Philadelphia Travel Guide
If you're going to be in Philly this weekend and are looking for something fun to take the kids to (or you just happen to really love train stations), then here's something to add to the ol' itinerary. 30th Street Station, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is one of 200 stations celebrating National Train Day this Saturday May 11th.
The theme of this year's event, which will be taking place simultaneously in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington DC (just to name a few), is "trains matter." Well, duh. We could've told you that!
Still, the event offers Amtrak an opportunity to bask in its own glory for a brief moment, and celebrate the 31.2 million passengers who used the national rail service in 2012.
Last year, Philly's 30th Street Station hosted a day-long event with model train displays, giveaways, and culinary demonstrations of meals served in Amtrak dining cars—so you can expect much of the same this year. Additionally, the station will be offering tours of private luxury railcars, in case you've never been in one of those before.
Regardless, 30th Street Station is a must-see train station, and one of our favorites that we've traveled through. Not only is it the second most active station in the entire US, its gorgeous main terminal is on par with that of Grand Central, in terms of soaring ceilings, giant windows, and the pleasant hum of commuters shuffling by all day long. There's even a KAWS statue at one end of the terminal!
Several hotel chains and tourism boards across the country are jumping on the Oscar bandwagon this week, but if you really want to immerse yourself in the world of a Best Picture nominated film, The Hotel Palomar Philadelphia has the package for you.
This weekend the Budweiser Made In America Festival kicks off on the Ben Frankin Parkway in Philadelphia's Fairmont Park and, surprisingly, there are still single-day and general admission passes available.
The concert will feature 30 performances curated by Jay-Z who is also one of the festival headliners. Other acts performing on Saturday, Sept. 1 and Sunday, Sept. 2 include Pearl Jam, Run DMC, The Hives, Chris Cornell, Jill Scott, Afrojack, and Drake.
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So you've checked into bookstores, bars, beaches and maybe even individual boats, but that's still not specific enough for the location-based social app Foursquare. Now, Pennsylvania, the state that was first to join up with Foursquare years ago has become the first to offer official art piece venues, meaning you can check into a masterpiece (and win something!).
The focus is on Philadelphia and its Museum Miles that encompasses the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Barnes Foundation; these plus other Philly-area institutions have pinpointed a total of 12 works of art designated as official Foursquare check-in venues. Currently, the Seurat painting above is winning with most check-ins, but you've still got until September 1 to get in on the game.
Simply check into the masterpieces and push the checkin, plus the hashtag #withartphl, to Twitter to get in the running for the grand prize of a hotel night in Philly, tickets to the museums and a Barnes Foundation membership.
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Yesterday Jay-Z announced he will curate and headline the first-ever Budweiser Made in America Music Festival, which will take place from Sept. 1-2 in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park.
The festival will feature nearly 30 acts “that embody the American spirit”, and might even include President Obama.
Tomorrow, geeks from around the country will descend on Philly for the second annual Philadelphia Science Festival.
The fest, which runs from April 20 to 29, 2012, offers science-centric events and festivities for everyonefrom sports fans to foodies.
Below are a few of the this year's highlights:
Virgin America is touching down in Philadelphia on April 4 and to celebrate they'll be throwing a tailgate party on the tarmac.
To promote the event, and their new Philly fares, they are giving "the ultimate tailgater" 6 passes to their tailgate party, a trip on Virgin America, and It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia prize packs. They're also giving you the opportunity to vote for your favorite tailgater's photo and, in exchange for your vote, they'll give you 20% off your next flight!
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Hollywood screenwriters rejoice. When you are needing an authentic cheesesteak to relieve writer's block you can hop on Virgin America and take one of three daily nonstops to Pat's (or Geno's if you swing that way) starting April 10th.
Furthermore, Virgin America will be offering two daily nonstops from SFO to PHL. So if Niner fans want to make a pilgrimage to the Rocky statue if and when they complete their improbable Super Bowl run, now they can. Here is what the Cusher had to say about the latest VX destination:
When more airlines compete, consumers win – with lower fares and better service. Travelers deserve more options than just the typical legacy airline cattle car, and we hope our unique brand of low fares and inventive service will be a breath of fresh air for Philadelphians.
Here is an interesting line in the release, possibly foreshadowing things to come:
Currently, only legacy carriers serve the West Coast-PHL routes nonstop. When entering markets that offer little low-fare competition, Virgin America has historically seen fares drop by up to one-third.
Hmm, sounds like a direct assault on US Air and other lagging legacy carriers. We see a possible 2012 scenario where VX launches in CTL (US Air), ATL (Delta), and Houston...all direct to SFO and LAX of course...stay tuned...
In honor of its newest city, Virgin America is also launching a system-wide “The City of Brotherly Love: Just Got Lovelier” fare sale, with PHL-LAX fares from $129 and PHL-SFO fares from $149* (restrictions, taxes and fees applying). Tickets are available for purchase now at www.virginamerica.com and at 1.877.FLY.VIRGIN.
Btw, if you guessed the right city on Facebook, start planning your trip because you just won yourself 20 percent off a flight!
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It's a damned shame that no US airport boasts one of the funky, sleep-at-the-airport Yotels. Those things are amazing. Instead, travelers faced with delayed flights and long nights at the airport have to spring for an airport-area business hotel or a Holiday Inn Express when they likely don't need all those amenities. Just a good sleep is all some people want, and luckily a few Minute Suites are slowly popping up at airports like
PHL just opened their mini-hotel of 13 Minute Suites and 2 workstation cubicles, the second Minute Suites after the original at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Here's the deal:
For better or for worse, we’ve been in and around our fair share of international airports and we definitely have our favorites. Unfortunately Philadelphia’s airport is not in our top five..or ten...or twenty (you get the picture). That’s why we were excited to hear about the $5.2 billion in renovations, expansions, and Sbarro locations that the airport will be getting over the next several years.
Most of the cost comes from all the updates and upgrades that they’ll be adding to the airport’s runways. The Federal Aviation Administration just gave its stamp of approval to the whole project, but unfortunately things will be a work in progress for the next 12 to 15 years. To help decrease congestion and airline delays, two of the airport's runways will be getting additional space, and they’re even planning to build a fifth runway right along the Delaware River.
A few days ago, we related to you the results of what could be the most important scientific test thus far this year: our taste test of Philadelphia's best cheesesteak joints. We laughed (at the church groups at Pat's), we cried (over Geno's xenophobia) and we ate some damned awesome cheesesteak (at Jim's), but in all of our fervor to taste these three, we completely forgot that we actually visited a fourth: Carmen's Famous.
Carmen's was our first stop when we arrived off the train in Philly, and it joins a couple other cheesesteak booths inside of Reading Terminal Market. You won't hear folks from the City of Brotherly Love exclaiming their passion for Carmen's like they do for Pat's or Jim's, simply because their cheesesteaks are pretty standard. Nothing to write home about, but edible.
You've seen it on the Food Channel and you've probably heard about it from friends who've visited Philadelphia...it's the battle of the Philly Cheesesteaks!
The City of Brotherly Love isn't so brotherly when it comes to the rivalry between Pat's and Geno's, two local joints serving up classic Philly cheesesteaks for decades, and who happen to be located directly across the street from each other. We stopped by recently, camera in hand and stomach empty, prepared to put these places to the test and declare our favorite cheesesteak.
But we went further than that; we reached out to our followers on Twitter, asking what Philly cheesesteak places they preferred, and we heard of a third location. And so this battle of Pat's and Geno's evolved to include a third contender: Jim's Steaks. So who won?