Exploring Philadelphia’s Opportunities

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Philadelphia_City_Hall,_William_Penn_Statue

The 70th CFA Institute Annual Conference is drawing closer, and members of the board of directors of CFA Society Philadelphia, host society for the event, have created the following lists to recommend Philadelphia’s food, museums, and other cool places for visiting conference attendees.

Enjoy!


Philadelphia Food Items

The City of Brotherly Love has a rich culinary history. The city has been a melting pot of cultural influences since colonial days. Here are a few Philly favorites:

Cheesesteaks
The cheesesteak sandwich, for better or for worse, is synonymous with Philadelphia. There are literally hundreds of cheesesteak purveyors in the city. There are even seven cheesesteak establishments in the Reading Terminal Market, across the street from the Pennsylvania Convention Center. For a true cheesesteak experience, head to South Philly for a taste of the original Philly Cheese Steak.

Where: Jim’s Steaks South Street, 400 South Street

Fried Oysters and Chicken Salad
The odd pairing of fried oysters and chicken salad is a classic Philadelphia lunch tradition with roots in the city’s 18th-century taverns. It’s not very common on menus today, but you can still find it in the heart of Center City.

Where: Oyster House, 1516 Sansom Street

Roast Pork Sandwich
There are a lot of great sandwiches in the City of Brotherly Love, but if you want a truly authentic taste of Philly, you have to seek out a roast pork sandwich. The lesser known of Philly’s long-roll lunches, the roast pork sandwich was born from Italian-American cookery. It typically contains tender slow-roasted pork, usually shaved or chopped, and layered with melting sharp provolone cheese and garlicky sautéed broccoli rabe or spinach.

Where: DiNic’s Roast Pork, Reading Terminal Market

Water Ice
“Wooterice”, as the locals pronounce it, is a Philadelphia tradition in the spring and summer months. Originally introduced by Italian immigrants who wanted to recreate the granita served in their homeland, flavors of the sugary shaved dessert soon expanded beyond the classic lemon to include cherry and chocolate.

Where: John’s Water Ice, 701 Christian Street

Soft Pretzel
Whether you prefer them twisted, braided, or bald (without salt), a bite of soft pretzel is an essential part of the Philadelphia experience. Pretzels were introduced to Philadelphia by the Pennsylvania Dutch, who would travel from central Pennsylvania to sell their wares. You can still witness this cultural mix in the Reading Terminal Market, where a number of Amish and Mennonite families manage food stalls.

Where: Fisher’s Soft Pretzel, Reading Terminal Market

Ice Cream
Dating back to the days of Quaker colonists, Philadelphia has some serious ice cream history and a lineup of stellar scoop shops to match.

Where: Franklin Fountain, 116 Market Street


Restaurants

Philly’s dining scene has racked up loads of accolades and positive reviews from media heavy hitters such as Bon Appétit, Travel + Leisure and so many others. The city ranked #8 on Zagat’s “26 Hottest Food Cities of 2016,” took the #6 spot on The Washington Post’s “10 Best Food Cities in America Ranked” and claimed a place on Travel + Leisure’s “America’s Best Cities for Foodies.” Philadelphia also starred in a recent New York Times feature, “A Four-Day Feast in Philadelphia.”

Here is a list of great restaurants located within walking distance of the Pennsylvania Convention Center:

Aldine, New American

Bud & Marilyn’s, American Comfort Food

Double Knot, Japanese

El Vez, Mexican

Le Cheri, French

Opa, Greek

Russet, French and Italian

Vedge, Vegetarian and Vegan

Vetri Ristorante, Modern Italian


Breweries

The finely aged history of Philadelphia brewing has been fermenting since before the crack appeared in the Liberty Bell. By the time thirsty immigrants made the city the birthplace of the American lager in the nineteenth century, Philadelphia was already on the leading edge of the country’s brewing technology and production. Today, the City of Brotherly Love continues to foster that enterprising spirit of innovation with an enviable community of bold new brewers, beer aficionados and brewing festivals.

The following is the full list of breweries located within the city limits:

Yards Brewing Co. – 901 N. Delaware Avenue, Philadelphia

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant – 8400 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia

Earth Bread + Brewery – 7136 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia

Dock Street Brewery & Restaurant – 701 S 50th St, Philadelphia

Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant – 4120 Main Street, Philadelphia

Crime & Punishment Brewing Company – 2711 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia

2nd Story Brewing Co. – 117 Chestnut St, Philadelphia

Evil Genius Beer Company – 1727 N Front St, Philadelphia

Philadelphia Brewing Company – 2439 Amber St., Philadelphia

Bar Hygge / Brewery Techne – 1720 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia

Saint Benjamin Brewing Company – 1710 N 5th St, Philadelphia

Do Good Brewing Company – 3245 Amber St, Philadelphia


Nightlife

At night, Philadelphia is sizzling with activity — it’s an exciting, welcoming place to sip cocktails, hear live music and/or do your own thing. Whether you’re dancing and dining in Old City, heading to a hipster hangout in South Philadelphia or catching a live jazz show in Northern Liberties, you are pretty much always guaranteed a great time.

