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Some people think of these characteristics when they think of Philadelphia: Down to earth, friendly, fun, sports and a city of food and beer tastings. Of course, Philly has much to offer in the way of beautiful architecture, museums, and culture. Still, most people head east for the food.
There are many ways to get around Philly. Walking, public transportation or taxi are the best ways of getting around the city. Center City itself has a 25-block grid (sandwiched between the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers). The sidewalks have cut-out curbs for wheelchair and stroller accessibility. A $10 unlimited Anywhere Day Pass allows for travel by bus, trolley, subway, train and the Philly Phlash, all means of public transportation. These are all great for sightseeing, especially the trolleys and the Phlash.
If you're the ultimate beer gourmet, you may want to try the 'Beer Lover's Weekend.' A written itinerary can be found on the web, along with one in podcast mode. It even suggests a schedule for the entire weekend. Some places have 30 varieties of beer to choose from, and some have 2 oz. servings so you can enjoy and compare in a true tasting style. You can tour the Philadelphia Brewing Company on a Saturday and pick up some of your favorites while there. Naturally to maintain your stamina through the weekend, a variety of food establishments is suggested between the suds.
If the weather is nice, consider dining in one of Philly's outdoor dining spots. Let yourself explore on foot and see what suits your fancy, or see what's online before you go. In the neighborhood of Rittenhouse Square alone, there are 200 restaurants with outdoor seating! You'll find everything from pizza and burgers to Mediterranean, seafood, Mexican, French, Jamaican, and comfort food on their various menus.
A must is visiting one or both of the infamous food markets in Philly. The Reading Terminal Market, the country's oldest continuously operating farmers' market. Everyone and every cuisine is there and since you won't have room for it all, make sure you bring a few extra tote bags to bring some goodies home with you. In addition to all the food, you'll find flowers, crafts, American quilts and cooking demonstrations. Then there's also the Italian Market. In addition to the Italian cheeses, meats, pastas, breads and pastries, you'll find a Chinese apothecary, pizza and sandwich shops, and kitchenware shop. There are also a seafood and Italian restaurants located a short distance from this market.
What's the skinny on those cheesesteaks? There's certainly nothing comparable anywhere else, and it's one of those things you must partake of while there. There is some friendly rivalry about the best way to make a cheesesteak, so you can always do a taste test to see what you think. The three ingredients-chopped steak, cheese, and optional fried onions on a roll or hoagie, can all be made differently. There's a precision to ordering a cheesesteak too, and you may want to observe at least a few orders before you venture up to the order window. Locals seem to have nailed their orders down to just three words, so know that you're expected to be specific so that your order taker doesn't have to ask you any questions. It's quite a brisk business! There's the famous cheesesteak corner in South Philadelphia, comprised of Pat's King of Steaks, Geno's Steaks, Jim's Steaks, John's Roast Pork, and the new kid on the block, Steaks on South. Elsewhere among the most popular are Campo's Deli, Dalessandro's Steaks, Rick's, and Steve's Prince of Steaks. Expect lines everywhere, and think about getting two so you won't have to get back on line!
As for shopping in Philadelphia, remember that clothing and shoes are tax-free here. So, no matter what time of year it is, you may want to bring along that holiday gift list.
Maybe before the baseball game, you'd like to check out one of the city's unique museums in addition to the more traditional ones. Try the Mutter Museum with its collection of medical pathology specimens, Independence Seaport Museum, Fireman's Hall, or perhaps the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove. Then there's the 'Rocky' statue...