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Old 09-03-2012, 01:20 PM   #1
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Things to do in Philly and after DC

OK, so I'm doing the Spirit of America ABD in May of 2013. I'm going to be arriving a few days early in Philly (visiting family, then a day or two on my own) and staying a day or two after the ABD. I'm looking for things to do in Philly that aren't the typical tourist things (since I'll probably do those either with the family or ABD). And I'm looking for opinions on staying the extra time after in DC, or going to Colonial Williamsburg.

Also, anyone who has done Spirit of America, is there enough free time during the trip to do the Holocaust museum?

Thanks in advance for any opinions/advice!!!

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Old 09-03-2012, 03:51 PM   #2
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We did the Spirit of America trip a few years ago (before it went to Gettysburg & Monticello). We only flew in one day early. We played mini golf at Franklin Square. I wish we had went to Reading Market.

We didn't have very much museum time in D.C. We just went to a couple of the Smithsonian buildings. I think that you could definitely spend more time there.
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Old 09-03-2012, 05:43 PM   #3
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If you have a car, Longwood Gardens isn't far from Philly. You could also take the train to NYC or go to Rehoboth Beach in DE or to any of the NJ beaches(need a car for that).

As for spending extra time in DC, if you haven't done all the museums, that would be something to do. Mount Vernon is close to DC, but you need a car to get there.

I grew up near Colonial Williamsburg and there really isn't much to do there. You can walk down DOG(Duke of Gloucester) street for free and look in the buildings. If you want to go into the interpretive buildings(Capitol, Governor's Palace, museums, etc.) you need to buy the pass. You can also visit Jamestown, Yorktown Battlefield, and Busch Gardens/Water Country USA(check to see when they are open). If you're in to shopping, the Prime Outlets are there and you can always tour the College of William and Mary. VA often runs a combination ticket for some of these attractions. Check the VA website to see what they may be offering.
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Old 09-03-2012, 07:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tchrrx View Post
We did the Spirit of America trip a few years ago (before it went to Gettysburg & Monticello). We only flew in one day early. We played mini golf at Franklin Square. I wish we had went to Reading Market.

We didn't have very much museum time in D.C. We just went to a couple of the Smithsonian buildings. I think that you could definitely spend more time there.
I think I've heard of Reading Market. Not sure if my brother would take me that sort of place. I'll look into it.

It would certainly be easier to spend an extra day or 2 in DC afterwards. It's tempting.

Thanks!

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If you have a car, Longwood Gardens isn't far from Philly. You could also take the train to NYC or go to Rehoboth Beach in DE or to any of the NJ beaches(need a car for that).
Don't know that I want to go all the way to New York. I'm thinking I'm looking to stay closer to Philly. And I'm going in May. I don't know if it would be beach weather at that point. What all is there to do at these beaches? Ooo, Longwood Gardens sounds interesting. I'll have to keep that in mind if I end up getting a rental car.

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As for spending extra time in DC, if you haven't done all the museums, that would be something to do. Mount Vernon is close to DC, but you need a car to get there.
It sounds like we won't have nearly enough time in the DC museums. That may win. And Mount Vernon is included in the ABD!

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I grew up near Colonial Williamsburg and there really isn't much to do there. You can walk down DOG(Duke of Gloucester) street for free and look in the buildings. If you want to go into the interpretive buildings(Capitol, Governor's Palace, museums, etc.) you need to buy the pass. You can also visit Jamestown, Yorktown Battlefield, and Busch Gardens/Water Country USA(check to see when they are open). If you're in to shopping, the Prime Outlets are there and you can always tour the College of William and Mary. VA often runs a combination ticket for some of these attractions. Check the VA website to see what they may be offering.
So are you saying Colonial Williamsburg wouldn't be a multi-day thing? I would definitely want to go into the interpretive buildings. And Jamestown sounds cool, as does the College of William & Mary. And while I do love to shop, we have a Prime Outlet here, so I'm not sure I'd want to do that on vacation.

Thanks, all, some good stuff to look into.

Anything else folks?

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Old 09-03-2012, 09:58 PM   #5
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A couple suggestions, depending on what you want to do

If you want to keep in line with a US history theme, there is Valley Forge Park.

Longwood Gardens is a great suggestion, there is also the Franklin Insitute, the Art Museum and the Barnes Collection if you are interested in Philly arts/education.

For an outoors option, there is Fairmount Park to explore.

For shopping there is the King of Prussia Mall.
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Old 09-03-2012, 10:40 PM   #6
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I already put my major picks in this thread: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2933953

I still stand by those options. The Philadelphia Zoo recently added something unique to their Primate exhibit that's made the national news. It's still one of my favorite Zoos and feel it's worth visiting.

The King of Prussia Mall is great but it's nowhere near Philly. It's about an hour drive from here on the world's worst road on the planet. If you do decide to do it keep in mind it's seriously HUGE! You will get lost and it can easily eat your entire day!

