Editor’s note: This is the third post in a series of guest posts from the PRSA Philadelphia publicity committee leading up to the PRSA 2013 International Conference, October 26 – 29. Follow the Conference conversation by searching the hashtag #PRSAICON and following our PRSA National Events Twitter handle, @PRSAevents.
While you’re in town, there are more than enough activities to keep you busy in your free time – so you’ll have to plan a trip back soon! To get your planning started, we’ve highlighted a few of our favorites, which you can pick from based on your free time:
If you have an hour break
There is plenty to see and do just a short walk from the Convention Center – if you have a one-hour break, add one of these spots to your list:
- Connected to the Convention Center is the one of the oldest farmers’ markets in the country – the more than 120-year old Reading Terminal Market (12th and Arch). You’ll find a variety of tasty food stands and shops selling everything from Amish goods to decadent treats and arts and crafts, as well as the winner of Travel Channel’s Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America, Tommy DiNic’s roast pork sandwich.
- Only a few blocks away, stop by JFK Plaza, also known as LOVE Park (15th and JFK Blvd), and take a photo in front of Robert Indiana’s famous sculpture. There are often food trucks around lunch time, and plenty of benches to sit back and relax when the weather is nice.
- Across the street from the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s Broad Street entrance is the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), the nation’s first fine arts school. Sit back and relax in Lenfest Plaza, the perfect spot for a lunch break, or walk through the galleries in PAFA’s museum, then peruse the excellent gift shop.
- If the weather is sunny (which it always is in Philadelphia), just a few blocks further is Sister Cities Park (18th and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway), featuring a scenic view of Logan Square, a café, a boat pond, and Visitor Center staff to help you with trip planning during your stay.
- Located in the historic Wanamaker Building on Market Street, Macy’s Center City (13th and Market) is a premiere fashion destination within an icon of Philadelphia’s rich retail history. If you can, plan your visit around one of the Wanamaker Organ’s free daily 45-minute recitals, Mondays-Saturdays at noon.
- Located within the Convention Center District, Philadelphia’s Chinatown (beginning with the Friendship Gate at 10th and Arch) is one of the largest in America. It offers delicacies from all across Asia; favorites include Vietnamese pho and Thai red curry.
If you have an open afternoon
Arriving early? Heading out late? Whatever the reason, here’s a list to get your planning started if you find yourself with a free afternoon in the City of Brotherly Love:
- Head over to 6th and Arch, to the heart of historic Philadelphia, to the Independence Visitor Center. Located in Independence National Historical Park, the Visitor Center is the perfect place to get tickets to local attractions (including free timed tickets to Independence Hall) and expert advice on what to see and do in the area. Nearby attractions include the Liberty Bell, the African American Museum in Philadelphia, the National Museum of American Jewish History and the Constitution Center, to name a few.
- If you’re an arts lover, don’t miss the stretch of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway known as Museum Mile, and home to world-renowned institutions including the Barnes Foundation, the Rodin Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art – don’t forget to run like Rocky did up the steps for a stunning view of the city.
- October is great time of year to spend time outdoors in Philadelphia, from the posh and picturesque Rittenhouse Square to a jog along the Schuylkill River banks. You can even rent a bicycle from Wheel Fun Rentals, and explore the city on two wheels – Philadelphia has more than 200 miles of bike lanes.
- For upscale shopping, head to Rittenhouse Row, the area between Broad and 21st streets and Spruce and Market. Home to major brands and small boutiques, this upscale shopping district has something for everyone. And best yet, clothing and shoe purchases are tax-free in Philadelphia!
If you have a free evening
The fun doesn’t stop after 5 in Philadelphia – here’s a list of fun evening activities for new and old friends alike:
- One of the top places to visit in October in Philadelphia is Eastern State Penitentiary, which was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a lost world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. This gothic structure, with soaring 30-foot high fortress walls, is intimidating enough during the day, but at night, it is transformed into America’s largest haunted house, known as Terror Behind the Walls.
- Grab some of your PR buddies and hit the lanes at Lucky Strike Philadelphia – there are 24 lanes available at this location, plus pool tables and arcade games. Once your game wraps up, head to the bar and lounge for post-game beer and great snacks — sharing plates include wings, flatbreads and mini burgers.
- Or, walk to a neighborhood known for nightlife – Midtown Village, part of Philadelphia’s Gayborhood, is especially vibrant along 13th Street, with fantastic bars and restaurants, all within walking distance of the Convention Center. Or, head to South Street, one of Philadelphia’s most eclectic streets. With over 300 stores and restaurants, South Street stays up late with many shops open from noon until midnight.
- If you’d rather spend your evening taking in Philadelphia’s creative spirit and spectacular performing arts scene, check out the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the Academy of Music, the Walnut Street Theatre and more spectacular venues throughout the city, featuring all types of productions, from small, independent plays to Broadway musicals.
If you’re looking for more things to do, be sure to check out sample itineraries on discoverPHL.com, or build your own! You can also view the Philadelphia Official Visitors Guide online or download it to your iOS devices by searching “discoverPHL” in the app store.
– The PHLCVB Team