The Philadelphia Flower Show Reappears On 10 Acres With a New Theme Each March
The Philadelphia Flower Show - the annual transformation of the Pennsylvania Convention Center into a bucolic paradise, thanks to the superbly talented Philadelphia Horticultural Society. (This photograph was taken indoors, incredibly.)
Center City District - TEAL - Convention Center District
Pennsylvania Convention Center
hosts the Philadelphia Flower Show, the oldest indoor flower display in America. Dating to 1829, it has been an annual Philadelphia tradition and institution. And it packs in the crowds, each and every year.
The 2011 Philadelphia Flower Show - "Springtime in Paris" - March 5-13 - Read Our Guide To This Year's French-Themed Show
The 2011 Philadelphia Flower Show's theme is "Springtime in Paris"; if you're primarily interested in the schedule, hours, events, etc., we recommend that you read our 2011 Philadelphia Flower Show - "Springtime in Paris" Guide.
By and large, we would generally recommend that you take
to the Flower Show, due to the enormous number of visitors that the botanical spectacle attracts, during its limited run.
SEPTA Regional Rail
will take you from any station in the system, to
Market East Station
at 11th and Market, right next to the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
The Blue Line / Market-Frankford Line / el also has an 11th Street stop, that will also take you right to the doorstep.
The SEPTA Independence Pass For The Philadelphia Flower Show - $11 For An Individual, $28 For a Family
SEPTA is selling $11 Independence Passes, which permit you to ride anywhere in the system for $11, on either City Transit or Regional Rail, with the exception of inbound trains arriving in Center City prior to 9:30 AM.
Depending on how much traveling you intend to do in the city itself, this might be a good deal for you, and certainly more convenient, than dealing with tokens and exact change.
The key variable is how far you're traveling. If you're in the city already, you probably wouldn't save very much. But if you're taking the Regional Rail train from a suburb, particularly a distant one, the pass might actually be less expensive than round-trip train fare, and you'd also have the ability to go anywhere you chose on the bus, el, or subway.
But you can also drive there, although traffic and parking represent a considerable challenge.
However, when it comes time to eat, we'd - under all circumstances - recommend a visit to the nearby
Reading Terminal Market
, where everyone in your group can find something to his or her liking.
Fortunately, for the 2010 Flower Show, the Reading Terminal Market is offering extended hours:
Sunday, February 28 - Sunday, March 7, 2010
Monday - Saturday - 8 AM - 7 PM
Sunday - 8 AM - 6 PM
Traveling to the Philadelphia Flower Show, Via Amtrak 30th Street Station
If you are taking Amtrak service to Philadelphia's
30th Street Station,
you have a couple of options.
30th Street Station is located at 30th and Market Streets, which is an 18-block, 1.4 mile walk to the Convention Center at 12th and Arch Streets. And we wouldn't recommend it, given the easy transit links in the area. (As a general rule, it's safe- but it's just a long walk.)
In that case, we'd recommend that when you arrive at 30th Street, you go to the SEPTA window and buy an Independence Pass. All of the Regional Rail trains stop at 30th Street, and it is a fully functioning SEPTA station, as well as Amtrak.
Traveling from 30th Street Station to the Philadelphia Flower Show
Half of the Regional Rail trains will be heading eastbound, and will take you to Market East Station, at 11th and Market, one block away. It will be about a 10 minute trip, as the train has to stop at
, located at approximately 17th and Market Streets, before it goes on to Market East, six blocks further east. Do not get off the train at Suburban. An easy way to tell - Market East has very vivid, rainbow-colored mosaics in the tunnel; Suburban doesn't. If you aren't seeing bright colors out the window, you haven't gotten to Market East (or you've already gone past it).
Which brings us to the next point- make sure that you disembark at Market East, for the Flower Show - it will always be the second stop, after Suburban. If you miss the Market East stop, you're facing a very inconvenient backtrack. You'd have to get off the train at Temple University (the next eastbound stop after Market East) and wait for another train back to Center City, which will waste a lot of time.
(If you get off the train at Suburban, you're still only six blocks away from the Flower Show. But if you get off at Temple, you're nowhere near it, so save yourself a great deal of aggravation and make sure that you disembark at Market East for the Flower Show.)
History of the Philadelphia Flower Show
Philadelphia can claim two firsts-in-America in this area: the first horticultural society, in 1827, and first flower show in 1829. Which seems only fitting for a city that founder William Penn described as his "greene countrie towne".
One reason for the popularity of horticulture was the staid Quaker view on other forms of entertainment, such as theaters. Gardening was one of the relatively few pleasures that a Quaker was permitted - and with Pennsylvania's fertile soil, it was a natural avocation for many Quakers.
As it turns out, the original home of the Philadelphia Flower Show was a building called Masonic Hall, on Chestnut Street. Eventually, over the decades, it would move to a University City building known initially as the Philadelphia Commercial Museum. This building evolved into what became known as the Philadelphia Civic Center.
When the current Pennsylvania Convention Center opened in 1993, transition plans were made to shift the Flower Show from University City to the new Center City convention mecca. The Civic Center closed its doors permanently in 1996, and the Flower Show was officially shifted that year to the Convention Center. Moving to the new, more modern building permitted it to grow to its current size - the largest indoor flower show in the world, welcoming over 200,000 people each year.
For more information, we'd also highly recommend the Horticultural Society's
official Philadelphia Flower Show site.
If you'd like to leave the Philadelphia Flower Show and return to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, please click here.
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