Philadelphia Guidebook Reviews – Which Ones Are the Best For Your Trip?
The spectacular skyline of Philadelphia, from the Schuylkill River - but upon which Philadelphia guidebooks will you rely to explore it? Learn which ones are worth the money – and the finite space in your travel bag – on your next trip here.
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A new thing here at Enjoying Philadelphia, is reviews of the major Philadelphia guidebooks. Since you can't buy them all (and even if you could, you couldn't drag all of them with you on your trip to Philadelphia, anyhow), which one(s) should you spend some money to own?
Fodor's Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Dutch Country Guidebook, 16th edition, 2010 - $16.99
Here's the first one, on Fodor's Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Dutch Country Guidebook, 16th edition, published in 2010 at $16.99...
We have found this one to currently be the best Philadelphia guidebook out there. It is - absolutely - worth the $16.99 cost.
Here are some of the reasons-
There is a SEPTA mass transit map in the inside front cover, and a zoomed-out map of the Greater Philadelphia region, in the inside back cover.
Pages 8-9 - What's Where - This map is an excellent orientation for anyone new to the city, it presents downtown Philadelphia, with the major tourist attractions noted, as well as SEPTA stops. Fodor's breaks down the city's central core into eight districts, so to speak.
Page 32 - Historic Area and Old City provides a blown-up map, ranging from the Delaware River on the east, 8th Street on the west, Race Street on the north, and Walnut Street on the south.
Of course, if we had drawn up the map, we probably would have decided to extend the southern border from Walnut Street, down to Headhouse Square and South Street, given the appeal of those areas, but that's a judgment call.
Page 51 - Society Hill and Penn's Landing - has all the key historic houses noted, along with parking lots.
Pages 114-15 - Where to Eat in Philadelphia offers a comprehensive map of the city's various culinary delights and exotic offerings. We are impressed with Fodor's decision to widen the map for the restaurants, reflecting the fact that many of the most significant ones lie both north and south of Center City Philadelphia, proper.
In Fodor's Where to Eat map, they extend the northern border to Fairmount Avenue (home of Eastern State Penitentiary, a major tourist draw and neighbor of several excellent restaurants). Their southern border goes down to Federal Street in South Philadelphia. (Or think of it in terms of the Broad Street Subway - their Where to Eat map encompasses everything from the Fairmount stop in the north, to Ellsworth-Federal in the south.)
Going west to east, the western border is 39th Street in University City, to the Delaware River on the east. But it doesn't stop at maps. In Pages 110-138 - Where to Eat - you get a highly valuable restaurant review section, chock full of detailed information on tons of restaurants, for every taste, all over the region.
Pages 144-45 - Where to Stay In Philadelphia offer a blown-up view of Center City Philadelphia, with hotel locations pinpointed throughout.
It covers the entire Greater Philadelphia region.
Here at Enjoying Philadelphia, we haven't grown enough yet, to get to cover everything there is to see and do beyond Philadelphia's borders - which is quite a bit.
In contrast, the Fodor's Guidebook has its three final chapters focusing on the suburbs and countryside: Chapter 9 - Side Trips from Philadelphia; Chapter 10 - Bucks County, and Chapter 11, Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Accordingly, these chapters make an outstanding resource for the visitor who has a car and time to explore the Philadelphia region - as well as for the local Philadelphian (in the city or its suburbs) who may be seeking new adventures outside the city itself.
The one major drawback of the Fodor's Guidebook is the fact that it has no photographs, and little colored ink. The text is just black, with headings, maps, etc. in red. Since Philadelphia's photographic beauty is one of the main reasons for its popularity as a tourist destination, some photos would help in future editions. But that's the only discernible drawback.
However, the one photograph it does have - the photo of Independence Hall's clock tower, illuminated at night, with exploding fireworks, is impressive.
Follow this link, to see a copy of the
Philadelphia Guidebook at the official Fodor's site
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