I'm better if I know specifics of what you want to experience in Philly so feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer.

Edit: Remembered something I haven't posted yet. The Mutter Museum I hear is great I still haven't personally been but I know a lot who have, a unique Museum I don't know of anything like it anywhere else. I still need to go but haven't gotten around to it. I think that paired with Eastern State Penitentiary would make for an interesting day.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LionKingRules84 View Post
I already put my major picks in this thread: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2933953

I still stand by those options. The Philadelphia Zoo recently added something unique to their Primate exhibit that's made the national news. It's still one of my favorite Zoos and feel it's worth visiting.

The King of Prussia Mall is great but it's nowhere near Philly. It's about an hour drive from here on the world's worst road on the planet. If you do decide to do it keep in mind it's seriously HUGE! You will get lost and it can easily eat your entire day!

I'm better if I know specifics of what you want to experience in Philly so feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer.

Edit: Remembered something I haven't posted yet. The Mutter Museum I hear is great I still haven't personally been but I know a lot who have, a unique Museum I don't know of anything like it anywhere else. I still need to go but haven't gotten around to it. I think that paired with Eastern State Penitentiary would make for an interesting day.
Duh! That's right! You put all sorts of suggestions in the Meets thread! I think I'll claim brain death!

I will check out the Philadelphia Zoo. Columbus has a really great Zoo, but I love checking out others. This Mutter Museum sounds intriguing. I'll have to do some Googling.

Thanks!
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:01 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ses1230 View Post
A couple suggestions, depending on what you want to do

If you want to keep in line with a US history theme, there is Valley Forge Park.

Longwood Gardens is a great suggestion, there is also the Franklin Insitute, the Art Museum and the Barnes Collection if you are interested in Philly arts/education.

For an outoors option, there is Fairmount Park to explore.

For shopping there is the King of Prussia Mall.
Oh, a few things I wasn't aware of. What is the Franklin Institute? While I do like my shopping, an hour's drive on the world's worst road doesn't sound too vacationy to me.

Thanks!
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayhello View Post
Duh! That's right! You put all sorts of suggestions in the Meets thread! I think I'll claim brain death!

I will check out the Philadelphia Zoo. Columbus has a really great Zoo, but I love checking out others. This Mutter Museum sounds intriguing. I'll have to do some Googling.

Thanks!
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The Mutter Museum is a Museum of Medical Oddities. I actually went to the website and they are offering a ticket for that and the Penn Museum another great Museum that I have yet to visit but hear great things.

The Franklin Institute is a Science Museum. I haven't been in years but they have a ton of interactive Science exhibits. Tourists seem to like it I tend to shy away from it since I always see a ton of kids there, but that's just a preference, people seem to really enjoy it and it's worth a visit if you have never been. It has an IMAX theater too.

There are usually other ways to get to the King of Prussia Mall but the only direct way is to take the Schuylkill Expressway or I 76. I personally hate that road. I've taken many trips to King Of Prussia this summer to do some shopping more than I have in awhile I don't think any trip has not been a pain either getting there or getting back. It's the best and biggest mall in the area and has a lot of choices for shopping. If that's what you are looking for then it's a jack pot! They also have some nice sales which is why it's worth the trek for me. There is also the Philadelphia Outlet Center but again even though it's called that it's not in Philadelphia it's in Limerick and about an hour on I95 from here but that drive isn't quite as bad as to King of Prussia.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:24 AM   #10
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Both the Franklin Institute and the Mutter are excellent recommendations. Franklin Institute is an interactive science museum that does well for both adults and children alike.

Across the river (accessible by ferry) in New Jersey is the Adventure Aquarium - simply one of the best in the country. Phenomenal exhibits that are well worth the admission fee. I highly recommend this and the Franklin Institute.

If you're a history buff, I'd also check out the Battleship New Jersey Museum. Really great tour.


www.adventureaquarium.com/

http://www.battleshipnewjersey.org

www2.fi.edu/
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:30 AM   #11
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We recently did a " college tour" trip to Philly...I posted several suggestions we got from the kids at the schools and loved trying under this same user name on TA.
I'm no expert, but we enjoyed the Reading Terminal Market as a great diversion for lunch. Not only can you get a cheese steak, and hear some local musicians, but if you do it near the end of your trip, there are loads of locally made foodstuffs, and you can carry some home. We went late April, so there are likely to be even more fresh produce options for you! ( several folks from Amish country run stalls there, fudge, veggies, cheeses...yum!)

Also, there are so many art museums in Philly, we spent a whole day walking the central avenue there (ridiculous that I can't remember the name- but you can't miss it on the map! )It's a lovely park in and of itself, but on either side there are museums of every type, including a newly renovated science museum and ending with the famous Philly Museum of Art and the " Rocky" stairs.
While walking along, look for the " shave ice " truck for another uniquely Philly treat.

