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Philadelphia
Early to bed, early to rise as Benjamin Franklin advised? Not in Philadelphia. Native son W.C. Fields once joked, “Last week, I went to Philadelphia, but it was closed.” Now Philly boasts more than a place in American history. It's hip. It's open all hours. Stroll along myriad streets and discover...
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Introduction
Early to bed, early to rise as Benjamin Franklin advised? Not in Philadelphia. Native son W.C. Fields once joked, “Last week, I went to Philadelphia, but it was closed.” Now Philly boasts more than a place in American history. It's hip. It's open all hours. Stroll along myriad streets and discover upscale galleries and fine boutiques, elegant haute-cuisine restaurants and gritty fast-food joints—Philly cheesesteak, anyone? In warm weather, dance in open-air clubs to river lights and a view of the Ben Franklin Bridge. This Colonial enclave has transformed itself into a city so happening that even old Ben would stay up past his bedtime.

But don't forget history. Philadelphia is the “Cradle of the American Revolution,” after all. No dry civics lesson here—this is where Independence Hall stands, where the Liberty Bell rang out (and cracked), where the Declaration of Independence was signed and our war for freedom began. Walk down Market Street, (or, as of Spring of 2015, use one of the Bike Share Philadelphia bicycles to get around) and you're following in the steps of the founding fathers.


The neighborhoods in the City of Brotherly Love have their own stories to tell, too. In South Philly's Italian Market, Main Line socialites bicker over the price of basil, while commuters and families wait in line to order famous hoagies. On South Street, musicians play on the sidewalks and hipsters buy the latest fashions in trendy stores. All over town, bleary-eyed students sip lattes after late-night clubbing on Delaware Avenue. There's so much to do in Philly, both Ben and W.C. would be amused—early in the morning or late at night.

In Depth
So, why is the Liberty Bell cracked?

There are many tales concerning the circumstances of the bell’s first crack, but consensus has it that the fracture dangerously expanded and ultimately rendered the bell unusable after it rang in 1846 to commemorate George Washington’s birthday. It was probably a fitting occasion for its final performance.


Philadelphia teems with icons like this hallowed bell that inspire an undeniable sense of history and awe. These vestiges of the past send shivers down the spines of visitors and residents alike as it hits home that this is indeed America’s birthplace. Have lunch at City Tavern like Washington did, or tour Christ Church, where he worshipped along with Benjamin Franklin and members of Congress. Or wander inside the Betsy Ross House to learn about the woman who reputedly sewed the first stars and stripes on Old Glory.

To experience Philadelphia to the fullest, a good place to start is where it all began: Independence National Historical Park. You can easily spend the entire day here, exploring landmarks that represent the nation’s founding. There’s Congress Hall, the site that hosted the inauguration of John Adams and the second inauguration of Washington, and of course, that famous bell.

Outside of this historic square mile, there are other nooks and crannies of the Old City ripe for exploration. Stroll down narrow Elfreth’s Alley, said to be America’s oldest continuously inhabited residential street. Take the self-guiding tour at the U.S. Mint to see the birth of currency, or learn about Quaker life at the brick Historic Arch Street Meeting House, built as a gathering spot in 1804.


Now that you have a sense of the old, you can appreciate the new. Skyscrapers like Comcast Center, One Liberty Place and Bell Atlantic-Verizon Tower soar over Center City, and statues of historical figures meld with those of modern day heroes. Gaze at the commanding statue of city founder William Penn presiding over his “City of Brotherly Love” from a perch atop City Hall’s clock tower.

Penn’s brotherly love and the strong sense of family and tradition instilled by the Quakers are still values held near and dear to Philadelphians. Philly's neighborhoods have histories of their own. To the south, there’s Bella Vista, characterized by the colorful, aromatic Italian Market. In Chinatown, diners can indulge culinary cravings at all hours. Handsome 18th-century Colonials flanked by quaint courtyards grace the fashionably preserved Society Hill area, while Rittenhouse Square exudes luxury and wealth.

Although many head to Philadelphia to explore attractions focusing on history and patriotism, a healthy cultural and sports scene also are part of the mix. The Philadelphia Museum of Art houses great works of art, and immortalizes fictional boxer Rocky Balboa with his larger-than-life likeness at the base of its steps. The Philadelphia Orchestra offers a popular summer concert series, and the Philadelphia Ballet's annual "Nutcracker" performances enchant holiday audiences. The Franklin Institute and Philadelphia Zoo stimulate the imaginations of all ages.

And Philadelphians turn out in droves to show their love for the Phillies (baseball), Eagles (football), Flyers (hockey), 76ers (basketball) and Union (soccer).


 
About the City


City Population
1,526,006

Elevation
39 ft.

Money


Sales Tax
Pennsylvania's statewide sales tax is 6 percent. An additional 2 percent is collected by Philadelphia County, as is an 8.2 percent hotel tax.

Whom To Call


Emergency
911

Police (non-emergency)
911 (Calls are transferred to appropriate department.)

Hospitals
Aria Health (Torresdale Campus), (215) 612-4000; Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, (215) 662-4000; Methodist Hospital, (215) 952-9000; Pennsylvania Hospital, (215) 829-3000; Roxborough Memorial Hospital, (215) 483-9900; Temple University Hospital, (215) 836-7536.

