In honor of my birthday on February 8th, the city of Philadelphia has decided to throw me a parade and invited the Super Bowl Champs the Philadelphia Eagles to participate. Starting at 11 AM, you can join me and thousands of people that I don't know along the route which will start at the Lincoln Financial Field and end at the notorious Philadelphia Art Museum steps. Hopefully these tips will help you navigate at my birthday celebration.
How do I get there?
The city will be extremely busy as I have not had a formal celebration in years. Your best mode of transportation is public and/or uber/lyft. Parking will definitely be at a premium. SEPTA (public transportation authority) is offering free rides on various routes thanks to Independence Blue Cross. Text ReadyEagles to 888777 to receive up to date information. You can also visit the website, Septa.org, and choose which mode of transportation works best for you. Please remember that the trains/buses will be extra crowded and will probably not stop at all normal stops.
In an effort to maximize the amount of trains available to transport people to the parade, SEPTA trains will only operate inbound starting at 5:00 AM and outbound starting at 1:30 PM. Outbound service will end at 9:00 PM as they attempt to get back on schedule for a busy Friday. No money will be accepted on any trains so it is advisable to purchase tickets ahead of time.
Where to Stand?
If you like to be near the front, I highly suggest you arrive early and claim a spot. Keep in mind that you will be stationed in this spot for an extended period of time. Make certain to visit the bathroom before setting up because you will most likely lose your spot. There are giant viewing screens being set up so that you can still be in the midst of the action.
How to Dress
I am not a fan of coats so I always dress in layers and peel them off as needed. The weather persons are calling for freezing rain the day before so keep that in mind especially with footwear. Of course, you want a hat, scarf and gloves just to be safe. I will be rocking my fjallraven poncho and most likely aquatalia boots.
What to Bring?
It's my birthday but no gifts are needed just bring a great attitude and lots of patience. I loved watching some of the after game footage and seeing people of all races connecting, laughing and cheering. I also saw the videos that everyone seemed to have on repeat of fans standing on light poles and awnings but it's my birthday so we are only focusing on the positive.
There is no designated seating area so a bring a warm blanket that you can share with the family and/or put on the ground to sit. Several public areas around the route have outside seating but they will fill up fast so the blanket can serve as back up.
I would leave the stroller at home because it will be hard to navigate with the massive crowds. Almost every conversation on Facebook discussed bringing kids to the parade. I completely understand wanting to share in this excitement with them but only do it if your child can handle it. The city is preparing for over 3.5 million people. I hope I can handle it.
-If you're a germophobe especially with the flu going around, bring lots of tissue and sanitizer. There are port-o-potties along the parade but the supplies inside will not last the entire day.
-Portable chargers to keep phones charged
-Activities for the kids while you wait
-Light lunch and/or snacks. There is food on almost every corner but it is most likely not for the budget conscious.
-Not certain about drinks since I'm trying to avoid leaving our spot. If you are thirsty and over the age of 21, Budweiser will be giving out free beer along the route at various bars. They have not announced which ones but if you want one, it can't hurt to visit each one:) A few bottles of water won't do you any harm.
Is there an actual program?
The end of the route is the Philadelphia Art Museum and at 1:00 PM, they will sing Happy Birthday to me and award me a key to the city, just kidding. During this time, Philadelphia Mayor, Jim Kenney, will say some remarks to the Philadelphia Eagles on a job well done. I anticipate that some Philadelphia celebrities will be on stage to bring greetings and I am certain there will be lots of surprises for everyone since reports say it ends at 3:00 PM
What else is there to do?
Philadelphia has some of the best attractions of any major city. There is the Franklin Institute or Museum of Natural Science which is perfect if you are bring the kids. I would definitely check the website because the Art Museum has already announced that it will be closed. Franklin Square is an outdoor play area that is located off the parade route but will allow the kids to play and run off any steam.
Be mindful of your surroundings at all times. Tape your phone number and email address to the inside of your child's coat and shirt. Take a picture of what they are wearing and set up a designated place to meet in the event that you get separated.
Have fun no matter how you watch. It's my birthday and I thank you for attending.