• Irene Levy Baker

Q&A with Author of Newly-Published "100 Things To Do In Philadelphia Before You Die"


Irene Levy Baker, author, 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia

The 2nd edition of 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia Before You Die is hot off the press. The bucket-list guide highlights all of the new attractions in the Philadelphia area, and many under-the-radar spots. Irene Levy Baker, author of the book that has become one of the best-selling books in the national travel series by Reedy Press, describes her new book.


Q: Have you done all 100 Things?


A: I've done 99 of 100 because I'm not quite ready to kick the bucket yet. And don't ask me which one I haven't done, you have to read the book to find out.


Q: Speaking of which, what's with the title?


A: Yeah, "100 Things To Do In Philadelphia Before You Die" is an unfortunate title in 2020. But, it's part of a national series so it couldn't be changed. But I don't think we've ever felt the need to live fully stronger than we do right now when we're missing out on so much. Fortunately many places are starting to re-open. And for those who are staying close to home, the book includes lots of great staycation ideas.

Q: Why did you update the book?


A: Despite everything going on, many new attractions, restaurants, shops and hotels have opened in Philadelphia. That created a compelling reason to update the book. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Philadelphia was the only U.S. city to make National Geographic’s list of best places to visit. This book reveals all of the exciting new things going on in Philly and makes sure you don’t miss out on the fun.

Q: What’s in the book?

Wonderspace

A: New attractions, under-the-radar spots that even long-time Philadelphian may not know about, as well as well-known attractions. The book includes places in the city, in the surrounding counties and South Jersey. The 100 things described in the book are divided into 5 categories - Food and Drink, Music and Entertainment, Culture and History, Sports and Recreation and Shopping and Fashion. Adding to its usefulness are mini-itineraries by season as well as recommendations for young families, families with teens, dates and empty-nesters, free attractions, activities near the Pennsylvania Convention Center and Philadelphia’s most Instagrammable places.


Q: Your books and articles are full of tips. How did you come up with the tips?


A: The book tells how to find -- and get into -- sign-less speakeasies, how to make the most of Restaurant Week, how to get admission discounts, best days & times to visit museums and more. As owner of Spotlight Public Relations, a firm specializing in restaurants and hospitality, I've worked with five local tourist bureaus, celebrity chefs, hotels and attractions. Prior to that I spent nearly a decade working at the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau. That's how I discovered many of the tips in the book - some of which I hate to part with - like the list of ways to snag reservations at trendy restaurants. By the way, none of the reservation tips cost money, are awkward, involve deception or knowing the chef or owner.

Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia

Q: Have you written other books?


A. Yes, I wrote the original version of the 100 Things book in 2016. Two years later, I wrote Unique Eats and Eateries of Philadelphia which tells the sweet and spicy stories behind 90 area restaurants.


Q: Will long-time Philadelphians enjoy the book?


A: I think so. For those born and raised on cheesesteaks, the 100 Things book highlights under-the-radar spots, from an old fashioned rodeo to a former opera house turned modern venue for A-list performers, up 60 floors to indulge in cocktails and down a tiny alley to visit the city's oldest tavern. This new edition also includes many things that weren't here four years ago -- parks that make ingenious use of former industrial space, a major museum in the historic district, award-winning restaurants and an interactive art gallery. More than 20% of things described in this book are new or little-known.

Q: What about tourists and newcomers?

A: First-time visitors will discover must-see attractions, including Reading Terminal Market and the Museum of the American Revolution along with Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, mural tours, Spruce Street Harbor Park, and other only-in-Philadelphia sights.


Q: Where can people get a copy of the book?


A: Signed copies of the book are available online at www.100ThingsToDoInPhiladelphia.com for $17 plus tax and shipping. The City Pulse readers can get free shipping using promo code THECITYPULSE. The books are also available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble and at independent bookstores.


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by Irene Levy Baker, author, 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia and Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia. Both books are full of tips. For even more tips, visit www.100ThingsToDoInPhiladelphia.com. Planning a staycation? Go to the website for signed copies of books. For free shipping, use promo code TheCityPulse. Click here for more blog postings by Irene Levy Baker including two posts with tips for how to help restaurants survive, socially-distant tours and a look at Philly-style masks.


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