As one of the largest cities in the United States (6th largest), Philadelphia is a popular vacation spot. It is the first city in the U.S. to have a hospital, library, zoo, stock exchange, and medical school. It is an iconic place to visit that has left its mark on American History as America’s former capital and former largest city.
Here are 11 places you should not miss when you visit the City of Brotherly Love.
Reading Terminal Market
The Reading Terminal Market is home to one of America’s largest markets open to the public. It is also one of the oldest in the country. Opened in 1893, it has been bringing goods to the community and visitors alike for a long time. You will find everything from jewelry, linens, books, and more. Don’t forget to stop by one of the many restaurants within it as well. They serve something for everyone. Seafood, meat, baked goods, and even exotic fruits and vegetables are available.
Independence National Historic Park
Independence National Historic Park is the perfect place for anyone who loves American history or those who want to learn a little more. The park is over 55 acres and holds many sites dedicated to the American Revolution that history buffs will love.
It is home to Independence Hall. This is where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were discussed and signed. It is the most visited vacation spot in the city.
It is home to the first bank of the United States and a museum dedicated to Benjamin Franklin. There is a colonial tavern, as well, that lets you step back in time. Another place to see is the site of the original presidential mansion when Philadelphia was the capital of the United States from 1790 to 1800.
Liberty Bell Center
The Liberty Bell is one of the most recognized artifacts in United States history. This is the bell that was wrung for the reading of the Declaration of Independence and became a symbol of liberty. The bell bears the motto “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof”.
This large bell (2,080 pounds) used to hang across the street in the steeple of Independence Hall. It was purchased in 1751 and cracked the first time they rang it. It was then melted down and re-cast into the bell we see today. It was in use for around 80 years before a crack developed. In the process of trying (unsuccessfully) to fix the bell, the crack was widened to the prominent crack we know.
Betsy Ross House
Philadelphia is not just the city that gave us the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, it is also where America’s first flag came from. You can visit the house where Betsy Ross may (or may not) have lived. Here you can learn about this seamstress and flag maker.
Adventure Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the country. It is home to over 8,500 different species of aquatic life. It is an attraction that is open year-round no matter what the weather may be. Not only do you get to enjoy the marine-life but you can see special feedings and live shows. Sign up for an animal encounter or just explore the east coast’s largest collection of sharks.
Rocky Statue and Steps
Philadelphia is the home of one of the most famous movie sagas: “Rocky” starring Sylvester Stallone. One of the most iconic scenes is the training montage which includes Rocky running up the 72 stone steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Come to see if you have what it takes to take the jog up the same steps.
There is a huge bronze statue of Rocky at the base of the steps that is a popular picture spot. Of course, when you are done with your photo op, you can also see a great art museum.
Sesame Place is a huge theme park dedicated to the muppets from Sesame Street that we all love. There is a combination of shows, rides, and even water activities for visitors to enjoy. Kids get to meet their favorite characters from the beloved show. Enjoy time spent in Cookie’s Monster Land, Vapor Trail, and Elmo’s World. If you want to have a little wet fun try Big Bird’s Rambling River, Count’s Splash Castle, Sky Splash, Bert & Ernies Slip & Slide or Ernie’s Waterworks. No matter what you do, a day spent here will make every child smile.
Philadelphia is home to the famous Philly cheesesteak but there are plenty of other food items to see and enjoy (see 10 Reasons Why Philly Has the Best Food Scene on the East Coast).
There are many different food tours to choose from that take you across the city. Enjoy savory delights and exquisite treats and sweets all day in the city. The best part of a food tour is that you don’t have to worry about parking places or the hassle of finding the venues. It is all taken care of for you ahead of time.
If you have kids with you then the Philadelphia Zoo is a stop that you must add to your list. Within the 42 acres of wildlife, you can find multiple exhibits for chimpanzees, birds, marine life, elephants, tigers, lions, and more. The Philadelphia Zoo was the first to open in the United States and it started a trend that children and adults both enjoy. Make sure to stop in the KidZooU to help brush the mini horses or pet the many animals they have there. With multiple exhibits to see, hands-on entertainment and many different ramps, slides, and places to climb throughout the park, the kids will not be bored.
The Italian Market’s located from 9th Street to Fitzwater Street. It is a collection of vendors and shops in the immigrant district. It was started by a man named Antonio Palumbo in the 1880’s and is still booming today. Food critics and lovers can all find something here. Forget about the hustle and bustle in the city. This is old-world charm at its best. Be recognized as friend and family here as you find food that isn’t found anywhere else.
This is a bargain shoppers dream. Peddlers Village has both antiques and new items. Come in for that rustic look or just explore the many different things they offer. There are a number of food vendors at Peddlers Village and often live music as well.
The city of Philadelphia has something for everyone. From food lovers to kids to history buffs, it will make everyone smile.