Where To Look and Listen


Newspapers
Philadelphia has two daily papers: the Philadelphia Inquirer (online at www.philly.com) and the Daily News (online at www.philly.com/dailynews).

Radio
Philadelphia radio station KYW (1060 AM) is an all-news/weather station; WHYY (90.9 FM) is a member of National Public Radio.

Visitor Information

Independence Visitor Center



Transportation


Air Travel
Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is 6.5 miles south of the business district via I-76 (Schuylkill Expressway) and SR 291 (Penrose Avenue). SEPTA's airport rail line runs daily on the half-hour 5 a.m.-midnight between the airport and Market Street East Station, Suburban Station and 30th Street Station. Advance fare $6.50; onboard fare $8. Discounted fares are available for children, senior citizens and disabled guests.

Rental Cars
Hertz, at the Philadelphia International Airport, (215) 492-7205 or (800) 654-3131, offers discounts to AAA members.

Rail Service
Amtrak trains pull into both the main 30th Street Station terminal at 30th and Market streets and the North Philadelphia Station at N. Broad Street and W. Glenwood Avenue. If your destination is mid-city, disembark at 30th Street Station. Phone (800) 872-7245, or TTY (800) 872-7245.

Buses
The major bus terminal is Greyhound Lines Inc., (215) 931-4075, at 10th and Filbert streets. Peter Pan Trailways, (800) 343-9999, also serves the city. New Jersey Transit buses, (973) 275-5555, depart for southern New Jersey and shore points.

Taxis
Yellow Cab Co., (215) 333-3333, charges a $2.70 base rate plus $2.50 per mile. A fuel surcharge also may be added. One-way fares between the airport and central Philadelphia locations are a flat $28.50 fee.

Public Transportation
A system of buses, trolleys, subways and regional rails serves Philadelphia. Operated by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), all vehicles charge $2.25, plus $1 for a transfer; exact change is required. Senior citizens ride free. RiverLink Ferry offers ferry service from Penn's Landing to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, N.J.

 
Visitor Information

Independence Visitor Center



 
Getting There


By Car
I-95 is the major route from the northeast and south, connecting the city with Philadelphia International Airport. From New Jersey on the east, I-676 joins US 30 and traverses the north side of downtown as the Vine Street Expressway (I-676). From the northwest, I-76 leaves the Pennsylvania Turnpike at Valley Forge and enters Philadelphia at the Schuylkill Expressway. Follow either I-95 or I-76 to I-676 to the city center; enter the business district at 15th Street.

US 1 (Roosevelt Boulevard) traverses northeast Philadelphia, but both the north and south entrances into town are heavily commercialized and rather slow. From the east both the New Jersey Turnpike and I-295, which run north-south in New Jersey, provide ready access to either US 30, which enters the city center via the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and I-676, or to New Jersey SR 42 (North-South Freeway or Atlantic City Expressway), which approaches the Walt Whitman Bridge and south Philadelphia. When crossing either bridge from New Jersey, there is a $5 toll.

 
Getting Around


Street System
It would be wise to leave your automobile behind when going downtown because the old streets, though arrow straight, are very narrow. Unless you must have your car, allow a bus or cab driver to negotiate the congested, often two-lane, streets.

Most north-south streets, beginning with Front Street west of the Delaware River, are numbered; east-west streets are named. Broad Street, the major north-south artery, is the equivalent of 14th Street. All downtown north-south streets are alternate one-way with the exception of Broad, which has two lanes in each direction. Market Street is one-way eastbound between 20th and 15th streets. Westbound motorists should use JFK Boulevard at this point. Chestnut Street is closed to all traffic except buses between 8th and 18th streets from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Since Market Street is the principal east-west artery, north and south numbering begins at this street. Westward numbering begins at Front Street.

Right turns on red are permitted after a full stop, unless otherwise posted. Rush hours in general are 7-9:30 a.m. and 4-6:30 p.m. The speed limit on most streets is 25 mph, or as posted.

Parking
Though chances of getting on-street parking on the clogged streets are virtually zero, some metered parking is permitted on side streets and less traveled avenues: Parking meter rates in Center City are $2.50 per hour. Rates in the numerous lots and garages range from about $3-$8 for 30 minutes; $7-$24 for 2 hours; $16-$20 for 12 hours and $22-$43 for 24 hours.

Public Transportation
A SEPTA day pass provides up to eight rides on all SEPTA buses, trolleys and subways; the pass is $8. For information about schedules, routes and locations where day pass and tokens may be purchased, phone (215) 580-7800, or TTY (215) 580-7853.

The Speedline, operated by Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO), connects with SEPTA's subway with three stops on Locust St. between 9th and 16th sts. and one at 8th and Market sts. One-way fare between any Philadelphia station $1.40; free (ages 0-5). Fare from Philadelphia into New Jersey $1.60-$3. Phone (215) 922-4600 or (856) 772-6900.

