Located between Center City to the west and the Delaware River to the east, Old City is picturesque Philadelphia at its best, with 18th-century streets filled with Revolutionary-era buildings. Retrace the steps of the men who created the U.S. Constitution and see where Betsy Ross sewed her storied flag in “America’s Most Historic Square Mile.” Two Street and adjacent Market and Chestnut streets have a more contemporary vibe, with cutting-edge galleries and trendy cafés. Just south of Old City is Society Hill, one of the more prestigious addresses in town, filled with stately Colonial and Federal homes. Swank Society Hill is bordered on the south by South Street, where tattoo shops, nightclubs and Jim’s (cheese) Steaks vie for the attention of 20-somethings.
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Center City is to the immediate west of Old City and its center is the turn-of-the-19th-century City Hall. Although City Center is Philadelphia’s business district and the location of both the Philadelphia Stock Exchange and Pennsylvania Convention Center, whimsical public art and foodie heaven are the order of the day here. Reading Terminal Market fills the air with the aroma of Amish eats and Philly specialties. And Chinatown is close by. A few blocks northwest of City Hall along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is the Museums District, with the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art and hands-on science exploration at the Franklin Institute. South of Center City is South Philadelphia, “Rocky’s” neighborhood, where the massive Italian Market beckons with its pungent cheeses, handmade pasta and decadent pastries.
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To the west of Center City is this posh neighborhood filled with upscale residences and chic cafés. Rittenhouse square hosts a number of upscale hotels popular with celebrities and international clients. Mingle with local residents over an afternoon espresso from La Colombe or dine alfresco on one of the many and inviting restaurant patios for the best people-watching in the entire city.
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Head west from downtown Philadelphia and Rittenhouse Square , crossing the Schuylkill River, to visit University City. Here you’ll find the ivy-covered campus of the country’s oldest institute of higher education, the University of Pennsylvania, along with grand Philadelphia Cathedral and friendly priced bars and restaurants filled with students. Route 76 follows the Schuylkill River on its west side. Head north for the residential neighborhoods of Manayunk, Germantown and Chestnut Hill.
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Philadelphia International Airport is just 20 minutes south of Center City. Airport hotels are not only value-priced but are also convenient to the sports complexes on the edge of the city where Philadelphia’s home-town sports heroes, including baseball’s Phillies, compete throughout the year.
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