"America's Birthplace," "Philly," "The City of Brotherly Love," Philadelphia goes by many names. A trip to this charming city draws in visitors with the promise of ornate architecture, stately public squares like Rittenhouse and Logan, and plenty of modern-day music, food and art. Beyond Independence Hall, which went down in history as the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence, and the Liberty Bell, there are plenty of things to do in Old City, Center City, and beyond. History buffs will enjoy a visit to the Eastern State Penitentiary, a prison-turned-museum where Al Capone was locked up. After visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art, take some time to explore the Rodin Museum (home to the largest collection of the French sculptor’s work outside of Paris) and the Barnes Foundation, which has a remarkable collection of Renoirs. More offbeat attractions include the Pizza Brain Museum and the Magic Gardens, a quirky art center featuring the mosaics of a local artist whose work adorns much of the Bella Vista neighborhood.
ATTRACTIONS TO VISIT IN philadelphia
1. Independence National Historical Park
Start off at Independence Visitor Center, 6th and Market streets, in the heart of Philadelphia’s historic mile, at the official welcome center of the region and gateway to Independence National Historical Park and the exclusive location to pick up free timed tickets to tour Independence Hall. Multilingual visitor services representatives are available to assist with any trip-planning needs, including on-site ticketing for more than 100 tours and attractions. Stop in for other FREE amenities, including regional maps and brochures, historical films, cell phone charging stations and WiFi access. Open daily, 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Must-sees include Independence Hall, the building where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were debated and adopted. Visitors can also tour Congress Hall, where George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States.
2. The Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell is the symbol of our historic past, on display in the Liberty Bell Center. Tickets are not required and access is granted 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Entrance is on a first-come, first-served basis. A walk through the museum provides background and history around the famous bell and visitors can get a close look at the famous icon with a beautiful backdrop of Independence Hall across the street.
3. The President’s House
Remember, Philadelphia was once the capital of the United States. Head to the President’s House, site of the nation’s first White House from 1790 to 1800 to see the “Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation” exhibit.
4. Carpenters’ Hall
Carpenters’ Hall was the site of the First Continental Congress in 1774, a temporary field hospital during the Revolutionary War, and so much more. Step back into the past with a tour of this building.
5. Elfreth’s Alley
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Old City’s vibrant streets is America’s oldest continuously inhabited street, Elfreth’s Alley. Enjoy the beautifully-preserved homes and walk the cobblestone streets to see what life was like for early American settlers.
6. Christ Church
You can stand in the same church where the founding fathers worshipped. Christ Church’s cemetery is also the final resting place of Benjamin Franklin.
7. Fireman’s Hall
Philadelphia is the birthplace of the first volunteer fire company, created in 1736 by Benjamin Franklin. Fireman’s Hall is a unique museum of firefighting and fire-safety tips, and more.
8. National Museum of American Jewish History
The first floor of the National Museum of American Jewish History can be browsed for free, which features the “Only in America” gallery — an exhibit that illustrates the choices, challenges and opportunities 18 Jewish Americans encountered on their path to remarkable achievement.
9. The American Philosophical Society
The American Philosophical Society Museum is the oldest learned society in the United States, founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin for the purpose of “promoting useful knowledge.” Visitors can see the collection of manuscripts, rare books, photographs, and more.
10. The United States Mint
Visit the United States Mint for a free, self-guided tour including a view of coining operations from 40 feet above the factory floor. Reservations are not required for this 45-minute tour, available to the public Monday through Friday.
11. Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church
Founded by Richard Allen in 1792, this site is the oldest piece of property continuously owned by African Americans. A small museum is located on the lower level, where the tomb of Richard Allen and 19th-century artifacts also can be found. The archives contain original copies of The Christian Recorder, a newspaper that began publishing before the Civil War.