A Fun, Historical Vacation for Less-Philly!

Melanie Rovinsky

The holidays are over and school is back in session. Your money supply is depleted as the dollars you had planned to spend on fast food, gas, and a new spring wardrobe are spent in a matter of minutes at the school bookstore. Suddenly, before you can realize what hit you, you are stuck in bed with a case of mid-winter depression. But don’t pull those covers over your head just yet! By purchasing a few of your books used rather than brand new, you can enjoy a weekend getaway to the city of brotherly love-Philly!

Philadelphia, the city full of history and phenomenal cheesesteaks, is one of the few big cities that won’t break your budget. After all, Ben Franklin was the man who coined the phrase, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

Although a bit nippy, traveling to Philly during the winter months will not only lift your spirits but will also save you a few bucks. Grab a comfortable pair of shoes, a friend, and a combined $300, and join me on this two-day journey to our nation’s first capital.

Best Western at Independence Park Hotel-$150/ night
Located right in the middle of the old city, this hotel is within blocks of the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the U.S. Mint. The Independence Park Hotel is one of the few historic inns in Pennsylvania, and offers guests a comfortable and more personalized stay. A complimentary European-style breakfast is offered each morning, featuring make-your-own Belgian waffles.

The Liberty Bell-Free
Check out one of our nation’s most renowned symbols of independence. Stroll through the exhibits leading up to the bell, and walk right up to where the bell is stationed. Photography is permitted in this building, so be sure to bring along your camera.

U.S. Mint-Free
Get an inside look at where and how our coins are made. Watch as the giant moneymaking machines work with a capacity to produce 1.8 million coins per hour. No cameras are allowed on the premises of the Mint, so be sure to leave your camera at the hotel.

Betsy Ross’s House-$2/person
Visit the historic home of Betsy Ross and see where she made the first American flag. See the very room that George Washington sat in when he asked Betsy to sew the flag. Actual artifacts of her life and time period remain.

Franklin Court-Free
See the actual site where Ben Franklin’s house once stood. Venture underground to visit Franklin’s Museum where you can see recreations of Franklin’s inventions, including an interactive phone bank.

Jon’s Bar and Grille-Avg. $8/meal
Head to South Street for an abundance of restaurants and novelty shops. While there, stop at Jon’s Bar and Grille for friendly service and plenty to eat. Larry Fine of the Three Stooges was born in the building that now houses the bar at Jon’s.

Reading Terminal Market-Free
Feeling hungry? Head outside of the historic district to Reading Terminal Market. The market offers hundreds of merchants selling everything from fresh fish to gourmet chocolate. After picking up the essentials sit down and enjoy one of the many restaurants the market has to offer. Be sure to sample some of Philly’s favorite foods!

Jim’s Steaks – Avg. $7/sandwich
End your trip with a delicious cheese steak from Jim’s in the hip art-deco neighborhood. Perfectly crafted, these cheese steaks often cause people to be waiting in line for over an hour. For a less busy time, try going during the week for lunch. For the true Philly taste, be sure to order your steak with “wiz and fried onions.”