Things to do in Philly and after DC

Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by sayhello, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    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!!!

    Sayhello
     
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  3. tchrrx

    tchrrx <font color=red>Blame it on the plastic cow I ment

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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.
     
  4. abdgeek

    abdgeek DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  5. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    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!

    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.

    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!

    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? :goodvibes

    Sayhello
     
  6. ses1230

    ses1230 DIS Veteran

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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.
     
  7. LionKingRules84

    LionKingRules84 Mouseketeer

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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.
     
  8. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    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!
    Sayhello
     
  9. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    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!
    Sayhello
     
  10. LionKingRules84

    LionKingRules84 Mouseketeer

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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.
     
  11. ChoppityChops

    ChoppityChops Mouseketeer

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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/
     
  12. familygoboston

    familygoboston Mouseketeer

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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:thumbsup2

    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:lmao:
     
  13. Destructsean

    Destructsean DIS Veteran

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    Reading Terminal Market is heaven on Earth if you enjoy food.

    Trust me.
     
  14. LionKingRules84

    LionKingRules84 Mouseketeer

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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.

    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.
     
  15. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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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?!!) :angel:

    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!

    Sayhello
     
  16. familygoboston

    familygoboston Mouseketeer

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    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. :blush: I had great fun watching the proprietess set up the window display and then seeing the clients come and go;)
     
  17. aurorafan65

    aurorafan65 Mouseketeer

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    Definitely check out The Franklin Institute, they have special exhibits all the time. A couple years ago it was King Tut, this summer it's the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    There's the Art museum too, which is where Rocky ran up the stairs.

    Valley Forge is nice & if you're thinking about the King of Prussia mall, it's literally right night door.

    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
    Not true - the Outlets are off 422 not 95. It's about 20 minutes from The King of Prussia/Valley Forge area.
     
  18. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Well that was a different vacation experience! :eek:

    Sayhello
     
  19. LionKingRules84

    LionKingRules84 Mouseketeer

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    That's usually what South Street is known for but there are other fun shops that don't include, well you know. ;) I have at least two shops there I like to go and check out. Garland of Letters is one I like and it's hard to miss it has a lion statue at the entrance. I don't think I ever leave that store without buying something.
     
  20. LionKingRules84

    LionKingRules84 Mouseketeer

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    Yes I'm looking forward to the 'Titanic' exhibit coming in November myself! They do require an up charge though. Still kicking myself for missing the King Tut exhibit but that was forever ago.

    Yes it is off 422 and while it might be 20 minutes from King of Prussia it's an hour from Philly(the Outlet center) Valley Forge is even farther. I don't usually drive so I don't always remember the road names but I know it's quite a distance from Philly though.
     
  21. Mary Jo

    Mary Jo Techarita Moderator

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    Thank you for this thread. :)

    My friend and I are also going on this tour, arriving the evening of May 22, so we'll have that evening and all of Thursday to check out Philadelphia. We want to do things that are not part of the tour.

    Also, we're leaving Washington DC on Sunday, so we'll have most of Friday and all of Saturday to do things. Add to that some free time on a couple of afternoons, and have some time we want to fill up with local experiences.


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