140 S. Broad Street:
Our first stop: the Union League of Philadelphia, whose 250,000- square-foot, French Renaissance–style building dates to 1865 and offers a variety of handsomely decorated meeting spaces. The 84-room Inn at the League was our host hotel.
50 S. 16th Street:
After cocktails at Eric Ripert’s 10 Arts Lounge in the Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia, it was one block over and 37 stories up for dinner at R2L, offering elegant cuisine and stunning views from the heights of Two Liberty Place, one of the city’s signature high-rises.
10th And Arch Streets:
The next morning, we walked down to Independence Mall, where we boarded a Philadelphia Trolley Works bus for a narrated tour of some of the city’s many historic and cultural offerings – including the 40-foot-high Friendship Gate, in the heart of Chinatown.
12th and Arch Streets:
Back on foot, we walked to Reading Terminal Market for lunch – cheesesteaks and Herr’s potato chips – among the more than 100 food vendors that serve the 1892 facility. Upstairs, the Terminal’s elevated trainshed (pictured below) is now the convention center’s soaring, 35,000-square-foot Grand Hall.
1101 Arch Street:
Finally it was time for the centerpiece of the press trip – the $787-million expansion project that more than doubled the size of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The bright, airy property now offers 680,000 square feet of exhbit space, another 240,000 square feet of meeting space, and 87,000 square feet of ballroom space.
Directly across the street from the convention center expansion is the gorgeous Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, which in October opened Lensfest Plaza, a 24- hour pedestrian plaza dominated by artist Claes Oldenburg’s 51-foot Paint Torch sculpture.