Philadelphia is a city full of history. In March of 1681, Charles II granted the charter of Pennsylvania. In 1682, its namesake, William Penn founded the city between the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers. One of its greatest historical and famous notes is that Philadelphia was the signing site for the Declaration of Independence. Adopted on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence became the document laying groundwork for independence from Great Britain. Today Philadlphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and is the fifth most populated city in the United States. The above picture shows Indpendence Hall behind the Commodore Barry Statue.
Highlights and Things to Do in Philly
The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall
If you’re into history at all, you have to check out the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. The Visitor Center is a great place to start. Open from 8:30 am – 6:00 pm, 7 days a week, the Center is the place to get info, visit the the gift shop and get Independence Hall tickets. If you want to see Independence Hall from March to December, you have to stop by the Visitor Center first. Tickets are free, but required to get into Independence Hall. You can get tickets as a walk-up (be sure to get there early) or you can reserve them online here with $1.50 surchage. No tickets are required January and February. Times are the same as the Visitor Center. Once you’ve been to Independence Hall, you can check out the Liberty Bell right across the street. The center is open year round from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. No tickets are required, but you do have to go through security. Once you get to the iconic bell, you can see Independence Hall right out the window.
The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall
The Franklin Institute
Opened in 1824, The Franklin Institute is one of the oldest science museums in the country and is Pennsylvania’s most visited museum. Adult admission is $16.50, with IMAX is $22.50. Children’s tickets are four dollars off.
Most every major city has a zoo and Philly is no different. Complete with mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds, the zoo is open 9:30 am – 5:00 pm in-season (March 1 – October 31) and 9:30 am – 4:00 pm off-season (November 1 – February 28). In-season admission is $18 for adults and $15 for children. Off-season admission is $14 for all.
Hands down, my favorite place in Philly is Love Park. Officially known as JFK Plaza, Love Park is located in Center City. Featuring Robert Indiana’s Love sculpture and a spout fountain, Love Park is a great place to come take photos, walk around or just relax.
Also located in Center City, this museum is not for the fait of heart. Opened in 1863, this museum has over 20,000 items. These items range from skeletal formations to preserved organs to famed Marie Curie’s electrometer. Tickets can be purchased at the museum, Independence Visitors Center, or online. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for students and children, and the museum is open from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm 7 days a week.
Pats or Genos
The famous Philly cheesesteak. Rivals Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks both claim to be the first to come up with the cheesesteak. Pat’s opened in 1930 and was the first to come up with the steak sandwhich, however some believe Geno’s may have been the first to add cheese when it opened its doors across the street in 1966. No matter who was first, both rivals offer fantastic cheesesteaks and are worth a trip to South Philly’s Italian Market. Both are open 24/7.
Ever wanted to see Rocky or have a chance to run up the Rocky steps? If you’re in Philly, you’ll get that chance. Once you run up the steps, officially the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, turn around for a spectacular view of Center City.
Rocky Balboa and the view he’s looking at
Catch a game when you’re in town. Philly is one of the few cities with a professional franchise in all four major league sports and is home of the Eagles, Phillies, 76ers an Flyers.
How to Get There
East: 42 N from the Atlantic City Expressway and follow 42 N to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. This will take you into Philadelphia.
West: Take 76 E until you see signs for Central Philadelphia (exit 344).
South: Take 95 N to Central Philadelphia (exit 22).
North: Take 95 S to Central Philadelphia (exit 22).
Philadelphia International Airport
For more detailed information, check with Google Maps or Mapquest.
If you’re in town for a few days, the City Pass may be a good idea. You can buy an adult pass (13+) for $60 ($59 + $1 processing fee) and a children’s pass (2-12) for $40 ($39 + $1 processing fee). This pass gives you access to The Franklin Institute, Phila Trolley and the Big Bus Company, National Constituion Center or The Academy of Natural Sciences, Eastern State Penitentiary or Please Touch Museum, The Philadelphia Zoo and Adventure Aquarium.
Philadelphia is a city that is easy to navigate and get around on foot. Most main highlights can be reached by walking. However, you will need a car or cab to experience Pats or Genos and the sports stadiums. If you need any downloadable, easy-to-read maps, you have seven to choose from here.
This is in no way a complete list of everything there is to do in Philly. This is simply a compilation of my favorite highlights of the metropolis. Philly is a unique city with more things to do, places to see, and amazing food than could ever be covered in one blog posting. However, this site is a pretty good resource if you need some more ideas.