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Old 01-18-2008, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
14 posts, read 34,550 times
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I will be visiting Philadelphia with my grand parents and other old family members later this year. Now, most of my family is from Europe and they do not feel comfortable walking around in an area that seems really deserted, as some American downtowns are. Never been to Philadelphia, so I was wondering what areas have the safest, healthiest amount of pedestrian traffic, with shops and other nice things to see and what times are best to visit (weekday vs. weekend and times). I am thinking city centre and maybe visiting some of the older areas which look really nice from pictures I have seen. Are those good ideas?

Thanks for any help.
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Old 01-18-2008, 02:15 PM
 
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I know you will get a lot of good ideas on this site from posters that live in Philadelphia. A couple of other sites that are good are Reviews of vacations, hotels, resorts, vacation and travel packages - TripAdvisor - make sure to explore all the links, including the go lists Search results: Philadelphia - TripAdvisor and forums.

I enjoyed a visit to Philadelphia that included the historic section (we stayed at the Omni Hotel at Independence Park) and also the very busy shopping area near the Reading Terminal market. Lots of easy public transportation available for low prices.
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Old 01-18-2008, 02:27 PM
 
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Philadelphia has a vibrant downtown core (Center City) that is a pedestrian-friendly two square miles. Since most of your party is older, they may prefer to use taxicabs or perhaps the purple "Phlash" bus that caters to visitors.

Center City shops are generally open from about 10am-7pm on weekdays and Saturdays as well as 12-5pm on Sundays. Shops in the Old City neighborhood might appeal to their artistic sensibilities. Rittenhouse Square shops tend to be "ritzy". There is only one large upscale department store in town: Macy's. Restaurants are open fairly late although Philly isn't a "24/7" town... not that the all-night aspect may matter to most of your party.

What do you consider to be the "older areas" of Philly? The areas mentioned above as well as the Historic District (where you'll find the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, etc.) are all located downtown. Philadelphia is an old city by American standards with lots of interesting architecture throughout. But if you're only here for a few days, you will want to concentrate on downtown.

Where to stay partially depends on your interests. Old City hotels are close to the Historic District. Rittenhouse Square hotels put you near many of the aforementioned upscale shops and restaurants. Hotels along the Ben Franklin Parkway - perhaps the most "European" street in the city - will place you in the Museum District, including the famous Philadelphia Museum of Art.

If you give us more specifics, we can probably lead you to some more ideas. I can also refer you to a travel site I frequent if you direct message me.
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Old 01-18-2008, 04:41 PM
 
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Another good site to check:

Welcome to gophila.com -- the Official Visitor Site for Greater Philadelphia
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Old 01-18-2008, 09:11 PM
 
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I have stopped in Philly (train trip)..(airport)..drove past Philly to Atlantic City...but never have been in Philly itself..have heard good and bad stories..that blocks are big
and good streets can turn suddenly into bad streets...is it like NYC in terms of layout?
is it a walking city like NYC? I am very much more familiar with NYC..want to visit and explore one weekend but don't want to make a wrong turn and end up in the ghetto..
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Old 01-18-2008, 10:05 PM
 
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Center city Philly is very walkable and safe (if you use common sense, like you have to anywhere). You would have to walk a great distance to get from center city to a dangerous area. It's not a matter of just making one bad turn.
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Old 01-19-2008, 04:51 PM
 
Location: Bergen County New Jersey
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I was born and raised in the city of brotherly love. You can't go wrong in the Colonial areas. They keep those immaculate because they know tourist are the money stream. Stay within a few blocks of Market to the South, (except the touristy blocks of nightlife on South Street) and you're golden. Nothing much West of 16th Street, nor is there much north of Market below the teens unless you are down in the Colonial district. On out the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (Rodin Museum, Franklin Institute) to the Art Museum is fine too but the elders may not be up for all the walking. It's a much more pleasant walk in warm weather. They have also developed the waterfront extensively since my childhood days, again, it plays better with outdoor events in warmer weather.
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Old 01-19-2008, 05:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre98 View Post
I was born and raised in the city of brotherly love. You can't go wrong in the Colonial areas. They keep those immaculate because they know tourist are the money stream. Stay within a few blocks of Market to the South, (except the touristy blocks of nightlife on South Street) and you're golden. Nothing much West of 16th Street
Huh? The entire Rittenhouse Square area is west of 16th Street.
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Old 02-02-2008, 10:25 AM
 
Location: Boston, MA
14 posts, read 34,550 times
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Thanks for all the replies. My older family members can walk--that is what they are use to doing as long as the distances aren't huge, but from the pictures I've seen city centre looks pretty compact. Either way, we will probably drive in from New York in case a car is needed.

One more question though. My cousins may join us. So is city center an OK place to be out at night?

Thanks for all the help.
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Old 02-02-2008, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia
1 posts, read 3,156 times
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Smile Center City at night.

Hi, I'm Donna and this is my very first post. I decided to answer because I live and breathe here in Philly. I see no one answered your last questions.

If you still need answers, here goes

There is an old quote from the Philly native W.C. Fields, "I went to Philadelphia and it was closed."

The sidewalks here in Philly used to roll up at about 6pm. No longer. With the New Yorkers fleeing NYC (high housing prices, 911), downtown Philly (called "Center City" by the natives) is now quite vibrant late into the evening. Many New Yorkers are driving the "condo buying boom" downtown.

But, still be careful. When you notice less people on the streets, it is way past time to head inside.

Crime is mainly focused in a few economically depressed areas. The rest can be pretty quiet. You'd have to really, really walk a ways from downtown to get to them. But, let's face it - there are nuts everywhere.

Center City is very compact. And streets are small. There are plenty of shops along the east and west sides of Broad Street. Broad St. is your key to getting around downtown. Broad Street is really 14th st. and runs north and south. The center city area is on the east and west of South Broad.

If you can, order a Septa map from our public transit system. It is the best map, has all the bus routes and you'll understand the layout better. Google SEPTA.

From South Broad down several blocks are full of shops. East of Broad goes to the Delaware River and Olde City (the Colonial part). West of Broad is upscale shopping. When you get here you'll be surprised just how compact the area is. The old section? All of Philly is old, except for the northeast section. My modest neighborhood was settled by Europeans in the 1700's. No, there is nothing left to see from then.

Philly has shops but also many beautiful natural areas.

Good places to visit - John Heinz National Wildlife Refugee at Tinicum - our last remaining wetland with an abundance of birds, etc. Near the airport. (free)

Wissahickon Valley - Germantown/Mt.Airy - it's just beautiful. (free)

Forbidden Drive - Chestnut Hill. Ditto the beauty. (free)

The top of City Hall Tower (free) if you don't mind heights. You get to see Philly and the lay out of the whole town. I always take visitors there.


Welcome to Philly in advance.
Donna
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