Friday, August 17, 2012

8 other things to do at #ACSPhilly

I was at the ACS National Meeting in Philadelphia in 2008 and really enjoyed myself. I had a hotel not too far from downtown -- it was pretty great, I must admit. Here's some things you can do when you're not deeply involved in the chemistry:
  1. Go walk by WHYY and see if Terri Gross is in.  
  2. South Street was interesting; I didn't go into the purveyor of prophylactics, though. 
  3. Try some scrapple at the diner at the Reading Terminal Market. 
  4. Run up the steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum. (Not as steep as it looks in the movies.) 
  5. Are the Phillies in town? Why, yes. 
  6. See the Liberty Bell. 
  7. Rittenhouse Square was lovely. 
  8. Cheesesteak is big there, I hear. (And I hear that the lines look long, but actually move pretty quick.) 
I would not recommend walking across the bridge to Camden, New Jersey, which I did in my quest to visit all 50 states. (41 down, 9 to go!) I took the train/subway back, which was also interesting. Commuter trains aren't something I deal with on a regular basis.

Readers, any suggestions -- I'm sure I've missed something? Good places to eat, etc.? What's your ACS meeting routine?

UPDATE: Unstable Isotope strongly recommends the Mütter Museum; certainly sounds interesting. (I'm such an East Coast newbie.) 


  1. ZOMG you didn't mention the Mütter Museum. It's a really unusual museum unlike any other. Scientists will find it fascinating. There is also Independence Hall. See where George Washington sat! Chemists might like to see the Chemical Heritage Foundation.

    There's lots of great places to eat. My favorite burger in Philly is The Village Whiskey.

  2. @CJ: Dude, I was at Philly ACS 2008 too! Maybe ACS should have "Philadelphia Freedom" and "TSOP" playing at the covention.

    First and foremost, The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) welcomes ACS members to Philadelphia! ( The Museum at CHF is open special extended hours during the 244th ACS National Meeting:

    Sunday, August 19 • 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    Monday, August 20, through Wednesday, August 22 • 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Admission is FREE.

    For cheesesteaks, go to Jim's on South Street. The crowds Geno's and Pat's are too boorish.

    The Philly Convention Center is located just a short jaunt from Chinatown. Plenty of good eateries there, at varying levels of shadiness. I recommend Penang, Rangoon, and Sang Kee Duck House. Warning: many places are cash-only but cheap...nothing like home-cooked ledgers!

    For dessert, a local proliterian favorite is Rita's Water (pronounced "wooder") Ice. I prefer Capogiro Gelato at 13th & Sampson in the Gaborhood.

    Bars and Pubs: Plenty to choose from.

    McGillian's Old Ale (Est'd 1860) at 13th & Drury is a total dive but has great bargains; kind of tucked in between skyscrapers.

    If you're going to visit the UPenn/Drexel area, try to hit up the New Deck Tavern at 35th & Sampson on Monday or Wednesday for Trivia Night. Starts at 10:00 PM. 1st place $65, 2nd place $35, & 3rd place $15 All prize money is subtracted from your check. $2 domestic pints during the Quiz and 1/2 OFF food menu starts at 11:00 PM.

    Other Activities: I second Unstable's suggestion about the Mütter Museum; it's Victorian freak-show. For all museums, bring your student/postdoc ID for discount, or see if there's special pricing from the convention.

    Franklin Institute of Science; walking through the giant heart is a must-do (!

    The Rodin Museum is okay...plenty of exhibits, not enough space.

    Academy of Natural Sciences (across from the Franlin Institute): Not as big as the Natural History Museum in NYC, but cheaper. The Academy is celebrating its 200th anniversary by offering 2-for-1 general admission on the 21st of every month, now through March 21, 2013.

  3. Right now the Franklin Institute is exhibiting the Dead Sea Scrolls. I haven't been yet but I'm definitely going before its gone.

    If I was prioritizing I'd put Mütter first just because it's so unique.

    I second Penang in Chinatown. Great prices and great food. There's a dim sum place in Chinatown. Something Palace?

    Lots of nice places in the Rittenhouse Square area. There's a really fancy Sunday brunch in Rittenhouse Square, Lacroix at the Rittenhouse.

  4. I've been to the Mutter Museum. It's away from the main action in Center City, although the exhibits are interesting.

    One thing that Philly's Covention Center has over Boston's (the new one in Seaport) is the attached Reading Terminal Market. There are many ecclectic and affordable vendors that can handle crowds, including a Sang Kee outlet for those of you who are craving duck (Anon515). The old Boston convention center in back bay had a better location in terms of food and attractions than the mothership in Seaport.

    The Chinatown restaurants in San Francisco are way cleaner than those in Philly and New York, although it's hard to beat the Philly prices. Last time I went with some Chinese postdocs to a hole-in-the-wall that had awesome dumplings and noodles.

    Anyway, I would recommend traveling in groups at night. Even the "nice" parts of Philly can attract some rough crowds. It might be worth introducing out-of-towners to the Wawa.

  5. Artistic types should check out the Barnes Foundation:

    Also, DiNic's roast pork sandwich was just named the Best Sandwich in America. It's in the Reading Terminal Market, which is quite close to the Convention Center :

  6. You went to Camden!! Wow. Glad to hear that you are still alive.

  7. Actually the Camden Waterfront is quite nice.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20