Taking the Kids: Three Days in Philadelphia
Philadelphia may be known as the City of Brotherly Love, but it's a great place for romantic love too. The narrow cobblestone streets of the historic district are perfect for hand-in-hand strolls or horse-drawn carriage rides, while Fairmount Park and Rittenhouse Square are natural spots for enjoying an intimate picnic lunch. Indulgences abound; share a Jacuzzi in a historic inn, treat yourselves to spa treatments for two or enjoy an unforgettable candlelit dinner at one of the city's up-and-coming restaurants.
But if you and your honey are more into burgers and beers than filet and fine wines, remember -- this is also the city of Rocky and Adrian! For every fancy French restaurant, there's a cozy little joint peddling Philly's famous cheese steaks and soft pretzels. And in addition to world-class art museums, there are lesser-known attractions like the nation's first penitentiary. No matter what a romantic getaway means to you, you'll find a way to make it happen in Philly.
Home Away from Home
The intimate Rittenhouse 1715 (formerly the Rittenhouse Square B&B) is a haven for romance in Philadelphia's elegant Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. This small boutique hotel offers marble baths, high-quality linens and plasma TV's in each room. A lavish breakfast is served each morning, and there's a complimentary wine reception each afternoon in the lobby.
The Penn's View Hotel, located in the historic district near the Delaware waterfront, offers charming, cozy rooms with Chippendale-style furniture and floral decor. For a real treat, ask for a room with a Jacuzzi and fireplace. The hotel is within walking distance of Old City, one of Philadelphia's trendiest neighborhoods for dining, shopping and nightlife.
Offering luxury with French flair, the Sofitel Philadelphia is located in the heart of the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, amidst some of the most upscale shopping and dining in the city. Rooms are modern and elegant, with stylish and spacious bathrooms. We challenge you to find a softer, comfier bed.
Begin your day in what's been dubbed America's most historic square mile: Independence National Historic Park. There's a lot to see here, so we suggest making the visitor center your first stop to stock up on maps and, if you haven't reserved them in advance, get your tickets to tour Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed). Tickets are free if you get them the day of your visit -- but they go fast, so arrive early.
Other must-see highlights in the park include the Liberty Bell, housed in its own glass pavilion, and Carpenter's Hall, where the first Continental Congress was held. If you're interested in history and government, you'll also enjoy the exhibits at the National Constitution Center.
The park covers several blocks and is perfect for an atmospheric stroll even if you don't go inside any of the buildings. There are also horse-drawn carriages that will take you on a brief tour of the historic district, available across the street from Independence Hall.
You could easily spend all day exploring the historic buildings and tree-lined paths of the park. If you do, we recommend grabbing lunch at Reading Terminal Market, a few blocks away (see day one of Taking the Kids: Three Days in Philadelphia for more info), or venturing a bit further to Chinatown.
If you'd rather escape the crowds around Independence National Historic Park, head south into gracious Society Hill, one of the city's oldest neighborhoods. These cobblestone streets are lined with colonial brick townhouses, colorful flower boxes and large shady trees. Allow a little time to explore the neighborhood and, if you're interested, to take a tour of the Powel House. This stately Georgian town house was home to Philadelphia mayor Samuel Powel, who hosted many of the signers of the Constitution at one time or another; George Washington, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin enjoyed numerous evenings of music and dancing in the grand ballroom upstairs.
If you haven't eaten yet, another fun place for lunch can be found on what was once Philadelphia's southernmost boundary (hence the name): South Street. Though some gentrification has occurred in recent years, you can still get a taste of Philadelphia's alternative scene here, with its hip art galleries, used bookstores, tattoo parlors and boutiques. (Looking to spice up your trip? You'll find some adult-oriented shops here as well.) There are a number of restaurants to choose from, but if you want to make like a true Philadelphian, try a gooey, greasy, sinfully yummy cheese steak from Jim's. Tip: If they ask whether you want "with or without," they're talking about onions.
Spend some time exploring South Street in the afternoon before heading back up toward Old City. Ladies, you may be interested in a quick detour to Sansom Street between 7th and 8th Streets. This street (and its immediate vicinity) is known as Jewelers' Row, where every shop front brims with high-quality gems and jewelry at discounted prices. You'll find more shopping opportunities in Old City, with offerings a bit more upscale than those on South Street.
When you get hungry, make your way to the Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar, a restored 60's diner with funky decor, fabulous cocktails and a menu of delicious international tapas.
End your evening with drinks, dancing or live music, all of which you'll find right here in Old City. Try Warmdaddy's for live jazz or Swanky Bubbles for an extensive Champagne bar.