By Joel Zand of FindLaw
Easily accessible by plane, train, and automobile from all points in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, you've got to go to Philadelphia. My advice: take the Amtrak train to Philly's 30th Street Station at 30th and Market Streets. Originally known as Pennsylvania Station when it first opened in 1934, it's a beautiful eight-story building that was part of the Philadelphia Improvements projects that sought to bring public and private interests together during the Depression.
Downtown Philadelphia is laid out in a logical grid, and relatively easy to navigate. You can get around fairly easily on foot, via taxi, and using public transportation on SEPTA buses. You might also want ride the tourist trolleys that leave from downtown Philly near the federal courthouse and surrounding areas. You can travel around the city all day, hopping on and off along a pre-set route that follows historic sites throughout the city. It's also close to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, for those of you inclined to visit Chief Judge Becker and the rest of the crew.
Museums, Shopping and Sports
Of course, you can't visit Philadelphia without checking out the Liberty Bell, which is located in the backyard of the Very First Family (a la George and Martha Washington), across from the Philadelphia Statehouse where the Continental Congress met. You can't say that you've truly experienced Philadelphia if you haven't seen the Bell.
Before you go, make sure you rent Sly Stallone's "Rocky," the first one. Then pretend you're a drooling, mush-mouthed boxer running up the steps of Philadelphia's Museum of Art (located on Benjamin Franklin Parkway and across the river from 30th Street Station). The museum has a terrific collection of Rodin sculptures. The best way to get there is probably via the Parkway itself. You'll pass by lots of other museums and attractions like the notorious Eastern State Penitentiary Now closed, the federal prison operated from 1820 to 1970, and was a home-away-from-home to guests like Chicago gangster Al Caponne.
Don't forget to learn more about Betsy Ross, America's First Lady of Flags. Her home is a local museum. And check out everything devoted to Ben Franklin: the Franklin Institute Science Museum (great for the kids); the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial; and the inventor-statesman's gravesite.
If you or your traveling companions like to shop, Philadelphia can feed your addiction. There are a so many places to splurge. Here are a few: South Street, Rittenhouse Square, and Manayunk.
If you're into football, basketball, or hockey, and plan ahead, you may be lucky enough to snag tickets to an Eagles, 76ers, or Flyers game while you're town.
Good eats abound here, from top-notch pizza at Mama Palma's (they don't accept credit cards, but there's a conveniently located ATM for cold-cash near the roaring brick-oven), to apple fritters, Amish treats, and hoagies in the Reading Terminal Market.
If you you're in Philly, you're in America's hoagie capital. Be sure to visit Lee's, Jim's, and/or Pat's Steaks for the authentic cheesesteak flavor that other cities try to copy. One of the secrets to these delicious sandwiches is in the rolls, which contain mineral water found only in Southeast Pennsylvania. Don't tell your cardiologist you made the trip, and don't even think of calling it a "submarine sandwich." With their steak, cheese, onions, and peppers slathered thick, you'd think that these cheesesteaks would have made their way into some of the recent fast food lawsuits in the news.
A Nice Place to Stay
A smart move is to stay in Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. It's centrally located near tourist attractions, historic sites, and businesses downtown. Rittenhouse Park has a heavily used dog-run where you can chat with locals and their pups, and choose lunch from any number of cafe's nearby. The Sheraton Rittenhouse Square Hotel and Lowes Philadelphia Hotel are some nice options.
Finally, you can always ask a legal local on FindLaw's Greedy Mid-Atlantic message boards for more options on where to stay and what to do. Have fun!
The Liberty Bell
Philadelphia - The Best Hoagies
Lee's Hoagie House
Philadelphia Convention & Visitor's Bureau
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Eastern State Penitentiary
A History of the Constitution