Philadelphia is a city with a rich history, vibrant culture, and endless possibilities for exploration. From its iconic landmarks to its hidden gems, the City of Brotherly Love has something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or a lover of the arts, there are plenty of places to visit and explore in Philadelphia. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at some of the top tourist destinations as well as some lesser-known but equally fascinating spots.
Top Tourist Destinations
As the birthplace of the United States of America, Independence Hall is a must-see for any history buff. Here, visitors can tour the very rooms where the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed. The building itself is a stunning example of Georgian architecture and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Liberty Bell Center
The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of American independence and freedom. The bell is housed in the Liberty Bell Center, where visitors can learn about its history and significance. The center also has interactive exhibits and multimedia displays that provide a deeper understanding of the bell’s place in American history.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest art museums in the country, with an extensive collection of art from around the world. Visitors can view works by masters such as Van Gogh, Picasso, and Monet, as well as contemporary pieces by emerging artists. The museum is also famous for the iconic “Rocky Steps,” featured in the film Rocky, which lead up to the entrance of the building.
Reading Terminal Market
For foodies, Reading Terminal Market is a must-visit destination. This indoor market has been in operation since 1893 and is home to over 80 vendors selling everything from fresh produce and meats to artisanal cheeses and baked goods. Visitors can sample a variety of local specialties, including Philly cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, and Pennsylvania Dutch sweets.
The Magic Gardens is a hidden gem in the heart of Philadelphia’s South Street district. This immersive art installation is a mosaic masterpiece created by artist Isaiah Zagar. Visitors can explore the indoor and outdoor galleries filled with vibrant colors and intricate designs made from found objects such as mirrors, bottles, and tiles.
Elfreth’s Alley is the oldest residential street in the country and a charming example of Philadelphia’s colonial past. Visitors can stroll down the cobblestone street and admire the historic homes, which date back to the 1700s. The alley is also home to the Elfreth’s Alley Museum, which offers a glimpse into the lives of the families who once lived there.
Fairmount Park is one of the largest urban parks in the country, with over 9,000 acres of green space to explore. Visitors can hike, bike, or jog along the scenic trails, or simply relax and enjoy a picnic by the Schuylkill River. The park is also home to several historic mansions, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Perelman Building, the Please Touch Museum, and the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden.
Eastern State Penitentiary
Eastern State Penitentiary is a fascinating and haunting reminder of Philadelphia’s past. This former prison, which operated from 1829 to 1971, was once home to some of the most notorious criminals in American history. Visitors can tour the prison cells and learn about the harsh conditions endured by the inmates. The prison also hosts several events throughout the year, including a haunted house during Halloween.
Where to Stay and Eat
Philadelphia has no shortage of hotels and restaurants to suit any taste and budget. For those looking for a luxurious stay, the Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia is a top choice, located just steps away from City Hall and the historic district. The Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia is another popular option, with its stylish decor and prime location in the heart of Old City.
For dining, Philadelphia is famous for its cheesesteaks, and the city has no shortage of great spots to try them. Some of the most popular spots include Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks, both located in South Philly. For a more upscale dining experience, Zahav is a must-visit, offering modern Israeli cuisine in a chic and elegant setting.
Philadelphia is a city with a rich history and culture, and there is no shortage of places to explore and discover. From its iconic landmarks to its hidden gems, the city has something for everyone. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a long-time resident, there is always something new to discover in Philadelphia. So why not plan a trip and see for yourself why the City of Brotherly Love is a top tourist destination.