Philly’s hidden gems

Everyone who visits Philadelphia knows about the Liberty Bell, the Philadelphia Zoo, Center City and of course, the soft pretzel. Though all of these attractions are certainly important, a true Philadelphian knows there’s a lot

Everyone who visits Philadelphia knows about the Liberty Bell, the Philadelphia Zoo, Center City and of course, the soft pretzel. Though all of these attractions are certainly important, a true Philadelphian knows there’s a lot more to the City of Brotherly Love than meets the eye. Get your subway passes ready because we’re about to explore some of Philadelphia’s HIDDEN ATTRACTIONS.

Kick back and relax

There’s no doubt that Philly offers busy streets buzzing with bars and clubs, but what about those times when you want to pick up a book or your iPod and just escape for a while? These three relaxation hot spots will have your mind doing Downward Dog in no time.

Boathouse Row

Many know about the art museum, but check out what’s behind it. There’s a quaint, picturesque row of homes lined up against the river north of Fairmount Water Works, known as Boathouse Row. As if the sight of the boathouses, originally built by an association of boating clubs known as The Schuylkill Navy in the 1850s, weren’t enough to bring peace to your mind, the grassy fields accompanied by walkers, picnickers and painters are sure to do the trick (located on Kelly Drive – free).

Fairmount Park

With a city so full of hustle and bustle, it’s inevitable that people are going to need some time to wind down. According to, it comprises 10 percent of Philadelphia’s land. Including 62 regional and neighborhood parks, Fairmount Park is the perfect place to let off some midterm steam by taking a run, having a picnic, hiking, tossing around a football or just sitting back and relaxing (41st Drive – no cost).

Central Library of Philadelphia

If you can’t find it at Paley, you’ll have a much better shot at the Central Library of Philadelphia. Located just five minutes from Temple, it contains more than 7 million items, along with numerous special collections. In addition to having endless resources at the palm of your hand and loads of studying space at your feet, the library hosts a variety of career
building seminars, such as one on job hunting tips and resume writing. Bonus: Chances are there won’t be anyone
you know there to distract you from studying (1901 Vine St. – no cost).

Learn something new

You can learn a lot while you’re studying at the library, but Philadelphia also offers many unique museums where you can not only learn, but also have fun.

The Mutter Museum

Located on the ground floor of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the Mutter Museum is a unique alternative to the usual college hangout, with its preserved body of the Soap Lady or the tallest skeleton on display in North America. The many natural phenomenons, accompanied by shrunken heads and bullet wounded skulls, show in many cases how medical
technology has evolved throughout the years. Whether you’re a science major or just someone looking for something interesting to check out, the Mutter Museum is a Philadelphian
must-see (19 S. 22nd St. – student rates available).

The African American Museum

Founded in 1976, the African American Museum of Philadelphia is home of four galleries and an auditorium, each offering exhibitions representing the museum’s three main themes: the African Diaspora, the Philadelphia Story, and the Contemporary Narrative.

According to the AAMP’s official Web site, this is the first institution to be funded and built by a major municipality in order to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage of African Americans with collections of fine art, numerous artifacts, textiles and costumes representing African American culture (701 Arch St. – student rates available).

Art After 5 At The Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art may not be so well-hidden, but not too many people know about its hidden attractions within. Case in point – Art After 5. With the museum’s new program, even Friday night out can be turned into a fun-filled night of learning from 5:00p.m.-8:45p.m. The museum’s Great Stair Hall is filled with food and entertainment with a mix of international music every first Friday. (26th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway – student rates available).
Hangin’ out If kicking back under the sun or learning
something new doesn’t seem like your idea of fun, this is the section for you! Because even though Philadelphia is known for its dining and nightlife, it has a lot more going
on than Cuba Libre and Shampoo.

Penn’s Landing

Many people underestimate the true hang-out potential of Penn’s Landing. With a full calendar including events such as Smooth Jazz Summer Nights, the Russian Mosaic Festival
or Mexican Independence Day, Penn’s Landing is always offering up a new, eclectic and usually free way to hang out with friends or your study date (301 S. Columbus Blvd. – no cost).

The Reading Terminal Market
While you were busy checking out all of the latest trendy restaurants that line the streets of Philadelphia, you were overlooking one of the best eateries in the city – the Reading Terminal Market. Located right off of Market Street, it reeks of a diverse variety of delicious cuisine, including vendors such as Kamal’s Middle Eastern Specialties, the Little Thai Market and Pearl’s Oyster Bar. Not only is the food great and easy on the college kid’s wallet, but there are also flower and candy vendors, as well as cooking classes being held inside. (12th and Arch St.).

World Cafe Live

Forget the Wachovia Center. If you’re looking for a fun place to hang out with your friends, listen to some live music, and have a bite to eat, World Cafe Live is the place to be. With two floors of live music, the cafĂ© not only offers ticketed shows, but they often feature free live music during lunch and dinner hours. In addition, they boast an extensive variety of food and drinks, and even more impressive, free wireless access. With “great hangout” written all over it, World Cafe Live is also known for its happy hours and benefits, some of which are held every year by Temple organizations, such as the Public Relations Student Society of America (3025 Walnut St.). Now some of Philly’s hidden attractions aren’t so hidden. Remember that there’s always a chance of someone else blocking your sun in the park or getting the last ticket in front of you.

Kristin Granero can be reached at

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