Never a Dull Moment: 9 Best Things to Do in Philadelphia
It’s More Than Beer and Cheesesteaks
No city in America has enjoyed the same level of historical significance and budding revitalization than Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love is full of national landmarks, museums, art and locations that boast both famous visitors and former inhabitants.
Foodies also consistently fall for Philly’s culinary and craft beer culture, which have put them on the map. Whether you’re planning a trip for a few days in town solo or with the kids, there are so many unique things to do in Philadelphia.
The Franklin Institute
One of the oldest science museums in the country, The Franklin Institute takes science and technology education to a new level. Boasting 12 permanent exhibits, and two to three temporary ones, museum-goers of all ages can learn about things like space, biology, archaeology, electricity, computer graphics and engineering.
With two movie theaters, a planetarium and daily live science demonstrations, you could take up an entire day, or two, playing around at The Franklin Institute’s four-acre campus.
History buffs will enjoy visiting the Liberty Bell in Independence National Historical Park. Although the bell has been around since the 1750s, it was renamed during the Civil War.
Abolitionists took inspiration from its inscription, “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof,” and adopted it as the symbol of their cause. The bell continues to stand for unity and freedom for many modern movements and attracts over a million visitors every year.
Reading Terminal Market
For an authentic, local Philadelphia experience, the Reading Terminal Market is a must visit. An open-air market in the downtown area, over 100 merchants sell items such as flowers, produce, fish, artisan cheese and specialty foods.
The market is a popular tourist destination for its unique offerings and has been featured on various TV food programs including the Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food.”
Aside from being a former location of the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall’s fame runs deep. Both the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution were signed into law here.
Basically, Independence Hall is the birthplace of America. If you want to understand the country’s origins better or just want to bask in the history, tours through the hall run daily and are free of charge.
Photo Credit: Philly Magic Gardens
If you’re looking for something offbeat to do, head to Philadelphia’s famous hub, South Street, which is the home of an extensive public mural called Magic Gardens. Created by a local mosaic artist, Isaiah Zagar, the 3,000-square-foot mural is created from a collection of found objects, tiles and recycled materials.
Once a vacant lot, Zagar helped revitalize the space and the surrounding areas with his colorful mosaics. Now Magic Gardens serves as a museum, event space and public art installation.
Edgar Allan Poe House
Literary buffs will enjoy visiting one of the residences of famed poet and Gothic fiction writer, Edgar Allan Poe. It’s said the basement here gave Poe inspiration for his short story, “The Black Cat.”
Although there is no furniture in Edgar Allan Poe House, detailed illustrations line the walls of the rooms. The house has also become somewhat of a shrine for the Poe-obsessed. Guests can listen to works of the author read by famous actors and even pose with the raven statue that stands outside the house.
You can’t visit Philadelphia without trying one of their famous cheesesteaks. While there are tons of steak shops in every neighborhood, one of the most consistently busy and high ranking ones is Dalessandro’s.
Zagat-rated and once visited by “Tonight Show” host, Jimmy Fallon, there is no better place for tourists looking for the best cheesesteak experience. Try a traditional cheesesteak with onions or mushrooms, cheese whiz and selections from their free topping bar.
Photo Credit: Yards' Brewing Company
Yards Brewing Company
Philadelphia has a long tradition of craft breweries. Even a few of the founding fathers, like Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, had their own recipes for home brewed beer.
However, the brewery responsible for really reinvigorating the craft beer scene is Yards Brewing Company. You can take a tour of their facilities, visit their tasting room, or enjoy some beer with a selection of food truck bites on the weekend.
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site
For decades, Eastern State Penitentiary was home to some of the most notorious criminals in America, including gangsters like Al Capone. Aside from housing famous inmates, the prison also boasts impressive neo-Gothic architecture and was the first official penitentiary style prison in the world.
Also said to be one of the most haunted places in America and possibly the globe, Eastern State sees an influx of thrill-seeking visitors during Halloween when they host their Terror Behind the Walls haunted house attraction.