiah Zagar's fantastic neverending work at 10th and South. And yes, go. Aim for about an hour before sunset if that's convenient.

Speaking of amazing glass mosiacs, an open secret is the Tiffany/Maxfield Parrish collaboration "The Dream Garden," which is spectacular public art, installed in the lobby of an office building (The Curtis Center) at 6th and Walnut. Walk through the lobby out the back door to check out the fantastic terraced waterfall fountain in the atrium, too.

It's obvious and all, but the Philadelphia Museum of Art really is a top-notch art museum. It's not as easy to get there on public transport as it should be, but if you're down in Old City (NOT OLDE CITY) doing Historical Things, you can catch the 38 bus at 5th and Market (on 5th) and it will take you right to the museum.

Food, well, gosh, pick a continent or two and a price range or two, help narrow things down, we've got a LOT. Yes, East Passyunk (my 'hood) for small focused outstanding fine dining restaurants. Yes, Reading Terminal Market -- go to DiNic's and get a roast pork Italian with sharp provolone and spinach or broccoli rabe, which is an achingly brilliant traditional local sandwich that blows the more famous cheesesteak way out of the water.

Also, southeast Asia is exceptionally well-represented here -- Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Burma/Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia -- though with the exception of Rangoon, our beloved Burmese restaurant, most of that is down in South Philly rather than in our space-constrained Chinatown. But speaking of Chinatown, which is really close to Reading Terminal Market, we have fantastic Shanghai-style soup dumplings at both Dim Sum Garden and Tom's Dim Sum.

Italian food is a significant part of the city's lifeblood, it ranges from very fancy to very humble, and at both ends of the spectrum you can experience transcendence or exceedingly ordinary dreck. Further details provided upon inquiry.

The city is super walkable; it is unlikely that you will walk far enough to find yourself in a dangerous neighborhood. The public transit is good; we all complain about its limitations endlessly because the subway is far less extensive than NYC or London or Paris. (But I've lived in the south where public transit is halfhearted at best, and I'll tell ya that our system is nothing to sneeze at.)
posted by desuetude at 11:09 PM on January 18, 2017 [4 favorites]

Best answer: +1 vote for Magic Gardens -- it's spectacular.
posted by Fig at 2:28 AM on January 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Hit up the Rodin museum for sure - it's suggested donation only and pretty awesome. If you donate a certain amount you also get a discount to the big Art Museum if I recall correctly.

Spend time in the Gayborhood. Tons of great coffee shops / restaurants / bars / little shops / parks / old ass Philly cobblestone streets / etc
posted by lazaruslong at 8:21 AM on January 19, 2017

Best answer: Independence hall is cool, skip the liberty Bell
I would not suggest skipping the Liberty Bell if you are already at Independence Hall unless the wait is really long. I found it to be a quick but interesting stop. You can get really close to it. There are some outdoor exhibits leading up to it that are very illuminating as well.
posted by soelo at 8:34 AM on January 19, 2017

Best answer: A different little museum to check out is the Fabric Workshop and Museum which is cooler than it sounds by name. Some places to drop in and check out indie rock are Johnny Brendas (good burgers), Kung Fu Necktie, and Boot n Saddle. Bigger shows can be had at Union Transfer and other R5 related venues. There's still record stores on 4th st around south street. Frankford Ave going north a bit from Girard has coffee shops and other independant things popping up gangbusters. I just ate at Cafe Chismosa this weekend and they had really yummy mexican / cuban food and brunch and really good coffee.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:43 PM on January 19, 2017

Best answer: There's Amalgam, which is a coffee shop off the market frankfort line that has the bonus of also being a feminist comic shop. Repo records on South Street is one of the top 5 indie record stores in Philly. Also if you guys aren't against doing some touristy things I know there are a bunch of food tours that usually meet in old city/city hall area.
posted by timesarrow at 5:27 PM on January 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Welcome to the city of brotherly love and I have taken that line multiple times. It takes you about 50 min to get to Center City. Get the $12 independence pass/person . it allows you unlimited public transit for the day .

If you get off at Jefferson - you can go to Chinatown and Liberty Bell Area. If you get off at Suburban your closer to fairmount and museums. Check out the Art museum, barnes , rodin and franklin institute

If you are looking for events and things to do. checkout uwishunu for details. It has a day by day of whats happening around the city.

Transportation within the city is fairly easy. The Broad street line and the market frankford metro are the main subways but they cross the cities in N to S and E to W. If you want to go somewhere in the middle, like NE or SE , take bus or better yet just Uber there.

PM me if you need more suggestions.
posted by radsqd at 11:31 AM on January 20, 2017

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