PHLASH, the downtown visitor shuttle, services 20 key locations, including attractions, hotels, shopping, cultural sites and historic districts. Passengers may board at any stop. Buses run daily 10-6, Memorial Day-Labor Day; Fri.-Sun. 10-6, in May and September-October. Fare (single-trip) $2; free (ages 0-6 and 65+). All-day pass $5; phone (215) 389-8687 to confirm information.

RiverLink Ferry offers ferry service from Penn's Landing to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, N.J. . The ferry departs Penn's Landing Mon.-Fri. on the hour 10-6 (weather permitting) and departs Camden Mon.-Fri. on the half-hour 9:30-5:30 (weather permitting), Memorial Day through Labor Day; Saturday and Sunday, May 1-day before Memorial Day and day after Labor Day-Sept. 30. Hours may vary during special events; phone ahead. Tickets may be purchased at either terminal or at the Independence Visitor Center. Fare $7; $6 (ages 3-12 and 65+). Phone (215) 925-5465.


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Essentials
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• Book your tickets in advance to see one of the world's most celebrated collections of post-impressionist and early modern art at The Barnes Foundation . You'll be mesmerized by a diverse ensemble of works that spans multiple cultures and time periods.


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• Stroll down South Street between Front and 9th, the “hippest street in town.” After checking out the funky boutiques and tattoo parlors, pull up a chair at one of the outdoor cafés or bars. In the City of Brotherly Love, this is where you go for people watching, and you'll see it all—preppies, punk rockers, old hippies, pierced skateboarders and lawyers in business suits.


• For romance, hail a horse-drawn cab at 5th and Chestnut streets. As the horse trots down Society Hill's 18th-century cobblestone streets, enjoy the sights: Colonial and Federal architecture, row houses and intimate courtyards. Other routes include a trip through Independence National Historical Park's tree-lined lanes and a peek at the bustling Old City area, featuring such sites as the Betsy Ross House and Elfreth's Alley .

• Think about it—or go to the Rodin Museum and leave the pondering to Auguste Rodin's best-known sculpture, “The Thinker.” While you're here, tour the museum and discover other sculptures to consider, contemplate and regard.

• Cheer for one of Philly's sports teams. If there's a nip in the air, you can head to Lincoln Financial Field and take your chances on tickets for an Eagles game. And if football's not your thing, applaud at Wells Fargo Center as a 76er dunks the ball or a Flyer hooks the puck. In spring and summer, go to a Phillies game at Citizen's Bank Park and catch a foul ball on the third base line. The latest addition for area sports fans is the region’s first Major League Soccer club, the Philadelphia Union, that plays at PPL Park. Warning: Philadelphia sports fans are very loyal to their teams.

• Jog to the top of the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and—like Rocky Balboa in the movie—pump your arms in the air! Once you catch your breath, enter the museum to enjoy one of the world's premier art collections. With some 225,000 objects onsite, it's a challenge to see everything, so consider joining one of the daily tours.

• Enjoy music the old-fashioned way at Macy's twice daily Wanamaker Organ recitals Monday through Saturday. One of the largest musical instruments in the world, this grand organ fills the store atrium with classical and contemporary tunes from seven floors above the cosmetic counters, downtown at 13th and Market streets. During the holidays, there's a light show to go along with the musical numbers.

• There's no better way to experience the founding of our nation than to visit Independence National Historical Park. It's packed full of history, Colonial architecture and iconic sights like the Liberty Bell.

• Chow down on a Philly cheesesteak, the famous hoagie made with thinly sliced rib eye, melted cheese and grilled onions. Most South Philly sandwich shops are open 24-7-365 (and most claim they cooked up the original idea). Two of the best are Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks. Want more culinary options? Stop by Reading Terminal Market for a wonderful selection of tried-and-true Philly favorites as well as ethnic offerings and delectable baked goods.

• Gawk at the strange, spine-tingling exhibits at the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia . Exhibits at this College of Physicians of Philadelphia museum include the Soap Lady, celebrity body parts and casts of patients who suffered from gigantism, eye diseases and other deformities.



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Restaurants
Our favorites include some of this destination's best restaurants—from fine dining to simple fare.

The first question for most visitors to the City of Brotherly Love is not “Where's the Liberty Bell?” Instead, tourists want to know the best place for a Philly Cheesesteak—a hot topic of debate among the locals.


According to legend, Pat Olivieri created the first cheesesteak on his hot dog griddle after getting bored with the same old lunch. His new sandwich became so popular that he opened Pat's King of Steaks in South Philadelphia. As with any good idea, competition quickly rose with the opening of Geno's Steaks on the opposite corner. When the craving for a cheesesteak hits, natives head down Passyunk Avenue.

Ordering your steak is almost as important as paying for it, so be sure to scrutinize the instructions at the order window before getting into line. Any hesitation and you'll be expelled to the back (either by the staff or the patrons behind you). Toss a coin and take your pick—both eateries serve up a fantastic sandwich and an entertaining crowd, 24 hours a day.

With thick bread, sharp provolone and juicy sliced beef, the cheesesteak at Tony Luke's Old Philly Style Sandwiches is definitely in the running for the city's best. Unlike many of its steak-peddling brethren, this restaurant also serves a variety of equally tasty items, including a sinful roast-pork sandwich and even a few vegetarian offerings. This is one of the few steak shops with indoor seating; service is quick and surprisingly friendly. Check out the “Wall of Stars” to see who else dropped by for an Old Philly-style sandwich.

