Great places to visit, excellent restaurants, casual eating places, walking for fun, interest, and entertainment, and where to find the best cheesesteak sandwiches are things visitors expect when in Philadelphia. It’s easy to collect to-do things because this city gets better every year. And more people know this because more people are coming as tourists, -as residents too. When the streets have a lot of happy people meandering along looking for their next historical place, there’s a good feeling in the air. Always this city has been about history, and now, more than ever, it’s about museums on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and throughout Philadelphia, Chinatown, small new retail shops, exciting restaurants, interesting walking tours, dueling piano bars, comedy clubs, Reading Terminal Market, Fairmount Park, and a Philadelphia Convention Center being expanded for bigger and better meetings. I’ll end on this note because the Independence Visitor Center at the NE corner of 5th and Market Streets is where well-informed people stand behind a long counter ready to answer questions and distribute the appropriate pamphlets for neighborhoods of choice. And a cafe awaits nearby for regrouping and sorting of plans. Maybe you can find Albert Lee. www.independencevisitorcenter.com
Though Philly is a fairly small city as cities go; it has all that’s expected of a city without the maddening crowds. The Christmas lights are up, the Wanamaker organ is ready for glorious Christmas music, and Rittenhouse Square Park feels good when walking pass the simply displayed, with a touch of elegance, Christmas lights.
Tour buses, walking tours, horse drawn carriage tours, a Duck tour, or a pointed finger will guide you to the buildings surrounding the Independence Visitor Center where history is waiting. Hungry and feet tired yet? Want a relaxing meal? Perhaps at Fork having side-by-side places – casual and less so – between 3rd and 4th on Market Street, or at other good eating establishments around that area. Okay, with feet rested and stomach feeling fine it’s time to see more of what’s uniquely Philadelphia. Still in the general area of Market Street? Then a walk on 3nd toward Arch Street offers splendid shopping, and if Betsy Ross’s house, and Benjamin Franklin’s final resting place on Arch Street, or Elfreth’s Alley was by-passed earlier, now is a good time to take a look. Then, should there be an interest, a walk north on 3rd Street til the 600s, and a turn east toward 2nd Street, will find a retail shop belonging to Penn Herb Co. Ltd. at 603 North 2nd Street, and also where an up-and-coming neighborhood is enjoying its new appearance. www.PennHerb.com A stroll on 3rd rather than 2nd will find a fine array of shops. However, if someone wants to take a glance on 2nd Street, or other streets leading toward the 600s, – - why not.
But then, there you are all the way north; perhaps you have time to go all the way south checking out what’s on Walnut Street, or continue walking south to the antique shops, and the Italian Market, and much more, or you can wend your way west to the University City area to see what’s going on there, or perhaps your heart is where the theaters are. A little reading of maps and pamphlets, a decision, and away you go. Keep it uncomplicated, Philadelphia has been here a while, and you can always come back. Right?