Reading Terminal Market
Dating from the late 1600s, markets have served as an integral feature of Philadelphia society. It's easy to envision crowds thriving in the hustle and bustle of these lively outdoor meeting places, making selections among the colorful food stalls, bartering with merchants and chatting with neighbors to secure the latest gossip.
By the mid-19th century, the earlier open-air markets were no longer fashionable, mostly due to cleanliness and health concerns. Ultimately, two indoor shopping places were developed in the area of 12th and Market streets. They eventually served as the inspiration for Reading Terminal Market, which sprang to life in 1892 and today still hosts many things to do.
The concept behind the market, tucked beneath the Reading Railroad's train shed, was that travelers could purchase reasonably priced goods before their journey. It boasted Philadelphia's largest refrigeration facility and nearly 78,000 square feet of space organized into a grid. And suburban dwellers could have their grocery orders transported via train, a novelty at the time.
The market had its share of hard times. Despite the Depression, war and the decline of the railroad, the resilient facility continued to squeak by, even with the end of Reading Railroad's business (and consequently the upstairs foot traffic) in the 1970s. Things turned around when construction began to convert the Reading Terminal into a grand access point to a newly planned convention center. The beloved market could not be ignored and it, too, received a much-needed boost.
Today, Reading Terminal Market is a flourishing foodie haven, providing gastronomic bliss to residents and visitors alike. A variety of vendors provide breakfast and lunch fare, snacks and ethnic specialties available for dine-in or take out, including mouthwatering baked goods, produce, meat, confections and seafood. Periodically, live music is offered in the vibrant market, and a tour included in many vacation packages focusing on history and iconic Philly treats is offered on Wednesday and Saturday for a fee. Books, crafts, jewelry, clothing and gourmet items also satisfy the whims of shoppers, who will find the market open Mon.-Sat. 8-6, Sun. 9-5 (closed major holidays); for additional information phone (215) 922-2317.
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
Pennsylvania's statewide sales tax is 6 percent. An additional 2 percent is collected by Philadelphia County, as is an 8.5 percent hotel tax.
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) 707-2000.
Philadelphia International Airport
Hertz, at the Philadelphia International Airport, (215) 492-7205 or (800) 654-3080, offers discounts to AAA members.
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) 523-6590.
The major bus terminal is Greyhound Lines Inc., (215) 931-4075, at 10th and Filbert streets. Peter Pan Bus Lines, (800) 343-9999, also serves the city. New Jersey Transit buses, (973) 275-5555, depart for southern New Jersey and shore points.
Yellow Cab Co., (215) 333-8294, charges a $2.70 base rate plus $2.30 per mile. A fuel surcharge also may be added. One-way fares between the airport and central Philadelphia locations are a flat $49 fee.
A system of buses, trolleys, subways and regional rails serves Philadelphia. Operated by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), buses, trolleys and subways charge $2.50, plus $1 for a transfer; exact change is required. Senior citizens ride free. Regional rail fares vary by zone; phone (215) 580-7800 for fare information. RiverLink Ferry offers ferry service from Penn's Landing to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, N.J.