The Best Things To Do In Philadelphia

Written By: Kristen Cook

As one of the founding cities in the nation’s history, Philadelphia has plenty of things it’s known for – Rocky Balboa, the Liberty Bell and Philly cheesesteak, just to name a few. This eclectic city has a unique vibe no matter where you turn, whether it’s walking around some of the colonial buildings and historic homes or browsing an interesting museum dedicated to medical oddities – there’s no chance you’ll be bored with a visit to this city. Spring and fall are both the best times to explore Philadelphia, thanks to the mild temperatures and blossoming trees; however, summertime in Philly can’t be beat. Independence Day is a huge event for the city, due to its place in colonial and American history!

Of course, when you’re in Philadelphia, you’ll want to see some of the most historic spots. Logan Square and Rittenhouse Square are both great spots to explore and relax as you walk and meander to Independence Hall, which houses the famous Liberty Bell. Are you into gangster history and culture? A trip to Al Capone’s old stomping grounds – the Eastern State Penitentiary – is a historic prison-now-turned-museum, which is sure to fascinate most visitors. For those who want a more eclectic experience, the Magic Gardens or Pizza Brian Museum are rather entertaining.

Sports are plentiful in Philadelphia, too. If you are visiting during the fall or winter, catch a football game with the Philadelphia Eagles, or if baseball is more your speed, you can relax and watch the Philadelphia Phillies. Museums are scattered around the city, the two most popular destinations being the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as the Barnes Foundation, which contains many works by famed artist, Renoir.

If you’re visiting Philadelphia looking for some good food, you’re in luck! No trip is complete without trying an iconic Philly Cheesesteak. Not sure what type of cuisine you want to sample? Head over to the Reading Terminal Market for a little bit of everything, from famous city dishes to locally sourced produce. Philadelphia’s food culture is expanding as more diverse, international chefs are coming to the city and competing with the ultra-talented local chefs!


Philadelphia Old City

Take a step back in time and stroll around Philadelphia Old City to see houses that are several centuries old. A favourite destination is Elfreth’s Alley, where thirty-two houses have been beautifully preserved, dating back to 1728! Surrounded by historical landmarks and museums, you can spend days in the Old City exploring the past. Perhaps because of its beauty, the area has also attracted trendy pubs and restaurants, so sit for a while and absorb the blend of the old with the new.


Penn’s Landing

History buffs will love Penn’s Landing; it is the place in which the founder of the Pennsylvanian Colony disembarked in 1682. Times have changed, and now this waterfront location is a place to enjoy the Delaware River, at the parks and restaurants that hug its shore. Take a ferry and explore the sites along the river, and make sure you catch the Independence Seaport Museum!


First Bank of the United States

As you approach the building that housed the First Bank of the United States, you can feel the importance that it played in establishing the country’s financial foundations, after independence was won. The bank – built in 1795 – was deliberately constructed to look imposing, and while times have changed since then, it is still very impressive today! You cannot enter the building, but the architecture and history make it worthy of a stop.


Valley Forge National Historical Park

Take a trip back in time to a crucial period of the American Revolution, with a visit to Valley Forge National Historical Park. Imagine the bitter cold of the winter of 1777-1778, and the hardships that must have been endured. Explore the Brigade Huts, General Washington’s Headquarters and examples of the farmhouses of the time. Browse the manuscripts, pictures, artefacts, and the many documents that recount the history – this is a moving and educational day for all!


Old City Hall

In a city steeped in history, Old City Hall sits at its heart. Built in 1790, this red brick building was the home of the Supreme Court from the time it was built, through to 1800. The Old City Hall is also in the vicinity of other nearby historical landmarks – such as Independence Hall, Congress Hall and the Liberty Bell – so why not pop in for a look while you’re in the area? After all, it’s free!


Avenue of the Arts

Come and experience the culture of Philadelphia at the Avenue of the Arts; the hub of the city’s performing arts venues. As you stroll down Broad Street, explore the many museums and galleries, including the Millennium Art Gallery, or take in a show at one of the suite of theatres that dot Broad Street. Then, find a cosy restaurant to enjoy while you relax and watch the world go by.

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