Philadelphia, or Philly, as many call it, is one of the most iconic cities in the U.S. and most people think of it as home to the Declaration of Independence. But there are many other interesting sights and things to do in Philadelphia, and our guide is ready to convince you to put it on your list of must-see destinations.
The largest city in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia is a place of great historical, economic, and cultural significance. Founded in 1682, it was meant to be the capital of the Pennsylvania colony but lost that title when Washington D.C. was built. Ever since the 19th century, it became an important industrial center and study destination, having an important number of high-rated colleges and universities. The city has a vibrant cultural life and the most outdoor art in the U.S. so it’s not surprising that it attracts more than 40 million tourists every year.
Many major American institutions originated in the City of Brotherly Love: the U.S. Marine corps, as well as the first library, hospital, zoo and stock exchange. These are just a few examples of the part the city has played in the country’s development. On a more mundane level, it is also home to the world-renowned soft pretzels and cheesesteak sandwiches, as well as the 72 steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art that Sylvester Stallone climbed in the famous scene from ‘Rocky.’ It is also known for the distinctive accent, and many linguists consider it the most noticeable accent in North America.
So, allow TryAnythingOnce Blog to give you a private tour of this fascinating destination, and you will find so many reasons to visit Philly that it will definitely end up on your travel to-do list.
Take a Look at the Birthplace of the Declaration of Independence
Independence Hall, the crown of Independence National Historical Park, is a place of extraordinary significance to the history of the United States. Every traveler that arrives in Philly wants to see the place where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and the Constitution of the United States was created. During the guided tour, you can actually see the inkstand they used to sign the Declaration, as well as an original draft of the Constitution. It is a main attraction of the city and if you plan your visit during certain holidays, you can actually visit it for free (if you don’t mind the crowded atmosphere).
Show your Kids a Fascinating World at the Philadelphia Zoo
There is no doubt that Philly is a very child-friendly destination. There are lots of fun things you can do with your kids there, but the Philadelphia Zoo is the absolute best. The world’s first children’s zoo has grown and developed so much over the years and it is now a fantastic land of adventure and a 42 acres interactive habitat for almost 1300 animals. The zoo is so well organized it will keep your kids busy for hours petting animals, going on a rainforest themed carousel, climbing on ropes and ramps and watching all the animals they could think of.
Tickets are required, but you can buy them online and print them at home and you will avoid the lines.
Get that ‘Rocky’ Feeling Climbing the Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
There are many free things to do in Philadelphia, but this is probably one of the best. Who wouldn’t want to climb the 72 steps and get their celebrating picture posing as Rocky? Don’t forget to take one with Rocky’s statue at the bottom of the stairs! Your Philly travel album wouldn’t be complete without it! But after that, make sure to go inside the Museum of Art and enjoy some of the most beautiful works of art in the world. The Museum is home to many amazing collections as well as special exhibitions, so make sure to check the calendar when planning your visit.
Feel the Thrill at the Eastern State Penitentiary
If you want to spice up your visit to the city, one of the most fun things to do in Philadelphia is taking a tour of the intriguing and sinister Eastern State Penitentiary. Once the world’s most expensive prison, it is now a thrilling expedition through over 150 years of prison stories and haunting rumors. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, keep in mind that the tour is guided by the voice of none other than Steve Buscemi. As an additional bonus, you can even try to escape from one of the cells. The Penitentiary is only one of the city’s spooky attractions, as you can find many other haunted places and vampire mysteries as well. There is even a Dark Philly Adult Night Tour, where you can discover the dark side of the city, with all the secrets and weird stories.
Admire the Oddities at the Mutter Museum
The College of Physicians of Philadelphia hosts the intriguing Mutter Museum, a collection of extraordinary medical specimens. Looking at Einstein’s brain is definitely one of the most interesting things to do in Philly. The Museum also displays the skeleton of the tallest man in North America, a collection of strange objects removed from people’s throats, wet specimens, wax models and a plaster replica of the ‘Siamese twins’ Chung and Eng Bunker.
Swipe your Loved One Off Their Feet
Whether you are on your honeymoon or just enjoying a trip with your significant other, there are a lot of romantic things to do in Philadelphia. There is no better background for the picture of your loved one than the amazing view from One Liberty Observation Deck. You can enjoy an unrestricted view of the city and have great chances to witness a marriage proposal. If that doesn’t feel enough, a trip to Love Park is definitely in order, to get a shot of the famous LOVE sculpture. And for a culminating ending to your romantic day, have dinner at Fork Restaurant and enjoy award-winning dishes and delicious drinks.
Get the Most out the Museum Circuit
Philadelphia is famous for the great number and variety of museums. If you are an admirer of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Modernist works of art, make sure to put the Barnes Museum on your list. But if you are having a family vacation, take your children to the Please Touch Museum for the time of their life. Basically, there is a museum for every taste, whether you like history, science, art or nature, so you have a long list in case you don’t know what to do in Philadelphia.
One More Bite of Heaven
Nobody can deny the importance of the historical and cultural sights of the city, but after a long day in this busy place, nothing makes a traveler feel more relaxed and full than one of Philly’s world-famous cheesesteak sandwiches (with or without the onions, as you prefer). They are the awesome creation of hot dog seller Pat Olivieri and have gained the public’s approval ever since. Pair it with a soft pretzel, another Philly trademark, or choose one of the many taverns to have a nice cold beer to complete the pampering. If you love sweets, Philly has a wide variety of choices for you, like the famous whoopie pie, the chocolate pizza or the salted caramel budino.
Yet Another Place to See
After a day of checking the famous tourist attractions on your list, have a chance of pace and go to Chinatown for the unusual Good Good Comedy Theatre. Not only will you enjoy good stand-up comedy, but just a few blocks away you can find the Trestle Inn and some fabulous go-go dancers.
Frequently Asked Questions by Travelers About Philadelphia
If you are planning your trip, we are here to help you have the best time, so we have put together a list of frequently asked questions so you can be sure you find all the things to do in Philadelphia.
What Can You Do in Philadelphia at Night?
If you are not interested in spending your nights in a bar (and by the way, you have a huge variety to choose from), you can relax in a hammock at Spruce Street Harbor Park, watch movies under the moonlight or have fun rolling at the Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest.
What is the best time of the year to visit Philly?
While Philly is a fascinating city all year long, you can probably enjoy it best from March to May, when the weather is nice, and accommodation rates are moderate.
Philly is an amazing destination to visit, and if you have enough time you can discover all the charm and energy in this historical city. No matter what your vacation preferences are, there are definitely fun things to do in Philadelphia for you. You will not regret taking our advice and putting it on your travel list.