Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, commonly referred to as the City of Brotherly Love, offers many great activities, museums, restaurants and attractions for all ages to enjoy.
Getting to Philadelphia
Getting to Philadelphia is easy from almost anywhere. Philadelphia is home to an international airport, with flights available daily from all over the United States and Europe. Once you arrive at the airport you can catch a taxi or take a train to get you into the downtown area of the city. Depending on where you fly from, you may need to take connecting flights. This applies to those who live in Europe or further afield, who may need to connect from New York or elsewhere. In the UK, for instance, the closet you can get is New York, but there are indirect flights that will take you to Philadelphia. Other European destinations may even connect to London before making the trip across the Atlantic.
If you live in the UK or Europe and want to make the trip, check out CheapFlights.co.uk.
Where to Stay/Getting Around
Philadelphia offers a variety of hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts. The best area to stay would be in an area known as Center City Philadelphia or any of the areas immediately surrounding it. This will give you easy access to public transportation to get around the city and put you within walking distance of most of the major popular attractions Philadelphia has to offer.
Check out TripAdvisor for info on the best rated hotels in the Philly area, and make sure you read up on your chosen hotel before you book.
Renting a car is not necessary if you plan to spend your trip only in Philadelphia. Since Philadelphia is a major American city, public transportation both via train and bus is readily available to take you all around the city. If you are looking to go somewhere off the beaten path, you can hail a taxi throughout the city without a long wait.
As the city where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written, Philadelphia offers a lot of unique American history for visitors to see.
The Liberty Bell Museum: The Liberty Bell Museum, located on Market Street, is a free museum that allows visitors to see the Liberty Bell up close and showcases many historical facts about the famous bell.
Independence Hall: Located on Chestnut Street, not far from the Liberty Bell Museum, is Independence Hall. Independence Hall is famous for being the location where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America were written. Tickets to Independence Hall are free and can be picked up anytime the day you wish to visit, beginning at 8:30am. Tickets can be difficult to get during busy tourist seasons, so be sure to arrive early. If you do not wish to risk missing out on your preferred date and time, you can purchase tickets in advance for just $1.50.
Tours of Independence Hall are lead by National Park Rangers. They will take you through the building detailing the story and showing you the exact locations where many key events in the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution took place. The tour will last approximately 30 minutes.
The Betsy Ross House: Visit the Betsy Ross House on Arch Street and see the birthplace of the American Flag. The Betsy Ross admission is $5 for a self guided tour and you will have the option to add audio to your tour for an additional $2. At the Betsy Ross House you will see the location and equipment that was used to create the first American Flag.
National Constitution Center: Located just a few blocks up from the Betsy Ross House is the National Constitution Center. The National Constitution Center offers visitors a look at one of the most famous documents in American History. One of the original copies of the Constitution is on display for visitors to see. Visitors have the opportunity to learn many details about the Constitution through interactive displays and videos. At various times throughout the year special displays will be available for visitors to view. You will have opportunity to view various lectures from famous Americans, including Members of the Supreme Court of the United States of America. Tickets to visit the National Constitution Center cost $14.50, and there may be additional costs to attend lectures from guest speakers.
Regular admission prices to each location are listed, but it is always best to check web sites such as Groupon or Living Social for discounted admission prices and coupons.
Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Philadelphia Museum of Art was made famous by the movie Rocky, where the eponymous hero runs up the steps and celebrates doing so at the top. Visitors are allowed to replicate the famous run seen in the movie and run up the steps themselves. Of course, there is much more to the museum then just the famous steps. Once inside the museum there are many different buildings, featuring over 3,000 works of art dating back as far as 2,000 years. There is a lot to see, and there are several different buildings included in your admission fee. A courtesy shuttle is available to take you from building to building during normal operating hours. The admission is fee is $20 and your ticket is valid for two consecutive days, allowing you to spend more time enjoying all the arts and exhibits that the museum has to offer. If you visit on the first Sunday of the month, or any Wednesday after 5pm, the admission fee is waived and you may tour the museum for free. However, donations to the art museum are still encouraged.
The Franklin Institute: The Franklin Institute is located on North 20th Street. It is a hands-on interactive science museum that is great for children. They offer many different exhibits, including a range of interactive ones. You can explore the universe in the planetarium or learn about the human body by exploring the brain and heart. The Franklin Institute is also home to an IMAX Theatre and a 3D Theatre. Admission to the museum costs $18.50 for adults and $14.50 for children under 12. Admission to the theatre is additional.
The Philadelphia Zoo: If you are an animal lover a trip to the Philadelphia Zoo on Girard Avenue is a must see attraction on your visit to Philadelphia. Cost of admission for adults is $20 and cost for children is $18. The zoo is home to a large variety of reptiles, birds, amphibians and mammals, and is one of the biggest in North America.
The Adventure Aquarium: The Adventure Aquarium is actually located across the Delaware River from Philadelphia in Camden, NJ. The Aquarium is easily accessible from Philadelphia by taking the Riverlink Ferry from Penn’s Landing to Camden, NJ. Once in Camden the Aquarium is just steps from the ferry terminal. The ferry costs $7 and in addition to getting you across the Delaware River, it will also give you an opportunity to ride in the water and see the Philadelphia skyline from a different point of view. The ferry operates daily during the summer months and on weekends during the spring and fall. Ferry service is not available during the winter months. Once at the aquarium visitors will be treated to many tanks featuring a variety of sea creatures. There are also a variety of specials shows and exhibits featuring sharks, penguins and more. Admission to the aquarium is $25.95 for adults and $18.95 for children.
Other Places to visit:
Chinatown: Located near the Philadelphia Convention Center, Chinatown is an area of Philadelphia that offers a great look the Asian culture through a variety of shops, sculptures and art, and of course excellent Chinese food.
Reading Terminal Market: Just up the street from Chinatown is the Reading Terminal Market. The Reading Terminal is a great place to a grab a bite to eat or shop for specialty foods. It is also the home of many Amish merchants, who bring their fresh products directly from Amish Country west of Philadelphia into the city to sell.
Pat’s Steaks/Geno’s Steaks: Everyone knows that Philadelphia is famous for their cheese steaks. Two of the most popular spots are Pat’s Steaks and Geno’s Steaks. They are located directly across the street from each other on Passayunk Ave. Make sure you know how to order before you get to the front of line. For those who need some help placing their order, Pat’s has instructions for ordering cheese steaks posted directly next to the ordering window. If you can’t decide whether to eat at Pat’s or Geno’s and you are with a group, order a few from each place to share.
Other Things to do in Philadelphia:
The Mummer’s Parade: If you are spending New Year’s Eve and Day in Philadelphia there is quite a show for you to see. On New Year’s Eve Night you can watch fireworks from Penn’s Landing along the Delaware River and take in the Mummer’s Parade on New Year’s Day. The Mummer’s Parade is full of elaborate costumes and great music and is held every New Year’s Day in Philadelphia (weather permitting). The parade runs along Broad Street and up to Center City Philadelphia.
Convention Center Shows: During the winter months, when outdoor activities are limited, the Convention Center hosts a variety of trade shows that are open to the public. They host a flower show, a home show and an international auto show during January and February every year. Admission prices vary depending on the show and the day of the week.
Whether you are a history lover or just enjoy great food and fun activities, Philadelphia has something to offer for everyone.