Evening sightseeing/photography in Philadelphia?
June 1, 2007 3:14 PM   Subscribe

I will be traveling to Philadelphia in mid-July and would like to get some tips on sightseeing. The problem is that I will be training M-F 9-5pm so I'll have to do my tourist thing in the evening. Any great tips? I would like to spend most of the time taking photo's if that helps. I found the evening Segway tours - that looks fun!
posted by roderashe to Travel & Transportation around Philadelphia, PA (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You'll want to pick a single area with several sites in easy reach. In Philly that means one of three areas:

1) Art Museum/Parkway
2) Old City
3) South Street

The Parkway is a wide avenue that cuts through one quadrant of the city & ends at the Art Museum. Around the back of the museum is the Philadelphia Waterworks, along the Delaware River. Further down you have Boathouse Row, one of the archetypical Philly scenes (though usually shot from the other side of the river). Lots of dramatic scenes, architecture, sculpture.

Old City is what you'd expect, lots of Colonial era buildings. And South Street is the city's funky district: clubs, clothing shops, record stores & the sorts of people who frequent them.
posted by scalefree at 4:02 PM on June 1, 2007

Rittenhouse Square is a less touristy (though somewhat yuppiefied) area that's got lots of restaurants and stores and a nice park. A good evening hang-out spot.

One of my favorite places is the Eastern State Penitentiary. It's a great camera fodder, and they're open until 8 PM on Wednesdays.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is open until 8:45 PM on Fridays. It's got an excellent and large collection and live music on Fridays.

You could go to a Phillies game, but for a real (and cheap) slice of the town, go to a Camden Riversharks game. Better yet, walk across the Ben Franklin Bridge to get there (you can get on the walkway from about 5th and Race). It's a great view.

And I think the Reading Terminal Market is always underrated. They're only open until 6 PM, but that's plenty of time to poke around the fresh produce and get a bite to eat (mmm, roast pork sandwich).

Speaking of food, Pat's and Geno's are open 24 hours, and you can walk there from South Street. But really good cheesesteaks can be found on nearly any street corner. My favorite is Sonny's, which is near 2nd and Market (beware of browser resizing site). And my absolute favorite for sandwiches is Chickie's, which is down in South Philly, and I don't know how late they're open.

I never got excited about City Tavern's food, but they brew their own beers based on old Colonial era recipies. Sitting out in their garden with a cold beer is a sublime experience. My favorite brewery is Nodding Head (over by Rittenhouse Square), which was oddly never crowded for me.

I could go on substantially about food and drink in Philly, but I'll curb myself for now. If you want to know more, let me know.
posted by Mercaptan at 4:42 PM on June 1, 2007

2nding Eastern State Penitentiary. It's a short walk from the Art Museum, Waterworks, etc. and it's supercreepy even in broad daylight. Good restaurants nearby include rembrandt's, london grill and jack's firehouse, all within 1-2 blocks.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 5:26 PM on June 1, 2007

Speaking of food, Pat's and Geno's are open 24 hours, and you can walk there from South Street.

Walk past for nighttime neon sightseeing and photography, but don't waste your time or money eating at either establishment. They make the blandest cheesesteaks in the city.

Here is a list of restaurants in the city that I hand out to visitors. I'll organize them by type:

Pub fare
Nodding Head -- they make their own beer, Belgian fries are the best in the city (think Montreal's Alor Frites!)
1516 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA
(215) 569-952

Monks Belgian Cafe -- same Belgian fries from same owner, international beer selection, a bit more expensive than Nodding head
626 S 16th St, Philadelphia, PA
(215) 545-7005

Audrey Claire -- BYOB and good fish and odd game, local ingredients
276 S 20th St, Philadelphia, PA
(215) 731-1222

Matyson -- BYOB, dinner is a bit expensive, lunch is reasonable
37 S 19th St, Philadelphia, PA
(215) 564-2925

El Vez -- outstanding margaritas and guacamole nachos, quirky decor
121 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA
(215) 928-9800

Alma de Cuba -- expensive but the mojitos and fish tacos are worth the visit
1623 Walnut, Philadelphia, PA
(215) 988-1799

Karma Restaurant -- good korma, a bit expensive (head out to West Philadelphia around 40th and Chestnut if you really like Indian)
114 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA
(215) 925-1444

Vietnam Restaurant -- I recommend the beef vermicelli noodles and Vietnamese iced coffee
221 N 11th St, Philadelphia, PA
(215) 592-1163

Moshi Moshi -- very fresh and tasty sushi, friendly staff, reasonably priced
108 S 18th St, Philadelphia, PA
(215) 496-9950


If you want a wider selection in one place, look at Reading Terminal Market:

Reading Terminal Market
51 N 12th St # 2, Philadelphia, PA
(215) 922-2317

Chinese food, cheesesteaks, pub fare, ice cream, salad bar. Lots of choices. Plus it's close to Old City.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:27 PM on June 1, 2007

Stuff's covered here pretty well already, but I'd recommend a walk through the new Schuylkill River Park (or whatever it's called) around dusk.

And for pub fare, I nominate Fergie's, on Sansom between 12th and 13th, for their burgers. Particularly recommended: the Cameron.
posted by bokane at 3:40 AM on June 2, 2007

My personal favorite restaurant is Eulogy. Belgian style, fantastic beer selection.

The Phillies are so worth seeing. Coming from Boston like I do, I was amazed to find that the Phillies have a comfortable ballpark with good views from most areas, very fair admission prices and reasonably-priced concessions. If your ballpark fails in any of the categories, go to a game. It's on the subway.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:36 AM on June 2, 2007

This thread covers most of the decent food choices, but for photography, I strongly suggest walking around through the alleys and getting as lost as you can. Try to maintain a sense of the neighborhoods safety (it's pretty obvious) and look around.

Don't go too far north of Girard, and if you're on the wast side of Broad, mind yourself south of Washington until you hit Passyunk or so.
posted by onedarkride at 9:34 AM on June 2, 2007

Response by poster: Wow!! Thanks for all the great suggestions. I can't wait to go. This Hive-mind stuff rules!
posted by roderashe at 5:46 PM on June 2, 2007

One of my favorite places is the Eastern State Penitentiary. It's a great camera fodder, and they're open until 8 PM on Wednesdays.

Very much seconding Eastern State Pen. I went there with Mercaptan, and it was pretty cool.

Plus, the audio tour is narrated by Steve Buscemi.
posted by CKmtl at 7:17 PM on June 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

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