Can't-miss sights for new urbanists in Philadelphia

paytonc's picture

Before you leave for CNU XV, make sure that you read up on how to get around Philadelphia, print off a map of CNU XV venues, and take a look at our helpful City Guide. John Massengale chimes in with a walking tour on his blog. Sandy Sorlien writes in with additional self-guided walking tour recommendations:

1. Walk south on 12th and poke around a block or so each way. Don't miss the skinny streets like Quince. Camac and Clinton are also nice streets. The 1100 block of Pine is great. For a longer walk, keep going to around 13th and Christian and see the MLK Jr Hope VI infill - it's quite good. Then head east to the Italian Market, 9th & Christian. Then back north.

Note: the core of South Street has passed its funky prime IMO, but is still interesting. (core = 10th to 2nd)

Note #2 - Dirty Frank's at 13th & Pine is a great little dive bar.

2. Do not miss Rittenhouse Square whatever you do. 18th & Walnut.

3. The Masonic Temple is supposed to be cool inside. Two blocks from the hotel. After that, check out the Frank Furness PA Academy of the Fine Arts, a block north. Beautiful entry hall.

4. The landmark Eastern State Penitentiary, "America's Most Historic Prison," is definitely cool inside. 21st and Fairmount. A very long walk (30-40 min) - take the Parkway diagonally down to 20th and head north, or take the Broad St subway line north to Fairmount and walk over from there. Open 10-5.

5. Walk from the Loews east down to Old City and Society Hill and poke around. The blocks between 5th and Front, Pine to Vine, are all great.

Karin Morris adds:

Following up on Sandy's great recommendations, you must not miss the Italian Market annual festival, in my neck of the woods, taking place Sat. and Sun. of the conference, from 10am to 5pm. It's always a great time, and features great food, performances, contests, etc. The Italian Market/South Philly is old school Philly, that produced the likes of Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Fabian, Frankie Avalon (Philly was home to American Bandstand). The market is now a diverse mix of Italian, Mexican, and Vietnamese merchants.

The festival is on S. 9th Street from Fitzwater to Federal, ending at Philly's famous cheesesteak corner rivalry of Pat's vs. Geno's. If you're adventurous, keep walking south on Passyunk Avenue, one of the city's few diagonal streets, to check out a really interesting commercial street.

If you're at the festival on Sunday, don't miss the procession of saints after 10am mass at St. Paul's, where parishioners carry wooden saints adorned with ribbons, and you can pin money on your favorite saint.

As for me, when I'm not juggling computers and sprinting between sessions, you might catch me refueling on caffeine at Tbar or Joe Coffee Bar, or sugar at Flying Monkey Patisserie at the Reading Terminal Market.

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