When the locals want a good beer and a great burger, they go to Good Dog Bar & Restaurant. The burger—stuffed with Roquefort cheese and topped with caramelized onions—is not for the faint of heart. Service is exceptional, and the menu is one of the most reasonably priced in Center City; people-watching is a bonus. Here you'll see the after-theater crowd mixing with tattooed Gen-Xers in a kitschy setting. Try out the Internet jukebox, or come on a Thursday night to share your knowledge of trivia during a game of Quizzo.

After a long day at work, young professionals flock to Tria for a world-class beer or a selection from an extensive list of wines by the glass. For a quick bite or a full dinner, the tapas menu features fresh salads, decadent cheeses and scrumptious desserts. Soulful music, a genial staff and candle-lit décor lend to an unpretentiously cool atmosphere in trendy Rittenhouse Square. Reservations aren't accepted; expect a half-hour wait on weekends.

With a spectacular view of the Square and an equally spectacular menu, Lacroix at the Rittenhouse is one of the area's most acclaimed restaurants. The staff is cordial while maintaining the service standards expected of a formal dining establishment. Every course is a visual work of art, with imaginative flavors to tempt the palate. At the chef's table, guests have a first-hand view of how a gourmet kitchen works. The inexpensive weekday brunch is a great way to enjoy one of the city's best culinary experiences—for a steal.

Since entrepreneur Stephen Starr added Barclay Prime to his dazzling string of local restaurants, the acclaim from critics and patrons alike has been lavish. If you're looking for the most expensive cheesesteak in Philadelphia—$100, featuring Kobe beef—you'll find it at this gem on Rittenhouse Square. The combination of formal dining and mouthwatering steaks and chops makes Barclay Prime the perfect choice for a night on the town. For a cost-effective sampling of the menu, the Lunchbox includes soup or salad, an entrée, a side dish and dessert.

With a clean and comfortable atmosphere, Vietnam Restaurant is popular with everyone from college students to the crowd from city hall. A wide variety of noodle dishes, vegetarian options and an unexpectedly large appetizer menu only add to the appeal. This Center City favorite serves beer and wine, with a decent list at fair prices. Reservations are not accepted, but those in the know are more than willing to wait. For a memorable sunset view, ask for a seat on the third floor.

An imposing gilded statue of Buddha greets patrons at Buddakan, a modern and decadently designed establishment in Olde City. A communal 22-seat table glows at the center of the restaurant, affording its guests a view of the stylish, well-dressed crowd. Start out the night with a shared pitcher of Zen-gria or any of the bar's ever-changing cocktails. All the Asian fusion dishes are large enough to share—a blessing when the menu includes so many creative and flavorful choices. The signature dish is Angry Lobster, served in a nest of mashed potatoes with wok-charred vegetables and coconut curry sauce. Desserts are works of Zen art, sculpted into gravity-defying shapes.

Modern art, neo-Japanese cuisine and pop culture come together to create the experience that is Morimoto. TV's “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto has brought his innovative Japanese cuisine to this sleek, modern space near Independence National Historic Park. Deciding on Kobe beef, black cod miso or an extensive selection of sushi and sashimi can be daunting, which is why many patrons order the Omakase, a multi-course guided tour through the day's specialties.

For the best in underground dining (a new category in food reviews), don't miss Ristorante La Buca. The name means “cave” in Italian. Decorated with warm colors and frescoes of the owner's native Tuscany, this space hardly feels like a basement. Philadelphians know they'll never have a bad meal here, especially with a fresh seafood selection. After an enjoyable afternoon at Washington Square Park or historic Independence Hall, you're only a short stroll—and a long flight of stairs—away from a hearty Tuscan meal.

If you're in South Philadelphia but not in the mood for cheesesteak, try the Mediterranean fare at Dmitri's. The meals are delicious, the portions are large, and savory smells from the open kitchen will make your mouth water. This small Queens Village restaurant is BYOB (take along your own wine or spirits). Dimitri's has a devoted following and doesn't accept reservations, so count on a wait, especially on weekends. Put your name on the list and enjoy a drink at a local bar, or make a run to an ATM for the cash-only tab.

Another of Philadelphia's many BYOBs, Matyson offers American bistro fare. Come on a weekday for the fabulous prix fixe five-course meal. This Center City restaurant is known for its flawless combinations of savory and sweet flavors, so it would be a sin not to have dessert (especially the bittersweet chocolate s'mores).

In a neighborhood full of African restaurants, University City's Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant stands out with its quality ingredients and hospitable staff. The authentic Ethiopian platters of meats and vegetables are perfectly prepared, and the heat of these deliciously spicy dishes can be adjusted to suit your taste. Fans of the ethnic restaurants in the Adams Morgan district of Washington, D.C., will feel at home in Abyssinia.

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Attractions
In a city with dozens of attractions, you may have trouble deciding where to spend your time. Here are the highlights for this destination, as chosen by AAA editors. GEMs are “Great Experiences for Members.”

