ATTENTION avid gardeners, horticulturists, and plant biologists who crave a side of our Nation’s history: welcome to Philly’s annual flower show with a side of Independence Hall!
Every year, Philly puts on a huge flower show in the Pennsylvania Convention Center. It’s said to be the world’s oldest and largest indoor display of its kind. This year it was from March 11-19. It generally lasts for one work week and two weekends. It varies by theme each year. This year the last day was for kids and pets! In addition, there was a garden spa, beer garden, and separate butterfly exhibit as well to make great use of.
Tickets are available online for $28 for adults, $20 for students with valid ID and $15 for children ages two through 16. A service fee of $1.50 per ticket is applied at checkout. Box office tickets are available for $35 for adults, $22 for students with valid ID and $17 for children ages two through 16. We stayed at a nearby hotel within walking distance that INCLUDED the flower show tickets at a discounted rate. It was a great way to save money, was able to valet our car at the hotel, and walk over to the show. Info on the show’s basics as well as nearby hotels are here. I recommend coat check which if I remember correctly was $3 per item (we had an extra sweatshirt and umbrella).
Holland was this year’s theme: think windmills and riding your powder blue bicycle through a field of tulips.
It was absolutely gorgeous and like nothing I’ve ever seen. Within the show are sections of various “mini shows” like centerpieces sitting atop of dining room tables, a small greenhouse, water features sprinkled throughout, headpieces designed using flowers, mini landscaping sets featuring a front stoop and front door like you’d see on the set of a movie or show, and various contests with winning terrariums, centerpieces, or bouquets.
Something to note, half of the room where the flower show takes place is for vendors. Here, you’ll see vendors selling homemade crafts and food. Some flowers and plants were being sold as well but not as many as I’d like. Of all the vendors, I’d say only 10-20% were selling flowers or plants of some kind. I’ve spoke with others that have attended the show in year’s past, and they have mentioned the entire show used to be only flowers and plants with no vendor booths or crafts. I was hoping to spend a couple hundred on plants and flowers to find there wasn’t much to choose from and what was there was picked over. Most flowers to buy were bouquets of roses you’d get at your local flower shop. Other flowers to purchase were bulbs of daffodils and tulips, but I already have these as well from my local Lowe’s.
SATURDAY: Centered around the Convention Center are some typical Philly stops. One being the John F. Kennedy’s plaza featuring the “Love” sculpture that millions of tourists take pics with. This year, however, the plaza is undergoing renovation and the “Love” sculpture was removed until renovations are complete in September 2017. A typical foodie stop is near here as well at the Reading Terminal Market. We were at the flower show when the Terminal market closed during its regular operating hours, so make sure you plan around it! This consists of an entire city block and is the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmers’ market, “with food options of all sorts, including a plethora of styles and cuisines that cater to every meal of the day.” Lastly, a typical Philly stop near the Convention Center, is the City Hall Tower Observation Deck. Come here for 360-degree views to decide where you’ll go to next.
SUNDAY: After you’ve seen the flower show and soaked in some surrounding sites, you MUST make a stop at the Independence Hall & the Liberty Bell. An Uber or taxi ride is suggested here if you’re staying over by the Convention Center for the flower show. You can arrive at the Visitor’s Center around 8:30am to get free tickets for that day but only a limited number of free tickets are available or I paid online to secure a time instead, and then I could customize the time and plan around it for only $1.50 per ticket.
In addition to these stops are some great museums to check out, including the oldest art museum in the U.S. Chinatown is walking distance from the Convention Center and is another great foodie stop. If you must try a cheese steak, the typical tourist locations are Geno’s Steaks and Pat’s King of Steaks locations. I took a local’s suggestion, took out some cash, and went to the local’s fave Jim’s Steaks on South Street.
Leave a comment if you’re local to Philly and want people to get the best out of your city in a weekend. Who else has been to the flower show and has tips to share?