Philadelphia is slightly overshadowed by its glitzy and high-flying neighbors – New York City and D.C but it’s not a city you should overlook. Located just two and a half hours north of D.C and two hours south of New York, Philly is a lively hub packed with so much to do and see. It’s the largest city in the state of Pennsylvania.
The city was originally founded to be a city of religious tolerance and it’s often referred to as the city of “brotherly love”. Philadelphia is rich in history and culture, packed with iconic historical moments and famous for some significant attractions such as Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and Fairmount Park.
Let’s take a look at the various things to do, places to see and explore in Philadelphia.
Things to do in Philadelphia
Visit the Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell doesn’t ring anymore but the message it carries now is as profound as it was then – “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof”. This particular inscription on the surface of a broken but mighty bell is a major reason it became an inspiration for suffragists and freedom fighters around the world. It is a significant historical monument you can visit, ensure you take a photo in front of the glass walls that overlook the Independence Hall.
Climb the iconic Rocky Steps
The iconic Rocky Steps leads up to the world-class Philadelphia Museum of Art. The steps became a recognized scene after the success of the classic movie in 1976. Visitors like to sprint up the stairs, hum the Rocky theme tune and pump their fists in the air as they witness the striking scene of Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the skyline. You can finally pose for a photo with the bronze statue of Rocky when you go back to the bottom of the steps.
Places to Visit
The Independence National Historical Park
The Independence National Historical Park is home to iconic landmarks – Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. The hall holds immense significance toward the growth of America. The Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence in the Assembly room of the Hall in 1776. UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Site, it is a treasure for people enthusiastic about history.
This beautiful garden spread over 1,100 acres is filled with fountains, and meadows. It attracts millions of visitors and hosts hundreds of events per year. Events include concerts, musical theatres, and educational programs, etc.
Philadelphia Zoo is set among a beautiful 42-acre Victorian garden, featuring fauna and flora, tree-lined pathways and animal sculptures.The zoo features a variety of wildlife species such as giraffes, polar bears, hippos, zebras, white rhino, gorillas, red pandas and many others. In addition, the zoo is well-known for its botanical collection of plant species, historic architecture as well as veterinary facilities.
Betsy Ross House
The Betsy Ross House used to be home to the America flag-maker and seamstress, Betsy Ross. The house is a historical landmark, opened to the public as a museum in 1937. Betsy Ross House is located just a few blocks from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
What & Where to Eat
The cheesesteak is considered to be the ultimate iconic Philly dish. Invented by Pat Olivieri in 1930, the authentic dish contains thinly sliced beef and a crusty roll. The choice of cheese still stays a topic of debate. For an authentic cheesesteak experience in Philly, visit John’s Roast Pork, Tony Luke’s, Geno’s Steaks, and Pat’s King of Steak.
Roast Pork Sandwich
A Roast pork sandwich is without a doubt the signature Philly sandwich. With a melting, oven-roasting, tender, pork shoulder, (shaved or chopped) layered with melted provolone cheese and sauteed broccoli with a hint of garlic rabe. Salivating already? Add it to your list of foods to try! For a taste of the classic roast pork, visit Dinic’s Roast Pork, John’s Roast Pork, Tony Luke’s, and Paesano’s Philly Style.
Pretzels, introduced by German settlers in the region centuries ago, have been a favorite local food since forever. The signature Philly pretzel is soft and comes in a variety of shapes. It can be bought from a street vendor, corner store, bakery or mall as an everyday snack. However you like it, Philadelphians have a preference about it tasting best with mustard. Here are great places to eat Pretzels in Philly, High Street on Market, Shane Confectionery, Miller’s Twist, The Beese Knees, and Vedge.
The Old City
The Old City is located along the length of Delaware River, stretching from Walnut Street to Spring garden street. It is considered to be one of the first areas settled by Quaker Settlers and William Penn. The historic neighborhood is a popular destination for tourists in Philly.
The Penn Museum
The museum is considered to be one of the world’s finest anthropological and archaeological museums, it attracts over 170,000 people from around the world. It features a total of 1,200 amazing objects of history including the 4,500-year-old crowing jewelry of a Mesopotamian queen and one of the oldest wine jars. The museum is currently going through a transformation and it reopens to the world in November 2019.
The Christ Church
The Christ Church is the place where Colonial America debuted its historic break from the Church of England. It was once the tallest building all over North America. You can visit the graves of Benjamin Franklin and his wife on the Church’s burial grounds along with those of the early American leaders and some of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Whatever the season, Philly has brilliant things to offer you. From its iconic attractions to amazing hotspots, by day and by night, you will find discover that the city offers enjoyable experiences. Thus, why not visit the ‘city of brotherly love’ today, and discover the many layers of the city for yourself.