Sitting triumphantly on the banks of the Delaware River is a vibrant city that holds a special place in the hearts of its residents and, for that matter, in the collective soul of America. Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and one of the biggest cities on the East Coast and is surrounded by stunning nature, like Valley Forge.
Whether you're a culture vulture or prefer to have Mother Nature close at hand, Philadelphia has got it all. From Elfreth's Alley to Rittenhouse Square and beautiful cityscape views from Franklin Bridge, this city, with its vibrant history and vibrant culture, has plenty to offer.
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Philadelphia is full of history, and the abundance of colonial-era buildings offers visitors a chance to connect with the past and to truly understand the momentous events that took place and shaped the country. Buildings such as Independence Hall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and City Hall stand as living testimonials to the rich American history.
Each of these architectural marvels has its own story to tell, bearing witness to the ideals, struggles, and aspirations that have defined our nation's journey. For another real trip to the past, we recommend checking out the first Bank of the United States, Walnut Street Garden and Houses, and the Old Visitor Center.
Another must-see site is Elfreth's Alley. This is one of the oldest inhabited streets in the country and offers visitors a glimpse into how life would have been like in old Philadelphia. With its brick walls and cobblestone street, this street really does look like something straight out of the history books.
Founded in 1900, the Philadelphia Orchestra has been a beacon of musical excellence for over a century. Under the baton of world-renowned conductors such as Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Leopold Stokowski, and Eugene Ormandy, the Orchestra has gone from strength to strength, making it not only one of the most famous orchestras on the East Coast but one of the most esteemed in the world.
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Philadelphia Museum of Art's storied history, dating back to 1876, has firmly established it as one of the nation's premier museums. Offering iconic art pieces from highly acclaimed and contemporary professional artists, the Philadelphia Museum of Art gives tourists a great taste of culture when they visit Philly.
Plus, the museum offers guided tours, so you'll be able to delve into the rich art collections and discover a few more fascinating things about the city.
Sculptor Robert Indiana, a proud resident of Philadelphia, achieved worldwide acclaim for his iconic creation—the "LOVE" sign. This renowned sculpture has found its home in LOVE Park, officially known as Kennedy Plaza, situated directly across from City Hall in the heart of Center City. If you're looking for another real art fix, check out the Rodin Museum, which contains one of the largest collections by world-renowned sculptor Auguste Rodin.
Interesting fact: Apart from being famous for its impressive and diverse collections, you'll probably recognize the museum's iconic steps from the Rocky movies.
In its early years, the Liberty Bell was moved around the country and served as a poignant symbol of the American Revolution and, consequently, freedom for the nation and independence from the British. Since 1915, the Liberty Bell has been on display in Philadelphia Independence Hall.
While nearly everyone knows it for its legendary crack, only a few really know the story behind this powerful symbol, its origins, and how it became such a vital symbol for the independence movement. A trip to the Liberty Bell Center should clear all your questions and then some.
As you've started to understand, Philadelphia played a vital role in the making of America. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the Pennsylvania State House, or Independence Hall, as it is now called.
This building set the scene for major events that went on to shape American history. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States were both adopted in this very place. The Founding Fathers met here to discuss, write up, and sign these iconic documents in the Assembly Room.
A trip to this museum will really bring history to life as you stand in the same place where such important decisions took place. Some even argue that this building represents the birthplace of American democracy, so this is clearly a must-see when you visit Philadelphia.
As with every great city, sports play a significant role in the life and culture of Philadelphia. If you're heading to South Philly, take a trip to the legendary Lincoln Financial Field, the home stadium of the Philadelphia Eagles.
You'll definitely want to be in Philadelphia when the actual season starts because that's when the city truly comes to life. The city really rallies behind its team, and you'll be able to experience what makes Philly so great: its citizens. Nowhere is this sense of unity and pride more palpable than during post-season games. It's a sight to see!
If you're a foodie, then you're going to absolutely love Philadelphia's food scene! Let's start with the iconic Philly cheesesteak. Back in the 1930s, legendary chef Pat Olivieri invented the Philly cheesesteak. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure to feast on this delicious street food, it's essentially a sandwich made from slices of steak covered with mouth-watering melted cheese and served in a long hoagie roll (a long bread roll used for sandwiches)
Another must-try food item in Philadelphia is soft pretzels. Philly has a long-standing love affair with soft pretzels, and you'll find street vendors and bakeries serving up these warm, doughy treats throughout the city. These pretzels are often twisted into the classic pretzel shape, sprinkled with coarse salt, and baked to perfection.
Philly cheesesteaks became so popular that Philadelphia soon became famous for them. Nowadays, there are two rival restaurants, Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks that boast the best cheesesteaks in Philly. But you'll just have to go there and try for yourself!
Another must-see Philadelphia culinary destination is Reading Terminal Market. Located in Center City, you'll be literally walking in paradise with the amount of succulent fresh produce on offer.
Navigating the market can be an adventure in itself. With an overwhelming variety of culinary delights from various cultures, it's easy to get lost in the culinary experiences it offers. From indulgent pastries to international cuisine and farm-fresh produce, you'll find a wide array of options that can tempt your taste buds.
Top Tip: Visit Philly and try the famous grilled onions on a steak sandwich.
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Another fantastic cultural event is the Mummers Parade, which takes place on New Year's Day. Dating back to colonial times, the parade was put on to mark the end of the calendar year in a very triumphant (and very loud) way.
The Mummers Parade is a captivating display of live music, dance, and elaborate, colorful costumes. It's a testament to how various cultures have come together and blended their traditions to create something truly remarkable. Once you're done with all the excitement, there is no better time than to dig into a Philly cheesesteak. You'll soon be hooked!
Philly is one of the most vibrant on the East Coast. Any history fanatic will feel right at home with the impressive amount of museums and landmarks. The Betsy Ross House and Rittenhouse Square are some go-to places.
On top of this, locations like Philadelphia's Magic Gardens art installation, visiting the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, bursting at the seams with museums and culture, or taking in the natural beauty at Cherry Street Pier on the city's waterfront are all perfect reasons you should visit Philly.
Even a romantic walk and taking in the views from Benjamin Franklin Bridge are enough to leave you with fond memories.
Historic sites, public art, and all the Italian ice cream you could eat. Grab yourself an exclusive t-shirt, and you're good to go!