What to Do, Where to Go When Touring Philadelphia's Black History

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Getting There

You don't need a car in Philadelphia, so consider taking Amtrak to the city's 30th Street Station. Otherwise, drive Interstate 95 north to Exit 22 (toward Central Philadelphia/I-676).

Where to Stay

Near the historic district are the Omni Hotel at Independence Park (Fourth and Chestnut streets, 215-925-0000, http://www.omnihotels.com; $160-$250 per night) and the boutique Independent Hotel (1234 Locust St., 215-772-1440, http://www.theindependenthotel.com; from $179).

Where to Eat

The transformation of the 700 block of Chestnut Street into Philly's newest Restaurant Row is cemented by two much-awaited openings. At Chifa (707 Chestnut St., 215-925-5555, http://www.chifarestaurant.com), local "Iron Chef America" winner Jose Garces mixes Peruvian with Cantonese elements. Union Trust (717 Chestnut St., 215-925-6000, http://www.uniontruststeakhouse.com) unveils a lavish restoration of this historic bank building.

What to Do

"America I AM" continues at the National Constitution Center (525 Arch St., 215-409-6600, http://www.constitutioncenter.org) through May 3; $17.50. In examining the development and evolution of the U.S. Constitution, the museum's permanent exhibit explores the African American experience through such pivotal events as the Dred Scott decision, Brown v. Board of Education and the Voting Rights Act. Mother Bethel AME (419 S. Sixth St., 215-925-0616, http://www.motherbethel.org) is open for tours Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and after services on Sunday.

In the Vicinity

The Marian Anderson Residence Museum (762 S. Marian Anderson Way, 215-732-9505, http://www.mariananderson.org) features memorabilia related to the trailblazing contralto's career; $10 donation, by appointment only. The Underground Railroad Museum at Belmont Mansion (2000 Belmont Mansion Dr., Fairmount Park, 215-878-8844, http://www.belmontmansion.org); $7.

For More Information

Go to the city visitors' site, http://www.gophila.com.

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