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Seniors Arriving by Train: Where to Stay?

Lexington, KY
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Seniors Arriving by Train: Where to Stay?

My husband and I are planning to take our first train trip in July with Philadelphia as our destination. We will also be first time visitors to Philadelphia. We like to walk, but we are in our 60s, so we want to make sure our hotel is in a good location to enjoy the city during a 6 night stay. Right now, based on reviews and availability, we are considering the Hilton Inn at Penn, Hotel Monaco, Hotel Palomar, and Sofitel Philadelphia. We will be arriving at 30th St Station on a Saturday around 7 PM after a 10 1/2 hour train ride, so we are also concerned about transportation from the station and finding a good place to eat that night. Any advice is welcomed, including recommendations for other places to stay!

Philadelphia...
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11. Re: Seniors Arriving by Train: Where to Stay?

I stayed at the Radisson Warwick a few years ago, before it was "Blu." It was OK, but I think it's a significant step down from the Palomar -- and that's even considering that, as I've said here many times, I think the Palomar is overrated.

Philadelphia
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12. Re: Seniors Arriving by Train: Where to Stay?

I generally agree with what others said about the downsides of the Hilton Inn at Penn. On the other hand, given your academic interests, you could enjoy staying in that neighborhood, and there are quite a few decent restaurants which are walkable from there, as well as the Penn Museum nearby. As Penn is not in session, there will be fewer students on campus, and it is more laid back in the summer. Nearby, Drexel operates on a quarter system, so some of the undergraduates are in classes during the summer.

There is construction going on at 34th and Chestnut where Penn is building their new College House project. I don't think that the construction would be very noisy, or bother you too much.

If you should decide to stay up near Penn, you can easily get to Center City either on the bus that goes down Chestnut street (and for the return trip you catch it on Walnut St) or the Market Frankford subway line. which you would catch on Market St.

Some restaurants that I recommend near Penn/Drexel are: The White Dog Cafe, Zavino,City Tap House and Pod. There are also a lot of good gourmet food trucks in West Philly, esp near Drexel.

Edited: 20 June 2014, 23:25
Lexington, KY
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13. Re: Seniors Arriving by Train: Where to Stay?

Thank your rocknroll. This information is quite helpful.

Do you know how close the College House project is to the Inn on Penn? I travel with a white noise sound machine because I am a light sleeper (and even use one regularly at home), but I don't think it will mask construction sounds close by.

If we opt for this location, does the city offer week long transportation passes--or something similar--to supplement the 24 hour travel pass available via the Philadelphia CityPass? Are there other options that combine travel and museums? We've found this type of city passport invaluable for saving money--and even more importantly TIME--when visiting other cities like Paris and Amsterdam.

I'm currently leaning more toward the Palomar because of Lauren's comments and the number of restaurants that appear to be near by, but a relatively deserted college campus area maybe more attractive at the end of the day.

Thank you everyone for all your kindness and expertise!

Bucks County...
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14. Re: Seniors Arriving by Train: Where to Stay?

I feel the convenience of staying downtown will make for a more enjoyable trip. The hotel is across the street from a large hospital, and in general, the immediate area lacks a unique atmosphere. To me, it feels as if I could be anywhere.

There are weekly transit passes, but they are good for Sunday - Saturday. Staying downtown is just more convenient and will give you a better flavor of Philadelphia. You can easily get to the Penn campus (and Drexel) by public transit to look around. It's nice for an urban campus, but I wouldn't choose it as a base for sightseeing. the hotel is on the edge of the campus, so it doesn't even feel as if you are staying on campus.

Edited: 21 June 2014, 02:09
Philadelphia...
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15. Re: Seniors Arriving by Train: Where to Stay?

The Inn at Penn is about two blocks from where the new college house is being built. There's no noise from the construction that's affecting people that far away. The hospital is about three blocks away from the Inn at Penn.

The hotel is between 36th and 37th Streets with entrances on both Sansom and Walnut Streets. Walnut Street is a busy, noisy street. While there are fewer students around, there are still plenty of people in the area, especially during the day. The Inn at Penn's location feels just like downtown in terms of noise and bustle.

I agree with Rocknroll about the attractions of University City and the ease of taking public transit between the Inn at Penn and Center City. But it sounds like you considered the Inn at Penn because you thought it might give you a substantially different environment from what you'll find in Center City. It won't. Its location is just an extension of downtown, a little farther away.

Philadelphia
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16. Re: Seniors Arriving by Train: Where to Stay?

I'll differ slightly with Lauren, as Philadelphia's downtown or "Center City" is separated from University City not only by distance but also by the feeling of the neighborhood. When you walk around University City, even in the summer, you see mostly college students, professors, and other people connected with the universities and medical centers. In contrast, when you walk around Center City, you see a different mix of people: business people, lawyers and accountants, wealthy residents walking their dogs in the square; twenty somethings in their workout clothes, side by side with construction workers, urban teens, homeless people, bike messengers, hipsters on their skateboards; etc etc. I personally find the environments very different as I spend a good deal of time in both areas. There is a lot more shopping, and more selection of restaurants in Center City, though there are also plenty of places to eat in University City. I think that you would find University City, in general, to be quieter and less bustling than Center City, even with the campus construction. There is construction going on in center city as well, and may sidewalks closed off due to ongoing work. It can be pretty noisy as well.

As to the location of the Hilton at Penn, its not right next to the hospital, the main entrance is on Sansom street which is not a major traffic artery. It is one block from the Penn Campus, where you can enjoy the green space of Blanche Levy park and the pedestrian only Hamilton Walk. Pod is right in the hotel building, as is the Penn bookstore. White Dog Cafe is right down the street (also New Deck Tavern and Baby Blues BBQ). Plenty of coffee places within two blocks. If you take a look at google maps in sattelilte view you can get an idea of how close the hotel is to Penn campus and where the green spaces are (except for Hill Field which is now a construction site). The hospital complex does not feel very near to the campus, as it is south of campus on the other side of Spruce St.

Edited: 21 June 2014, 12:38
Philadelphia
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17. Re: Seniors Arriving by Train: Where to Stay?

heres a link that highlights Penn's interesting architecture

upenn.edu/spotlights/penn-s-spectacular-camp…

Drexel Campus is near by and is more integrated with the city streets. There are a couple buildings of interest there as well, the historic "Main Building" is one of them. Also the very modern Papadakis Integrated Science Center, for a contrast. Near Drexel campus, Zavino is a great place for wine and pizza, and people watching from the outdoor tables. drexel.edu/about/…

Cherry Hill, NJ
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18. Re: Seniors Arriving by Train: Where to Stay?

And don't let the name Inn at Penn fool you. It's a Hilton.

19. Re: Seniors Arriving by Train: Where to Stay?

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