Situated between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, Philadelphia was the “Cradle of the Revolution.” The American Revolution, of course. You can explore the nascence of modern democracy in the Old City at the AAA GEM Independence National Historical Park —it's America's most historic square mile and features more than a dozen separate sites, including Independence Hall and Liberty Bell Pavilion.


Begin your sightseeing itinerary with the Independence Visitor Center. At the center, you'll find orientation exhibits, daily listings of area events, informative touch screen computer kiosks and tickets.

Continue your excursion at the adjacent Liberty Bell Center, where the 2,000-pound Liberty Bell is housed. In 1776, its peals rang in the birth of a new nation, and you can stand close enough to read its inscription: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof….” You can also eyeball the bell's famous crack—the one that silenced it, but did not dim its historical relevance.

Only by going through security and walking through Liberty Bell Center can you enter into the area surrounding Independence Hall. Awash in Colonial charm, the building retains its simple architectural beauty despite throngs of visitors—and there's no denying that the founding fathers' revolutionary spirit lingers here. This is the hall where the delegates of the Thirteen British Colonies met to debate and approve the Declaration of Independence, and where the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution were drafted and adopted.

Speaking of the United States' Constitution—“We the People….”—it's a mere four pages long, but the document is the world's most famous blueprint for democracy. You'll see an original version in the park's 160,000-square-foot National Constitution Center. This interactive museum chronicles more than two centuries of constitutional history with some 100 exhibits. You can don a black robe and sit on the U.S. Supreme Court bench, raise your right hand and take the presidential oath, step into a speakeasy during Prohibition or listen to one of FDR's fireside chats in a 1940s living room.

Formerly a county court house, Congress Hall served as the first home to Congress, with the House of Representatives meeting on the first floor, appropriately called the “Lower House,” and the Senate meeting upstairs, the “Upper House.” On the second floor of this AAA GEM attraction, you'll view the elegant meeting chamber and various committee rooms. The building is frozen in time, looking as it did when John Adams was inaugurated there in 1797.

With its thick Doric columns, the Second Bank was once the paradigm for designs of American finance buildings. Today, the bank features a different kind of currency: Art. The Second Bank of the United States Portrait Gallery features the “People of Independence” exhibit, a veritable 18th-century celebrity roster. The gallery includes 185 paintings of Colonial and Federal leaders, including many incredible works by Charles Willson Peale.

At Christ Church, sit in one of the pews where Betsy Ross, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington prayed. The church, adjacent to the park and also in Old City, is a must-see for architecture buffs; the 1727 structure typifies early Georgian style.

AAA GEM Fairmount Park is the next stop on the itinerary. The park's bucolic acreage extends along both sides of the Schuylkill and is woven with miles of scenic drives, walks, bicycle routes and horse trails. It's one of the world's largest municipal parks—several million trees grow along its paths. Within Fairmount's bounds, you can also visit numerous historic sites and museums.

One of the park's museums, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, houses the third largest public art collection in the United States. You'll recognize the Parthenon-like exterior and steps from the famous scene in “Rocky.” The AAA GEM museum boasts collections of Renaissance, Impressionist, Asian, contemporary and decorative art, including the large “Bathers” by Paul Cézanne, the infamous “Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors (Large Glass)” by Marcel Duchamp and an entire gallery devoted to native son Thomas Eakins. Upstairs are more than 80 rooms devoted to other cultures, décors and times, from temple to cloister to boudoir. While in the park vicinity, you can also visit the Rodin Museum , administered by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The works of sculptor Auguste Rodin can be appreciated amid stately Beaux-Arts architecture and a formal French garden.

Another of Fairmount Park's sites features one of the world's most celebrated and notorious art collections, The Barnes Foundation. Albert Barnes collected works 1912-51 and stipulated that the collection should remain unchanged in its Philadelphia suburb after his death. However, restrictions imposed on the site led the foundation's board to decide that relocating to Philadelphia was the best option, and the new facility opened there in May 2012. This AAA GEM museum largely accommodates Barnes' creative, unconventional displays, where masterpieces are hung symmetrically by size and paired with such quirky objects as Amish chests, antique tools, tribal masks and Navajo rugs. The paintings are wondrous—more than 180 Renoirs, dozens of Cézannes and Matisses, works by Degas, Manet, Seurat and Van Gogh.

In a city of recognizable buildings, the Masonic Temple is one of the most impressive structures. Across from City Hall, the temple scales the clouds with its twin Norman-style spires. The interior is equally fabulous, both in variety and scope. Each of the temple's seven lodge halls exemplifies a different architectural period: Corinthian, Ionic, Italian Renaissance, Norman, Gothic, Oriental and Egyptian. Artifacts in the library/museum include George Washington's Masonic apron, embroidered by the wife of the Marquis de Lafayette.

A blast for kids of all ages, The Franklin Institute offers four floors of interactive exhibits. There's a walk-through heart, an exhibit on the life of Ben Franklin, an IMAX theater and a planetarium. Try the Sports Challenge, which offers a climbing wall, a pitching cage and virtual reality displays. Other activities include SkyBike, a bicycle that balances riders on a 28-foot-high cable; the Train Factory's 350-ton locomotive; and Space Command's orbital research station. This museum gets high marks for participation.

