Are you ready for some time off, but don’t want the stress and expense of travel away from home? If so, you’re in luck because if you live in or around Philadelphia, a fun-filled vacation awaits at your doorstep.
- Step Back in Time in Old City: Did you know that Old City Philly is known as “America’s most historic square mile?” Clearly, you don’t have to go far from home to steep yourself in our nation’s history.
Start the day by learning the lay of the land with an Old City Walking Tour. Your guide will bring history to life as he or she tells you the story of the places you visit, including Christ Church, Ben Franklin’s Post Office, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Carpenter’s Hall and more. Also, you’ll see Elfreth’s Alley, the impeccably preserved oldest residential street in the country. Alternatively, you could do your own self-guided walking tour.
Later, stop by the National Constitution Center to dig deeper into the history of this country and the Constitution. Take in the 360 degree multimedia performance which prepares you for your visit. On your tour, interactive exhibits will bring America’s constitutional history to life.
Top off the day with dinner and a movie. There are plenty of highly acclaimed restaurants to choose from. Just to name a few, there’s Chloe, a cozy American BYOB known for its amazing food and service; FARMiCiA for farm-to-table and vegetarian-pleasing food; and Fork Restaurant which serves up ambiance, sophistication and unique tastes. Once satiated, you can stroll down to the Ritz East for a selection of independent and foreign films. Looking to top off the night, head down to Franklin Fountain, a famous Philadelphia ice cream shop. Expect to stand in line before indulging.
- Go Eclectic in Fishtown and Northern Liberties: Treat yourself to a night in Fishtown’s boutique Wm. Mulherin’s Sons hotel, which USA Today’s readers and editors rated the #1 best new hotel in the United States this past year in 2017. There, the unique vintage character of a former whisky distillery blends artfully with contemporary furnishings to make you feel far from home.
In the morning, head over to La Colombe Coffee for breakfast and enjoy a famous fresh coffee. Once you’re rested up, you can visit the Sugar House Casino to play slots, poker and table games. Afterwards, there are plenty of selections there for lunch. If you want to feel like you’ve taken a trip to Germany, you can stop by Frankford Hall, the largest beer garden in Philly. Afterward, just steps away from Frankford Hall, stop by the local Weckerly’s Ice Cream where a husband and wife duo are making fresh creamy flavors.
Walk off any indulgencies by wandering through The Schmidt’s Commons, an open-air plaza, surrounded by artists’ studios, eateries and boutiques. Here, they hold free concerts, dance performances and live sporting events on their stage and 400-square-foot screen.
Lots of choices for dinner in the area, from Kensington Quarters - American fresh farm to table experience; to Root Restaurant for a wine bar and small plates experience, and Sancho Pistola for fresh Mexican food with cocktails, margaritas, and more.
- Soak Up Experiences in the Art Museum Area: Spend the night at the Logan Hotel or another top-rated hotel near the museum area. At the Logan, relax at the roof-top bar and enjoy the breath-taking panoramic views of Philadelphia. You can see the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as it stretches toward the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Get your day going with a hearty breakfast or brunch at the Urban Farmer, the much adored, quaint on-site restaurant at the Logan Hotel that specializes in all things Philadelphia, including locally-sourced ingredients. Fare goes from the ordinary (oatmeal) to the extraordinary (crab omelet with béarnaise sauce). Of course, check their menu for the latest offerings.
Now you’re ready for an exploration of the museum area. If you enjoy art, you’re sure to find something you appreciate at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Collections include contemporary, impressionist, post-impressionist, American paintings and more. There’s furniture, ceramics, and period rooms representing architecture from around the globe. You can also amble around the outdoor Sculpture Garden.
The nearby Rodin Museum is smaller with a singular focus — famous sculptor Auguste Rodin’s works. It houses more of his plasters, marbles and bronzes than you’ll see outside of Paris, even including The Thinker. Don’t miss the landscaped gardens where the natural environment may be as beautiful as the sculptures that adorn it.
Grab a bite to eat at The Art Museum or for a cornucopia of food choices, visit the local Whole Foods.
In the afternoon, you might want to tackle another museum, such as The Franklin Institute where you can be transported to another world in their virtual reality exhibit. Or take a break from the museums to walk or bike on the Schuylkill River Trail. If that’s not your cup of tea, you’re only a hop, skip and a jump from the Philadelphia Zoo. If you’re like other visitors, you’ll enjoy watching animals as they stretch their legs and explore their territory through the overhead passageways.
So if you’re thinking about where to go on vacation, you might want to consider your hometown, where there’s something for everyone — history, fine dining, beer halls, boutique shopping, art, science, animals from around the world and much more. Of course, before embarking on this staycation, call ahead to confirm the details.
Carolyn Frith, a content consultant who owns Carolyn Frith Marketing, aims to rid the world of snore-and-bore writing on the web. Topics she covers range from Philadelphia events and real estate options to a range of other content.