Skip the Liberty Bell, Visit Fallingwater
OK, don’t skip the Liberty Bell Center; to see this living piece of American history in person is amazing. But for another peek at history, drive to Mill Run and spend the afternoon at Fallingwater. This spectacular Frank Lloyd Wright home was built in the 1930s as the mountain retreat for a private client, and it captured the imagination with the way it stretches over a 30-foot waterfall. It graced the cover of Time magazine in 1938 and, today, is a National Historic Landmark. You need to reserve your spot in one of the guided tours ahead of time; this is the only way to enter the house. You can take a self-guided grounds tour, which gives you an outside view only (and if you visit in late June or early July, you’ll get to see the famous rhododendrons in bloom). There’s an activity center for kids and a cafe onsite.
Skip the Museum, Experience Mutual Arts
What started as an effort to curb graffiti has become one of the most remarkable public arts programs in the country. Run by the City of Philadelphia, the Mural Arts Program allows budding local artists to express themselves through art, and to transform walls and sides of buildings throughout the city into works of art for all to see. To date, the project has resulted in more than 3,600 murals that have helped define the civic landscape. You can take tours by foot, bike and event trolley, and private tours are available upon request. The Mural Arts Program turns 30 this year.
Skip the Cab, Take the Ferry
Need to get across the Delaware River on your way from Penn’s Landing to the attractions at the Camden Waterfront, perhaps? The ride’s only 12 minutes and gives you unique views of Philadelphia, and many landmarks, from the water. The RiverLink Ferry runs May through September.
Don’t Shop Alone, Consult
A personal shopper isn’t just for celebrities anymore. Kristel Closets specializes in personalized shopping tours, highlighting boutiques and businesses that cater to the things you like to buy. A half-day shopping spree lasts three hours and, for $300 for one person or $350 for two, includes a customized itinerary, transportation and extras like alterations and shipping. A full-day service, which includes six hours of shopping and lunch, is also available.
Skip the Bar, Do the Crawl
If you’re a libations aficionado, then head to Graduate Hospital. This buzzing neighborhood is compact and easy to get around, and teeming with some of the best watering holes in Philadelphia. Spend the afternoon taking a walking (and sipping) tour of spots like The Cambridge, a British pub-inspired hangout with a classic cocktail list, and Resurrection Ale House, with no less than 12 brews on tap. This is a great way to discover local craft beers, too.
Gabe Saglie is Senior Editor for Travelzoo, which features hotel, airfare and a bevy of local deals in Philadelphia at www.travelzoo.com/local-deals/Philadelphia/deals.