Photo from Unsplash
Originally Posted On: https://discovertravelexplore.com/blog/best-things-to-do-in-philadelphia/
Are you looking for a city that is steeped in history and culture? Philadelphia, casually nicknamed “Philly,” is the perfect destination for you.
→The former capital of the United States of America, Philly is rich with world-class museums and universities. The birthplace of America’s modern democracy, Philadelphia was home to one of the founding fathers of the country, Benjamin Franklin.
→Philly also boasts the oldest continually operating theater in the English-speaking world and is known as the “mural capital of the United States.” If you want to explore this impressive artistic and historical city for yourself, it is important that you know about the popular neighborhoods so you can decide where to stay in Philadelphia on your visit.
Check out our comprehensive guide on the best things to do in Philadelphia so you can get the most out of your trip!
1. CHECK OUT THE LIBERTY BELL
The Liberty Bell is one of the most iconic symbols of American freedom. Located in Philadelphia, the bell is a popular destination for both local residents and out-of-town visitors. While there is no fee to visit the bell, there are a few things to keep in mind when planning your trip.
First, the bell is located in Independence National Historical Park, so be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to explore the other attractions in the park. Second, due to its popularity, the line to see the bell can be quite long. To avoid spending hours in line, it’s best to visit early in the day or during off-peak hours. Finally, keep in mind that photography is not allowed inside the Liberty Bell Center. With a little planning, your visit to the Liberty Bell will be both enjoyable and educational.
2. TAKE A WALK OR BIKE RIDE THROUGH FAIRMOUNT PARK
Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. Spanning nearly 9,000 acres, the park is home to a mix of historic buildings, world-class museums, and scenic trails. Whether you’re looking to take a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike, Fairmount Park has something to offer.
There are a few things to keep in mind when exploring the park. First, be sure to dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes. The park is open year-round, but trails can be slippery in the winter months. Second, plan your route in advance. There are dozens of miles of trails to choose from, so it’s helpful to know where you’re going before you set out. Finally, take your time and enjoy the scenery. Fairmount Park is a great place to appreciate nature and get some fresh air. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Fairmount Park is worth exploring.
3. VISIT THE PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest and most renowned art museums in the United States. With over 228,000 objects in its collection, the museum has something to offer everyone. Here are a few tips to make the most of your visit.
First, take some time to plan your visit. The museum is huge, and it can be overwhelming if you try to see everything at once. Choose a few galleries that interest you, and give yourself plenty of time to explore them thoroughly. Second, take advantage of the audio tour. It’s a great way to learn about the artwork as you go, and it’s particularly helpful if you’re not familiar with the collection. Third, don’t be afraid to ask questions. The staff at the museum are always happy to help, and they can offer insights that you might not get from reading the labels alone. Fourth, stop by the cafe for a break. It’s a great place to people-watch and refuel before heading back into the galleries.
With these tips in mind, you’re sure to have an enjoyable and enlightening visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
4. SEE THE ROCKY STEPS
The Rocky Steps are one of the most iconic landmarks in Philadelphia, and they offer a unique and fun way to experience the city. Located at the base of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the steps are a great place to start your day with a little exercise. Or, if you’re looking for a more leisurely activity, you can simply enjoy the view from the top of the steps. Either way, the Rocky Steps are a must-visit when you’re in Philadelphia. It’s a great excuse to re-watch a classic movie to prepare for your trip.
To really make the most of your visit, be sure to bring a camera. The Rocky Steps make for a great photo op, and you’ll want to capture the moment to share with your friends and family back home. Trust us, they’ll be jealous! And once you’re done taking in the view from the top of the steps, be sure to explore all that Philadelphia has to offer. From historic sites to world-class museums, there’s something for everyone in this great city. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy the Rocky Steps!