The following spots are within walking distance of the Pennsylvania Convention Center:

Brü Craft & Wurst, German bierhall

Chris’ Jazz Cafe, landmark jazz club

Fergie’s Pub, neighborhood Irish bar

The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company, speakeasy specializing in cocktails and punches

Harp and Crown, beautiful, bi-level space that joins a pair of bars, New American eats and a basement bowling alley

Jose Pistola’s, Mexican cantina specializing in beer and margaritas

McGillins Olde Ale House, the oldest bar in the city, opened in 1860

Time, whiskey bar, tap room and live music venue

Vesper, former private club turned upscale drinking establishment

Woody’s, Named one of the “50 Greatest Gay Bars in the World” by Out Magazine


Neighborhoods

Philadelphia is a city of vibrant neighborhoods, each with its own distinctive personality. Explore the neighborhoods of Philadelphia and their storied streets, buzzed-about restaurants, cozy craft beer bars, progressive art galleries, independent shops, live music venues, plentiful parks and year-round events.

The following neighborhoods are within walking distance or a short cab ride from the PA Convention Center:

Chinatown
Beyond the colorful Chinatown Friendship Gate at 10th and Arch Streets lives Philly’s vibrant Asian enclave, settled in the mid-19th century by Cantonese immigrants.

East Passyunk
One need only stroll down East Passyunk Avenue, where stalwart businesses catering to longtime residents coexist with new businesses and the city’s hottest bars and restaurants, to see where this exciting neighborhood is heading.

Fishtown
This classic working-class neighborhood, so named due to its history as the epicenter of the commercial shad fishing industry, features narrow streets beset with modest row homes, independently owned businesses, and an up-and-coming food and music scene.

Old City
Located just next to Independence Mall, where the country’s Founding Fathers declared liberty and built a free nation, Old City still boasts charming cobblestone streets and plenty of 18th-century charm — along with an independent streak that’s evident in everything from its owner-operated shops to its edgy art scene.

Rittenhouse Square
Along the Rittenhouse sidewalks — many of which boast seating for alfresco dining and drinking in the warm months — residents and visitors find high-end stores, locally owned boutiques, small galleries, theaters and entertainment, cafes, beer, wine and cocktail bars and restaurants of all kinds. The heart of the neighborhood is the Rittenhouse Square, a 100-year-old city park that is great for people watching.

Society Hill
While mostly residential, Society Hill boasts a comfortable combination of restaurants, historic attractions, and shops that meet the needs of residents and visitors alike.

University City
The bustling heart of West Philadelphia and the academic epicenter of the entire region, University City is so named due to two of the largest and most influential institutions in town: the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.


Museums

If Benjamin Franklin, the city’s first museum patron, were to come back to 21st Century Philadelphia, he would marvel at what he had started. Philadelphia’s museums are small and massive, historic and modern, interactive and exclusive, eccentric and unexpected.

Here are a few unusual and off-the-beaten-track museums in the city:

African American Museum in Philadelphia
The African American Museum in Philadelphia, founded in 1976, is the first institution built by a major U.S. city to preserve, interpret, and exhibit the heritage and culture of African Americans.

Museum of the American Revolution
This newly opened museum explores the dynamic story of the American Revolution using an expansive collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, documents, and works of art.

Mütter Museum
The Mütter Museum is a riveting storehouse for the anatomically strange. The Museum’s display of 20,000 provocative items is designed to give a beneath-the-surface perspective of what physicians study.

National Museum of American Jewish History
The National Museum of American Jewish History, located on historic Independence Mall in Philadelphia, brings to life the more than 360-year history of Jews in America. Tracing the stories of how Jewish immigrants became Jewish Americans, the Museum invites visitors of all backgrounds to share their own stories and reflect on how their histories and identities shape and are shaped by the American experience.

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
A jewel nestled in the heart of Center City, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts boasts a vast collection of American art and treasures by local and national luminaries such as Charles Willson Peale (founder of the Academy), Thomas Eakins (who taught there), and Violet Oakley. One of Gilbert Stuart’s portraits of George Washington is a special source of pride for locals, as are other well-known paintings by artists such as Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Edward Hopper and Cecilia Beaux – to name just a few.

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
Covering an indoor and outdoor space equivalent to half a city block, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens glisten with creativity, urban renaissance and a hint of madness. Isaiah Zagar, a local artist who began tiling South Street in the 1960s and never stopped, constructed the space out of cement, bicycle spokes, bottles, ceramic shards and other artistic knick-knacks.


Cool Places

Here is a list of some cool places to see in Philadelphia:

Elfreth’s Alley. The oldest residential street in America. Tour homes on the street dating back to the early 18th century.

Eastern State Penitentiary. “ESP” was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America’s most notorious criminals, including “Slick Willie” Sutton and “Scarface” Al Capone.

Fairmount Park. One of the largest urban green spaces in the country, Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park consists of more than 9,200 acres of trails, woodlands and wetlands.

Beer Gardens. Philadelphia is known locally and globally for its terrific beer garden scene with major players all throughout the city. Residents and visitors alike are lucky enough to be able to take full advantage of the outdoor drinking destinations throughout the spring and summer. Do a Google Search for “Philadelphia Beer Gardens” to find a list of established and pop-up beer gardens.

Reading Terminal Market. Famous indoor farmer’s market offering diverse food, drink & area specialties since 1892. Directly across the street from the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Schuylkill River Banks and Boardwalk. Spanning eight miles of riverfront winding through the heart of Philadelphia, Schuylkill Banks is open year-round for walking, jogging and cycling.

Washington Square. One of William Penn’s original urban parks, Washington Square is a history-filled oasis. Visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution.


Follow the 70th CFA Institute Annual Conference online with the Virtual Link. It’s an insider’s perspective with live broadcasts of select sessions, exclusive speaker interviews, discussions of current topics, and updates on CFA Institute initiatives.


All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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