What’s the best way to explore the city you live in and beat the heat? CollegeFest!
On Saturday, September 10th was Campus Philly’s CollegeFest; a great way for students, new and returning, to get around Philadelphia and explore all the city has to offer (for free or a very low price, I might add). As a senior in college, CollegeFest is definitely one of my favorite events to kick off the fall semester, see a bunch of my friends from all over the city as well as other schools, and check out museums. Whether alone or with a group of friends, there’s no better way than to get a feel of what Philly has to offer than this.
Dilworth Park was packed with students when I’d arrived with my roommates, even though it was still relatively early. Students from all over the Philadelphia area– Arcadia, Temple, Villanova, Drexel and more. Music was blasting, people were dancing, playing games and generally really enjoying themselves, despite the heat. With City Hall in the background, the entire event looked picture perfect, like it was out of a movie. Coming from a smaller school like Arcadia, it was awesome to get to see all the other students who share the city and were just as excited for all of the day’s events.
Being CollegeFest veterans, my friends and I immediately hit up the exhibitor booths spread across Dilworth Park. We weaved in and out of the booths, signing up for various things like Lyft, registering to vote on our campuses and even offering up our most athletic friend to try the Army ROTC challenge of seeing how long she could hold herself up (spoiler alert, she only lasted five seconds).
After that, we headed to the closest Philly PHLASH Downtown Bus Loop stop to head off to a few of the participating museums. It was my first time riding the PHLASH, and I thought it was really convenient way to get around especially with so many students who may not know their way around just yet. Our first stop was Eastern State Penitentiary, which also happened to be holding a flea market that day. Everything at the market was fairly priced and a lot of it was really cool. I even picked up a few things to hang in my apartment. Next, we headed inside Eastern State, taking a quick tour of the inside. Being a history nerd, I definitely got a lot out of the museum, learning a lot of its history and more about Al Capone’s time at E.S.P. and how the prison as a whole operated.
After the tour, we headed on a journey to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA), stopping first for something to eat at The Bishop’s Collar, a small pub on Fairmount Ave. Philly tip: If you’re just strolling around, I definitely recommend checking out any restaurant you can because you’ll find little gems at every corner like we did.
Fueled up and ready to go, we headed to the PMA. For anyone who didn’t get to visit this past CollegeFest, I highly recommend heading there when you have the chance. Not only will you get to walk up the (admittedly long) iconic Rocky Steps, and see some amazing art, but you’ll also get a view of Philadelphia that is unreal. The inside of the museum itself is probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and definitely something everyone should see. I even ran into a couple of friends from campus in various rooms. Along with being a history nerd, I’m also an art nerd, so being able to see some of my favorite artists like Edgar Degas, Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet was exciting for me. Even artists I’d never heard of had some of the most beautiful art I’d ever seen.
By the time we finished, we were hot, sweaty and ready to head home, so we took the Philly PHLASH one last time to head to Suburban Station. Throughout the station were more college students, just as tired as us, all carrying their free things or leftover food from various restaurants they’d eaten at. I think the general consensus was that CollegeFest 2016 was a success. So to all the Philly students who didn’t get to make it out this year, or even the ones who didn’t make it to all CollegeFest had to offer, I definitely recommend heading out across the city whenever you have a free day. CollegeFest was only a fraction, a sample bite, of what Philadelphia has to offer to students. Whether you’re heading to the museums you missed or just exploring, it will definitely be worth the trip!