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RSA 2012 Conference Information about The Loews Hotel and Philadelphia

Dear RSA friends,

It’s hard to believe that, after a year and a half of preparation, we will get to welcome you to our beautiful city in a little over ten days.  We are so excited!  This message includes arrival and hotel information, a short general orientation to Philadelphia, and some links to local entertainment and sightseeing listings.  Please get in touch with a member of the Local Arrangements committee if you have specific questions: e-mail us, or catch us at the registration table.


From the airport:  The SEPTA airport train will bring you from the airport terminal to a station across the street from Loews in half an hour.  It costs $7. The train runs every half hour from 5:00 AM to 12:00 AM; all stations on this route are wheelchair accessible.  At the airport, follow signs for “Trains to Center City.”  Buy your ticket from the conductor, and tell him you’re going to Market East Station.

At Market East

  • Go up to the lobby at the escalator marked “Convention Center” near the A section of the platform. (An elevator is available.)
  •  Follow signs in the lobby for “Convention Center/Market Street” and go up one more flight to street level. 
  • Leave the station (left turn from escalator).  You will be on Market Street.
  • Go right a few yards to 12th Street.  Loews is on the southwest corner of 12th and Market; there’s a red advertising crawl running around the corner of the building. 
  • At the entrance marquee, follow signs to Reception on the first floor. 

If you use the airport train for your return trip, buy your ticket at Market East Station before you board to avoid a surcharge.

Taxis and vans are also available at the airport.  The taxi fare is $28.50; van fare is a little over $10. 

From the 30th Street Amtrak station:  Go to the Septa section of the station.  Buy a zone 1 ticket, and ask at the information kiosk for the next train to Market East.  At Market East, follow the instructions in the second paragraph above.

By car:

driving directions to Loews

Loews offers valet parking.  Scroll down this link for alternative parking facilities .


Loews is in the old PSFS Bank Building, Philadelphia’s first skyscraper, built during the Great Depression.  The original details, including the iconic rooftop sign, the Cartier clocks, the marble facings, the rare wood paneling, and the aluminum windows, are intact.  The hotel fitness center and lap pool are available to all guests; the concierge is happy to help you with questions or plans twenty-four hours a day.

Wireless internet access is free in public areas and in rooms set up with AV equipment; it is available for a fee in other areas.  For free internet access, sign up for the Loews You First program at check-in. 

A unisex bathroom will be available, probably on the second floor.


At Loews, you will be in the very heart of Center City.  This is not a sanitized tourist area, but a collection of vibrant urban neighborhoods, each with a distinct flavor. The area is generally safe, but be aware of your surroundings and, if possible, walk with a companion at night.

The hotel is two blocks from City Hall, a massive beaux-arts building at the symbolic center of Philadelphia, the crossing of Broad and Market.  North/south streets are numbered starting from the Delaware River in the east to the Schuylkill River in the west.  If Broad Street were numbered, it would be 14th Street; most theaters and performance spaces are on or near Broad Street, south of City Hall.

Directly north of the hotel is the convention center.  Moving east, you will find Chinatown, the Historic District around Independence Hall, and Old City, with its many shops and restaurants.  Directly south of the hotel is the gayborhood; to the southeast are Washington Square, a neighborhood of small museums and upscale restaurants, and Society Hill.  Crossing Broad Street to the northwest, museums such as the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Barnes Museum, the Rodin Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art are all located on the Ben Franklin Parkway.  Southwest of City Hall is the Rittenhouse Square district, which somehow combines urban gentility with a lot of interesting activity. 

All of these neighborhoods are a mile or less from the hotel, except for the Ben Franklin Parkway.  Cabs are available in Center City, and there are public transportation options.

Here are some links to help you navigate:

Maps and Directions

SEPTA (public transit) information


If you haven’t already done so, check out the restaurant guide we’ve put together.  You’ll find the link on the right side of the page here; a short version will be available in your registration packet.


Of course the papers will be great, and most of our time will be spent in sessions.  But it would be a shame not to get out a bit.  Here are some recommendations, and links to comprehensive information sites.

Historic area.  The sites connected with the American Revolution are deeply interesting to rhetoricians.   If your time is limited, just go see the Liberty Bell at 7th and Market.  It’s free, the wait is never too long, and the bell beautifully connects 18th century revolutionary Philadelphia with the Philadelphia of the 19th century anti-slavery movement.  Information on the historic sites can be found at the park service website; if you want to tour Independence Hall, reserve tickets in advance at Independence National Historical Park.

This area also includes many independent museums, such as the Poe House, the African American Museum, and the Jewish Museum.  You can find information about them here.

Parkway museums. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a joy.  They hold an impressive collection of Cezanne and Rodin, the endlessly fascinating Duchamp “bachelor machine,” and wealth of other beautiful things.  The museum will be open through the Memorial Day weekend, with a jazz concert scheduled for Friday night. Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Rittenhouse area.  This neighborhood is home to the Joseph Fox Bookshop, the Rosenbach Museum and Library  (many Maurice Sendak materials, manuscript of Ulysses), the cafes around the leafy square, and the beautiful houses on Delancey Street (south of Spruce, between 17th and 22nd).

Specific Needs and Interests.

Participants travelling with children might want to visit the Franklin Institute.  Other resources and amusements for children are listed here and here.  The Please Touch Museum is especially popular.

Those with an interest in scientific rhetoric may want to explore the city’s incredibly rich resources in the history of science.  For example, a few blocks south of the Parkway is the compelling Mutter Museum, the teaching collection of the Philadelphia College of Physicians.

The hotel is very close to the William Way Center, which serves the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community and to Giovanni's Room, one of the country’s oldest gay bookstores.  Resources for LBGT travellers to Philadelphia are available here.

Registrants with mobility issues will find good access in the airport, the transit stops between the airport and the hotel, and the hotel.  Many other sites, such as the Art Museum and the Liberty Bell, are very accessible, as are some taxis.  Private older buildings, especially 18th century buildings, can be a problem.  For a list of events and performances accessible to people with sight or hearing impairments, go here.  For public transportation information, check here.

For more information, check these sites:

Philadelphia Official Visitor Site 

Walking tour routes

Tourism blog


Theater listings  (broad but not comprehensive)

Sports and recreation  (Phillies are out of town.)

Music.  This is a dead weekend for classical music in Philadelphia, but popular music is listed on the Concert Calendar here and jazz is here.

Last but not least, gardens! Updated, comprehensive listings can be found in the free weekly papers, The City Paper and Philadelphia Weekly.

We have a lot to show you in Philadelphia, and we hope you’ll get a chance to enjoy some of it.  Here’s looking forward to a great convention!

Local Arrangements Committee:

Gabe Cutrufello
Ann Green
Katie Grindlesparger
John Landreau
Shannon Walters
Sue Wells (chair) 

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