Students of social change and fans of spooky places will be drawn to the Eastern State Penitentiary. Inside the Gothic, castlelike building, the humane concept of solitary confinement was instituted under the Quakers in the 1830s. This 11-acre prison was developed as a state-of-the-art incarceration facility: it had flushing toilets before the White House. Now it's ghostly, with everything frozen in time—even bed sheets and shoes were left behind when the penitentiary was abandoned in the 1960s.

If you've always wanted to go on an architectural dig, stop at the Penn Museum. A 13-ton granite sphinx sits at the entrance to the Egyptian Galleries, where artifacts range from cat mummies and deity sculptures to tomb walls carved with ancient hieroglyphics. The museum's multi-gallery collection includes nearly a million objects from around the world, including a Navajo house, an Inuit fishing boat, Roman glass, Greek vases and funerary artifacts.

Housed in a converted 19th-century gristmill, the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford features a large collection of paintings by the celebrated family Wyeth. Andrew Wyeth, especially, captured the extremes of the Brandywine Valley—pastoral rolling hills, deep fallen snow, churning rivers and hardy residents. Works by Andrew's father, the illustrator, N.C., and by Andrew's son, Jamie (a Realist, like his father), are also on display. The collection includes more than 3,000 American landscapes, still life paintings and illustrations.

The exquisitely maintained grounds of Longwood Gardens were once the pride of industrialist Pierre S. du Pont. Covering 1,000 acres, the gardens are landscaped with fountains and more than 11,000 types of flowers, trees and plants. Wander through formal knot gardens, an Italian water garden, the eight outdoor “rooms” of Peirce's Woods and vast heated greenhouses, lush with exotic blooms.

The proper way to conclude a trip to Philadelphia is with stops at the AAA GEMS

Valley Forge National Historical Park

and

Washington Crossing Historic Park,

where the United States battled for independence.


In beautiful Valley Forge, it's hard to imagine the Continental Army suffering through a terrible winter, but during the lean, cruel months of 1777-1778, some 12,000 troops were camped here. The welcome center's exhibit, “Determined to Persevere,” uses Revolutionary War artifacts to tell the story of General Washington's army and its struggles.

At Washington Crossing Historic Park, you'll see the spot where boats spirited the “man-who-could-not-tell-a-lie” and his troops to battle across the Delaware. Skirmishes at Trenton and Princeton were resounding victories for the Continental Army—turning the tide in the War for Independence.

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Philadelphia in 3 Days
Three days is barely enough time to get to know any major destination. But AAA travel editors suggest these activities to make the most of your time in Philadelphia.

Day 1: Morning
Begin your first day in the City of Brotherly Love at Independence Visitor Center in Independence National Historical Park located at the corner of 6th and Market streets in Center City. If you arrive early, you'll be ahead of the crowds. Get free tickets and sign up for a National Park Service walking tour.

Head to Independence Hall then to Liberty Bell Center. Continue touring Independence National Historical Park and see the National Constitution Center , Congress Hall and the Second Bank of the United States Portrait Gallery.


Day 1: Afternoon
Walk north on 5th Street. Stop at Christ Church's modest burial ground, where Benjamin Franklin and other signers of the Declaration of Independence are interred.

For lunch, dine in an Old City restaurant—take your pick of places, from casual diners and sandwich joints. Try Sonny's Famous Steaks at 2nd and Market. Fancier establishments include Fork and Amada at 2nd and Chestnut. If you're in the mood for a Philly Cheesesteak, why not visit the most popular place in the neighborhood? Hoof it to Jim's Steaks at 4th and South streets. You'll also discover lunch trucks serving the famous sandwich on just about every corner.

After grabbing lunch, walk (or bus it) back to Christ Church. This time go inside to see where the American Episcopal Church got its start and where some of the Founding Fathers worshipped. After a church visit, head over to the Betsy Ross House at 239 Arch Street. And then make your way to Elfreth's Alley, the oldest continually inhabited street in America. The visitor center is free and is at number 124.

In the late afternoon, walk southeast to Head House Square (Lombard and S. 3rd streets). How about resting your feet? Take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride. Meander through Society Hill's 18th-century cobblestone streets. The architecture, row houses and intimate courtyards cast fabulous shadows as twilight beckons.

Day 1: Evening
For dinner, try one of Old City's restaurants or head back toward Independence National Historical Park. If you're in the mood for some hip Asian cuisine, try the fusion Buddakan at 3rd and Chestnut. If meatloaf or macaroni and cheese are more your speed, head to Jones.

After dinner, head to Penn’s Landing on the waterfront, scene of Friday night concerts all summer and Thursday film screenings under the stars in July and August. In the winter, you can practice your turns on the outdoor ice-skating rink. Afterward, nab a cocktail on “The Hippest Street in Town.” The popular song's lyrics don't lie: as you amble down South Street between Front and 9th, you'll find plenty of bistros and bars where you can swill that nightcap.

