Swarthmore, unlike most liberal arts colleges of its caliber, is not in a remote location. Rather, it is situated in the suburbs of Philadelphia, a large and international city famous for its museums, cuisine, and history. Only half an hour by rail with regular service to 30th Street Station, Swarthmore students regularly travel to Philly for academic and professional opportunities, as well as for fun weekend days with friends. Here are some ideas to inspire your next trip to our nearby big city:
Philadelphia Museum of Art – The world-renowned art museum just upriver from 30th Street Station is the perfect spot to start your exploration of Philadelphia. The exhibits never cease to amaze in their depth and quality — time really flies while you’re staring at some of the best art in the world! The museum is also home to the famous steps as portrayed in the “Rocky” movie franchise.
Reading Terminal Market – Foodies rejoice! Located directly in Center City near some of the larger train and bus stations is the market at the historical former Reading Terminal. It is home to grocery markets, Jewish delis, quality bakeries, Italian eateries, among other international cuisines all located under the same roof.
Independence Hall – A national landmark of obvious historical significance, students can spend hours at the museum at Independence Hall. Right across the street is the Liberty Bell, which can be seen from the outside at some angles in case students wanted to circumvent the cost of entry to the small museum in which it is located 🙂
Thrifting on South Street – The more bohemian neighborhood of Philly south of Center City deserves a day of its own, from outdoor markets to high-quality Italian restaurants and other cuisines. South Street, the main thoroughfare of the section, is known for its plentiful options fro second hand, vintage, or other kinds of thrift shopping for clothing, furniture, and more. A local favorite is the large Philly AIDS Thrift, where good clothing finds are a regular experience for shoppers.
Walking in the Old City – Given its history as a major city in colonial times and the early independence period, Philadelphia has a concentration of old houses in a picturesque neighborhood located near the riverbank, not far from Independence Hall. This neighborhood is great for photography and seeing architectural history come to life.
Phillies or 76ers Game – Dependent on the time of the school year, there are regularly games played by the Philadelphia Phillies or 76ers in the professional sports complex only 20 minutes by Uber from Swarthmore. A great activity for an evening with friends, there are sometimes deals on cheaper tickets for students or deals on concessions. Football fans can also see the Eagles play many Sundays throughout the fall semester, and the nearby city of Chester boasts Philly’s professional soccer team.
Live Music – From tours of popular artists at the Wells Fargo Center, to seasonal music festivals, to regular concerts in smaller venues, you could find live music in Philly every night of the week and to the genres of their choosing. Fans of Indie music would be particularly satisfied with the pickings of happenings on a normal weekend.