A Saturday Stroll in Philadelphia
By Taylor Smith
Summer is a great time to enjoy the many cultural attractions, fine food, and parks available in Philadelphia. Located approximately one hour from Princeton (two hours from Manhattan), Philadelphia is the perfect place to wile away a weekend. In addition to the suggestions below, there’s always the opportunity to watch a Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park. Better yet, schedule your trip around Independence Day to view the spectacular Fireworks Celebration at Penn’s Landing on the Delaware River Waterfront.
9AM: Begin your day with a leisurely walk along the Schuylkill Banks, located in the heart of Philadelphia. The paved trail is 1.2 miles long. You can also kayak or canoe the tidal Schuylkill by heading up river towards the Fairmount Dam to enjoy views of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the city skyline. After disembarking, enjoy the works of Auguste Rodin at the Rodin Museum, an outdoor sculpture park, located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The Barnes Museum (also located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway) houses one of the finest collections of post-impressionist and early Modern paintings with works by Matisse, Rousseau, and Modigliani, among others.
11AM: Breakfast is available all day at Mile’s Table, located at 1620 South Street. The place is a comfortable and casual spot for a sausage and egg brioche or a whitefish bagel. Another great brunch option is Green Eggs Café. They have three locations in Philadelphia, including South Philly, Northern Liberties, and Midtown Village. You will find everything from breakfast burritos to biscuits and gravy on the menu.
1PM: While you are in Philadelphia you might be interested in taking-in a little history and the Independence National Historical Park (INHP) is a good place to start. Here, National Park Rangers will lead you on a guided tour of Independence Hall, the building where the Declaration of Independence was signed and adopted on July 4, 1776. The tour begins in the Court Room and travels to the Assembly Room, which is arranged just as it appeared for the Constitutional Convention. Lastly, view the West Wing, which contains the original inkstand used to sign the Declaration, along with an original draft of the Constitution.
Adjacent to INHP, Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell has become a universal symbol of freedom throughout America. The bell was first hung in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House and immediately cracked after being rung. Historically, the bell was rung to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and to alert Philadelphia’s citizens to public meetings and announcements.
3PM: During the 1850’s, Rittenhouse Square was the most fashionable and wealthy area in the city, populated by successful businessmen, politicians, and socialites. In 1913, French born architect Paul Philippe Cret contributed to a re-design of the park (he also aided in the design of Philadelphia’s Rodin Museum and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway) with classical urns, large planter beds, a reflecting pool, and a balustrade ringed by a circular walkway. More than any other square, Rittenhouse functions as a neighborhood park. During the summer, there are regular flower markets and outdoor art exhibitions. After a stroll through the park, partake in the great shopping along Rittenhouse Row, which is brimming with select national retailers and upscale boutiques.
4PM: Parc Restaurant Bistro & Café in Rittenhouse Square recalls the chic bistros of Paris with plenty of drinks and sidewalk seating. Ideal for appetizers and drinks or a leisurely meal, the menu includes classic items like onion soup, escargots, and steak frites. Also, the baguettes are made in-house and are the perfect accompaniment to a glass of wine and the charcuterie platter.
6PM: You can dine outdoors at Talula’s Garden, located at 210 W. Washington Square. The menus include creative and seasonal farm fresh food. They also have an entire menu devoted to cheese and a very lengthy dessert menu. Another dinner locale that offers outdoor dining is Zavino, located at 112 S. 13th Street in Midtown Village (they have a second location in University City). Zavino’s is recognized as a wine and pizza restaurant, but they also serve homemade pasta and vegetable dishes.
8PM: World Café Live is a relatively upscale music venue, located at 3025 Walnut Street. They host an eclectic lineup of musicians almost every night of the week. They are also proud sponsors of the WXPN Music Festival, which takes place on the Camden Waterfront every summer and attracts international artists. This year’s lineup includes Beck, Ryan Adams, Dawes, and more. The 3-day festival will be held from July 25 through 27. For a complete event-lineup and ticket information, visit www.xpn.org. View the line-up at World Café at www.philly.worldcafelive.com. Another evening possibility is to take in a show at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The Philadelphia Orchestra will perform at the Kimmel Center between July 23 and 26 and The Book of Mormon runs from July 29 through September 14.