Maybe you only know it for the Liberty Bell? Or for Philly cheesesteak and the Flyers? But on top of a lot of history and some restaurants, Philadelphia is home to some beautiful pieces of art, both old and new. An old favorite of mine is to visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art, whish is actually one of the largest art collections in the U.S. and the world! Though is may not be as big as the Louvre, you still must plan visit carefully. It's not likely that you will be able to see everything in one day. Luckily, any ticket from the museum is valid for two consecutive days. Even so, it's best to pick your favorite periods of art or see something new. I've visited a few times before and I know where to find the Cézanne's and how fun it can be to wander the modern art wing. Still I can turn a corner and see a magnificent piece I haven't seen before. Like this Klimt...
The PMA also hosts some pretty cool exhibitions, so it's worth keeping an ear open about their events. I got to see an extensive Van Gogh exhibition a few years ago that was simply unreal.
The museum is closed Monday, open Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until 8:45 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays. Admission is as follows: Adults- $20, Seniors- $18, Students and Youth- $14, and children 12 and under are free.
But the museum is not just the main building at the end of Benjamin Franklin Parkway. It includes the Perelman Building, historic houses, and the Rodin Museum. All are included in the price of admission. The Perelman Building hosts a full public library, a café, and bookstore. The Historic Houses feature two beautiful early American historical houses are currently open for tours. The Rodin Museum is extremely unique as it is the most comprehensive collection of Auguste Rodin's work outside of Paris.
If you admire The Thinker or love sculpture and portraiture, the Rodin museum and garden is a must. It's small and beautiful, the gardens a tranquil place to rest, read, or eat lunch. A few statues are outside and the Gates of Hell, Rodin's masterpiece, are at the entrance of the museum. The inside is filled with caricature-like busts and twisting sculpted bodies. It will take you around 30 minutes to see everything in the museum, yet it is definitely worth that time.
When you get hungry there is plenty of good food in the neighborhood. I suggest a stroll through the beautiful UPenn campus until you come across the many chains and independent restaurants frequented by students and professors. One of my favorites is Sweetgreen, a small salad place with all local greens and tons of great toppings.
So if you are set on visiting D.C. and New York City, consider stopping in between for a day or two in Philadelphia--you might be surprised at how much it has to offer.