June 10, 2011 / 11:18 AM / 8 years ago

Travel Postcard: 48 hours in historic Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters Life!) - Got 48 hours to spend in Philadelphia? Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors enjoy the sites in the City of Brotherly Love.

The Liberty Bell is seen in front of the Independence Hall from the west side of the Schuylkill River in this undated handout photograph released to Reuters on June 9, 2011. REUTERS/R.Kennedy/Greater�Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp/Handout


6 p.m. - For a pre-dinner beer or two, check out the Nodding Head Brewery and Restaurant at 1516 Sansom St. in Center City. It’s one of a number of independent local breweries that is helping to restore Philadelphia’s reputation as a center for craft beer making. Also, Monks Cafe in Center City has a huge selection of Belgian beer. It is a cozy place with wooden benches, and a favorite of the locals.

8 p.m. - For a different experience, try the World Cafe, at 3025 Walnut St. in West Philadelphia. It features lunch and dinner and regular musical performances in its two theaters.


10 a.m. - Time to see the sights. The Liberty Bell is Philadelphia’s most famous historic landmark. The cracked bell was rung on July 8, 1776 to summon the people of Philadelphia to a reading of the newly written Declaration of Independence.

It’s in a special pavilion on Independence Mall, the center of Philadelphia’s historic area. While you’re there, check out the new President’s House exhibit right outside the building that houses the bell. It was the nation’s first presidential dwelling, and used from 1790 to 1800.

11 a.m. - Within walking distance of the Liberty Bell is Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776 and the U.S. Constitution was drafted in 1787.

It contains reconstructed rooms where the “founding fathers,” including Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, labored to create the documents that laid the groundwork for the United States, and its independence from England. The National Park Service provides free tours on a first-come-first-served basis.

12 noon - Across the street from the mall is the new National Museum of American Jewish History, which features exhibits on 350 years of the Jewish experience in America.

1 p.m. - Reading Terminal Market is a bustling Center City food emporium where you can buy anything from bagels to brisket to bananas, as well as prepared food from many nations. Grab lunch in the no-frills food court and watch the world go by.

2 p.m. - National Constitution Center, housing a permanent exhibition on the U.S. Constitution, is at the opposite end of Independence Mall from Independence Hall, an easy 10-minute walk. It includes a multimedia theater called “Freedom Rising,” tracing the origins of the Constitution.

3 p.m. - Franklin Court is the site of the house where Philadelphia’s most famous son, Benjamin Franklin, lived while serving in the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, and where he died in 1790. It commemorates the life of the statesman, politician and inventor with an 18th century printing office and a postal museum.

4 p.m. - The Schuylkill River. Take a stroll behind the Art Museum and watch the boating crews working out along the river where the 19th century painter Thomas Eakins depicted some of his most famous scenes. The stroll will take you on a busy walkway along Kelly Drive, which takes you by the landmark Boat House Row, home to the rowing crews. At night, the boat houses are lit with thousands of small white lights, easily viewed from the other side of the river, along West River Drive, or the Schuylkill Expressway.

6 p.m. - Take a walking tour of the Kimmel Center, Philadelphia’s main classical music concert hall beneath its distinctive glass roof on Avenue of the Arts near City Hall.

7 p.m. - In the famously foody city there are plenty of choices. Try Farmer’s Cabinet at 1113 Walnut St. in Center City, which has lots of beers and drinks, and a menu said to be reminiscent of what you might expect down on the farm.

Le Bec Fin, 1523 Walnut St. is a venerable, elaborate, expensive French restaurant that is consistently near the top of the ratings in Philadelphia restaurant guides.

Locals like the Italian fare at Dante & Luigi’s, which boasts that it is one of the oldest Italian restaurants in the country. It’s at 762 S. 10th Street.


10 a.m. - For breakfast try Sabrina’s, at 910 Christian Street, near the Italian Market. It has an extensive brunch menu.

11 a.m. - With almost 3,000 wall paintings throughout the city, Philadelphia is known as the world capital of murals. They range from naturalistic depictions of neighborhood residents to portraits of historic figures and complex allegories of urban life. Tours are available through the Mural Arts Program. Go to the program website for tour information: muralarts.org/

A girl sits in the arms of a statue in Rittenhouse Square on a warm fall day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania October 17, 2010. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

1 p.m. - Time to try another icon of Philly culture, the cheesesteak. Philadelphia’s most famous culinary offering consists of a torpedo roll filled with shredded beef and melted cheese. It is served by many long-established restaurants that all claim to make the authentic steak. Pat’s and Geno’s compete in South Philadelphia near the Italian Market.

2 p.m. - Visit the Rodin Museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 22nd Street, not far from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

3 p.m. - Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of America’s largest art museums. It contains some 225,000 works of art including paintings, sculpture, textiles and metalwork. Visitors frequently do the famous Rocky run up the Art Museum steps and pay homage at the bottom to the statue of the boxer played by Sylvester Stallone.

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