Welcome to Philly! The Birthplace of Our Nation and “The City of Brotherly Love”
I’m thrilled that the American Chemical Society Fall National Meeting is in my hometown this year and I hope I can help those of you visiting with a brief introduction to the city.
The convention center and attached hotels offer a great central location to explore some of the great areas Philadephia has to offer! Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods, so I encourage you to explore a bit beyond the confines and immediate area surrounding the convention center. The Pennsylvania Convention Center and Lowes Hotel (designated for the AGRO division), is in the center city business district. To the north and east is Chinatown, to the south is Midtown Village and to the west you will find Rittenhouse Square. The 30 blocks separating the Delaware River, to the east, and Schuylkill River, to the west, will have all you need to experience Philadelphia, but if you’re curious, University of Pennsylvania and Drexel are in University City, just to the west of the train station at 30th Street, on the west banks of the Schuylkill River.
Philadelphia boasts an impressive number of locally owned restaurants, bars, taverns, pubs and shopping options. Since your visit to Philly may be brief, I wanted to share a few key highlights:
- Classic Philly options: The Philly staples of cheesesteaks, pretzels, water ice, hoagies and tastycakes can be found at many corner stores, street vendors and in the Reading Terminal Market, where you can also find Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish treats. For a bigger flavor-of-Philly trip, head to Pat’s or Geno’s located at the southern end of the Italian Market on the corner of 9th and Passyunk Streets. Paesano’s and Sarcone’s have some of the best hoagies in the city.
- Trendy Philly options: Restaurant options are many and I would encourage the use of Open Table for groups, particularly if you’re trying to hit one of the Top 50 or other popular spots.
- Chinatown has many options including Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Burmese, Malaysian and Japanese.
- Midtown Village along 13th Street, between Walnut and Locust, have more great options than you will be able to experience in one week.
- Rittenhouse Square area, one of our city parks, is also a food destination.
- Some of the newer eclectic choices showing up on the “Best of” lists are a quick (under 10 min/$10)) Uber or cab ride south to East Passyunk Avenue.
- Philly’s long-standing alcohol law: Philadelphia does have some odd alcohol laws, so if you see “BYOB” in the restaurant info, that means they do not have a liquor license and you should bring your own beer/wine.
- Local Beers: Ordering a “lager” in most restaurants will get you a Yuengling Lager, the oldest active brewery in America, only a couple of hours west of Philly. Other bigger brewers in the area are Victory, Yards, Philadelphia Brewing and Flying Fish. There are more small craft brewers than I can begin to mention and most restaurants and bars take pride in creating a list to match their food. You will have a hard time finding beer from one of the major producers. You can search local bars and beers by checking out phillytapfinder.com.
- A variety of shopping options can be found along Walnut and Chestnut Streets, between 13th and 20th Streets, including a flagship Macy’s and many national chain stores. Local shops are mixed in as well as on the streets to the south — Locust, Spruce and Pine Streets.
- Beyond the convention center, Philadelphia is obviously home to many famous sites in American history. The historic area (including the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross House, the many “firsts” of Benjamin Franklin and Independence Hall) is centered around 6th and Chestnut Streets and the blocks to the east. This area is a quick Uber or cab ride from the convention center and can be explored on foot. The Independence Visitor Center at 6th and Market has maps.
I look forward to seeing many faces I know in Philadelphia and perhaps showing a few people around. If you have any questions about the city, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! See you in August!