The Philadelphia Antiques Show will feature 50 vendors, including Old Hope Antiques of nearby New Hope.

Square 1682 in the Palomar Hotel.

There is always something new afoot in Philadelphia. The ever-changing lineup of museum exhibitions, cultural events and performances, plus historical landmarks and vibrant neighborhoods offer a constant stream of things to see and do.

A mere 90 minutes from Northern New Jersey, the City of Brotherly Love is doable as a day trip, but it’s so easy to end up with a burgeoning itinerary that staying over night will allow you to get in more fun.

The wide selection of swanky hotels reflect the city’s sophisticated old-meets-new vibe. A prime example is the year-old, 230-room Hotel Palomar. Housed in a refurbished 1929 art-deco building, the hotel earned gold-level LEED certification for its eco-conscious, energy-efficient redesign. The stylish rooms boast marble baths (some with Fuji spa tubs), bedding designed by Frette, flat-screen TVs, sitting areas and city views.

Fine dining is on-premise at the Square 1682, where New American fare, an artisanal wine list, craft beers and inventive cocktails from master mixologist Jacques Bezuidenhout are served in a posh setting. The modern, bi-level space seats 90, has an open kitchen and chalkboard walls that feature drawings by local artists.

From the hotel’s Rittenhouse Square area location, you can walk to upscale shops and eateries, including restaurateur Dan Stern’s R2L on the 37th floor of 2 Liberty Place. There’s no beating the panoramic city views and the creative menu that features lobster paella, melt-in-your-mouth mac and cheese and eclectic desserts like cinnamon toast crunch: hazelnut pudding with glazed-donut ice cream.

Beyond the tried-and-true Philly attractions (the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, etc.), there are a multitude of neighborhoods to explore, each with a unique vibe, sights to see and foods to be discovered. Take a stroll down South Street, where you’ll find more than 300 shops (from tattoo salons to galleries) and restaurants offering famous Philly cheesesteaks on nearly every block.

Or cut a path to Germantown, one of the city’s most historic areas, and tour landmarks, such as the Cliveden mansion, which is replete with period furnishings. Germantown Avenue, the main artery, has a growing number of boutiques and eateries. Stop for a casual dinner at Chef Ken’s Cafe, where you’ll be treated to outstanding southern-inspired fare (beef ribs, dirty rice and blackened tilapia).

Visit April 8 through 12, and take home a piece of history from the Philadelphia Antiques Show, which is celebrating its 50th year as a top-notch marketplace for leading dealers and galleries to showcase and sell folk and fine art, porcelain, ceramics, decorative accessories and jewelry.

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Author: Issue: Mar/Apr 2011
Credits: Antiques: Courtesy of the philadelphia Antiques Show
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