When Samuel Vaughan Merrick and William H. Keating brought The Franklin Institute to life in 1824, it was to honor the life and achievements of Renaissance man Benjamin Franklin. In the decades since, the Institute has hosted further forward thinkers such as Nikola Tesla, who demonstrated wireless telegraphy in 1893, and helped advance science and technology, hosting the first public demo of an all-electronic TV system in 1934.
In the Pittsburgh Alleghenies' first National League game in 1887, the rag-tag squad amassed six runs against the mighty Chicago White Stockings, establishing the team as a force to be reckoned with for decades to come. Today, through more than 130 years, five World Series titles, and four previous stadiums, the Alleghenies—now the Pirates—make their home at PNC Park, where pop flies soar amid views of the Clemente Bridge and Steel City skyline sprawling in the background. Located only 443 feet away—or, by official MLB measurements, 807.3 half-eaten hot dogs—the Allegheny River waits for home runs to splash down after sailing over the right-field wall, which stands at 21 feet high in honor of legendary Pirate Roberto Clemente. Off the field, the stone archways lining the entry-level façade tip their cap to the club's former longtime home, Forbes Field, and an outdoor terrace and riverwalk cool down fans enjoying the game on warm summer nights.
The 43,000 square-foot facility of America On Wheels is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the expansive history of American transportation. Within that, 23,000 square feet are devoted entirely to exhibit space, where guests will find a variety of classic cars, racing vehicles, trucks, and motorcycles. Rotating exhibits have included topics such as classic cars of the 1930's (including a 1933 Buick), muscle cars, and trains. In addition to offering family memberships and group tours, the facility hosts rentals of its space and a museum store, as well as a classic caf? complete with ice cream, shakes, floats, and hot dogs.
Surrounded by roaring crowds of hoops fanatics, the Erie BayHawks shoot for glory during thrilling basketball matches as the official minor-league team of the New York Knicks in the NBA Development League. Head coach Gene Cross manages a roster of young and veteran talent that recently included overnight sensation Jeremy Lin. Buzzers announce the beginning of four quarters' worth of dazzling slam dunks, three-point shots, and Final Jeopardy lightning rounds as players hone their talents in preparation for upcoming games and potential rise to the NBA ranks.
In 1989, Dan Gallagher and Dan Smith joined their respective names and began pursuing one common goal: to bring a contemporary alternative to Berks County's dining scene. The 40-seat eatery was successful in the Dans' hands until 2005, when Bill Woolworth and MD. Monir stopped in for dinner, fell in love with the place, and decided to buy it.
Though much of the space's original charm remains intact, the new owners gussied up the decor with white tablecloths and floral arrangements, and they solicited the help of executive chef Jason Hook to lighten the rotating menu. Jason draws on his experience studying in France and working at The Four Seasons in New York to craft healthful, contemporary French- and Californian-inspired dishes. In every preparation, he highlights the ingredients' natural tastes, often pairing local cuts of meat and poultry with fresh, seasonal ingredients and luxurious flourishes such as truffles or Lamborghini-scented foam.
Hook, Woolworth, and Monir also frequently evaluate their wine selections to ensure that they pair well with the evolving menu, which changes every week. While sipping glasses of red or white, diners can question servers about the building's rich history in the Penn's Common Historic District. Before the restaurant settled into the space, it was inhabited by an old-style soda dive, a prison doctor's home, and a grassland populated with roaming dinosaurs.
• For $20, you get a general-admission lawn ticket (a $29.50 value before fees, or up to a $40 value online, including all ticketing fees). • For $31, you get a ticket for seating in sections 201–202 or 205–206 (a $49.50 value before fees, or up to a $62.50 value online, including all ticketing fees).