I will be in Philly this weekend and My host has had an unexpected emergency come up and will have very little time available. So I am looking for any surplus shops, or cool audio places or things an audio geek would like to see or do while in Philly??
Yowch! I'd be very interested if someone had a different opinion, but I don't think there's much of interest locally available. There are a few high end audio shops in the area, though the ones in Center City (the central business and residential area of Philadelphia) are more mid-brow. There are more than a few used record and CD stores, but none that stand out in my opinion. And while there are a couple of used equipment stores, the best (and in my experience that isn't saying much) one is located in South Jersey. Parts stores? Forget it.
If it weren't for the fact that my eldest is graduating from GWU this weekend, necessitating a trip to DC to watch diplomas being handed to young adults desperately batting 17 year Brood II cicadas away, I'd invite you over for some tunes.
The prospect of sitting on the Mall on Sunday in the rain with my extended family and the cicadas has addled my ancient brain. What I should have mentioned is that Philadelphia has a decent music scene, with venues both big and not-so-big, that might appeal to you. Not surprisingly, there are also lots of entertaining non-audio things to do (parochial as we may be, we got plenty of history).
Can you reveal specifically where in the Philadelphia area you'll be and when? Someone (perhaps even me) may be able to offer more helpful suggestions.
I will be staying in Springfield actually. But I will have a rental car. I plan on going to pat/Geno's and joes for cheese steaks and I am going to try and go to the punk rock flea market and the liberty bell.. but..those are just fillers for nothing else to do.
As a vegetarian, I can't help you with the Pat's vs. Geno's controversy. But I'm very confident you can find a better moderately-priced meal without much trouble. South Philly is home to dozens of good Italian restaurants; I favor Ralph's (loud but has a decent wine list at 760 S 9th St) and Kris (an upscale BYOB at 1100 Federal St (nearby wine stores at 724 South and 1237 S 11th)), both of which are walking distance from Pat's and Geno's.
A few other food ideas: Reading Terminal Market (of course), a local institution and fun place to hang out for lunch. There's a beer garden at RTM; buy your lunch at one of the stalls and drink one of the local brews. Upscale Indian at Tashan (Broad St, a few blocks south of City Hall), any of the Tiffin locations or Indian buffet at any of the restaurants on the West side of the Univ of PA campus. Many of the Asian restaurants in Chinatown are quite good, though we gravitate to Beijing (38th & Spruce, on the UofP campus) most often. Whatever your culinary inclinations, you should be able to eat well.
Random tourist thoughts: RTM, of course. Strolling around Ben Franklin's haunts in Olde City is interesting; see where the Continental Congress, Betsy Ross and their cohorts spent their time. The Constitution Center is an impressive museum or, if they're still running tours, check out the US Mint; there's a lot of historic wandering to do in the Olde City area. The Art Museum and its new annex are very good, but if you are interested in Impressionism (and assuming you can get a ticket), don't miss the Barnes Collection; it's one of the world's greatest assemblages of impressionistic art. People watching at Rittenhouse Square (better stop at Capogiro Gelato, at 117 S 20th, first). Art galleries in Olde City (mostly on 2nd and 3rd Streets, in the 4 or 5 blocks north of Market St).
Parking is something of an annoyance in Philadelphia, so it's best to plan on planting yourself in a few locations and walking to see the neighborhood. The Philadelphia Parking Authority tickets (and tows) very aggressively; don't forget the meter.
Hope this helps. Sorry if I've completely missed the boat on your interests.