There is no parking (or transportation) at the start line so be prepared to walk ~1 mile from any downtown hotel. The elite field was stacked for this race with the top 14 finishers all coming in under 1h05m! The course is one of our favorites as it runs through the city and past a number of historic monuments for the first 5.5 miles and then follows the Scuylkill River for the remainder of the race finishing at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Despite a fast and incredibly scenic course with good crowd support (one of our very favorite races) it was tough to enjoy the race as much as usual as Mike's IT band flared up at miles 8, 10, and 12 and Kristin's hip was acting up most of the race. While we were able to 'run through the pain' and finish in under 2 hours, this is a course that we would really like to run again when healthy.
Highlights: Running through injury and finishing together in under 2 hours, and despite hobbling with bags of ice taped to our bodies we still made it to the top of the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art post-race!
Day 1 (Friday):
Reading Terminal Market is an eclectic array of local restaurants and shops where everyone can find something. Located close to the expo and within a few blocks of the Marriott this was our go-to spot and we were never disappointed.
Tommy DiNic's (inside the Reading Terminal Market) prepares a fantastic roast pork sub sandwich with brocolli rabe (an italian leafy vegetable). No matter what time you get here you will almost certainly wait in line for at least a few minutes, but it is worth your wait. Have your order and money ready (apparently they take credit cards but everyone in line paid with cash). Very very good.
Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, which are located right across the street from one another, are two of the most famous historical attractions in Philadelphia. While the steeple of Independence Hall was under construction during our trip the tour was informative and worthwhile. Note if you are planning to tour Independence Hall you need to get your free tour tickets before hand at the vistor's center which is about a block north of Independence Hall (first come first served and only a limited number for each tour group). The Liberty Bell is free of charge and no tickets are required. Check out the room the bell is housed in - apparently it was built to withstand a direct bomb hit.
The Constitution Center Museum is located just north of the Independence Hall vistor's center and offers some very interesting exhibits about the struggle for independence in the United States. With a number of new age interactive exhibits this museum will both entertain and educate. The "Freedom Rising" movie/live show was very impressive. In addition to an ultra-modern setup (360 degrees of screens projected the movie above visitors) the show was actually narrorated by a live actress. If Freedom Rising is playing see it. We happened to visit on Constitution Day and admission was free, but even if it wasn't this is a worthwhile stop to gain some insight into the founding and shaping of the current political structure in the United States.
The Franklin Fountain located near Penn's Landing is a traditonal old-school ice cream parlor. The line was out the door but the cherry shake was fantastic. Not a low calorie shop (don't expect to find frozen yogurt or low fat ice cream), but delicious none-the-less!
Zahav's is an Israeli restaurant which provides a variety of interesting, unique and authentic dinner choices. We sampled a broad variety of dishes including the famous smoked lamb sausage, which was good but different (Kristin thought the lamb and smoked flavor was a bit too strong for her likings). This is not the type of restaurant you will find in every city and we're glad we tried it!
Love Park in downtown Philadelphia is a scenic stop, especially at night, for a quick photo and a nice view of the city.
McGilliin's Old Ale House in downtown Philadelphia is the oldest bar in the city. This is very much a locals bar and will give you a real taste of the city. What better place than the oldest bar in the city to try the oldest beer in the county, Yuengling. This lager has been brewed for over 175 years for a reason - this is some really good beer. A pitcher plus tip will only set you back about $8, which is more than far. Great place to visit.
The Original Turkey (inside the Reading Terminal Market) serves up some tasty deli sandwiches which are perfect taken to go. The Stuffin' Cranberry (turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce) was very good while the The Original (turkey, lettuce and tomato) was decent, but not as good as the Stuffin' Cranberry. Very flavorful turkey and fresh vegetables.
Day 2 (Saturday):
Old City Coffee (inside the Reading Terminal Market) is a nice local coffee bar. Good coffee and lates. Nice to try a local coffee shop for a change.
The Double Decker Bus Tour was a worthwhile way to get around the city, but make sure you pick a stop early in the morning to board and plan your day out so you aren't sitting waiting for the next bus the entire day.
Eastern State Penitentiary offers a glimpse into prison life of the past. This huge prison with castle-like walls is located just outside of the city (a stop along the Big Bus Double Decker route). The self guided tour comes with an audio component narrorated by Steve Buscemi which leads you from designated markers throughout the prison grounds. The audio is very well done and provides a lot of interesting facts. After you complete the tour you are free to wander the grounds yourself and along the way there are plenty of audio markers which enhance your experience. Incredibly unique and neat experience. Well worth the trip.
One of the unique aspects about downtown Philadelphia is the mix of new-age buildings and historical monuments. We really enjoyed walking downtown and seeing the historic buildings/areas intertwined with the new modern architecture of the city. The Philadelphia Museum of Art (also a stop on the Big Bus Double Decker route) is an impressive building, but one of the most touristy things to do is run the steps in front of the museum and take of the picture in front of the iconic Rocky statue. Despite some tired feet and IT band issues we both made it to the top "Yo Adrian, we did it!"
Day 3 (Sunday - Race Day):
The Mutter Museum is by far one of the strangest museums we have ever seen. The museum houses medical oddities (mostly human) and can be somewhat disturbing. Everything from skulls and brains to colons and fetuses be prepared for some shocking sights. A bit creepy, even if it is a medical museum.
Profi's Creperie (inside the Reading Terminal Market) makes made to order breakfast, lunch and desert crepes. After grabbing our coffee from Old City Coffee we sat at the counter and enjoyed very good ham and cheese crepes. The ingredients were very fresh and the fruit used was actually cut up by the chef during preparation (i.e. no frozen fruit or pre-processed food). A good breakfast option and if the timing had worked the desert crepes looked outstanding.
Pennsylvania Half Marathon Medals
September 19, 2010: Philadelphia Rock n Roll Half Marathon