With Christmas fast approaching I am planning on taking my family on a winter break to the United States. My wife is a shopaholic and I have heard that there is no sales tax on both clothing and shoes in Philadelphia. Can you please suggest where to visit to pick up a few bargains as well as places to go to keep the kids occupied in between shopping?
Big city excitement meets hometown charm in Philadelphia. Once the capital city of America, it is now the second-largest city on the East Coast. It is situated in the state of Pennsylvania, where tax-free shopping on clothing and shoes can be found throughout. This dynamic city is rich in history and is known as the birthplace of America, as it is where the Declaration of Independence was drafted and signed.
Located in ‘Historic Philadelphia’, Franklin Square is one of the city’s original landmarks and is named after founding father Benjamin Franklin. In the past it was used for grazing animals, military training and armament storage. Legend has it that this is the place where Franklin conducted his famous Kite and Key experiment which led to the discovery of electricity.
Nowadays the square offers a mini golf course where you can put your way through 18 holes designed after favourite Philly spots like Elfreth’s Alley, the Ben Franklin Bridge and the Liberty Bell. Rest your weary feet, close your eyes and take a merry ride on the Liberty Park Carousel. I have no doubt a visit to this historic square will entertain your children as it was recently ranked as one of the top five playgrounds in the United States.
After a hectic few hours entertaining the kids, I am sure your wife will want to indulge in some retail therapy at The King of Prussia Mall on Goddard Boulevard. It is the largest on the East Coast and truly is a shopper’s paradise. The complex houses three million square feet of retail space. The mall features eight department stores, including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s as well as over 400 speciality shops. With more than 40 eateries to choose from, you are bound to find something that will suit the whole family. Catch a movie with the kids and relax after a long day shopping in the extensive on-site movie theatre.
For a fantastic family day out you must visit the award-winning ‘Please Touch Museum’ at Memorial Hall in West Fairmount. You are guaranteed a fun-filled and totally hands-on experience. Each nook and cranny has a different theme; for example at Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland kids can play croquet with the Queen and sip tea with the Mad Hatter.
Children under three can discover animals nestled among high grass around Nature’s Pond or enjoy stories and nursery rhymes in the Fairytale Garden. Take a leisurely sailboat trip on the mini-Delaware River. Admission for both children and adults is just $16.
If your wife’s insatiable shopping excursions aren’t cost-conscious I strongly advise you visit the Philadelphia Premium Outlets. Located in Limerick, it is just 35 miles northwest of the city centre. These outlets feature more than 150 designer and brand-name stores at discounted prices.
After all that spending you are bound to have worked up an appetite! A visit to Philadelphia would be incomplete without tasting their famous Philly Cheese Steak. Hot dog vendor Pat Olivieri created the mouth-watering sandwich in 1930. Its popularity led him to open up a shop on 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue, called Pat’s King of Steaks. Today, Pat’s grills are sizzling 24 hours a day.
For a unique sweet treat you must visit Hershey’s Desert Creation Studio on Park Boulevard. At Hershey’s they don’t serve you a dessert; they serve everything you need to make your very own! Decorate waffles, cookies or cupcakes with a variety of candy toppings from just $7.
Where to Stay:
Sofitel Philadelphia (*****)
With lowest prices from €166 per room per night on Hotels.com
Within a 15-minute walk of this city centre Philadelphia hotel you will find the Ben Franklin National Memorial and Reading Terminal Market. Liberty Bell Centre and Independence Hall are also in close proximity. The hotel features two restaurants, a cosy bar/lounge, free Wi-Fi and an on-site gym. Inter-connecting family rooms are also available.
Courtyard by Marriott Philadelphia Downtown (***)
With lowest prices from €136 per room per night on Hotels.com
This city centre hotel is just a short distance from some of Philadelphia’s main tourist attractions and features an indoor pool. Guest rooms have refrigerators as well as tea and coffee making facilities, LCD TV’s with cable channels and iPod docking stations.
Embassy Suites Philadelphia Centre City (****)
With lowest prices from €109 per room per night on Hotels.com
A home away from home, all 288 guestrooms in this hotel feature well equipped kitchenettes with refrigerators and microwaves, as well as balconies and sofa beds. Dining areas, sitting areas, and cable TV are also available as well an on-site restaurant and fitness centre.
Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill (****)
With lowest prices from €154 per room per night on Hotels.com
This hotel is close to Seaport Museum, Reading Terminal Market and Ben Franklin National Memorial. It has an indoor pool, a fitness facility, and a children’s pool. Televisions are equipped with premium cable channels, video-game consoles, and pay movies.
For more information and travel tips on planning your holiday visit www.Hotels.com or call 1800 55 3338 to wake up happy on your holiday!