When it comes to day trips, the journey can matter as much as the arrival. One or two hours on a train provides the time to get lost in a summer book, have an unhurried conversation and moon over the passing scenery as everyday anxiety ebbs away. These eight regional getaways have recently been road-tested, no car required (well, maybe a Lyft here and there). On some, you can be home in time for dinner; others will stretch past midnight. Most of them call for stamina and good walking shoes, and all promise a break from the routine, a way to see what adventures lie beyond the five boroughs.
Strike a Pose with The Thing. The Marvel Universe Comes to Life.
“Avengers” superfans! The only East Coast stop for the immersive exhibit, Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes, is in Philadelphia through September 2. Original, hand-drawn images of Spider-Man and Black Panther, a disorienting Doctor Strange-themed mirror room, costumes worn by Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Chris Evans as Captain America and selfie opportunities with The Thing and The Incredible Hulk, are among the 300 or so artifacts showcased at the Franklin Institute, a 20-minute walk from the 30th Street train station.
Other attractions in the Eastern Seaboard’s second largest city can be handily visited on foot, by bike or mass transit. For killer, hand-hacked lamb tucked in handmade tortillas, head to South Philly Barbacoa (1140 S. Ninth St.), which moved to a corner spot in the Italian Market last year and is open Saturday to Monday. From there, walk 13 minutes to Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (1020 South St.), a mind-bending, indoor/outdoor maze of mosaics created by the Philadelphia-based artist Isaiah Zagar. Hand-painted tiles, broken plates, bottles, dolls, bicycle wheels and folk art statues create a flowing canvas that evokes a pantheon of influences, including Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Now venture north to Northern Liberties and Fishtown, cool neighborhoods alive with street art and indie shops. Your trip should involve one last thing: Suraya (1528 Frankford Ave.). The Lebanese restaurant has won local and national accolades for its mezze, like za’atar-scented labneh, smoky baba ganoush and fried kibbe sweetened with raisins. The modern, open space has a long bar as well as outdoor seating in a beautiful, tree-filled garden.