A Summer Day in Philadelphia

Experience some of the lesser-known (but equally interesting) sights, sounds, and tastes of the City of Brotherly Love.

A Summer Day in Philadelphia

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by diminor1929 on August 18, 2003

One hot summer morning,finding myself with a clear agenda, I boarded the commuter train to Philadelphia, armed only with some brochures of highlights and attractions. I didnt want to visit the typical spots previously reviewed so I dug up some more "off the beaten path" type of stops. (Mainly because I hate waiting in line for anything!!!) I found some memorable spots to eat and visit and had quite a memorable day. Starting at the Reading Terminal (one of my favorite places-see previous journals) I stopped at one of the best spots anywhere for oyster stew,Pearls and finished up my day in one of the best pubs ANYWHERE -- the LONDON GRILL (see review).${QuickSuggestions} Try to hit the Reading Terminal at off-peak times (mainly lunch and late afternoon). Also the early and middle of the week are better if you plan to do some browsing. You could literally spend the entire day here (see my previous entries)and it changes seasonally. ${BestWay} If you are staying in the city, you can walk (there are plenty of signs posted everywhere for walking tours), but make sure you wear your best walking shoes! There are also little purple minivans called the Phlash that will take you to all major attractions. It will cost you $1 a person every time you jump on but is great for getting around. Also there is a decent bus system that will take you anywhere you want to go. Just have the exact change.


Member Rating 4 out of 5 by diminor1929 on August 18, 2003

This was my second or third visit to Pearls, and I just keep coming back. It's long bar faces the window out onto Filbert Street, and it's so easy to just pull up a stool and make yourself at home.

The menu is pretty basic; several types of seafood either broiled, fried, or cut up in a stew (like clam chowder, and the best, oyster stew). It is super informal but the service is quick and to the point. If you're in a hurry and want a quick taste of Philly, Pearls fills the bill.

I visited in the middle of a hectic lunch hour and marveled at the quick and efficient service of the spartan staff. But don't expect fancy--this is Philly eating at its finest and the Reading Terminal atmosphere really adds a lot to the experience. There's a bowl of old-fashioned (real) oyster crackers and horseradish at every station. Your oyster stew will need some pepper and hot sauce (provided) if you like it like mine. But it's loaded with the tastiest oysters this side of the Chesapeake! You can have your oysters raw, fried, or stewed. Platters come with the typical coleslaw, but it is freshly made and tastes great!

Pearl's Oyster Bar
Reading Terminal Market - 12th & Arch Streets
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19107
(215) 627-7250

London Grill

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by diminor1929 on August 18, 2003

After you've spent a grueling late afternoon touring the macabre innards of Eastern State Penitentiary,come out of the gate, turn right, then RUN (don't walk) to London Grill.

Its charming facade with outdoor cafe-style tables (in warm weather) is nothing out of the ordinary to see. That's typical for this down to earth neighborhood.The location is an excellent place to wait for the #48 or #7 bus to take you back into Center City. But if the temperature's 90 degrees, you're dying of thirst, and it's 5pm-you may want to pop into its cool, welcoming interior for a thirst-quenching, spirit-reviving libation and small talk with some authentic Philly style ambience.

As a single, middle-aged female I had no qualms (it was still daylight) taking a seat at the old-fashioned bar and ordering a Cosmo. Glancing at the bar menu I saw some appetizing tidbits when the bartender informed me that each night there is a Happy Hour bar food special. Wednesday's happened to be quesadillas (either bean or duck). I went with the duck and even though famished I couldn't possibly have finished it. It would be a great appetizer to share.

The atmosphere of the place is warm and patrons are friendly. I was told it had been a local bar since the turn of the century. Some of the brews are even named for famous prisoners at the neighboring penitentiary. There is an array of rooms, including a light-filled atrium, cozy bar and dining room, all sending out welcoming vibes to the regular patrons as well as the newcomer.

For GREAT food prepared by world class chefs, as well as a taste of a real Philadelphia "neighborhood" bar, this place has it all!

London Grill
2301 Fairmount Ave.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19130

Eastern State Penitentiary

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by diminor1929 on August 18, 2003

Spooky and creepy -- no wonder they offer Halloween nightime tours. Is it haunted? Current guides differ in their answers. The admission price includes an audiotour of over 41 displays that discuss life in the prison.I think every parent should take children here for a visit. It might be a bigger deterrent to crime than we may think!
Eastern State Penitentiary
22nd & Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19130
(215) 236-3300

African-American Museum in Philadelphia

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by diminor1929 on August 18, 2003

While pictures were not permitted inside the museum, the artwork and doll exhibits kept me interested for over an hour. A separate auditorium in the downstairs area provides a venue for cultural performances and demonstrations -- unfortunately, none were being presented the day I was there. There are four levels, all connected by ramps (elevators for the handicapped are also available). Group tour prices and accommodation are also available. It's located a short block from Independence Hall and surface parking is available a block away (on Arch Street, directly behind the building). It is also easily accessible by bus (#17, 33, 38, 44, 47, 48, and 61 -- Septa buses) and rail.
The African-American Museum in Philadelphia
701 Arch Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
(215) 574-0380


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