Plans with the missus for a long weekend in New York (arriving early-evening, Thursday October 30th and departing Monday afternoon November 3rd) have instead turned into a long weekend with my 17 year old history-nut son in Philadelphia.
I'm not hiring a car so need somewhere central. The Downtown Marriott and the Courtyard there seem to be next door to each other, as does the far-too-expensive RC.
Prices between the Marriott and Courtyard seem similar and whilst the Courtyard seems to have been impressively renovated, the Marriott seems pretty standard fare. Of course as a Plat the Marriott will give lounge access with free drinks/snacks (beer?) for the Thursday and Monday nights and free breakfast on the Friday and Monday mornings, with 2,000 points in lieu of breakfast for Sat and Sun mornings and points on incidental spends. The CY provides, um, no free breakfast, no lounge access, no free drinks/snacks, no points in lieu of anything and no points on incidental spends. So a pretty recognition-free-zone. I think I'm answering my own question here, but even so, are there any views from Insiders about these properties and the Marriott lounge?
Apart from the obvious Liberty Bell, Independence Museum and Betsy Ross house, what other attractions would you recommend in Philly for a history-nut Dad and Lad?
Any authentic American dining places, or dining suggestions generally?
Thanks in anticipation...
I lived in the Philly area for around a decade and have visited a few times each year to see friends (often staying at friends or the Renaissance and driving in (the spots you picked are right in the center of everything and since you're not parking, consider the Center City Residence Inn if it has competitive rates). I'll pick off some of the low hanging fruit and then step aside for the local experts like painedplatinum and others to fill in the gaps (this is not meant to be an all inclusive list, but it should get the ball rolling).
Since the theme is history and Halloween, take an online look at (pretty sure all are walking distance);
The Graff House - 7th and Market - a quick walk through is all it takes (stop at your leisure) where TJ drafted Declaration of Independence
Elfreth Alley - oldest street in America - a walk by is probably all you need, but an interesting perspective, especially the narrowness of homes folks are still living in.
The US Mint - not only would jerrycoin have a good time, but a surprising amount of interesting history as well
Franklin Institute - always has fascinating science exhibits, many times about the brain, certainly something a high powered barrister like yourself could appreciate - an intellectually curious teen such as yours would probably enjoy as well
Mutter Museum - combining science and Halloween, some pretty cool medical exhibits (think elephantitis etc)
Eastern State Penitentiary - somewhat spooky, especially when you read what went on there
Philadelphia Art Museum - good exhibits, and junior can say he ran up the Rocky steps (also probably a good view out back at dusk of Boathouse Row (worth figuring out a way to view)
and make sure to walk through Reading Terminal Market to have your son sample American foods (I'm not getting into the Pat's vs. Geno's cheesesteak wars, but there are others just as good) try a Philly Pretzel and a Yuengling (from nearby Pottsville Pa.) America's oldest operating brewery, now that's history .
Penn's Landing is an interesting walk around - might even have some Halloween events
of course your teen would get a blast out of the creatures on South St. on Halloween - but if you go, stay alert and leave early, they are wacky even in the middle of summer, they don't need an excuse
Have a good time (I'm in historic Boston on Halloween, so I send you some historic Halloween vibes)
Thanks for that useful info erc, I'll have a look at those recommendations.
Interesting that you're going to Boston, ironically, I've never been to Boston, which may sound like a strange statement, but I'm a Boston lad, born and bred, Boston in England, being the town Boston Massachusetts was named after.
Today, few people in England know of my Boston, whereas the US version is one of the most famous cities in the world...
brightlybob... I'm running out the door so just a quick thought and will get back with more, later....
You may also want to consider the Residence Inn....it's right there in location with the other two. Larger rooms, they have one bedroom suites with two nice beds, kitchen with full size fridge. I've found when staying in town with my son or daughter, they prefer the Res. Inn because of room size. Free breakfast for all!. The Marriott is a typical inner city property, it's very nice, rooms are good. The CY is a great old building, but the lack of amenities has caused me to stay there but once.
