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Halloween in Philadelphia

A bone-chilling weekend in one of America’s most haunted cities

Franklin Square Halloween

Credit: G. Widman for GPTMC

Description

From the colonial streets still haunted by the ghosts of our Founding Fathers, to the fortress-like Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia has more than its share of things that go bump in the night.

So to celebrate the most bone-chilling day of the year, our Halloween itinerary takes you on a region-wide tour of events and places that will thrill and scare you, as well as harvest markets to satisfy all your corn maze, pumpkin patch and apple-picking needs.

For more Halloween fun, check out our top Halloween Haunts and more Halloween Events

Friday 12 p.m.

The Curse of Billy Penn

After you’ve checked into your hotel, high-tail it over to City Hall . You’ll take a tour of the tower, upon which a statue of William Penn looks proudly over Philadelphia.

You’ll learn about the proposed urban design that would have ripped it down in the 1950s, as well as “The Curse of William Penn,” a supposed hex that kept the city’s professional sports teams from winning a single championship for more than 25 years (until the Philadelphia Soul captured the Arena Football League championship in 2008 — and soon after, the Phillies were crowned World Series champions).

Broad and Market Streets
City Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Friday 2 p.m.

A Devilishly Good Lunch

From City Hall, walk over to the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood for lunch at Devil’s Alley. You won’t find Mephistopheles at this cozy, two-level pub — just an assortment of gourmet burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads. And the good news? You don’t have to sell your soul to get here.

1907 Chestnut Street
Devil’s Alley
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Friday 3:30 p.m.

Drafts of Dracula

After lunch, walk to The Rosenbach Museum and Library , which is housed in two adjoining row homes on one of Center City’s most elegant, tiniest streets. The Museum hosts Bram Stoker’s handwritten notes and sketches for Dracula in its collection — as well as its annual Dracula Festival.

2008-2010 Delancey Place
Rosenbach Museum and Library
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Friday 5:30 p.m.

Drinks by Candlelight

Just as the sun is setting, wet your whistle with cocktails at Twenty Manning . The trendy restaurant’s intimate dining room always flickers with candlelight, and the television behind the bar plays a rotation of black and white noir films from the golden age of the silver screen.

And if the fall weather isn’t too crisp, try to score sidewalk seating — in a city known for its alfresco dining, Twenty Manning is at the top of the list.

261 S. 20th Street
Twenty Manning
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Friday 8 p.m.

Squeals on Wheels

After dinner, cab it over to 5th and Chestnut to catch up with the Haunted Trolley Tour, part of the creepy-but-fun Ghost Tours of Philadelphia . This 90-minute ride will take you by more than 20 haunted Philadelphia locations while your guide spins spooky tales about Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Betsy Ross and Benjamin Franklin.

5th and Chestnut Streets
Haunted Trolley Tour
Philadelphia, PA 1910

Friday 12 a.m.

If You Can’t Get Enough

It’s time to get rowdy again. National Mechanics is one of the city’s best new spots, and in this town, you’ll have a hard time finding a more beloved and good times-filled bar than National Mechanics.

The décor — consisting mostly of Christmas light-illuminated, mechanical animals — is more freaky than scary. Following suit, the beer list and nostalgic menu of corn dogs and tacos are both freakishly perfect for a late-night snack.

22 S. 3rd Street
National Mechanics
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Saturday 9 a.m.

Breakfast at the Terminal

Start the day off right with a filling breakfast at Reading Terminal Market . Grab a stool at the counter of the Dutch Eating Place, or slide into a booth at the Down Home Diner. When you’re finished eating, make sure to stroll the massive food hall and check out the bounty of the season. Pick up a few fresh, locally grown apples (and maybe some candy corn) for a snack this afternoon.

12th and Arch Streets
Reading Terminal Market
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Saturday 10:30 a.m.

A Historic Morning

Head over to the Independence Visitor Center to pick up free, timed tickets for access to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell . You never know when you might encounter the ghost of Ben Franklin while wandering the hallowed halls of Constitution Hall.

If you prefer something a bit more ghoulish, pile in the car and check out Laurel Hill Cemetery . Founded in 1836 as a rural burial spot that would also be inviting to the living, Laurel Hill is the final resting spot for 39 Civil War-era generals, countless Philadelphia luminaries and six people killed when the Titanic sank. They are open seven days a week and there is no entry fee to stroll the extensive grounds — and be sure to check out their schedule of special Halloween Tours.

3822 Ridge Avenue
Laurel Hill Cemetery
Philadelphia, PA 19132

Saturday 12:30 p.m.

Colonial Dining Set

Once the stomach starts growling, head to the City Tavern (reconstructed from the original for the 1976 Bicentennial). They offer a historic dining experience, complete with Colonial haute cuisine, costumed wait staff and Colonial-era drinks and desserts. If the weather is kind, you can sit outside in the garden where George Washington and John Adams used to dine.

138 S. 2nd Street
City Tavern
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Saturday 2 p.m.

Restless Spirits

Looking very much as it did 250 years ago, St. Peter’s Church is a landmark in the elegant 18th-century neighborhood of Society Hill, where people from all walks of life rubbed elbows. It was founded by former members of Old City’s Christ Church and was finished in 1761. The churchyard is said to be one of the most haunted places in the city — and those are some old ghosts.

