This is my final list of must-do’s to ensure you make the most out of your short visit to our city. Hopefully, the experiences you had during the convention warrant a return to catch one of the many festivals, walks/runs, conventions, entertainment venues, Broadway shows and dining out options Philadelphia has to offer. On behalf of the PRSA hospitality committee, thank you letting us share a little piece of The City of Brotherly love with you.
Guess what I did – Bought a vintage 1940’s collectible record
Admit it, we all like to shop. While in town, there are a few areas you’ll want to explore to find those perfect early holiday gifts or something special for yourself. Close to the Marriott you’ll see the Macy’s and various shops down Market Street. On the other side of City Hall there are also shops along Walnut Street around Rittenhouse Square. Looking for jewelry? Head down to Jeweler’s Row on 17th and Market.
The secret is: Many of the city’s hidden treasures are actually found on side streets in small family-owned shops. If you’re into unique clothing, stop at Decades Vintage on 615 Bainbridge Street and discover new styles and accessories before your favorite celebrity is wearing them.
Next, head south to one of my favorite streets in Philadelphia – South Street. On this trendy stretch you’ll find hip shoes, hard-to-find fabric, organic clothing, artwork, vinyl records and many other unique items. Before you shop till you drop, be sure to stop for a margarita at Copabanana and grab a famous Philly cheesteak at Jim’s Steaks, both located on 4th and South.
Guess what I did – Visited Merlin, Zenda, Jezebel and Vinkel
Philadelphia is home to America’s First Zoo, opening July 1, 1874. In the first year the zoo had 813 animals, growing to more than 1,300 animals today. As the temperatures begin to drop, many of the outdoor animals become more active, including Philadelphia’s four African Lions, who are beginning to get their thicker coats for the winter. Head out to the zoo to let male lion, Merlin, and the zoo’s three female lions Zenda, Jezebel and Vinkel give you a warm welcome to Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Zoo also has some Halloween creepy crawlers, with not so creepy reputations. The reticulated python’s long appearance, slender girth and orange eyes may give you the shivers, but they are not as scary as they appear. Distinctive colors and scale patterns give the reticulated python its name. Also, beware of the spine-chilling, eight-legged tarantula. Tarantula’s are the most docile in the tarantula family and often considered “creepy crawlers of the night,” but can actually be found above ground in burrows or trees.
Guess what I did – Ate too many Cannoli’s
The best place to find fresh produce, meats, seafood and poultry, Amish specialties, ethnic foods, homemade ice-cream and fresh baked goods in Philadelphia is the Reading Terminal Market. Located about four blocks from the Marriott on 12th and Arch, visit Philadelphia’s historic farmers market for food and unique, hand-made pottery, jewelry and crafts from around the world.
While you’re there, pick up one of the many baked goods from South Philadelphia’s family-owned Termini Bros Pastry. I suggest the cannoli’s filled with ricotta and chocolate chips and a mixed box of their cookies to go. If you’re looking for breakfast and lunches try the authentic Pennsylvania Dutch cooking at the Dutch Eating Place. Try the blueberry pancakes and apple dumplings.
Other items to pick up while you’re there include chocolate truffles from Chocolate By Mueller, a cup of homemade lemonade from Lancaster Co. Dairy, a jar of homemade jam from Kauffman’s Lancaster County Produce and an ice-cream cone with chocolate jimmies (we say jimmies, not sprinkles in Philadelphia) from Bassetts Ice Cream.
By Sarah Lindsay, PRSA 2007 International Conference Host Hospitality committee member