ISSS is excited to make its first trip to Philadelphia, the home of cheesesteaks, the Liberty Bell, Rocky Balboa and the friendliest, most easy-going sports fans on earth (well, that last part may be a bit of a stretch)! The city of brotherly love (or “Philly” as it is called by the locals) is a diverse and vibrant city with numerous museums and exhibits, wonderful eateries, and a great nightlife. For those interested in American history, Philadelphia played a central role in the birth of our country and boasts historical landmarks such as the aforementioned Liberty Bell, Independence Hall (where both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States were drafted and signed) and Betsy Ross House. For fans of the more macabre, we have the Edgar Allen Poe Historical Site, Eastern State Penitentiary (home to Al Capone) and the intriguing Mutter Museum (a magnificently macabre medical museum whose current exhibits include “Death Under Glass”). Fitness enthusiasts can work out in our many gyms, take a jog along scenic Kelly Drive or try their luck running up the art museum steps a la Rocky. For anyone bringing your children will want to visit the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia Zoo and the Please Touch Museum. In short, no matter what your tastes are, Philadelphia has something to offer.
Restaurants: There are also a plethora of restaurants within walking distance of the conference, ranging from great lunch fare to fine dining.
Lunch on Friday will be on your own so you will have the chance to try one of the great lunch options near the conference, such as Oyster House (http://oysterhousephilly.com/), Good Dog Bar (http://www.gooddogbar.com/), The Continental Mid-Town (continentalmidtown.com), Marathon Grill (eatmarathon.com), The Dandelion (thedandelionpub.com), or HipCityVeg (hipcityveg.com), just to name a few! There are also staples, such as Potbelly, Chipotle, and Five Guys.
Furthermore, just a few blocks over on 12th Street you will find the Reading Terminal Market (http://www.readingterminalmarket.org/). This famous indoor market is a mecca of fresh, local, and delicious food. Reading Terminal Market offers the sale of fresh meats, seafood, and poultry, handmade confections and baked goods, and is home to a wide variety of restaurants that will satisfy all of your mouth watering food wants and needs. With a selection ranging from crepes, to hoagies, pasta, Cajun, BBQ, Amish, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Greek, Chinese, German, cheesesteaks, salad, and Mexican, you will be sure to leave full and happy. Open from 8 A.M. to 6 P.M. Monday to Saturday and 9 A. M. to 5 P. M. on Sundays, the Reading Terminal Market is a stop you will not regret.
For dining, there are several renowned options: the Stephen Starr restaurants El Vez (http://www.elvezrestaurant.com/) and Alma de Cuba (http://www.almadecubarestaurant.com/), Michael Schulson’s Sampan (http://www.sampanphilly.com/), upscale Asian restaurants Morimoto (http://www.morimotorestaurant.com/) and Buddakan (http://www.buddakan.com/), and family friendly Maggiano's (http://locations.maggianos.com/us/pennsylvania/philadelphia/12th-filbert ) are all less than a mile from the conference. Or, try a smaller, Philadelphia favorite byob (many of the Philadelphia restaurants are bring-your-own-bottle due to strict liquor licenses, and some are even cash only), such as Giorgio On Pine (giorgioonpine.com), Mercato (https://mercatobyob.com/), or Russet (www.russetphilly.com/).
Attractions: Below we try to provide you a feel for the city, especially the center city area where the conference is located. However, there are simply too many things to see and do in Philadelphia to put on this brief list. So, for more information on planning activities while you are here in Philadelphia, check out some of these sites:
That being said, here are a few of the highlights:
Museums: The Art Museum is a short walk from the conference along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which runs one mile from City Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This includes walking along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which is lined with flags from every country of the world. The Art Museum area is a major tourist attraction for the Philadelphia Museum of Art (home to a wealth of impressive holdings in Renaissance, American, Impressionist and Modern art, including “The large Bathers” be Cezanne). An added perk is that the famous Art Museum steps that were once ascended by Rocky Balboa. However, there are many other excellent museums in the area including the Academy of Natural Sciences, Franklin Institute, and Rodin Museum. A new addition to the Art Museum area is the Barnes Foundation (http://www.barnesfoundation.org/) which contains one of the finest collections of Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings. Within a few blocks of Rittenhouse Square is also the Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians (http://muttermuseum.org/) -- America's finest museum of medical history described as a “riveting storehouse for the anatomically strange.”
