Top 10 AALL Annual Meeting Local Tips

by Merle Slyhoff, Local Arrangements Committee co-chair.

Have a question for the locals? Need some help figuring out what to see? Where to go? You can ask your question at So far we’ve helped with restaurant recommendations and directions. What can we do for you??

So much to do, so little time? The Local Arrangements Committee members suggest their Top 10 “must see,” unique sites in Philly, in no particular order:

  1. Liberty Bell and Independence Hall – You can see the Liberty Bell through the glass walls that serve as its home, making it a good evening stroll destination.
  2. The President’s House – Located right next to the Liberty Bell, this recently excavated home to Presidents Washington and Adams “pays homage to nine documented enslaved persons of African descent who were part of the Washington household and addresses the topic of slavery in the early history of the United States.” An outdoor exhibit, the site can also be visited in the evening.
  3. Magic Gardens – An oasis in the city, this mosaic garden is the creation of Isaiah Zagar. Check out the documentary on Zagar done by his son Jeremiah.
  4. Reading Terminal Market – Located under the Convention Center, the market is a must see for its uniqueness, for the incredible food, for a glimpse of the Amish farmers who come in to sell their fresh food, and for the food. Oh, did I repeat the food? For good reason.
  5. Philly’s Museum Mile – The Rodin Museum, The Philadelphia Art Museum (home to the Rocky statue – outside the museum on the street level – and the steps he made famous), and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts to name a few (NOTE: The Barnes has not yet opened)
  6. The Italian Market – Remember Rocky running through the Italian Market? Home to an open-air market, great stores and restaurants.
  7. Eastern State Penitentiary – Once home to Al Capone, Eastern State serves as a haunting memory of prison life.
  8. Dream Garden – A glass mosaic designed by Maxfield Parrish and created by Louis Comfort Tiffany and his company for the lobby of the Curtis Publishing Building.
  9. Comcast Center HD Video Wall – Breathtaking scenes and videos appear on the largest four-millimeter LED screen in the world. Look up to see the workers scurrying about on the beams.
  10. Rittenhouse Square – Philly has many squares in the downtown area, but Rittenhouse is perhaps the most bustling, with the benches filled at lunchtime with local workers, and the local residents walking their dogs or pushing strollers. Visit the Rittenhouse Square-area historical sites, shops, and restaurants after enjoying a cool drink under the shade of the centuries-old trees.
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