Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
As advertised by SAC, this weekend is Campus Philly, an annual event including a range of activities for college students in the Philadelphia area as well as free admission to museums along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. SAC will be running shuttles to and from the parkway (leaving Swat from Ben West) from 9:30 am to 7pm on Saturday, making this a good chance for those unfamiliar with the parkway to get a glimpse.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art and Rodin Museum are two of the stars of the Parkway and among the eleven museums that open their doors free of charge for the day. With Neoclassical columns and famous Rocky stairs, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a picture perfect landmark for the city, with a range of art to satisfy a number of tastes and a new contemporary art wing (not to mention a very good cafeteria and gift shop). You can also take advantage of the shuttle to try a walk along Boathouse Row.
Moving down the parkway towards City Hall, you’ll pass the Rodin Museum, home to several notable Rodin sculptures including The Thinker and the Gates of Hell. Further along the parkway, you can turn off on 21st street to get to the Franklin Institute, an interactive science museum, and a little farther down are Moore College of Fine Art’s galleries. A block east, on 19th street, you’ll find the Academy of Natural Sciences, a pleaser for the science-nerd in all of us.
This places you at Logan Square, another picture perfect spot. The central Swann Memorial Fountain by Alexander Calder is occasionally died pink for events such as Breast Cancer Awareness month in October and the area is surrounded by some of the swankier hotel and dining options of the city, including the Four Seasons Hotel where Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla staid during their visit to Philadelphia. If you’re feeling especially regal, you can indulge in the Four Seasons’ Swann Lounge afternoon tea complete with scones, sandwiches, tea cakes, and pastries.
Finally, you can follow the parkway all the way to City Hall if you’d like or at least as far as Love Park where you can relax for a bit by the bright red Love statue by Robert Indiana before heading back to Swat by shuttle or nearby Suburban station’s Septa.