Friday, October 9, 2015

Philadelphia ideas

Another space holder. Putting Philadelphia "things to do" ideas here so I can find them when I want them (at least in theory). Feel free to add in the comments.

  • Independence Hall – Not only is Independence Hall one of Philly’s most well-known buildings, but it’s completely free to visit! Tour the building and learn about the Founding Fathers who once roamed its halls and the Declaration of Independence which was agreed to in this very building.
  • Free Tours of the Kimmel Center – The Kimmel Center is one of Philadelphia’s most well-known and beautiful concert venues. If you want to learn a bit more about the history and architecture of the building, the Kimmel Center offers free tours of the building everyday at 1pm. Tours last one hour and include visits to many of the theaters inside the center. More information can be found here.
  • John Heinz Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum – Philly might be one of America’s largest cities, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have several excellent outdoor spaces. Located near Philadelphia International Airport, this wildlife refuge is an oasis in the midst of urban sprawl for more than 300 bird species, as well as numerous mammals and reptiles. For human visitors, 10 miles of hiking trails, great bird watching, and even canoeing/kayak opportunities await. Click here for more information.
  • Mount Moriah Cemetery – At one point in time, Mount Moriah Cemetery was ownerless and abandoned. However, with more than 80,000 people buried here, this couldn’t last forever. While there is a cleanup effort underway at the cemetery, much of it is still being reclaimed by nature. Click here to find out more about how you can visit Mount Moriah Cemetery.
  • Student Recitals at the Curtis Institute of Music – Don’t let the thought of going to a student recital remind you of some horrid concert for elementary students. The student recitals at the Curtis Institute of Music are put on by some of the country’s most talented music students. Featuring primarily classical music, the recitals are a great option for those looking for high-quality music on the cheap. Concerts are held most Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights during the school year. Click here for a full schedule.
  • Mario Lanza Institute Museum – Mario Lanza was a world-famous singer and actor during the 1940s and 50s. Born in Philadelphia, Lanza’s career influenced later performers like Luciano Pavarotti and Elvis Presley. Today, you can relive a bit of Lanza’s life and learn about his legacy at a free museum dedicated to his honor. Click here for more information about visiting.
  • Dream Garden – One of Philadelphia’s coolest public art pieces is shamefully under-visited despite being just a block from Independence Hall. Crafted of over 100,000 pieces of Tiffany Glass, the Dream Garden sits in obscurity in the lobby of the Curtis Center along Washington Square. At 15×49 feet, the Dream Garden is one of America’s most exquisite glass murals. More information about visiting the Dream Garden can be found here.
  • Ice Skating at a Public Skating Rink – Like ice skating and have your own skates? Visit one of the city’s many public ice skating rinks during the winter months and skate ’til your heart’s content without paying a penny (If you don’t have ice skates, there is a fee to rent them. However, skating on the rink itself is completely free). For more information on skating in Philadelphia, click here.
  • Fireman’s Hall Museum – Located in a restored turn-of-the-century fire hall, the Fireman’s Hall Museum focuses on the rich history of firefighting in Philadelphia. Click the link for more information about visiting.
  • Liberty Bell – Located next door to Independence Hall might be Philly’s most famous item: the Liberty Bell. While it once hung in the bell tower of Independence Hall, it now has a place of honor inside its own building. Stepping inside to see this iconic bell is completely free for anyone.
  • Tours of Philadelphia Brewing Company – Want to learn how beer is made? Tours of the Philadelphia Brewing Company are offered for free on Saturdays between noon and 3pm. Visit to learn about the brewery and sample some of their great brews (unfortunately not free). Click here for information.
  • Awbury Arboretum – Once the home to a large Quaker family, the 55-acre grounds of the Awbury Arboretum have been opened free to the public for nearly 100 years. Stroll through the beautifully manicured gardens or take some time to study the large variety of shrubs and trees on the arboretum’s grounds.
  • Elfreth’s Alley – As America’s oldest, continually-inhabited residential street, Elfreth’s Alley already has an amazing amount of history along its narrow cobblestone street. While the street itself might be short, the beauty of the houses and its history make it a great destination for any history lovers visiting Philly. Click here for my full review of Elfreth’s Alley.
  • Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse – Located in a purpose-built mansion and surrounding park, Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse looks like one of the most amazing play areas for children anywhere. If you have kids in Philadelphia, this is a must-visit destination. Click here for more information.
  • Carpenter’s Hall – Carpenter’s Hall is one of Philadelphia’s most historic buildings. The site of the First Continental Congress in 1774, a Revolutionary War hospital, the 1st and 2nd banks of America, and Benjamin Franklin’s first library, Carpenter’s Hall has more history than most buildings twice its age.
  • Reading Terminal Market – If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience in downtown Philadelphia, look no further than Reading Terminal Market. Home to everything from Amish produce stands to authentic Asian cuisine, the market has something for everyone. True, it costs money to buy something from the shops and restaurants, but wandering through and experiencing the sights and smells of the market is completely free.
  • Jefferson’s Walking Tour of Philadelphia – Want to know more about the places that Thomas Jefferson frequented while he lived in Philadelphia? Check out this great free walking tour put together by the American Philosophical Society. Get some exercise and check out some of Jefferson’s favorite haunts at the same time. Click here to download the walking tour guide.
  • Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial Sculpture Garden – The Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial Sculpture Garden features 17 sculptures that showcase American life. The garden in itself is definitely worth visiting, however, it also has one more feature that is sure to intrigue: a whispering bench. Sit two people on opposite sides of the bench, roughly 50 feet apart, and they can hear each other whisper.
  • Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum – Located in the heart of Philadelphia’s Old City, the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum looks not at the history of America, but at the history of chemistry. Going back to the days of alchemy, the museum looks at home chemistry and how the work of chemists have changed our lives. Click here for my full review of the museum.
  • Institute of Contemporary Art – This gallery that featured Andy Warhol’s first solo museum exhibition, so you never know what future megastar you might encounter at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Located on the grounds of the University of Pennsylvania, the museum features 12 shows a year, so there is always something new to see in their rotating display. Information about what’s currently on display can be found on the museum’s website.
  • Congress Hall – Another of the fantastic historical buildings in downtown Philly, Congress Hall was where the House of Representatives and the Senate met from 1790-1800. Site of the inauguration of two Presidents, along with many other events that shaped the founding on the country, Congress Hall is a fantastic and free thing to do in Philadelphia.
  • TUSPM Shoe Museum – Run by the Temple School of Podiatric Medicine, the TUSPM Shoe Museum features hundreds of pairs of shoes from every conceivable era and interest. Shoes on display date back as far as Ancient Egypt, and there are many shoes from famous celebrities including Reggie Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Joan Rivers, and several former presidents and first ladies. Admission to the museum is free, but needs to be scheduled in advance. Go to their website for more information.

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