Thanks for that, I did consider the RI (though didn't mention it in my original post. Apologies). Like the RC it was out of the running due to cost, the 4 nights in a "double-double" (inc all taxes) are $700 at the Courtyard, $800 at the Marriott and $1000 at the Residence Inn, so whilst a good idea, it's not really in the running price wise...
Not too far from the Center City area and not yet mentioned are the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site which does not take much time to visit. There is also Boathouse Row which is not within walking distance, but if you get a nice day out and want to rent bicycles Kelly Drive and Boathouse Row would be an option. Another authentic Philadelphia museum is the Mummers Museum. Erc already mentioned Eastern State Penitentiary and they actually have a great haunted attraction that draws well (Home | Eastern State Penitentiary).
In terms of food and drink there are many good options, but let me definitely echo the recommendation to walk through Reading Terminal Market. DeNic's roast pork sandwich, Bassetts Ice Cream, and Termini Brothers Bakery are not to be missed. A great restaurant in terms both food and atmosphere is The Victor Cafe (they use OpenTable if you use that at all). While you are enjoying great Italian food you are being serenaded by a live opera singer.
You mentioned your son is a history nut and thought he is not of drinking age you might want to check out Yards Brewing Company. You will be able to find it on tap throughout the city, but they also have a brewery that is a 10 minute cab ride from downtown. They have a historic ting to it with a line of brews names after some of America's founding fathers (Ales of the Revolution | Yards Brewing Company).
Let me know if you have any questions and enjoy your trip!
Thankyou very much for your detailed answer. Son definitely likes the look of the haunted penitentiary, we know you Americans really DO Halloween in a way we Brits don't even touch...
And as I understand matters, Reading Market is directly opposite the hotel, so we'll certainly be there at least for Breakfast as of course this hotel insists at weekends that we "eat points"!
Any input or opinions about CY-vFS?
brightlybob - I can not comment on either property as I haven't stayed at either of them. However, I do recall hearing some mixed reviews of the FS Marriott. erc or painedplatinum may be able to shed more light.
Also, I failed to mention - from either property you will only be a few blocks from Philadelphia's "Avenue of the Arts" - Avenue of the Arts - Live. Learn. Work. Shop. Play. Explore. There are usually some great shows going on if you are interested.
Both properties are fine...The CY is an old building that has been modernized. Not your typical CY by any means. The FS is a typical big inner city Marriott. The CL is average. If I was choosing, I'd pick the FS Marriott unless there was significant price savings at the CY.
The first time I went to Philly, I stayed at the Marriott and was satisfied but what I also liked is that I caught the train from the airport and got off a short walk inside to the Marriott. To me, this was worth something. The next time, I just stayed at the Marriott at the airport and took the train in and back. The price was better and the train was fine. I got breakfast each time.
I grew up in Philly, I second the eastern state penitentiary for halloween fun. I have stayed at both the CY and the marriott downtown. even though there is no really benefit to staying at the CY, I totally liked the ambience (former bank with a vault in the lobby area) and rooms vs the standard downtown hotel. You must frequent the Reading Terminal market, just down the block from both. For an authentic colonial dinner, try "The City Tavern" @ 2nd and Market. Waiters and waitresses are dressed in colonial costume, food is very good and atmosphere wonderful. Next go down to the Italian market area and stop in DiBruno's and sample some of the cheese. By the way, someone mentioned Bookbinders, it is no longer open.
Enjoy my hometown, wish I could get back more often.
Right folks, once again, time to announce the correct answer! As before this is purely my opinion, mixed with more-than-a-little chance, but congrats surfwatcherb!
And I've just realised that my MR counter now stands at 1.66mill points and 499 nights, meaning my first night in Philly will also be the night I attain LTGold... Woohoo