Shows: Located on Broad Street, primarily south of City Hall, you’ll find another well-visited part of the city, the Avenue of the Arts. The Avenue of the Arts is home to many of Philadelphia’s concert halls and theatres, including the Kimmel Center, Merriam Theatre, Wilma Theatre, and Academy of Music. Visit www.avenueofthearts.org for a calendar of events.
Parks: One of the well-known parks is Rittenhouse Square (18th and Walnut Streets), and is one of the five original open-space parks planned by William Penn. Along the park you can find several coffee shops and restaurants. Another great park, and also one of the originals is Washington Square Park, located on the east side of Broad Street around 7th and Walnut Street.
Chinatown: At 10th and Arch St you will find the Friendship Arch in the heart of Chinatown. You can visit some of the most historical and important buildings to the Chinese community, look at brilliant and breathtaking art and sculptures done by Chinese artisans, take a stroll through the streets window shopping, and enjoy excellent food.
Shopping: If shopping is what you seek, you can head to Walnut Street between 13th and 18th, Walnut Street is home to a variety of stores such as Michael Kors, Armani Exchange, Tiffany & Co., Barneys New York, Ralph Lauren, Juicy Couture, Club Monaco, Guess?, Williams Sonoma, Brooks Brothers, Cole Haan, Ann Taylor, Kenneth Cole, Coach, Talbots, Banana Republic, Anthroplogie, and Apple. Nearby at 16th and Chestnut is also The Shops at Liberty Place, a small shopping center.
If you have not booked your lodging, we highly encourage you to do as soon as possible as accommodations are filling quickly! Below are hotel suggestions:
Within 5 blocks of Center City Campus
Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel
Club Quarters Hotel in Philadelphia
The Logan Philadelphia, Curio Collection by Hilton
Embassy Suite Philadelphia Center City
Within 10 blocks of Center City Campus
Hampton Inn Philadelphia Center City – Convention Center
Four Points by Sheraton Philadelphia Center City
Best Western Plus Philadelphia Convention Center Hotel
The Independent Hotel
These are just a few options - there are several other hotels within Center City. Airbnb is also a popular, and perhaps more affordable, option within Center City. If you are looking at different accommodations and have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
Travel to Philadelphia:
By plane: Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is located 7 miles southwest of Center City. PHL is serviced by all the major airlines and is a hub for American Airlines, so getting a reasonable flight with minimal layovers should not be a problem. Once at PHL you can either take a taxi (~$30), Uber/Lyft (~$20) or a regional rail (train) ($8, cash only) to get to Center City.
By train or Megabus/Boltbus: The Philadelphia Amtrak station is located at 30th Street Station (also the drop-off location for Megabus/Boltbus) and is just a few miles from center city. To get to center city from the 30th street you can either take a taxi or Uber/Lyft located right outside of the 30th street station ($8.00 - $15.00, depending on traffic) or transfer to a SEPTA regional rail (also located in 30th Street Station) and take it two stops to Jefferson Station (about a 5-10 minute trip and a free ride if you have your Amtrak ticket stub or $8 if you took the bus in). Another option is taking the SEPTA Market-Frankford Subway line east, one stop to city hall (however, requires buying a token or paying a $2.25 cash fair).
By Bus: For those traveling to the ISSS meeting by Greyhound, Peter Pan or Chinatown Bus lines, your bus ride ends at 10th and Filbert. From there it is only a half-mile to Temple Center City Campus at 15th and Market. You can walk or Uber/Lyft, but there are also cabs in front of the bus terminal if you prefer.