The Classic: New York City
There’s nothing shameful in doing what everybody else at Penn has done a million times before you. New York City has something new to offer in every visit for those that look for novelty. However, there is undisputed beauty in the classics. Among a few include a Sunday brunch at Sarabeth’s or Bagatelle, a stroll down Fifth Avenue, a dinner at Catch or Nobu, and a thousandth visit to MOMA, if your tastes are anywhere close to mine. The astonishing proximity to Philadelphia allows for an easy hour-and-a-half long train ride, or a more economical two to three-hour bus ride.
The Academic: Washington, D.C.
Escape academia at Penn to learn in a different setting from some of the United States’ most famous museums and monuments. Sightsee on the National Mall! For art lovers, peruse through the National Gallery of Art, the Renwick Gallery, the Hirshhorn, or Artechouse. On a nice day, lay out a blanket on the grass outside the Washington Monument and have a picnic with friends while watching the hordes of giddy tourists pass by on segways. Of course, this trip doesn’t necessarily have to be academic; The nation’s capital is home to a vast array of different neighborhoods, each with their own flavor and nightlife. Adams Morgan, in Northwest D.C., is known for its eclectic bars and artisan cafes, as well as its ethnic cuisine. For shopping, upscale dining, or sitting by the water, hit up Georgetown. While Washington D.C. serves as a great scholarly destination for all the Political Science and International Relation majors, the day and night time opportunities in this city are unparalleled!
The Relaxing Beach Escape: Cape May, NJ
It’s hard to imagine that just a short three-hour distance from Penn is a small paradise of relaxation situated on one of the best-known beaches in the United States. This small town, known for its charming Victorian architecture and old mansions, is one of the oldest resort locations in the country. If you get tired of the beach, which should definitely take a while, a myriad of quaint shops and restaurants line the main pedestrian walkway. If you plan to spend the weekend, lodging options vary from Victorian mansions converted into charming beds and breakfasts to economical hotels, some of which remain open all year. The town is accessible by car or by an approximately three hour bus ride through the New Jersey Transit buses (type “Cape May Bus Terminal” as the destination on the website when searching). When the weather gets warm or you find yourself deserted on campus for the summer, this is a place you will certainly want to visit.
The Nature-Lover: The Poconos
The Pocono Mountains are about two hours from Philadelphia and have a vast array of activities, including hiking trails and skiing. Camelback Mountain Resort and Jack Frost Ski Resort are two ski resorts in close proximity to the bus stop. The mountain views are incredible for all seasons, and seeing proper trees sometimes is good for your health–I promise.