New Jersey Shore Condos in Easy Reach of Philadelphia: Fun Cultural Trip Ideas
One of the great things about living in New Jersey Shore condos is the incredible location. You live on the beach, but you have easy access to some of the greatest cultural cities in the US. Unfortunately, since most people’s attention is distracted by the big lights of the glamorous New York City, they don’t even notice how great some of the other nearby cities are! (Don’t get us wrong, we love NYC—in fact, you can check out our blog post on fun day trips to the Big Apple right here!).
Philadelphia, known lovingly by the familial name of Philly, is the cultural epicenter of the Delaware Valley. In fact, until 1790, Philly was the largest city in our nation! Today, not only does it boast a wealth of historical sites—it was after all a major player in the American Revolution—but it is also full of museums of every sort, be it historical, science or art. The food and music scene are bursting with life and originality. Every neighborhood—and Philly is a city of neighborhoods—has something unique to offer the visitor. You could visit for a lifetime and always be delighted by something new in this down-home, yet vibrant and changing city.
If you live in New Jersey you can take full advantage of the City of Brotherly Love because it is in your own backyard. And if you are considering the perks of living in New Jersey Shore condos, have a look at The Lofts Pier Village, located in the lovely town of Long Branch and within easy reach of Philadelphia for all sorts of cool, cultural weekend trips.
How to Get There
The best way to get to Philly is by car: from Long Branch, you’ll arrive in about an hour and forty minutes. If you prefer to take the train, that is also an option.
Unfortunately there is no direct train, but you can go through Newark Penn Station which will make the total trip to Philly roughly 2 hours 15 minutes. Luckily there are fairly regular trains (leaving Long Branch for Penn Station hourly, and leaving Penn Station for Philly every 30 minutes), making it more convenient if you do opt to take the train from your New Jersey Shore condos.
Philly is Bursting with Culture! Here are just a few ideas:
If you’re craving a big city and some fun culture, you don’t have to look far in Philly. Whether you want to stroll through some museums or browse one of the many book stores that is popping up in various neighborhoods as part of the bookstore renaissance taking place in Philly, you can create a weekend trip perfectly suited to you by dipping into whatever cultural experiences you want. Philadelphia offers a plethora of worthwhile sites, food and events. Below is but a sampling:
Art in Philly
The art scene is Philadelphia is alive and pulsing. With more street art—that is murals and sculptures—than any other American city, you don’t even need to go into the museums to get a taste of art. The entire city is a museum!
That said, there are some fantastic museums and galleries that are definitely worth your time to check out, such as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Rodin Museum, which boasts the largest collection of Rodin work outside of France.
Perhaps the most famous museum is the Philadelphia Museum of Art—made a cultural icon thanks to the Rocky film in which he runs up the steps in victorious exertion. It is worth visiting—just make sure you give it enough time as it’s one of the biggest museums in the world.
One great way to visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art is by attending the fun Friday series where an over-21 crowd gains after-hours access to the museum for cocktails and music—anything from jazz to folk music. If you attend the event, your ticket is also good to use the entire following day, so you can get some quality time admiring the vast art collection.
Another cool Friday event that includes lots and lots of fabulous art is the First Fridays event put on in Old City. On the first Friday of every month, the Old City art galleries open up with cocktails for night time viewing and socializing. There are often shows put on in the area as well, so you can make a night of it.
Speaking of Old City, this is a neighborhood you will most likely find yourself in if you visit Philadelphia, and for good reason. In addition to being home to galleries, boutiques, restaurants and bars—both a popular shopping area and hosting a bustling nightlife scene—Old City is famous for its historical buildings and sites.
Philadelphia was instrumental in the American Revolution and in American history at large—and a great majority of this history is to be found in Old City.
Old City is historical both for the beautiful old Victorian buildings where most residents live, and for important sites such as Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed. The Liberty Bell, a longtime symbol of freedom, and the Betsy Ross House, where Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag, are also found here in Old City.
If you’re interested in learning more about American history, check out the Museum of the American Revolution.
Fairmount Park, along with some connected parks, makes up one of the largest urban parks not only in the United States, but in the world. With over 2000 acres of woodland, hills and riverside trails, it is a lovely space to take a walk or a bike ride—or even a horseback ride!—and enjoy both the greenery and the public art which is tastefully displayed throughout the grounds. You can also enjoy a tour of the Victorian mansions that dot the park.
Fairmount park is also home to the Philadelphia Zoo (the oldest in America!), the Philadelphia Museum of Art and two outdoor music venues where you can catch regular shows throughout the summer months.
You may also enjoy the summer film series at the Mann Center in Fairmount Park. Bring a blanket to this half covered venue and watch the Philadelphia Orchestra enhance fantastic films with their own, live soundtrack! Food and drink vendors abound, so no need to bring your own picnic (unless you want to!).
Isaiah Zagar is something of a local legend in Philly. His art work can be seen throughout the city in outdoor mosaics. If you like his work, it is definitely worth your while to check out the Magic Gardens, his garden size art installation where you can walk through the trippy labyrinth of mosaics. This surreal garden is located on South Street.
Another must-visit (at least once in your lifetime but worthy of many visits, especially if you’re lucky enough to live within easy reach in New Jersey Shore condos) is the Franklin Institute. For one thing, it is home to the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, a beautiful statue and tribute to one of our founding fathers, the great Benjamin Franklin.
But besides this, the Franklin Institute is a science museum that will amaze both children and adults alike. In the Science After Hours event that is regularly put on by the Franklin Institute, you can wander around the museum wondering at all the sciency wonders with a drink in hand. To make it extra fun, every night operates within a theme, such as speakeasy or the cosmos. A really unique and fun experience, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Pop Up Night Market
Night Market Philadelphia is one of the true gems in this treasure chest of a city. This travelling night market pops up in neighborhoods across the city on chosen Thursdays throughout the season, offering up music, entertainment and some of the BEST food trucks to be found in the city. Always a good time and a true celebration of culture, it’s also a great way to meet some of the neighborhoods around Philly.
Walnut Street Theatre
If you are a theatre enthusiast (or even if you’re not!) Walnut Street Theatre is worth a gander: it is not only the oldest theatre in the US, but also claims to be the oldest continually operating theatre in the English speaking world! That’s impressive.
If you aren’t lucky enough to catch a show here, the city has plenty of theatre to offer elsewhere. Also check out some of the incredible array of opera, ballet, orchestra and dance found throughout this vibrant city.
To Sum Up
This was just a sampling—a little taste—of all that Philly has to offer. If you live in New Jersey Shore condos, you can make easy weekend trips to this fantastic city and there is always something more to discover. For example, visit the home of Edgar Allen Poe, or the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Look for filming locations from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and indulge in a Philly Cheese Steak (really—they’re amazing). Visit some of the outlying neighborhoods such as Manayunk, where you can stroll across the river and admire the bridges before stopping in for a drink on the cute Main Street. Whatever you do, you’ll find something to suit your taste. So get out there and enjoy!