Events in January
Millennium Philadelphia Countdown to 2001!
Philadelphia’s City Hall will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2001. Join this year’s celebration and enjoy a free concert, a laser light show on the Avenue of the Arts (a.k.a. Broad Street), and numerous cultural festivities at the City Hall Gala.
100th Annual Mummers Parade
This is one of Philadelphia’s best – don’t miss it! The world-famous Mummer’s Parade is a daylong event that is held every New Years Day, and is responsible for getting the city out of its post-New Year’s hangover and into feathers and finery. It is a unique Philadelphia tradition, and consists of more than 30,000 costumed entertainers strutting and performing on the streets of Center City.
For information call: (215) 636-1666.
Click here for a personal account of the Mummers Parade.
Van Gogh: Face-to-Face
This will be your last chance to see this show of van Gogh’s work, which promises to “focus, for the first time, on van Gogh’s evolving approach to the portrait throughout a tragically brief life.” Catch it now – this is the last stop on the tour! Tickets range from $8 to $20, dependent on age of purchaser and day visited.
For information call: (215) 235-SHOW.
Peddler’s Village Holiday Season
Travel just outside of Philadelphia to Peddler’s Village – a quaint shopping experience that will be filled with the magic of the holiday season. Over the holidays the village sparkles with more than 400,000 lights. (Ohhhh, Ahhhhh!) Also enjoy an incredible, edible gingerbread display. Yummy!
For information call: (215) 794-4000.
Visit the Winter Wonderland at lovely Longwood Gardens – located about 45 minutes outside of Philly. Highlights include thousands of brilliant plants, fragrant white narcissi, over 400,000 decorative lights, and colorful fountains that are set to music.
For information call: (610) 388-1000.
Blue Cross River Rink
Strap on your ice skates, and start packing the seat of your pants with T.P. – it’s that time of year again, and the skating rink is open! You can find it on Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing – intersection of Columbus Blvd. at Spring Garden.
The 65th Annual Philadelphia Boat Show
Okay – so it is a wee bit cold to hit the river this time of year…but it’s never too early to gear up! Everything dealing with boats that you didn’t get for Christmas can be found at this boat show. Now go eat your spinach – you’ll need your strength to carry all your goodies out of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
For information call: (610) 449-9910
Time to kick-start Spring! Longwood Gardens is on the right track, as it presents a refreshing preview of flowering bulbs inside nearly three acres of greenhouses. So, bundle up and head out of freezing Philly to catch a glimpse of these gorgeous flowers.
For information call: (610) 388-1000
Happy Birthday City Hall!
Philadelphia’s City Hall is many things – massive, historical, expensive, and controversial. It is beautiful to some, and hideous to others. It is the largest municipal building in the United States (larger than even the U.S. Capitol), as well as the most expensive municipal building in the United States to build.
It has 695 rooms, covering 14.5 acres of floor space, and its 548-foot tower is topped with the tallest statue on any building in the world. How big is this statue of William Penn? It soars close to 40 feet high – to put that into perspective, his fingers are 2.5 feet long with 3 inch fingernails, and a strand of his hair stretches 4 feet in length.
City Hall was born on June 26, 1901, and will be celebrating its 100th birthday throughout 2001. Not too shabby for a building that was once called “an ugly monstrosity which sooner or later must come down” by a city councilman. It seems to be under perpetual restoration, even now in its centennial year, but remains open for city business and public appreciation.
It is also one of the best free attractions of the city – a visit to the top of its tower awards you with a breathtaking panoramic view of Philadelphia, as well as a great view of Penn’s humongous feet!
Interested in visiting City Hall to wish it a “Happy Birthday”? Swing by on a weekday – guided tours of the interior are held at 12:30 pm. The observation deck at the base of the Penn statue is also open on weekdays (weather permitting). Finding your way up there is the challenging part. Basically, take the elevator up to the 7th floor, and then follow the posted signs and red lines on the floor to a set of escalators. Ride the escalators up two floors, and then hunt down the volunteer guide to escort you up the remaining 30 floors in the tower’s tiny elevator.
It may sound difficult – but it’s not that bad, and definitely worth the hassle! For information call: (215) 686-2840
Check out the Philadelphia Inquirer’s City Hall Special Edition.
Philly is located on the Eastern Coast of the US, a short distance from Washington D.C., New York City and Atlantic City, NJ.
A wide variety of hotels at all price ranges may be found in Center City. I am myself a B&B lover, especially in such a historical city, so here are a few to choose from:
Old City, a private residence since 1828 w/a private city garden. (215)413-0669
A beautiful European-style B&B centrally located. (215)545-1755
The highest rated B&B in Philly (AAA 3-diamond). An all suite B&B, with many amenities in a townhouse dated to 1836. (215)923-8144
In the Art Museum district, featuring artwork by local artists. Rooms have private baths. (215)567-2484
The cheapest method of transportation between Philadelphia International Airport and Center City is the SEPTA Train. The train picks up from all terminals, and runs to 3 Center City stations :
30th Street Station (N 30th St. between Market and Arch Sts.)
Suburban Station (JFK Blvd. between N 16th and 17th Sts.), and
Market East Station (N 11th and Market St.).
A one way ticket costs $5, and trains run every 30 minutes from 6:10am to 12:10am. The ride takes 20-30 minutes. Most areas of the city are accessible from these stations by bus, subway or cab.
Cab fare from the airport to most Center City locations runs about $20, and the ride can take 15-30 minutes, depending on traffic.
30th Street Station is the main Amtrak station, with service to and from most major Eastern U.S. cities.
US currency is standard.
Per diem costs can range from $50 and up, depending on your tastes!
The term "United States of America" was used for the first time on July 6, 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was published in Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Evening Post.
Philadelphia’s first corrupt politician was William Penn’s cousin, Col. William Markham. Markham served as Penn’s deputy governor from 1693 to 1699. During this time he offered a safe haven to pirates (including Captain Kidd) for the sum of 100 British pounds per crew member.
I am not a native Philadelphian by any means…however I have lived here now for over a year, and have come to appreciate all it has to offer!
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