5. DISCOVER AMERICA’S FIRST ZOO
The Philadelphia Zoo is the oldest zoo in America, and it offers a unique experience for visitors of all ages. There are more than 1,000 animals to see, including lions, tigers, giraffes, and elephants. The zoo also has a number of interactive exhibits, such as the Dilworth Park Splash Pad and the PECO Primate Reserve. In addition, the Philadelphia Zoo offers a variety of educational programs for both children and adults. These programs include behind-the-scenes tours, animal enrichment activities, and conservation efforts. Whether you’re looking to learn about animals or just have a fun day out, the Philadelphia Zoo is the perfect destination.
6. ENJOY A PERFORMANCE AT THE KIMMEL CENTER
The Kimmel Center is one of Philadelphia’s premier arts venues, offering a wide range of performances throughout the year. From Broadway shows and world-renowned classical concerts to intimate jazz shows and cutting-edge avant-garde performance, there is something for everyone at the Kimmel Center. Whether you’re looking for a night of entertainment or a chance to expand your cultural horizons, the Kimmel Center is sure to have a performance that will appeal to you. Here are just a few of the types of performances you can see at the Kimmel Center:
-Broadway Shows: The Kimmel Center is home to the prestigious Academy of Music, which hosts touring Broadway productions throughout the year. If you’re a fan of musicals, this is the place to be!
-Classical Concerts: The Kimmel Center is also home to the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra. If you’re a fan of classical music, you can catch them in action at one of their many concerts throughout the year.
-Jazz Shows: The Kimmel Center Jazz Initiative provides a platform for up-and-coming jazz musicians to perform and collaborate. If you’re looking for something a little different, check out one of their shows!
7. SPEND AN AFTERNOON AT READING TERMINAL MARKET
Reading Terminal Market is one of Philadelphia’s most beloved culinary destinations, and for good reason. The market is home to over 80 vendors selling a variety of fresh food, from produce to meats to baked goods. There’s something for everyone at Reading Terminal, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring.
When visiting the market, be sure to try a Philly cheesesteak from Spataro’s or a world-famous roast pork sandwich from DiNic’s. For something sweet, grab a slice of Cake Life Bake Shop’s red velvet cake or a freshly made donut from Beiler’s Bakery. And don’t forget to wash it all down with a cup of house-roasted coffee from Termini Brothers.
With so much to see and taste, Reading Terminal Market is the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring all that Philadelphia has to offer. Check out all of their merchants here!
8. ADMIRE THE ARCHITECTURE OF CITY HALL
City Hall is one of the most iconic buildings in Philadelphia, and it’s well worth taking the time to admire its architecture. The building was designed in a neoclassical style, and it’s adorned with intricate carved details and a grand central staircase. One of the best ways to appreciate City Hall is to take a tour.
Guided tours are offered Monday through Friday, and they provide a unique opportunity to learn about the building’s history and see some of its most interesting features, including the grand staircase and the murals in the Rotunda. If you’re interested in architecture, City Hall is a must-see.
9. LEARN ABOUT HISTORY AT INDEPENDENCE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
Independence National Historical Park is a must-visit for history buffs and anyone interested in the founding of the United States. The park, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is home to some of the most important historical sites in the country, including Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were both signed.
Visitors can also see the Liberty Bell, which has come to symbolize American freedom. In addition to its many well-known landmarks, Independence National Historical Park also offers a variety of educational programs and exhibits that help bring history to life. Whether you’re looking to learn more about the American Revolution or simply want to explore one of the most significant historical sites in the country, Independence National Historical Park is definitely worth a visit.
“The old part of Philadelphia from the colonial days before independence.” by denisbin is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.
10. SHOP AT UNIQUE STORES IN OLD CITY
Philadelphia’s Old City is home to a variety of unique stores that offer everything from vintage clothing to locally made gifts. If you’re looking for something truly special, start your shopping at Twenty-Two Home. This home decor store specializes in furniture and accessories made by local artisans. For a break from shopping, stop by One Shot Coffee for a quick caffeine fix. This coffee shop is located in an old bank vault, and their cold brew is some of the best in the city.
If you’re looking for souvenirs to take home, be sure to check out Philly Art Shop. This store features a curated selection of artwork from local artists, and they also offer classes if you’re interested in learning more about the local art scene. No matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it in Old City.
