Reporter’s Notebook: Philadelphia is a Great Weekend Getaway
PHILADELPHIA (WJON News) -- Right now we are qualifying central Minnesotans for a chance to win Dream Getaway 65. One option you might want to consider if you are the lucky winner is a trip to our nation's birthplace Philadelphia.
It's a relatively quick flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Philadelphia at about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Once you are there, downtown Philadelphia - which is known as Center City - is very safe. Several locals commented that there is very little crime in the downtown. Mostly because it seemed bustling to me, both day and evening there were always a lot of people walking around the area.
It's also a very walkable city, other than our Lyft ride to and from the airport we pretty much just walked everywhere we needed to go. Philadelphia does have a subway system, which we were told is very simple to navigate, however, we didn't find it necessary to use for what we wanted to do.
Of course, if you are going to spend any time in Philly you really need to like American history. The must-stop visit is to Independence Hall where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were both signed. You do have to buy your tickets in advance, but the good news is tickets are only $1 each so very much a bargain for such a historic location.
Right across the street from Independence Hall is the Liberty Bell. That is free to see and you don't need to get a ticket ahead of time.
While you are in that neighborhood, just down the street is the Revolutionary War Museum, which is worth the price of admission to check out. Tickets are required but you can buy them on the spot.
We also did the Hop on Hop Off bus tour which took us to other sights around the city including the Betsy Ross House and Museum, Ben Franklin's gravesite, and Elfreth's Alley which is America's oldest continuous residential street.
The highlight of the bus tour had to be Eastern State Penitentiary. It's considered the very first penitentiary opening in the late 1800s and remained a prison until 1971. Now it is a tourist attraction and considered to be a haunted site because so many prisoners that took their own lives there. They do both day and night tours, we did the day tour which was fascinating and well worth it.
Another must-stop for anyone visiting Philadelphia is the Reading Terminal Market. It's been there since 1893. It's a place to buy fruits and vegetables, a butcher shop, and any kind of restaurant food you can imagine. Our only regret is we didn't go there until our last day, go early in your trip because you may want to stop by a few times to be able to take it all in.
There's also McGillin's Olde Ale House which has been a part of Philadelphia since 1860. The locals didn't seem to think much of it, but we enjoyed the atmosphere and the history, how often can you say you've been in a pub that has been open since the year Abe Lincoln was elected?
The prices seemed reasonable with food and drink prices generally comparable to what you would pay here in central Minnesota.