If you’re a Seattleite traveling to Philadelphia for the Seahawks game against the Eagles on Sunday, there are two critically important things you need to remember — things that might go against your nature:
- If you are walking, that green light does not necessarily mean you can safely cross the street.
- If you are driving, do not stop abruptly at that yellow light — because the guy behind you won’t.
Otherwise, there are a few things around town that might sort of seem like home.
Independence National Historical Park and Seattle’s Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park near Pioneer Square are both urban sites, but Philadelphia’s is more extensive — and includes far more than just Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. The Second National Bank is a portrait gallery honoring the country’s founders. The lawns are a welcome green space. Nearby are the National Constitution Center, the Philadelphia U.S. Mint, the National Museum of American Jewish History and the Museum of the American Revolution.
Reading Terminal Market is a fraction of the size of Pike Place Market and is not overlooking a waterfront, but if you like vendor stalls with fresh produce and meats and cheeses, you’ll want to stop here. For lunch in the market, which has been around since 1893, you can easily avoid a Philly cheesesteak — that’s a hint; try the roast pork with greens at DiNic’s or one of several sandwiches at the deli in the Amish section. You’ll also find many ethnic foods that are not holdable in your hands. There is also a bronze pig — but no Gum Wall.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is home to one of the best-known vistas of the city skyline thanks to “Rocky,” and the statue of Sylvester Stallone in the role of Rocky Balboa is near the bottom of those famous steps. As a work of art, “Hammering Man” outside the Seattle Art Museum stands much higher, but posing for a photo with him is a nonstarter. Philadelphia’s wide-ranging and excellent collections are enhanced by the nearby Rodin Museum and Barnes Foundation, which has painting after painting that you might see in textbooks about French Impressionism. Fun fact: SAM’s current building was designed by Philadelphia architect Robert Venturi, who partnered with his wife, Denise Scott Brown.
City Hall was not built for a World’s Fair like the Space Needle, but it’s an architectural treasure — it’s the largest municipal building in the country, and the tower is the tallest masonry structure without a steel frame in the world. That’s a statue of William Penn at the top, just above an open-air observation deck. You can get a rotating view if you walk all the way around.
Macy’s in Center City is in what used to be Wanamaker’s, much like the downtown Macy’s used to be Bon Marché. It’s a magnificent store, with a soaring grand court in the center that includes the largest functioning pipe organ in the world (concerts twice daily, except on Sundays) and the most prominent meeting place in the city (The Eagle, which long predates the football team). John Wanamaker is credited with many early innovations in department stores, including using price tags on individual items.
Independence National Historical Park, 41 N. Sixth Street, Philadelphia; 215-965-2305; nps.gov/ind
Reading Terminal Market, 51 N 12th Street, Philadelphia; 215-922-2317; readingterminalmarket.org
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia; 215-763-8100; philamuseum.org
City Hall, 1400 John F Kennedy Blvd., Philadelphia; 1-800-537-7676; visitphilly.com
Macy’s (Center City), 1300 Market Street, Philadelphia; 215-241-9000; l.macys.com/philadelphia-pa