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Get Your Fill in Philly

by Carley Wade

Mar 15, 2018

© Maureen Brown | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

Fresh off its first Super Bowl win, Philadelphia’s got plenty to celebrate — including a great lineup of family-friendly activities. Whether you’re there for football in the fall, hockey in the winter or baseball and patriotic fanfare in the summer, the games are centrally located and much of the other entertainment is free or inexpensive.

No visit is complete without a trip to the Liberty Bell and, despite a history that dates back to the 1750s, there are still plenty of new developments here — including the Museum of the American Revolution, opened last spring. The massive, 118,000-square-foot space holds a huge collection of art and manuscripts from the nation’s Revolutionary period, weapons, diaries and General Washington’s Headquarters Tent. Hear the fascinating stories of the region’s and the country’s history thanks to professional storytellers outside on the 13 benches spread through Philadelphia’s Historic District, and kids who collect stamps at all 13 earn a free carousel ride at Franklin Square. You can continue your historic experience with lunch at City Tavern, where staff dressed in colonial garb present an 18th-century-inspired menu with amicable revelry. Established in 1773, it’s where the founding fathers dined and drank, and fathers — and mothers — will have something to toast here with a menu that includes local craft beers.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

© Olivier Le Queinec | Dreamstime.com

Cheesesteak has got to be on the menu in the City of Brotherly love, and it’s pretty fun to grab a bench and do a taste-test comparison at Pat’s and Geno’s, right across the street from each other. It’s about as gooey an indulgence as you’re going to get, so for cuisine that’s still family-friendly but a bit more upscale, check out the Victor Café; the Italian food here comes with a side of entertainment. The so-called “Music Lovers Rendezvous” celebrates its centennial this year as a music-shop-cum-restaurant that started offering songs from its waitstaff in the late 70s after an opera student/server started bringing in the tips for his vocal performances. Victor’s is also famous as a movie set in Creed and Rocky Balboa, filmed here in 2006. Nevertheless, get in the spirit of Philly’s most famous pugilist, and trek on over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to take a picture on the steps of Sly Stallone’s most famous run.

Eastern State Penitentiary Philadelphia

Zrfphoto | Dreamstime.com

Almost everything is within walking distance and, from here, it’s easy to adventure on over to one of the city’s most unique tour experiences: the imposing Eastern State Penitentiary. The castle-like fortress formerly held Al Capone and is purported to be haunted. From there, the budget-friendly Route 15 bus will take you to the Philadelphia Zoo, with it’s 1,300-plus critters, and you can even “drive” a SEPTA bus at the nearby Please Touch Museum with its collection of 25,000 toys. There’s a restored 1908 carousel, too.

The grand circa 1904 Bellevue Hotel harkens back to the same era, and the “Grand Dame of Broad Street” just underwent a serious renovation with 18th century-inspired furnishings, as well as art from local Philadelphia painters and photographers. The oversized rooms are just right for a bigger brood (even the “standard” has two queen beds), and the location in the heart of the city can’t be beat. The property is listed as a Historic Hotel of America, but is also part of Hyatt’s new family-friendly Unbound Collection, a rebrand effective in March 2018. It’s geared toward luxury travelers who want properties with a unique aesthetic, story and the amenities of a hotel rewards program.


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