The Philadelphia portion of the Schuylkill River Trail runs from Manayunk to downtown Philly along old canals and rail beds. Much of the trail in the city is paved and suitable for rollerblading, walking, running and biking.
The Schuylkill River Trail runs about 10 miles in Philadelphia, and it has another section that runs 19.5 miles from Reading to Pottstown. When complete the entire trail will stretch some 140 miles.
I watched the Toronto Blue Jays defeat the Phillies here earlier this June 2005. In June, it's a very hot ballpark. If you're sensitive to sun, get tickets in the shade.
There is a great area in center field where the side walk indicates players for the Phillies who on all-star teams by year. There are also some amazing huge lifelike statues. One is of Robin Roberts, their famous pitcher, another one of Chuck Klein, and then, there is this huge statue of a football punter.
The best thing about this park is the concession stands area because you can still view the game as you are in line purchasing beer, burgers, or ice cream. The food was excellent with great variety, and the stadium environment was refreshing and lively. A great baseball park to watch "America's Favorite Pasttime": baseball.
Equipment: Bring a cap and some sun screen during the summer months. Bring $10 for Parking.
If you grew up in Philly, you are stuck with the Philly teams for life. This was not always so easy since they didn't exactly stack up the championships when I was growing up. Even when you move away, you still root for the old teams. It doesn't matter how long you've been away, you are always a Philly boy.
Football, it's the Eagles. They are easier enough to cheer for. They are always competitive even if they never win the big one. People around the country respect them, they are a hard playing team noted for their roughness. Baseball, it's the Phillies. Awful name for sure but generally competitive and even one the World Series recently. Basketball, it's the 76ers. This was the easy team to like when I was growing up but they've fallen on tough times. Hockey, it's the Flyers. This was THE TEAM when I was an adolescent since they won the Stanley Cut a couple times in a row and were notoriously a dirty team not above maiming opponents. Hey, it's hockey, it's almost allowed!
One of the great things about growing up in Philly was the inventiveness of playing sports there. No money for a new ball, cut it in half. Try pitching a half ball across "the plate." Better yet, try hitting it with a broom handle. Yo!
Going to a Philadelphia sporting event as an "away fan" could be an extremely bad decision depending on the sports you're watching, where you're watching it, and where you're from. But if you choose to blend into the sea of green and white at an Eagles game, the red and white at a Phillies game, or the orange and black at a Flyers game, you will still able to truly understand the undying love for our players this city shares with one another.
Philadelphia hasn't won a championship in a professional sport since 1983, and you can sometimes sense the urgency at certain games, but sometimes all it takes is the experience of going to one game to understand the sense of pride which exists in the Philadelphia fan base.
Equipment: Philadelphia fans love to tail gate, and as an away fan you might even be able to make some friends if you bring some beers and burgers to the parking lot a couple (or several) hours before any particular game. Bring a couple cases of beer and a grill to be safe - tail gaiting in Philly is taken as seriously as anywhere else in the country, and it's a great time to make some friends before heading into the stadium.
Down at Penn's Landing, an outdoor skating rink provides a place to train for the 2012 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Skate rental available. (That's the Benjamin Franklin Bridge spanning the Delaware in the distance.)
On the campus of the University of Pennsylvania is the cathedral of basketball, the Palestra. Built in 1927, the Palestra is like going back in history. This building has hosted more games, more visiting teams, and more NCAA tournaments than any other college arena in the country. The first ever NCAA championship was played here in 1939.
The Palestra is home to the Penn Quakers men's and women's basketball games and you can also catch some Philadelphia High School games being played there. Hall of Fame coaches John Chaney, Rick Pitino, Bob Knight, Adolph Rupp, and Dean Smith are just some that have coached in this building. Julius Erving, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, and Chris Mullin are just some of the stars that have played on the Palestra floor. Oh yeah, you might have heard of Kobe Bryant??? Just one of the greatest players in the NBA played many High School games, including his Pennsylvania High School Championship with the Lower Merion High School Aces on this floor. The Palestra is also home to the Big 5. The Big 5 is made up of the University of Penn, Villanova University, Temple University, St. Joseph's University, and LaSalle University. These schools used to play each other every year and all the games were in this building. Today, these schools still play each other but some of the games have been moved to the individual campuses (money reasons).
The accoustics in this building are fantastic and a crowd of 10,000 will sound like 30,000 crazies. Many teams have come into this building and been in such awe of the history, the craziness of the students who look like they are standing on the court with their team, and the accoustics and have left in defeat.
Make sure to stop by and catch a game and make sure to walk the concourse to view series of displays and game artifacts.
Champs sports bar is the closest you can get to the Eagles/76'ers game if you haven't got a ticket. There's plenty of nice cold beer and a large menu which serves hot and cold meals. There a many large screens in and around the bar showing all sports including Eagles/Phillies/76'ers games. At the time we were there we were lucky enough to catch the Pro Bowl. What a game...and the food was fantastic if a little more expensive than usual!
Equipment: Just plenty of money (for beers and buffalo wings) ;-)
I think anyone who does a marathon is nuts, but at the same time, I'm very impressed! The third weekend in November brings the runners to downtown Philly where the Philadelphia marathon begins and ends at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The Philadelphia Distance Run (a half marathon) takes place a month earlier in September and in 2004, I was there to cheer on a friend. The weather conditions were perfect and the times were pretty impressive.
Philly has all the major sports and more.
The National Football League is represented by the EAGLES who began playing in their new stadium, Lincoln Financial Field (aka, "the Link") in 2003. I was there rooting for my beloved Minnesota Vikings in the fall of 2004, but those stinkin' Eagles came out on top.
Major League baseball offers up the PHILLIES and their new stadium, Citizen's Bank Park, which followed the trend of new stadiums and is built in a throw-back style.
The National Basketball Association has the 76ers who play in the Wachovia Center, a modern arena.
The National Hockey League checks in with the FLYERS.
The cool thing is the all of these pro teams play in the same general place. The stadiums are all a subway ride away from Center City. Just take the Broad Street line to the Pattison stop and you'll arrive at the sports complex.
There are also tons of college sports. The area is home to Temple, U Penn, Drexel, La Salle, St. Joseph's and Villanova University.
You also have other pro sports teams such as the Kixx and Charge (soccer), the Wings (hockey) and the Camden Riversharks (baseball). Check out philly.com for info on all of these teams.
OK, so right now the weather isn't quite cooperating with my biking agenda, but on the sunny days around this city, there are trails all through out the parks. A little of everything for everyone. If you like getting off the track and hitting the dirt paths, Fairmount Park has some great downhill areas, for the urban bikers out there, more and more bike lanes are popping up all over the place. It's an inexpensive, fun way to see the city and work out.
There are clubs in the city that do specific tours, but I'm more of a make you own adventure up as you go along kinda guy, so my advice is to get out and explore.
The bike trails along the boathouse row should not be missed, there's a great breeze provided by the river and lots to take in. I wish this weather was better!
Equipment: Ok I know it may sound complex, but you need a bike to bicycle. It can be an old 10 speed a 21 speed moutain bike or even a tandum if you so desire. But it needs pedals, tired and your legs moving to enjoy this!
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