Do get to South Street in Philly during the day, ( cant vouch for saftey at night) a real arstsy boho scene with some interesting shops (think edgy urban hpister places, mixed with shoe shops run by newer residents, the kind of place with metal garage doors over them at night). Good eats at Jim's Steaks, and Ishkabibbles fries. These were recommended by the students,and they know

We didn't get to do more than pass by the waterfront area called Penns landing, but it looked like a nice place to spend an afternoon.

I'm assuming you'll do the National Park activities with the ABD...have a great time, I think Philly is kind of a fun place and if my daughter doesn't stay here in Boston for college, she thinks going to Philly is number 2? But she will always be a Boston sports fan, no matter what
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:50 AM   #12
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Reading Terminal Market is heaven on Earth if you enjoy food.

Trust me.
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by familygoboston View Post
We recently did a " college tour" trip to Philly...I posted several suggestions we got from the kids at the schools and loved trying under this same user name on TA.
I'm no expert, but we enjoyed the Reading Terminal Market as a great diversion for lunch. Not only can you get a cheese steak, and hear some local musicians, but if you do it near the end of your trip, there are loads of locally made foodstuffs, and you can carry some home. We went late April, so there are likely to be even more fresh produce options for you! ( several folks from Amish country run stalls there, fudge, veggies, cheeses...yum!)

Also, there are so many art museums in Philly, we spent a whole day walking the central avenue there (ridiculous that I can't remember the name- but you can't miss it on the map! )It's a lovely park in and of itself, but on either side there are museums of every type, including a newly renovated science museum and ending with the famous Philly Museum of Art and the " Rocky" stairs.
While walking along, look for the " shave ice " truck for another uniquely Philly treat.

Do get to South Street in Philly during the day, ( cant vouch for saftey at night) a real arstsy boho scene with some interesting shops (think edgy urban hpister places, mixed with shoe shops run by newer residents, the kind of place with metal garage doors over them at night). Good eats at Jim's Steaks, and Ishkabibbles fries. These were recommended by the students,and they know

We didn't get to do more than pass by the waterfront area called Penns landing, but it looked like a nice place to spend an afternoon.

I'm assuming you'll do the National Park activities with the ABD...have a great time, I think Philly is kind of a fun place and if my daughter doesn't stay here in Boston for college, she thinks going to Philly is number 2? But she will always be a Boston sports fan, no matter what
The Central Avenue you are talking about sounds like 'The Benjamin Franklin Parkway' If you are at the top of the Art Museum steps you are looking down the Parkway. The Rodin Museum and The Barnes Foundation are along the Parkway.

Reading Terminal Market is always a great idea! I seriously would go more if I had the money. Keep in mind the Amish are not there all week. They are there from Wednesday to Sunday. Sunday a lot of the venders are closed so keep that in mind.

South Street is fun and I recently went to dinner on a friday night having not been in awhile and I saw a ton of police present including mounted Police(police on horseback) so I think it's very safe these days. I highly suggest a cab, parking on South Street is a bit difficult if not impossible.

Penns Landing is a nice walk if you have time. I like it there at night myself great views of The Ben Franklin Bridge.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:45 PM   #14
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Wow, thanks everybody! I really don't think I'll lack for things to do in Philly now! All the museums sound great (I'm a sucker for a science museum, so the Franklin Institute is making its way to the top of the list, and the Mutter Museum sounds cool, too.

Reading Terminal Market sounds great too (who can pass up Heaven on earth?!!)

South Street sounds like my kind of place, too. I've always liked wandering in & out of boho shops.

And the New Jersey Adventure Aquarium sounds very cool, too. Hopefully I can talk my brother & his family to join me on a trip to that or the Zoo!

I'm staying the night before the ABD (and during the ABD) at the Hyatt Regency Penn's Landing, so I'm assuming I can just wander out the hotel in the evening and take in Penn's Landing? I've always enjoyed Riverwalks...

Thanks again! You've all been such help, with such great ideas!

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Old 09-04-2012, 10:28 PM   #15
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The Central Avenue you are talking about sounds like 'The Benjamin Franklin Parkway' If you are at the top of the Art Museum steps you are looking down the Parkway. The Rodin Museum and The Barnes Foundation are along the Parkway.

.
That's it! It's probably well over a mile, but such a nice walk !

SAY Hello- when my DH went for cheesesteaks and fries with our girls on South St, I waited with the car, so I could feed quarters since it was raining and we had no idea how far down the street the food shops were or how long the lines for both would be (I'm a veg and don't eat them anyway). Well, we parked right in front of a s#x shop, with all kinds of fascinating stuff in the window. I had great fun watching the proprietess set up the window display and then seeing the clients come and go
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