Philadelphia Spring Break Crawl: Flower Show, Cheap Eats and More
Philadelphia may not have a proper beach but it's a great place to celebrate spring. Take in all the history you can handle, then enjoy one of these local favorites.
Get the All-Inclusive Treatment: Aki Japanese Fusion Restaurant & Sake Bar
Pay one price for a bundled food or drink experience
Aki Japanese Fusion Restaurant & Sake Bar offers all-you-can-eat sushi for $24.95, seven days a week. A local food critic raves about the deal, noting that while his meal of three maki, two handrolls and four nagiri was impressive, the "glutton record" is 80 pieces. No bottomless drinks, but weekday happy hour specials include $3 beer and $4 wine.
Worship water: Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center
A fun water-centric activity
Pay tribute to the wet stuff at Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center, a museum devoted to urban environmental education, then step next door to Water Works, a private restaurant with seating overlooking the Schuylkill River. Explore the "fine water" offerings, including a $50 bottle of Bling H2O "Museum Edition" (USA, .75 liter, still). Outside seats are for diners, so order an appetizer and enjoy the incredible view with a glass of water -- although wine may be less expensive.
Don't Miss the Big Event: PHS Philadelphia Flower Show
A must-see springtime festival or event
Now in its 185th year, the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show draws more than 250,000 visitors annually. The 2014 theme is "ARTiculture," with 10-acres of exhibits inspired by the world's greatest museums. Among the displays featured March 1-9 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center: One inspired by Los Angeles' J. Paul Getty's Museum and Vincent Van Gogh's "Irises," and another taking its cues from Henri Matisse's "The Dance II" mural. The original of the latter is housed at Philadelphia's own Barnes Foundation.
Closer than Disney World: Franklin Square
A great activity for kids and families
Franklin Square, one of the city's original parks as planned by William Penn, reopens March 1. Younger visitors will enjoy its large playground and carousel while everyone can have fun on its Philly-themed miniature golf course. (Putt through the Liberty Bell!) The food stand, run by a noted local restaurateur, features the "Cake Shake," made with ice cream and locally-loved Butterscotch Krimpets.
Budget Beach Bites: Oyster House
An affordable beachy or seafood meal
The Oyster House on Sansom Street hosts a "Buck-a-Shuck" happy hour, available on weekdays 5-7 p.m. and on Saturday evenings 9-11 p.m. Enjoy select fresh clams and oysters on the half shell for $1 each and $3 oyster shooters. Get there early for a place at the bar where the deal is offered.
Planning a Caribbean spring break instead? Check out our island finder >>
Natalie Pompilio thinks Philly is one of the country's best-kept secrets. Since moving there in 2002, she's written a children's alphabet book featuring city sights, co-authored a book about the city's Mural Arts Program, and served as a staff writer for the two daily newspapers. Spring means an outdoor table in Center City, a glass of wine, and lots of people watching.