The Quest for Knowledge: Lewis in Philadelphia

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Philadelphia in 2003: the time, place and plans for the Annual Meeting
 
The Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation's 35th Annual Meeting in 2003

City Information

Oddly enough, for a fairly large city, Philadelphia is a walker's town. It's not that public transit isn't good. It is. It's just the character of the city. Philadelphia is over 300 years old and the city has many faces: bustling streets in the business areas, slower-paced shopping and residential areas, all rich with different styles of architecture. One reason that Center City is usually humming with activity is because residential and business areas thrive, side by side. Many places of interest are within a mile of City Hall, and it is easy to end up wandering along the city's tree-lined streets. A smaller street will provide a glimpse of quaint houses, then of a smaller street with gardens and then, thankfully, you turn a corner and there is a sidewalk café where you can sit and rest.

In Philadelphia: Layout of the City
City Hall is the official center of the city which sits between two rivers: the wider Delaware on the east, and the narrower Schuylkill on the west. William Penn designed the city as a grid. The main grid of streets that run north/south are the numbered streets and they run chronologically from the Delaware to the Schuylkill. Of course, the first contradiction is Front Street, which should be 1 Street, but isn't. It was named Front because of the riverfront and port activity when the city was young. The second contradiction is Broad Street, technically 14th Street, which runs straight into and around City Hall. Streets that run east/west are "named" streets, not numbered, with Market Street as the center axis street that also runs straight into and then around City Hall. So, City Hall sits at the intersection of Broad and Market Streets. The named streets that hug Market, both to its north and south, were originally named for the various species of trees found in the area. Some names have changed, but there is a rhyme to help remember the order of the streets. The first four are in order south of Market, the second four in order north of Market. Chestnut, Locust, Spruce and Pine, Arch, Cherry, Race and Vine. (Unfortunately, but perhaps pleasantly, there are streets in-between.)

In Philadelphia: Weather
Let's face it, Philadelphia has its own version of the Dog Days of summer - and they're in August. Daytime temperatures average in the mid-70s, with daytime highs often venturing into the upper 80s and 90s. (Highest recorded temperature is 106°.) Making it seem even warmer is the average relative humidity of 81%. It can be sunny, cloudy and/or rainy. So, it's not only hot, it can really steam. Most of the program venues will be air-conditioned, but to prepare for occasionally being outside, we suggest you bring:

Hat with brim
Sunglasses
Sunscreen and lip balm
Light weight rain gear
A sense of humor

Plan to dress in lightweight layers so that as you move from air-conditioned interiors to warm, humid exteriors you can make yourself comfortable.

In Philadelphia: Tipping and Taxes

Sales tax in Philadelphia is 7%. Items that the state of Pennsylvania designates as necessities, such as clothing, are not taxed. Most food in supermarkets is not taxed, but food in convenience stores is taxed. Meals in restaurants are taxed, as is liquor. Gratuity is not always included in rates. Let the chart below be a guide:

Restaurants: 15% to 20% of bill
Bars: $1.00 per drink
Skycap/Porter: $1.00 per piece of luggage
Taxis 10% of fare
Hotel Bell Desk: $1.00 per piece of luggage and $1.00 per taxi called
Hotel Housekeeping: $1.00 per person per day
Hotel Room Service: 15% of bill
Personal Services: 20% of bill
Parking Attendant/Valet: 15% of parking rate

 

Meeting Headquarters:
Loews Philadelphia Hotel
1200 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
phone: 215.627.1200

Updated August 23, 2002
webmaster@lewisandclarkphila.org