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Philadelphia City Trip

The Rocky Statue and the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Pennslyvania

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Where to Stay Where to Eat What to See & Do

PHILADELPHIA TOUR DAY 3: Rittenhouse Square Park, Fairmont Park and the Institute of Contemporary Art

Stroll or catch a bus or cab west to the Rittenhouse Square area, the most upscale part of the city, boasting shops, restaurants and a beautiful park. If it's a nice day, start it with fresh baked goods from the acclaimed Metropolitan Bakery on 19th Street just south of Rittenhouse Square; but if you want to get a real taste of the Philly diet, try a soft pretzel from a nearby street cart. La Colombe Torrefaction, an Italian style coffeehouse, serves one of the better cups in the city, though great coffee abounds these days.

Eat your breakfast on a bench or in the grass at Rittenhouse Square Park, a one-block expanse of walkways, fountains and greenery. This park serves as a meeting ground, study spot or lazy weekend hangout for people of all ages and backgrounds. It may be located in the most expensive and elegant section of the city, but Rittenhouse brings people from all neighborhoods together. After strolling through the park, walk south or west through the surrounding residential area. Spend the morning exploring this section, which is rich in architecture and has a pleasant sense of community. You may be reminded of a New York City neighborhood with the row homes and brick sidewalks.

Inside the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Pennslyvania

From Rittenhouse, walk or take a bus or cab to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, located at the end of the long avenue known as Benjamin Franklin Parkway. A flag from every country greets visitors as they move up the Parkway to Eakins Oval, the traffic circle in front of the famed museum steps where Rocky trained in the movie, and where his statue now stands. Inevitably you will see a few giddy visitors doing Rocky impressions as their friends cheer them on with the movie's theme song. The museum has wonderful permanent and touring exhibits that can keep you occupied for hours. It also has a great view of the city and City Hall's imposing William Penn statue from the top of its steps. Don't miss the Perelman Building, across from the main building behind an exquisitely preserved Art Deco façade. Part of an ongoing plan to modernize the museum, this gallery is home to changing exhibits that can include photography, art jewelry, paintings and more. Down the Parkway, the Barnes showcases an internationally renown collection of Impressionist painting, European furniture and global folk art. (Note: It's best to buy tickets in advance.)

Behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art is Fairmount Park, one of the largest urban parks in the United States. Its 8,900 acres stretch along both sides of the Schuylkill River (pronounced skoo-kill) and offer a refreshing dose of natural beauty in this metropolitan area. It's much too large to see in a day, or even two, but the area behind the museum is a great place to have a picnic or stroll. You can also rent bikes or rollerblades and zip along the paved paths. Enjoy lunch, the museum and the park in whatever order you choose. Unless you take a picnic lunch in the park, try London Grill or Rose Tattoo Café. Or venture a bit farther east to Marc Vetri's Alla Spina for excellent modern Italian pub fare.

Enjoy a walk through Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, Pennslyvania

If you're still up for a little culture in the late afternoon, visit the nearby Rodin Museum or take a bus, cab or SEPTA trolley to West Philadelphia's University City, across the Schuylkill River. The home of the University of Pennsylvania plays host to a number of student-frequented shops, restaurants and attractions such as the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) and the impressive University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Time for dinner? Make your way back across the river to Center City and north to Chinatown. There are many Asian restaurants located in this area beyond the ornate Chinese gate at 10th and Arch Streets. We recommend Sang Kee Peking Duck House for Peking duck, Penang for Malaysian food or try healthful Taiwanese at Ray's Café & Tea House.

You might also consider returning to the Rittenhouse Hotel for dinner at Lacroix at The Rittenhouse, a magnificent experience of French-influenced global cuisine. There's always a crowd at Vernick where the deceptively simple fare is matched by an invitingly casual atmosphere.

On the corner of 18th and Locust, Parc, with almost 300 seats, replicates a French brasserie, with wrap around outside seating and a menu of specialties such as salade lyonnaise with warm bacon vinaigrette and poached egg, escargots served in their shells with hazelnut butter and a crispy duck confit with frisée salad and pickled chanterelles. Continental Mid-Town packs them in with imaginative cocktails and tapas-style offerings. Oyster House on Sansom Street is the spot for pristine seafood in a friendly, lively atmosphere. Or try Pub & Kitchen for exceptional chef-driven bar fare including a standout burger.

Attend at show at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts in Philadelphia, Pennslyvania

Don't forget the Philadelphia Orchestra, whose world-famous sound can be enjoyed at the impressive Kimmel Center at the corner of Broad and Spruce Streets. Pre-concert dinners may be had at nearby Estia, where delicious Greek fare rules and fresh fish is always the order of the day. Though you should have a clearer picture of the many sides of Philly at the end of your three days, you may also find that your appetite for exploration has only been stoked by its many fun finds. The beauty of Philadelphia is that it is a small metropolis, but there's a lot to absorb and many reasons to book a return visit.

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* The Rocky Statue image by Bobak Ha'Eri


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