11. WALK ALONG SOUTH STREET
Experience one of Philadelphia’s best-known streets by taking a stroll down South Street. This historic street has been a popular destination for locals and visitors for generations, and it’s easy to see why. South Street is lined with unique shops, cafes, and restaurants, as well as art galleries and performance venues. There’s something for everyone on South Street, so take your time exploring all that this vibrant street has to offer. With so much to see and do on South Street, spending some time exploring this street is definitely one of the best things to do in Philadelphia!
12. TRY DELICIOUS FOOD IN FISHTOWN
If you’re looking for a new culinary adventure, look no further than Fishtown, Philadelphia. This up-and-coming neighborhood is home to a variety of delicious food options, ranging from casual cafes to upscale restaurants. And with so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find something to your taste.
One of the most popular places in Fishtown is Pizzeria Beddia, which is widely considered to be one of the best pizza places in the country. If you’re looking for something a bit lighter, try out Philly’s renowned oyster bars like Horseshoe Crab or Eve. For something a bit more hearty, check out Fette Sau, a German-style BBQ joint that offers an extensive menu of mouth-watering meats.
No matter what your taste, Fishtown has something for you. So come on down and explore all that this unique neighborhood has to offer. Bon appetit!
13. DRINK LOCAL BEER ON EAST PASSYUNK AVENUE
East Passyunk Avenue is a South Philadelphia neighborhood with a rich history and a vibrant present. Once a manufacturing hub, the Avenue has been transformed in recent years into a vibrant shopping and dining destination. And one of the best ways to experience all that East Passyunk has to offer is to drink local beer.
There are several excellent breweries in the area, each with its own unique style and selection of beers. Among them are Second Story Brewing, which specializes in small-batch brews inspired by historic recipes, and Yard’s Brewing Company, which offers a variety of boundary-pushing beers, from IPAs to sour ales. No matter your taste, you’re sure to find a local beer to your liking on East Passyunk Avenue. So next time you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to raise a glass to one of Philly’s most beloved neighborhoods.
14. VISIT THE BARNES FOUNDATION
The Barnes Foundation is home to one of the world’s finest collections of art. Located in Philadelphia, the Foundation was founded by Albert C. Barnes in 1922. Barnes was an avid art collector, and his collection includes works by some of the most renowned painters of the time, including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and post-Impressionist artists such as Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro.
Today, the Barnes Foundation is open to the public, and visitors can take guided tours of the galleries or explore the grounds on their own. The Foundation also offers a variety of educational programs, making it an ideal place for both students and art lovers alike. Whether you’re interested in viewing some of history’s greatest masterpieces or learning more about art yourself, a visit to the Barnes Foundation is sure to be a memorable experience.
“Pennsylvania – Valley Forge: National Memorial Arch” by wallyg is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
15. SPEND A DAY IN VALLEY FORGE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
Valley Forge National Historical Park commemorates the site of the Continental Army’s 1777-78 winter Encampment. The park preserves nearly 3,500 acres of land that includes historic sites, memorials, and recreation opportunities. Visitors can explore the encampment grounds, visit the Museum and Visitor Center, and hike or bike on over 20 miles of trails.
Valley Forge was an important turning point in the American Revolution, and the park provides a unique opportunity to learn about this significant event in American history. Whether you are interested in history or just looking for a beautiful place to spend a day, Valley Forge National Historical Park is well worth a visit.
Hope you enjoyed our list of the best things to do in Philadelphia! Here’s the full recap of our list:
- Liberty Bell
- Fairmount Park
- Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Rocky Steps
- Philadelphia Zoo
- Enjoy a performance at the Kimmel Center
- Reading Terminal Market
- City Hall
- Independence National Historical Park
- Shopping in Old City
- South Street
- Passyunk Avenue
- The Barnes Foundation
- Valley Forge National Historical Park
WHERE TO NEXT?
Looking for sunshine, beautiful beaches and relaxation? Check out San Diego!
In Denver, you can hit the hiking trails during the day and then kick back at a local brewery!
Don’t miss the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque!