2016 Conference - Things to Do in Philly 

The NY Times Loves Philly, and You Will, Too!

Our 2016 annual conference will be in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, #3 on the NY Times’ list of 52 places to visit in 2015 (Milan, Italy and Cuba were #1 and #2). You can read all about the basic sights, museums and galleries at http://www.visitphilly.com/, but we wanted to share some of the less well-known
places to see:

Philadelphia has a long history of requiring builders to include funding for outdoor art when seeking permits, which means there are sculptures, murals, and other visual delights throughout town. The City hosts guided and unguided tours of many of these places of art and architecture.

For fiber art, visit the Fabric Workshop and Museum, 7 blocks from the Conference hotel and always a source of inspiration. There are also some hidden gems glass mosaics created by Tiffany (seven at the Philadelphia Mint, depicting the coining process of Ancient Rome; and one in the Curtis Building, depicting Maxfield Parrish’s Dream Garden); the largest collection of Rodin sculpture outside of Paris; and others.

Consider visiting some of the art schools in Philadelphia for unusual exhibits and interesting gallery spaces. The University of the Arts (next door to the Conference hotel), Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (6 blocks from the hotel), the Art Institute of Philadelphia (5 blocks from the hotel), and Philadelphia University (formerly Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science) are all worth a visit.

The Conference hotel is also close to many galleries, including the SnydermanWorks Galleries, longtime
supporters of fiber art.


Philadelphia has many fine restaurants and all types of cuisine. It’s claims to food fame, though, include: cheesesteaks (sandwiches of sliced beef, with onions, peppers, and cheese on an Italian roll); Tastykakes (variety of individual cupcakes and other sweets); Yeungling beer; soft pretzels; and snapper soup (just try it, you will like it!).

One of the fun ways to sample a lot is Reading Terminal Market, a bustling hall of food and other vendors about 6 blocks from the Conference hotel. For a quieter, more refined experience, try Premium Steap, a
tea shop in Rittenhouse Square, just 7 blocks from the Conference hotel. Sushi fans can check
out Sumo Sushi, 2 blocks from the hotel.


While it may be colder and/or wetter than some of us prefer in late March/early April, if you are up for some outdoor fun, there is a lot to do.

Fairmount Park, over 9000 acres of trails, woodlands, wetlands, historical houses and a Japanese Tea House, is one of the largest urban green spaces in the world. Even if you can’t get to the Park, you can bike all over the City using Indego, a bikesharing system available throughout Philadelphia. And there is always the Zoo if you want to tour the animals, or a run up the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a la Rocky Balboa!


The 2016 Conference will include free time on a Saturday night! Philadelphia has a lively community of theater and performing arts you should check out. Two large venues, the Academy of Music and the Kimmel Center (home to the Philadelphia Orchestra) are across the street from the Convention hotel. Other theaters (Wilma Theater, Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Forrest Theatre, Walnut Street Theater and more) are within walking distance.


Consider a walk through a human heart, at the Franklin Institute, a hands-on science museum; check out the dinosaurs (or diamonds) at the Academy of Natural History; or make a trip to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology to look for a deck of cards made from human flesh (or something less gruesome).

If you really like the odd tour, try to get to the 4 M’s: the Mutter Museum, filled with medical oddities and equipment from days past; the Mummer’s Museum, where you can view some of the costumes (think
sequins and feathers) worn during the annual New Year’s Day parade; the Magic Gardens (mosaic and folk art); and the Maritime Museum (oldest steel warship still afloat, WWII era submarine, boat building shop).

The Library Company of Philadelphia is private library founded by Ben Franklin and is a fabulous place to research quilts--Skip Gates and other scholars are frequent visitors.  It is not a lending library but anyone can visit and you could arrange a tour (in advance). They have the actual books (with handwritten notes) used by the Founding Fathers-they also make their own binding papers and paste, etc. Two blocks from the DoubleTree Hotel. 

All of that is inside the City limits; there is more to do if you venture further afield:



Do you have a question about the Philadelphia area? Want the inside scoop on some local activities? Then contact teamphilly@saqa.com, our SAQA team of Philly experts.


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