One of the most historic cities in the United States of America is Philadelphia. The U.S. Constitution was written in this city. It is also where the Declaration of Independence was held. Apart from its rich history, Philly also boasts itself for cheesesteaks! It sounds like an interesting place to visit whether you’re a history buff or a foodie! Read on as I share with you some of the best things to do in Philadelphia.
Old City Philadelphia
Old City is a historic neighborhood that is located in proximity to the Delaware River. It is the place where the religious group Quakers and politician William Penn first settled. If you are the type of person who is fascinated by culture and history, you will definitely enjoy this spot. There are three prominent areas that you can explore in the Old City of Philadelphia. These are the Independence Hall (previously named Pennsylvania State House), Museum of the American Revolution, and the National Constitution Center.
Built between 1732 and 1756, this UNESCO heritage site is where the Declaration of Independence of the U.S. Constitution took place. The Georgian-styled building is located at 520 Chestnuts Street between 5th and 6th streets in Philly. The Independence Hall has been used as its main setting for the 1989 movie entitled “A More Perfect Union.”
While you’re in the area, don’t forget to visit the Liberty Bell. The bell is the iconic symbol for independence. It was designed by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. The main composition of the 3.52 ft. bell is 70% copper, 20% tin, and 10% other metals. In addition, the Independence Hall is fronted by a statue of the late President George Washington.
Museum of the American Revolution
Explore the Museum of the American Revolution if you want to see the relics of what had happened during the colonial revolt that occurred between 1765 and 1783. The museum that was established last April 19, 2017 is a home to several thousands of artworks, weapons, textiles, sculpture, manuscripts, and rare books during the revolt. You can find the museum across the First Bank of the United States and is just two blocks away from the Independence Hall.
National Constitution Center
Visit the National Constitution of Center if you want to know more about the U.S. Constitution. This non-profit and nonpartisan institution offers both onsite and online civic learning resources. The building was designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Don’t forget to check the gallery section of the center to see different state flags and the life-sized statues of the signers of the Constitution.
Cherry Street Pier and Race Street Pier
The Cherry Street Pier is located along the Delaware River. It is a multifaceted public spot that features a marketplace, artist studios, alfresco bar, an event space, and a café. Visitors can enjoy the place as it is open all year round. The Cherry Street Pier was used to be an old municipal pier and is revamped to become a lounging, shopping, and dining hub for visitors and locals. Speaking of dining, some of the restaurants you can try are Hardena/Waroeng Surabaya for Indonesian cuisine and Birdie’s Biscuits for blueberry cheesecakes.
On the other hand, the Race Street Pier is located north of the Cherry Street Pier. If you want to be surrounded by trees with the view of the Ben Franklin Bridge, this is the best spot for you. You can bring dogs too and it’s perfect for picnics. The pier is also a good spot for jogging and yoga.
Picnic at Rittenhouse Square and Rittenhouse Row
The Rittenhouse Row is a shopping neighborhood in Philadelphia. It hosts about 200 small businesses including galleries, bars, restaurants, shops, and more. It’s a good place to picnic and enjoy alfresco drinking and dining.
The Rittenhouse Square is the most popular town square in Philly. It is the public park in Rittenhouse Row. It is a good picnic spot where everyone can enjoy relaxing and be surrounded by trees. Feel free to explore the square and see different sculptures including the famous Lion Crushing a Serpent by Antoine-Louis Barye, a French Romantic sculptor.
The Reading Terminal is not a library. It’s a market where you can purchase a wide variety of bakery, produce, meat, dairy products, and more! The terminal also features different events like a beer-tasting extravaganza and community gatherings. The Reading Terminal is located adjacent to the Hilton Garden Inn, two Marriott Hotels, and Fashion District Philadelphia. This is a must in your things to do in Philadelphia list if you want to surround yourself with different local goods.
The LOVE Park is known as the iconic John F. Kennedy Plaza, located in Arch Street, near the City Hall. Visitors can enjoy the public space for gathering with friends for catch ups or to meet other people. You can experience the weekly program called “Lunch in LOVE” where different food trucks serve an array of food including sweet treats and vegetarian delights.
P.S. Don’t forget that selfie in the LOVE sculpture.
The Barnes Foundation promotes horticulture and art. This is the place where you can explore the art collected by Albert C. Barnes, including the works of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, and more! The building is located in 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Philadelphia Museum of Art / Rocky Steps
One of the best things to do in Philadelphia is to visit the iconic Rocky Steps. If you are a fan of the movie Rocky, which is about the life of renowned fictional boxer Rocky Balboa, you should make a visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. At the front of the museum is where you can find the Rocky Statue and Rocky Steps. Be sure to try imitating the fictional character’s move of running into the grand staircase and raise your arms up in victory when you reach the top.
You can visit the museum at 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Murals (All of them)
If you are fascinated by street arts, you can definitely enjoy exploring Philadelphia. When you’re out and about Philly, make sure to look around and see random murals. You can see them at Cherry Street Pier, Sixth Street, and Columbus Boulevard. Murals can change every time so enjoy while you see them. You may contact Mural Arts Philadelphia at 1727-29 Mt. Vernon Street to know more about art in the city.
Accordingly, Zahva is the best restaurant in the world. Consider eating on this dining haven and add this to your best things to do in Philadelphia list. The restaurant, located in 237 St. James Place, offers mostly Isareli cuisine with cultural influences from Easter Europe, Persia, North Africa, and the Mediterranean.
Philly’s Cultural Food
Philadelphia is also rich when it comes to cultural food! Abe Fisher has incredible flavors on its European dishes. Enjoy a fine dining experience that gets inspiration from the Jewish diaspora like the challah-rusted cod and Montreal smoked short ribs. The restaurant takes on the minimalist approach with a retro vibe. You can visit them at 1623 Sansom Street.
Give your stomach a reward at South Philly Barbacoa in 1140 S 9th Street and enjoy an array of Mexican foods. Their slow-cooked barbacoa-style tacos and toppings are a must. However, if you’re more into Chinese food, try eating at Tom’s Dim Sum. Their soup dumplings are best sellers. The restaurant is located at 59 N 11th Street.
There’s no Philly if there’s no cheesesteak, it’s an icon! Since it is an icon and is popular in the area, you can find lots of restaurants that are offering this food. You may try eating cheesesteak at John’s Roast Pork, Tony Luke’s, Pat’s King of Steaks, Geno’s Steaks, Jim’s Steaks, and Campo’s.
Wine enthusiasts, here are some recommendations for you. One of the best things to do in Philadelphia is to visit Bloomsday. It is a quintessential natural wine bar and bottle shop located across the Headhouse Square Shambles. They’re open from 7AM to 3PM, offering breakfast, lunch, and drinks including cocktails, coffee, and beer.
On the other hand, you can also try spending some time in Fountain Porter at 1601 S 10th Street. If you love craft beer, you will love it here. Fountain Porter is an old-school neighborhood tavern that also offers burgers and snacks. They are also offering natural wines (like Bloomsday). If you prefer low key and solemn wine drinking session, Fountain Porter might not be a good idea since it can get crowded sometimes.
Philly’s Beer Scene
Philadelphia is also home to lots of breweries. Accordingly, Philly is in the frontline when it comes to craft beer renaissance in America. Some of the most popular brewers in the city are Imprint Beer Co., Fermentery Form, Tired Hands Brewing Company, and Levant Brewing Company.
Wrapping Things Up
These are just a few of the best things to do in Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love boasts itself for its rich cultural and political history but it doesn’t fall short on the food it offers to locals and visitors. I hope this list is a big help to your wandering soul.