Day 2: Morning
Begin in Center City and visit the Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts and its huge collection of American art. After a few hours of soaking up the visuals, walk south on S. Broad Street toward City Hall, glimpsing a bronze statue of William Penn perched on top, then duck into Macy's, a.k.a. the John Wanamaker Building. Twice daily Monday through Saturday, the Wanamaker organ, the largest operational pipe organ in the world, blasts out a dramatic concert within the department store's seven story court.

Day 2: Afternoon
For lunch, walk east to Reading Terminal Market, where you can taste true Philadelphia eats such as the highly regarded cheese steak or buttered soft pretzels. Try some Amish sassafras jelly or ginger snaps. Of course, dozens of food stalls offer plenty of edible options, including lo mein and pizza.

Now head back toward City Hall and walk east on Market to find the strangest, most wonderful museum in town: the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia . The museum's better than watching a forensic television program, as visitors find anomalous and aberrant medical oddities on view, such as a woman's corpse whose body turned to soap. Be warned: the Mütter's bizarre displays are not for weak stomachs.

Head north to The Franklin Institute , which offers four floors of interactive exhibits. Walk through a model of a human heart, watch a film in the Tuttleman IMAX Theater and or gaze at blinking stars in the Fels Planetarium.

Day 2: Evening
From the museum, turn back toward Rittenhouse Square, where visitors will find bars, restaurants and plenty of shops. You've got a wealth of choices here. For great burgers, fries, beer and a homey atmosphere, try Good Dog Bar & Restaurant. Looking for a chic but comfortable tapas restaurant that serves great wine and brewskies? Head to Tria. Want romance, a splendid view of the historic grassy square and acclaimed cuisine? Lacroix at the Rittenhouse is the ticket.

After dinner, mosey around Pine Street and make your way along Antique Row, where the window shopping is superb.

Day 3: Morning
Sure, everyone remembers the exciting scene in the movie “Rocky,” when the browbeaten boxer runs up the stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. But step inside the museum for the real excitement—here you'll find a huge collection of art. And this mammoth place is easily navigated. Spend a couple hours wandering the collections, and you'll see major paintings by major painters, such as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Peter Paul Rubens, to name just a handful.

Day 3: Afternoon
After soaking up some high culture, you've earned your appetite. There are a couple of choices close to the museum. Dine alfresco (weather permitting) while you down a crab cake sandwich at Jack's Firehouse Restaurant. For some spice, Rose Tattoo Café brings the heat with their Cajun cuisine, burgers and quiche.

If you don't mind bussing it or driving, and you haven't yet experienced a Philly cheesesteak, head to South Philly where it all began. On Passyunk Avenue diehards will find two of the best (and original) sandwich shops in town, Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks. Place your order “wid” or “widout” (onions and Cheez Whiz that is).

After lunch, if you didn't go to South Philly for cheesesteaks, you're still in the Museum district, so visit the Rodin Museum, where you'll find the largest collection of Rodin sculptures outside of France.

If you couldn't resist the cheesesteaks and you're already in South Philly, head to the Italian Market. Grab a cappuccino from any of the local cafés and soak up the local atmosphere. Right off the docks, venders hawk their fruits and vegetables to passersby. Cheese shops dole out large samples of olives and brie. And the people-watching is a delight. Don't miss Sarcone's Bakery, whose Italian bread is heavenly.

Day 3: Evening
To understand Philadelphians, one must understand their passion for sports. Take in a game and cheer for one of city's teams. Grab a dog, a soda and some peanuts and take part in one of America's favorite pastimes—sports. During football season, nothing's more fun than an Eagles' game at Lincoln Financial Field—if you can score tickets. Want a little court or ice action? Watch the Sixers dribble or the Flyers skate at Wells Fargo Center. When the weather's balmy, don't miss the Phillies' boys of summer playing at Citizen's Bank Park.

If you decide not to eat at the ballpark, head to Center City's Asian district to the Vietnam Restaurant for delicious noodle dishes.



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Philadelphia in 3 Days
Three days is barely enough time to get to know any major destination. But AAA travel editors suggest these activities to make the most of your time in Philadelphia.

Day 1: Morning
Begin your first day in the City of Brotherly Love at Independence Visitor Center in Independence National Historical Park located at the corner of 6th and Market streets in Center City. If you arrive early, you'll be ahead of the crowds. Get free tickets and sign up for a National Park Service walking tour.

Head to Independence Hall then to Liberty Bell Center. Continue touring Independence National Historical Park and see the National Constitution Center , Congress Hall and the Second Bank of the United States Portrait Gallery.


Day 1: Afternoon
Walk north on 5th Street. Stop at Christ Church's modest burial ground, where Benjamin Franklin and other signers of the Declaration of Independence are interred.

For lunch, dine in an Old City restaurant—take your pick of places, from casual diners and sandwich joints. Try Sonny's Famous Steaks at 2nd and Market. Fancier establishments include Fork and Amada at 2nd and Chestnut. If you're in the mood for a Philly Cheesesteak, why not visit the most popular place in the neighborhood? Hoof it to Jim's Steaks at 4th and South streets. You'll also discover lunch trucks serving the famous sandwich on just about every corner.