3rd and Pine Streets
St. Peter’s Church
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Saturday 3 p.m.

Midtown!

Philadelphia has always played home to talented craftspeople and artisans. And these days, Midtown Village is where you want to go to score Philly’s best locally designed clothing, furniture and even dessert.

Don’t miss Halloween , Henri David’s jewelry shop, or the Sailor Jerry flagship store. And while you’re in the neighborhood, pick up a couple treats at Capogiro , where the gelato is made fresh — really fresh — everyday.

119 S. 13th Street
Capogiro
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Saturday 4:30 p.m.

A Poe-fect Halloween Hangout

While he’s often claimed by Baltimore (where his gravestone currently resides), Edgar Allan Poe actually did a large portion of his writing here in Philadelphia — it was here that he wrote such classic horror stories as The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart.

He lived in this house (the only one of his five Philadelphia homes that still stands) from 1843 to 1844, and it serves as the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site .

530 N. 7th Street
Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
Philadelphia, PA 19123

Saturday 8 p.m.

A Fright and a Bite

Tonight, you’re going to get a real scare. Eastern State Penitentiary , known as America’s most historic prison, turns into a colossal haunted house every Halloween season. Donning the name “Terror Behind the Walls,” the experience will have your heart racing the whole time. Trust us.

Fair warning: “Terror” is ridiculously popular. Make sure you reserve tickets before your trip!

22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue
Eastern State Penitentiary
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Saturday 10 p.m.

Settle Your Nerves

You made it out of the haunted prison intact, but your heart rate hasn’t quite settled down yet. We recommend the Rose Tattoo Café for a soothing brandy or calming cup of tea before going back to your hotel room. It’s cute as a button, and there will be no ghouls to bother you.

1847 Callowhill Street
Rose Tattoo Café
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Sunday 10:30 a.m.

Farm-Fresh Brunch

Sunday brunch is when Philadelphia hits its culinary peak. And since it’s harvest season, grab a table at Farmicia for freshly made food sourced from local farms.

We suggest the organic farmhouse eggs, the tofu scramble or the turkey and avocado club. And since it’s hell-raising season, try the “Barn Burner” — Farmicia’s signature Bloody Mary.

15 S. 3rd Street
Farmicia
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Sunday 12:30 p.m.

Fall for Linvilla Orchards

Ready for a little agro-tainment? Hop in the car and drive out to Linvilla Orchards for apple picking, a massive pumpkin patch, a petting zoo and a vast farmers’ market chock-full of harvest foods.

After strolling along the grounds and picking out a pumpkin for your front stoop, head back to Linvilla’s state fair-like food stalls for a casual lunch before you travel home.

137 W. Knowlton Road
Linvilla Orchards
Media, PA 19063

Hotels + More

The Basics

Transportation

If you’re traveling from New York, New England, DC, Baltimore, Harrisburg, etc., Amtrak is easy – Book online at Amtrak or call 1-800-USA-RAIL.

Driving

If you drive here, stash your car off-street until you leave. Though you might enjoy an occasional cab, trolley or carriage ride, there’s nothing you can’t reach on foot. Parking regulations are enforced in the historic area, and you may find yourself getting towed with un-municipal efficiency.

Start at the Center

The Independence Visitor Center (IVC) — the exclusive pick-up location for free tickets to Independence Hall — offers personalized trip-planning services, free WIFI, brochures and maps, informational exhibits and films, a gift shop, two cafes and tickets to all major tours and attractions in the Philadelphia region. Located at 6th & Market Streets across from the Liberty Bell, the IVC is your one-stop-shop for tickets, souvenirs, itinerary planning, maps and more. Stop at the IVC when you arrive in Philadelphia, or call 800-537-7676 to speak to a live concierge.

Hotel Packages

You’re in luck. We’ve got several With Love Hotel Packages that get you great accommodations in Center City, all within a short distance of Eastern State Penitentiary and other locations mentioned in this itinerary.

Accommodations

The Hyatt Regency is one of the historic area’s newest hotels, a tower right on the Delaware River. You can sit at the outdoor bar and listen to the creak-creak of moored boats.

For a young and fun stay, book a room at the aloft Philadelphia Airport , which combines modern design, interactive resources and lots of cool extras to make your Philly stay fresh and affordable.

The Independent , meanwhile, is a new boutique hotel right in Center City. Each guest room features its own unique design, while the building — an example of Georgian-Revival architecture — is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Philly Overnight® Hotel Package is a popular getaway — and a terrific deal. It’s available throughout the year and gives you free parking (worth $50 or more) and special offers and discounts – in addition to deluxe accommodations in Center City Philadelphia. Check out the package , then pick your favorite hotel.

More food and drink, please!

Of course, what we’ve recommended is just a sample of the amazing range of food and drink in Philadelphia. Take a closer look at the city’s Dining and Nightlife offerings and pick your favorites.

201 S. Columbus Boulevard
Hyatt Regency Penn’s Landing
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Details

Location

Philadelphia, Chestnut Hill and Germantown (Philadelphia’s Historic Northwest), the Main Line (Western Philadelphia Suburbs), and the Brandywine Valley (Kennett Square and Winterthur, DE)

Transportation

Walking, trolleys or cabs through Center City; 30-45 minute car ride to Philadelphia suburbs

Duration

48 hours (Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon)

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