ROADTRIPPIN’ DESTINATION: PHILADELPHIA

Now that spring is finally upon us and warm temperatures are lulling us out of hibernation, it’s the perfect time to start planning your summer 2014 road trip.

Built in 1926, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, which traverses the Delaware River, connects Philadelphia, the nation’s fifth largest city, and New Jersey. More than 100,000 cars, dozens of pedestrians and high-speed rail lines cross the bridge daily. Credit: Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia™
Built in 1926, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, which traverses the Delaware River, connects Philadelphia, the nation’s fifth largest city, and New Jersey. More than 100,000 cars, dozens of pedestrians and high-speed rail lines cross the bridge daily.
Credit: Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia™

If you’re heading south of the border, why not include Philadelphia among your list of destinations? Whether you are coming for the tax-free shopping, a festival, special exhibition or the iconic cheesesteaks there has never been a more perfect time to enjoy a drive holiday to this unique five-county region.

If you plan on driving from Toronto to Philadelphia, you can count on a picturesque 770-km drive, which would take you approximately eight hours to complete as you pass through Southern Ontario, New York and Pennsylvania.

Wondering where to park and stay during your visit? Check out the affordable Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package™. The offer includes a two-night stay for any two consecutive nights of the week at 20 hotels, a welcome gift and free hotel parking (up to a $30 per night value at Center City hotels). The package is available all year long. Booking information is available at visitphilly.com/overnight.

 Whether you’re a sports fanatic, art aficionado, fashionista, or foodie, there’s sure to be something for everyone to enjoy in the City of Brotherly Love. Take a look at what’s happening this spring, summer and beyond:

 1. Baseball transcends cultural boundaries and has long served as a way for immigrants coming to America to learn and understand American values. Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American will be the first large-scale exhibition to weave together the history of American sport and leisure and national identity with the story of Jewish immigration and integration into American life. Baseball’s legends and myths, heroes and flops tell the country’s story at the National Museum of American Jewish History, through October 26, 2014, before beginning a national tour. 101 S. Independence Mall East, (215) 923-3811, nmajh.org

Jackie Robinson signs autographs at spring training with the Brooklyn Dodgers, March 06, 1948, part of “Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American,” opening March 13 at the National Museum of American Jewish History. (Photo courtesy of NMAJH)
Jackie Robinson signs autographs at spring training with the Brooklyn Dodgers, March 06, 1948, part of “Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American,” opening March 13 at the National Museum of American Jewish History. (Photo courtesy of NMAJH)

2. Counting Josephine Baker and his Mississippi grandmother among his muses, fashion designer Patrick Kelly created looks for women including Grace Jones and Bette Davis. Patrick Kelly: Runway of Love features 80 fully accessorized ensembles, dating from 1984 to 1990. The exhibition shows how the American-born, Paris-based designer challenged racial and cultural boundaries with his fashions and presents Kelly’s inspirations—his own African-American and Southern roots and the club scenes of New York City and Paris. Through November 30, 2014,Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building, 2525 Pennsylvania Avenue, (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org

3. Nationally acclaimed journalists, writers, singers and performance artists from across the U.S. head to Philadelphia each year for the Celebration of Black Writing, marking its 30th anniversary in 2014. The event is one of the oldest African-American literary events in the nation. May 1-31, 2014. artsanctuary.org

 4. Philly Beer Week, the seventh annual celebration of Philadelphia’s vibrant beer culture, takes over the city and region for 10 days and features events ranging from tastings to lectures to beer-pairing dinners. May 30-June 8, 2014. phillybeerweek.org

Frankford Hall is a good ol’ modern German beer garden and local watering hole in the heart of Philly’s Fishtown district. Photo by Tishan Baldeo.
Frankford Hall is a good ol’ modern German beer garden and local watering hole in the heart of Philly’s Fishtown district. Photo by Tishan Baldeo.

5. In June 14, 2014, The Franklin Institute will open the doors to its 53,000-square-foot Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion. The centerpiece of the dazzling three-story addition is the 8,500-square-foot exhibit Your Brain, featuring an unprecedented collection of interactive, high-tech exhibitions. The expansion will also feature a rain garden and a larger, climate-controlled traveling exhibition space for limited engagements. The first two summer exhibitions are: Circus! Science Under the Big Top (June 14-September 1, 2014) and 101 Inventions That Changed the World(June 14-October 26, 2014). Outside, a Shimmer Wall, by internationally renowned artist Ned Kahn and comprised of 12,500 clear anodized aluminum squares, has been installed, creating a work of public work of art that responds to the wind and is ever-changing. 222 N. 20th Street, (215) 448-1200, fi.edu

Stunning Shimmer Wall drapes the facade of the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion. Opens June 14, 2014
Stunning Shimmer Wall drapes the facade of the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion. Opens June 14, 2014

6. The expanded Meadow Garden at renowned Longwood Gardens will re-open in summer 2014 amidst a setting of native wildflowers and plants spread out over 86 acres. Visitors can wander through new trails, discover wildlife and learn more about the garden’s evolution over time at four learning pavilions and in the historic Webb Farmhouse, also slated to open in conjunction with the Meadow Garden. The Greater Philadelphia area is rich in public gardens, arboreta & historic houses with gardens. There are 30 public gardens within an easy driving distance of Center City, Philadelphia. The city itself is the home of historic Bartram’s Garden, the oldest surviving botanic garden in the United States. Bartram’s Gardens, 5400 Lindbergh Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19143 (215) 729-5281, www.bartramsgarden.org Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, (610) 388-1000, longwoodgardens.org(215) 236-5111, easternstate.org

Spring bulbs in bloom in the Idea Garden. Photo by William Hill.
Spring bulbs in bloom in the Idea Garden. Photo by William Hill.

7. Fungus fans can celebrate all things mushroom with 100,000 like-minded people at the Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square, the mushroom-growing capital of the nation. A weekend of chef events, culinary demos, tastings, symposia, crafts and an eating contest all revolve around, what else, mushrooms. September 6-7, 2014. (610) 925-3373, mushroomfestival.org

8. David Lynch: The Unified Field centers on the artist’s work as a painter, draftsman, photographer and sculptor. Guests explore how Lynch’s world and his work in other media emanate from his experience as a painter and as a student at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in the 1960s. Marking Lynch’s first major museum exhibition in the U.S., the show includes 75 paintings and drawings from American and European collections, as well as from the artist’s studio. During the exhibit’s run, diverse public programs include collaborations with the Philadelphia-area film community. September 13, 2014-January 11, 2015. PAFA, 128 N. Broad Street, (215) 972-7600, pafa.org

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