Ben Franklin's Parkway had it going on long before the Barnes Foundation made the move. So, after you sample the finest art the new museum has to offer, take a look around, grab a bite and experience the reasons why the Barnes moved to Philly in the first place.
–– Molly Eichel
McCrossen's (529 N. 20th St., 215-854-0923, mccrossens.com: Perfect for a pre-Barnes Sunday brunch when you can order one menu item (try the brandied mushroom and brie omelette) and unlimited bloody Marys or mimosas for $20.
Whole Foods (2001 Pennsylvania Ave., 215-557-0015, wholefoodsmarket.com: There's a small inside seating area, but we suggest you take your grub outside, weather permitting, of course.
Doma (1822 Callowhill St., 215-564-1114, domarestaurant.com: A Japanese restaurant, but we prefer its Korean fare, like the hot stone bibimbap. Still not your thing? The 1800 block of Callowhill is full restaurants, like Sabrina's Cafe 1804 Callowhill St., 215-636-9061, sabrinascafe.com, the Rose Tattoo Cafe (1847 Callowhill St., 215-569-8939, rosetattoocafe.com, and Kite and Key (1836 Callowhill St., 215-568-1818, thekiteandkey.com.
Darlings Café (2100 Spring St., darlingscafe.com: Cheesecake.
The Swann Lounge (Four Seasons, One Logan Square, 215-963-1500, fourseasons.com: This swank spot will salute the Barnes' opening with specials such as a complimentary glass of French sparkling wine with food or beverage purchase, a new cocktail called the First Impression and the Apres Barnes Picnic — a baguette, a small salad, comichons and a glass of wine for $16.
Philadelphia Museum of Art (26th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 215-684-7602, philamuseum.org: The mack daddy on the Parkway. Its extensive craft collection gets an airing during the exhibit "Craft Spoken Here" (through Aug. 12). The museum has four eateries and a gorgeous sculpture garden perfect for particularly nice days. Looking to stretch your legs? The Schuylkill Riverwalk is right out back. Walk all the way to Valley Forge.
Free Library of Philadelphia, Central Branch (1901 Vine St., 215-686-5322, freelibrary.org): Exhibitions here — by visiting artists as well as from the library's large and extraordinary collection —are oft-overlooked. Through July 29, see the work of five local artists who look at the library's role in the community and its placement on the Parkway. See both contemporary and traditional African sculpture beginning May 14.
Museum Without Walls (Benjamin Franklin Parkway from Love Park to Kelly Drive, museumwithoutwallsaudio.org: A/k/a art without an admission price. Beginning with Robert Indiana's famed LOVE Statue at 15th and JFK Boulevard and ending with Harry Rosin's "John B. Kelly (The Rower)" on Kelly Drive, Museum Without Walls engages passersby in public art via audio: Download the audio files from MWW's website, download an app for iPhone or Android by searching MWW: AUDIO, or call 215-399-9000 and key in the piece's designated number.
Rodin Museum (Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 22nd Street, rodinmuseum.org: The Barnes has no pieces by Auguste Rodin. Good thing this museum and lovely garden is right across the street, featuring the largest collection of the French sculptor's work outside of Paris.
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (118-128 N. Broad St., 215-972-7600, pafa.org: Artistic powerhouses from past and future (the 111th Student Exhibition runs May 11 to June 3). Don't miss out on the sculptures on Lenfest Plaza — especially Jordan Griska's "Grumman Greenhouse," a decommissioned Cold War-era plane with plants growing inside. A short walk from the Parkway, and worth every step. Cool gift shop, too.
Moore College of Art (1916 Race St., 215-965-4000, moore.edu: Five professional galleries are open Monday through Saturday. The annual senior exhibition runs through May 13. A show by graphic designer Lanny Sommese takes over the Graham Gallery on May 22.
Von Colln Memorial Field (22nd St. and the Parkway): You've subjected the kiddies to a day full of art; now let them run around on this playground.
The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St., 215-448-1200, fi.edu : You've got art, now try science. A new exhibition on the Dead Sea Scrolls begins May 12.
Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 215-299-1000, ansp.org: Say happy 200th to this venerable institution during your visit.
The Rocky Statue (26th St. & Benjamin Franklin Parkway): A photo op for the whole fam right in front of the Art Museum. Try the step run while you're there.
Where to hang
Sister Cities Park (Logan Square at 18th Street and Benj. Franklin Parkway): This new park officially opens May 10 and will include a cafe, children's play area and a fountain commemorating Philly's many sister cities.
Pick a fountain: The Parkway has some of Philly's most beautiful water-spitting creations and they're perfect spots to take a load off. Visit the Swann Fountain at the center of Logan Circle (18th Street and the Parkway) on June 15, the last day of classes at nearby John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls' High School, when newly minted seniors participate in the annual fountain jump. The Washington Monument at Eakins Oval (24th and the Parkway) has a stately feel and is flanked by the Eli Kirk Price Fountain and the Ericsson Fountain. The LOVE Fountain (16th and JFK Boulevard) augments Robert Indiana's iconic sculpture.
Where to park
At the Barnes if you want, but there are cheaper options, especially if you plan on staying awhile:
16th & Vine: $14 for the full day
18th & Vine: $16 for the full day
19th & Callowhill: $15 for the full day
There is metered parking around the museum and unmetered parking as close as Spring Garden Street, but read parking signs carefull to avoid a ticket.
Where to stay
The three hotels nearest the Barnes, in ascending price order:
Best Western, 501 N. 22nd St., 215-568-8300, bestwestern.com
Embassy Suites,1776 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 215-561-1776, embassysuites.com
Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel, 201 N. 17th St., 215-448-2000, starwoodhotels.com
Four Seasons, 1 Logan Square, 215-963-1500, fourseasons.com
There are many bed and breakfasts in the Art Museum area that can run cheaper than a standard hotel. Check bnbphiladelphia.com for more info.
Odds and sods
Rite Aid (2000 Hamilton St.), Wawa (2040 Hamilton St.): Just in case.
The Book Corner (311 N. 20th St., 215-567-0527, libraryfriends.info): Prices at this excellent used bookstore range from $1 to $3.
Fairmount Park Welcome Center (1599 JFK Blvd., 215-683-0246, independencevisitorcenter.com/locations: Have questions? They've got answers.
Starbucks, 1945 Callowhill St., 215-557-8060, starbucks.com: For your pre-art caffeine fix.
The flags that border the Parkway are from about 90 international countries. Since 1976, the flags have been mounted each Memorial Day (May 28). The flags are chosen based on countries with significant populations in Philly and are, for the most part, hung alphabetically.
The three Calders: Ben Franklin may get the naming rights, but few have had more of a mark on the Parkway than the Calder family. There's the William Penn statue atop City Hall by Alexander Milne Calder (1846-1923), the Swann Memorial Fountain designed by Alexander Stirling Calder (1870-1945), and the "Ghost" mobile by Alexander Calder (1898-1976) in the Great Stair Hall Balcony at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Speaking of that Penn statue, if you're a fan of the Weird U.S. travel guides, you already know what Billy seems to be doing when you gaze toward the City Hall tower from certain angles along the Parkway. Not sure what we're talking about? You'll know it when you see it.