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This past spring, I visited a city that, if I’m being honest, wasn’t at the top of my bucket list. Or even on my radar for that matter. I went for its history expecting this to be the only thing I really liked. So, about that. If I wrote a letter to the city, this is how it would go:
I owe you a huge apology.
I. Was. Wrong.
Not about saying you wouldn’t be great for your history. As we all know, you pretty much dominate that category. I was wrong in thinking I wouldn’t enjoy you from any other aspect. That you wouldn’t be scenic or photogenic or have unique finds. And I could not have misjudged a city more if I tried.
Philadelphia Resources & Recommendations
- Ritz Carlton Philadelphia-Conveniently located in the city center (where we stayed)
- TripAdvisor-Hotel reviews and deals
- Philadelphia CityPASS-Save 44% or more on 4 attractions
- Allianz Travel Insurance-Travel Insurance with affordable plans starting as low as $17
- CheapOair-Domestic travel deals! Save up to $40 off with Promo Code USA40
- SuperShuttle-Book your airport shuttle or rides around town
The City of Brotherly Love completely exceeded my expectations and to be honest, downright surprised me. I often think about places I’ve been long after I’ve returned, but I find myself thinking about wanting to return to Philly quite a bit. So, why not start off my excitement with the Top 10 Things You Can’t Miss in Philadelphia!
1. Independence Hall
See Independence Hall, the birthplace of America.
Here, the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the Constitution was drafted and signed.
TIPS: Plan ahead as admission is via tour only. Certain times of the year require dated, timed tickets. Tickets are free if you get them in person at the visitor’s center, but you risk unavailability. I recommend reserving yours ahead of time for $1.50 processing fee (per ticket) which is what I did. You can find out all information here.
Independence Hall is open daily (hours vary by season) and located at 520 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
2. Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell. Arguably, one of the biggest, if not THE biggest reason, people visit Philadelphia.
Admittedly, it was why I came to Philly and it didn’t disappoint.
TIPS: Entrance is free, no ticket needed. Get there EARLY before it opens if you want to 1) get photos without a million people in them and 2) not stand in an enormously long line. For reference, I was there by 8:45am on a Saturday morning and was the first person in line.
Liberty Bell is open daily 9am-7pm and is located on the corner of North 6th Street and Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
3. Betsy Ross House
Head over to the Betsy Ross House to see where the first American Flag was sewn.
Betsy purportedly sewed the flag at her residence in 1776 although she wasn’t credited in her lifetime.
Betsy Ross House is open daily 10am-5pm and is located at 239 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
4. Elfreth’s Alley
Walk down Elfreth’s Alley, America’s oldest residential street!
Dating back to 1702, Elfreth’s Alley is the nation’s oldest continually inhabited street with around 32 very colorful houses!
Elfreth’s Alley is located at 124-126 Elfreth’s Alley, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
5. Ben Franklin Bridge
Walk down to the Ben Franklin Bridge. Opened to traffic on July 1, 1926, it crosses the Delaware River connecting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Camden, New Jersey.
Be sure to see it at night. The lighting is beautiful!
Ben Franklin Bridge is located at the intersection of North Christopher Columbus Boulevard and Race Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
6. Reading Terminal Market
Visit Reading Terminal Market, one of the nation’s oldest and largest farmer’s markets dating back to 1893.
Grab good eats from the market’s many choices. My recommendations are DiNic’s, Beiler’s and Sang Kee.
Reading Terminal Market is open daily 8am-6pm and is located at 51 North 12th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
7. Magic Gardens
You have to go to the Magic Gardens.
It is an eclectic, outdoor collection of art…
with maze after maze of color that is quite striking!
TIPS: Purchase tickets online in advance (a week if possible, but definitely a few days prior) as they sell out! Tickets are timed and honored up to an hour past the listed time. You can get ticket information here.
Magic Gardens is open Wed-Mon 11am-6pm (closed on Tuesdays) and located at 1020 South Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19147
8. Wanamaker Organ
Listen to the Wanamaker Organ, the world’s largest, fully functioning pipe organ. Interestingly enough, it is located in the middle of Macy’s above the women’s shoe department. Shop for shoes while waiting for the organ to start? Yes, please! 🙂
TIP: The Organ plays 1-2 times daily. The schedule changes but you can see the most updated schedule here.
The Wanamaker Organ is located at 1300 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
9. One Liberty Observation Deck
You have to go to the top of One Liberty.
See “Philly from the top” at 883 feet up. The 360-degree views are incredible!
One Liberty Observation Deck is open Sundays 3:30pm-7pm, Mondays 12pm-8pm, Tues-Fri 10am-8pm and is located in the Shops at Liberty Place at 1650 Market Street #5700, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103
10. Eastern State Penitentiary
The Eastern State Penitentiary was, at one time, the most famous and expensive prison in the world. Its most famous resident? Al Capone, aka “Scarface”.
Although a very interesting and picturesque place, there’s no mistaking its eery atmosphere.
Eastern State Penitentiary is open daily 10am-5pm and is located at 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19130
I am so excited to share Philadelphia with you. These are just highlights, but there is so much more to come. There really is a lot going on here even if you aren’t a history buff!
Have you been to Philadelphia? What was your favorite thing to see?
‘Til next time…