After grabbing lunch, walk (or bus it) back to Christ Church. This time go inside to see where the American Episcopal Church got its start and where some of the Founding Fathers worshipped. After a church visit, head over to the Betsy Ross House at 239 Arch Street. And then make your way to Elfreth's Alley, the oldest continually inhabited street in America. The visitor center is free and is at number 124.

In the late afternoon, walk southeast to Head House Square (Lombard and S. 3rd streets). How about resting your feet? Take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride. Meander through Society Hill's 18th-century cobblestone streets. The architecture, row houses and intimate courtyards cast fabulous shadows as twilight beckons.

Day 1: Evening
For dinner, try one of Old City's restaurants or head back toward Independence National Historical Park. If you're in the mood for some hip Asian cuisine, try the fusion Buddakan at 3rd and Chestnut. If meatloaf or macaroni and cheese are more your speed, head to Jones.

After dinner, head to Penn’s Landing on the waterfront, scene of Friday night concerts all summer and Thursday film screenings under the stars in July and August. In the winter, you can practice your turns on the outdoor ice-skating rink. Afterward, nab a cocktail on “The Hippest Street in Town.” The popular song's lyrics don't lie: as you amble down South Street between Front and 9th, you'll find plenty of bistros and bars where you can swill that nightcap.

Day 2: Morning
Begin in Center City and visit the Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts and its huge collection of American art. After a few hours of soaking up the visuals, walk south on S. Broad Street toward City Hall, glimpsing a bronze statue of William Penn perched on top, then duck into Macy's, a.k.a. the John Wanamaker Building. Twice daily Monday through Saturday, the Wanamaker organ, the largest operational pipe organ in the world, blasts out a dramatic concert within the department store's seven story court.

Day 2: Afternoon
For lunch, walk east to Reading Terminal Market, where you can taste true Philadelphia eats such as the highly regarded cheese steak or buttered soft pretzels. Try some Amish sassafras jelly or ginger snaps. Of course, dozens of food stalls offer plenty of edible options, including lo mein and pizza.

Now head back toward City Hall and walk east on Market to find the strangest, most wonderful museum in town: the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia . The museum's better than watching a forensic television program, as visitors find anomalous and aberrant medical oddities on view, such as a woman's corpse whose body turned to soap. Be warned: the Mütter's bizarre displays are not for weak stomachs.

Head north to The Franklin Institute , which offers four floors of interactive exhibits. Walk through a model of a human heart, watch a film in the Tuttleman IMAX Theater and or gaze at blinking stars in the Fels Planetarium.

Day 2: Evening
From the museum, turn back toward Rittenhouse Square, where visitors will find bars, restaurants and plenty of shops. You've got a wealth of choices here. For great burgers, fries, beer and a homey atmosphere, try Good Dog Bar & Restaurant. Looking for a chic but comfortable tapas restaurant that serves great wine and brewskies? Head to Tria. Want romance, a splendid view of the historic grassy square and acclaimed cuisine? Lacroix at the Rittenhouse is the ticket.

After dinner, mosey around Pine Street and make your way along Antique Row, where the window shopping is superb.

Day 3: Morning
Sure, everyone remembers the exciting scene in the movie “Rocky,” when the browbeaten boxer runs up the stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. But step inside the museum for the real excitement—here you'll find a huge collection of art. And this mammoth place is easily navigated. Spend a couple hours wandering the collections, and you'll see major paintings by major painters, such as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Peter Paul Rubens, to name just a handful.

Day 3: Afternoon
After soaking up some high culture, you've earned your appetite. There are a couple of choices close to the museum. Dine alfresco (weather permitting) while you down a crab cake sandwich at Jack's Firehouse Restaurant. For some spice, Rose Tattoo Café brings the heat with their Cajun cuisine, burgers and quiche.

If you don't mind bussing it or driving, and you haven't yet experienced a Philly cheesesteak, head to South Philly where it all began. On Passyunk Avenue diehards will find two of the best (and original) sandwich shops in town, Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks. Place your order “wid” or “widout” (onions and Cheez Whiz that is).

After lunch, if you didn't go to South Philly for cheesesteaks, you're still in the Museum district, so visit the Rodin Museum, where you'll find the largest collection of Rodin sculptures outside of France.

If you couldn't resist the cheesesteaks and you're already in South Philly, head to the Italian Market. Grab a cappuccino from any of the local cafés and soak up the local atmosphere. Right off the docks, venders hawk their fruits and vegetables to passersby. Cheese shops dole out large samples of olives and brie. And the people-watching is a delight. Don't miss Sarcone's Bakery, whose Italian bread is heavenly.

Day 3: Evening
To understand Philadelphians, one must understand their passion for sports. Take in a game and cheer for one of city's teams. Grab a dog, a soda and some peanuts and take part in one of America's favorite pastimes—sports. During football season, nothing's more fun than an Eagles' game at Lincoln Financial Field—if you can score tickets. Want a little court or ice action? Watch the Sixers dribble or the Flyers skate at Wells Fargo Center. When the weather's balmy, don't miss the Phillies' boys of summer playing at Citizen's Bank Park.

If you decide not to eat at the ballpark, head to Center City's Asian district to the Vietnam Restaurant for delicious noodle dishes.



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