Welcome to Philadelphia, the largest city in Pennsylvania and one of the most historically significant cities in the United States. Founded in 1682, Philadelphia played a pivotal role in American history, serving as the meeting place for the Founding Fathers during the American Revolution. Today, it is a thriving metropolis known for its rich history, diverse culture, renowned universities, and passionate sports fans. This comprehensive travel guide will help you plan your visit and make the most of your time in this remarkable city.
Historical Sites and Attractions:
Independence National Historical Park: Begin your visit with a trip to this historic park, which includes the iconic Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Benjamin Franklin Museum. Learn about Philadelphia’s role in the founding of the United States and the drafting of the U.S. Constitution.
The Betsy Ross House: Visit the home of Betsy Ross, the woman credited with sewing the first American flag. Explore the house and learn about the life of this legendary figure in American history.
Eastern State Penitentiary: This former prison, now a museum, offers guided tours that provide insight into the history of the U.S. criminal justice system and the lives of its famous inmates, including Al Capone.
Museums and Cultural Institutions:
Philadelphia Museum of Art: One of the largest art museums in the United States, the Philadelphia Museum of Art features an extensive collection of American and European artwork. Don’t forget to run up the famous “Rocky Steps” and snap a photo with the Rocky statue.
The Franklin Institute: This popular science museum offers interactive exhibits that engage visitors of all ages, including a giant walk-through heart, an observatory, and an IMAX theater.
The Barnes Foundation: Home to one of the world’s finest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modern paintings, the Barnes Foundation is a must-see for art enthusiasts.
Parks and Outdoor Spaces:
Fairmount Park: The largest park in Philadelphia, Fairmount Park offers over 2,000 acres of green space, including walking and biking trails, playgrounds, and historic mansions.
Rittenhouse Square: This popular park in the heart of the city is an ideal spot for relaxation, picnicking, or people-watching.
Spruce Street Harbor Park: This seasonal waterfront park features a boardwalk, floating gardens, and hammocks, making it a popular destination during the warmer months.
Universities and Colleges:
University of Pennsylvania: Founded by Benjamin Franklin, this Ivy League university is known for its strong programs in business, law, and medicine. Visit the beautiful, historic campus and explore the Penn Museum, which houses a renowned collection of artifacts from around the world.
Drexel University: Located in the University City neighborhood, Drexel is a comprehensive research university known for its strong engineering and design programs.
Temple University: Situated in North Philadelphia, Temple University is a public research university offering a wide range of academic programs and a vibrant campus life.
Sports and Entertainment:
Lincoln Financial Field: Home to the Philadelphia Eagles (NFL), this stadium also hosts concerts and other events.
Wells Fargo Center: This multi-purpose arena is home to the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA) and Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) and is a popular venue for concerts and events.
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts: Located in the Avenue of the Arts District, the Kimmel Center hosts a variety of performances, including Broadway shows, concerts, and ballet.
Philadelphia Neighborhoods to Explore:
Old City: Known as “America’s most historic square mile,” Old City is home to many of Philadelphia’s most famous landmarks and historic sites.
Fishtown: A vibrant neighborhood with a thriving arts scene, Fishtown offers trendy restaurants, galleries, and live music venues.
Market: Located in Center City, Reading Terminal Market is a historic indoor market offering a wide variety of food vendors, including Pennsylvania Dutch specialties, fresh produce, and the famous Philly cheesesteaks.
Philadelphia Food and Dining:
Geno’s Steaks and Pat’s King of Steaks: These two iconic eateries, located across the street from each other, have been serving up classic Philly cheesesteaks for decades. Try both and decide which one is your favorite.
Zahav: A popular modern Israeli restaurant that offers a unique dining experience, featuring dishes like hummus, falafel, and roasted lamb shoulder.
Federal Donuts: A local favorite, Federal Donuts serves up gourmet donuts and delicious fried chicken in a casual setting.
Philadelphia Shopping and Services:
Rittenhouse Row: A shopping destination featuring high-end boutiques, art galleries, and cafes.
The Shops at Liberty Place: A shopping center in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, offering a mix of retail stores and services.
Italian Market: An outdoor market in South Philadelphia, selling fresh produce, meats, and cheeses, as well as specialty Italian items.
Philadelphia Outdoor Activities:
Schuylkill River Trail: A multi-use trail that runs along the Schuylkill River, offering opportunities for walking, running, and biking.
Wissahickon Valley Park: A beautiful park featuring over 50 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
Boathouse Row: A historic row of boathouses along the Schuylkill River, offering picturesque views and opportunities for rowing and kayaking.
Philadelphia Fitness and Recreation:
Philadelphia Sports Clubs: A chain of gyms offering fitness classes, equipment, and facilities throughout the city.
Y2B Fit: A boutique fitness studio specializing in yoga, barre, and aerial fitness classes.
The Wall Cycling Studio: A popular indoor cycling studio located in the Manayunk neighborhood.
Philadelphia Events and Festivals:
Philly Beer Week: A 10-day celebration of Philadelphia’s thriving craft beer scene, held annually in June.
The Philadelphia Flower Show: The largest and longest-running indoor flower show in the world, held every March.
Wawa Welcome America: A multi-day festival celebrating the Fourth of July, featuring concerts, fireworks, and family-friendly events.
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA): Philadelphia’s public transportation system includes subway, bus, trolley, and regional rail services.
Indego: A bike-sharing system with stations throughout the city.
Taxis and rideshares: Readily available throughout the city.
The Rittenhouse Hotel: A luxury hotel located in Rittenhouse Square, offering elegant rooms and exceptional service.
The Lokal Hotel: A boutique hotel in Old City, featuring uniquely designed rooms inspired by Philadelphia’s history and culture.
Apple Hostels of Philadelphia: A budget-friendly hostel located in the heart of Old City, offering dormitory-style accommodations and private rooms.