We Know: 10 Best Things to See in Philadelphia
Philadelphia is rich in history, culture, and the eclectic. There's so much to enjoy in the City of Brotherly Love and the Birthplace of American Independence, and here are ten things visitors should see in Philly.
1. Pack up the kids and spend the day at the Philadelphia Zoo.
Not just about animals, the Philadelphia Zoo (3400 W. Girard Avenue; 215. ) also features a Victorian-style train, a balloon ride that towers 400 feet above the city, and swan boat rides. Admission prices vary. During the off season, ticket prices for adults and children over 2 are $10.95. Prices increase to $16.95 for adults/$13.95 for kids ages 2 and up during peak seasons. Admission with the balloon ride is extra.
2. Brush up on arts and culture at the nation's oldest museum.
The Philadelphia Art Museum (at 26th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway; 215.763.8100) is the nation's oldest art museum and contains a world-class collection of fine art featuring distinctive pieces from Asia, the European Renaissance, Impressionists, and many more. The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10AM until 5PM (closing at 8:45PM Fridays). Admission is $12 for adults, $9 for seniors, and $8 for children over 13. While there, check out the Rodin Museum a few blocks away at 22nd Street.
3. Relive the luxury and elegance of colonial life Fairmont Park.
Eight 18th and 19th century homes comprise the colonial style collection in Fairmont Park (behind the Philadelphia Art Museum). Take a tour by foot or by trolley. Admission is $3 per person at each house, and each home is generally open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10AM until 4PM.
4. Grab a taste of everything downtown at the Reading Terminal Market.
The nation's oldest market (12th and Arch Streets; 215.922.2317) opened in 1892 and is steeped in the smells and traditions of the City of Brotherly Love. It also happens to be among the best Farmer's Markets in the United States. If you can't get to the Amish country for some good eats, get a sampling here. The Reading Terminal Market is open Mondays through Saturdays from 8AM until 6PM. Pennsylvania Dutch Merchants conduct business on Wednesdays (8AM to 3PM) and Thursday through Saturday (8AM to 5PM).
5. Continue east to the historic district and start with the Liberty Bell.
The Liberty Bell (on Market between 5th and 6th Streets; 215.965.2305) stands as the international symbol of freedom. Make sure to stop by and hear the story of the bell, cracks and all. Admission is free, but timed tickets are required during the peak seasons (March through December).
6. Enjoy a trip back in time at the birthplace of American Independence.
Philadelphia's place in the record books can be traced to Independence Hall at the Independence National Historic Park (bounded by 5th/6th/Chestnut/Walnut Streets). "Center City" hosted the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution, and remains much as it did during the days of our Founding Fathers.
7. Sacrifice and dedication to freedom commemorated at Valley Forge National Historic Park.
Nothing symbolizes the Revolutionary War more than George Washington and his troops perseverance in harsh conditions at Valley Forge (40 miles west of Philadelphia800.441.3549). Valley Forge National Park opens daily from 6AM to 10PM. Washington's Headquarters and the Welcome Center are open from 9AM to 5PM.
8. Honor those who sacrificed their lives in the battle for American Freedom at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers (in Washington Square, between 6th, 7th, and Walnut Streets) is lit by an eternal flame and a engraving at the foot of the tomb which states, "Beneath this stone rests a soldier of Washington's army who died to give you liberty," Many Revolutionary Rar soldiers were buried in mass graves beneath the grounds of this park, formerly a cemetary that beautified and restored as a park honoring Washington.
9. Faces, faces, and more at the Mummer's Museum in South Philly.
Every New Year's Day hails the celebration of the art of masquerade, on location at the Philadelphia Mummers Museum (1100 South 2nd Street; 215.336.3050). Mumme is German for mask, and that's what you'll find on the many brightly decorated mannequins here. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturdays from 9:30 to 4:30, and Sundays from 12 to 4:30. Admission is $3.50 for adults and $2.50 for children under 12.
10. Don't end your stay without indulging in a Philadelphia Cheesesteak Sandwich!
Every visitor must sample Philadelphia's native treat: a sandwich dripping with greasy fresh beef and cheese, complemented with onions and peppers. Some of Philly's best may be found at Jim's Steaks (400 South Street, at the corner of 4th; 215.928.1911). Each cheesesteak is cooked to order and a very stomach pleasing treat after a long day on the streets.