Philadelphia is an American city with incredible historical significance.
It is truly a city of ‘firsts’ – offering the country’s first newspaper, zoo, hospital, and many more. Plus, America’s first birthday was celebrated here!
If you find yourself in the City of Brotherly Love, follow our recommended to-do’s.
Go to the Independence National Historical Park
The Independence National Historical Park truly represents the forefront of American democracy. This park houses Independence Hall, Congress Hall, and the Liberty Bell.
This is where the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776 (America’s first ‘birthday’). It’s also where the US Constitution was created in 1787.
See the Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of US Independence. After the Civil War, it traveled around the United States before finding a permanent home in Philadelphia in 1915.
The bell has a large crack in it, which happened the very first time its clapper struck it.
Go to the Magic Gardens
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is an indoor/outdoor art installation made by unconventional materials – a sort of mosaic of found objects and pieces of everyday items.
The artist; Isaiah Zagar; has been adding quirky artistic embellishments to Philly’s South Street neighborhood for over 50 years. This non-profit organization and artistic movement has been fundamental in the economic growth of the neighborhood.
Climb the ‘Rocky Steps’
Sure, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has a ton to offer.
But, climbing up the 72 stairs to the museum; just as Rocky did in his award-winning movies; is a classic Philadelphia must.
There’s even a Rocky statue at the base of the steps; originally a prop for the third movie but now one of the city’s most sought after photo-opps.
Stroll through ‘LOVE Park’
John F. Kennedy Plaza; commonly known as LOVE Park; is a park best known for its iconic red LOVE lettered sculpture.
The park was built in the 1960’s, over an underground parking garage in the center of the city, in front of City Hall.
Behind the LOVE sculpture is a single-spout fountain; creating a unique backdrop. And at certain times of the year, the fountain is featured in different colors (i.e. pink for breast cancer awareness).
Go to the Comcast Center
Standing at nearly 300 meters, the Comcast Center is the tallest building in Philadelphia – and also the most eco-friendly of its kind in the country.
The building is open to the public and does not cease to impress visitors through:
- 185 square-meter display of computer generated images from an LED projector
- Interactive Technology Lab
- The Market: lobby-level restaurants and shops
- Lobby-level fountain display
- Winter Garden: holiday season installation
Eat a Philly Cheesesteak
First things first. A Philly Cheesestake is: a long roll, filled with thinly sliced beef and melted cheese, often topped with onions, mushrooms, and even ketchup.
The sandwich, or ‘hoagie’, dates back to the 1930’s and has been a Philadelphia staple ever since.
The best Philly Cheesesteaks can be found at:
Walk down Elfreth’s Alley
Elfreth’s Alley is America’s oldest residential street, and is a National Historic Landmark.
This street was never included in the city’s original blueprint, yet was created as a mutual agreement by two surrounding landowners in the 18th century as a convenient route to the river.
Elfreth’s Alley was originally home to tradesmen and artisans, and to this day still celebrates the working class and preserves history by still inhabiting a wide range of working Americans.
Visit the Betsy Ross House
Betsy Ross sewed together the first-ever American flag, from the inside of her Philadelphia home.
Her 18th Century, Colonial home and upholstery shop on Arch Street is open for the public to appreciate this hard-working woman and the impact she made on the United States.
Shop in the Reading Terminal Market
The Reading Terminal Market is America’s oldest farmer’s market, dating back to 1892.
The indoor market’s roughly 80 stalls are open every day of the week, and offer a wide variety of foods; predominantly locally made and grown.
Our favorite finds are:
- Fresh Kosher Pickles
- Corned Beef Sandwiches
- Maple Bacon Donuts
- Fried Perogies
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A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. – Lao Tzu (source)