Philadelphia Attractions: 10 Things to See and Do in the City of Brotherly Love
Philadelphia has a rich history, starting from its founding by William Penn to the American Revolution up until today. Home to some of the top museums in the United States, the city also has parks and bustling markets that are regularly visited by locals. The following is a list of things to see and do in Philadelphia to make a trip to the city of brotherly love complete.
Bakery, Deli, Farmers' Market, Market, American, Street Food, Healthy, $$$
Reading Terminal Market | Courtesy of Reading Terminal Market
Walking into Reading Terminal Market is like walking into a dream where everything imaginable awaits to be tried and tasted. This indoor farmers market was founded in 1892 and features a diverse range of food stalls, as well as many Amish specialties. This is a place that calls on all the senses, but more importantly, smell and taste, as housemade confections and baked goods are made on-site and beg to be tasted. For those who aren’t hungry, there are several small shops that sell souvenirs, cookbooks, herbs and flowers that will pique all interests.
The first capital of the United States and the place where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed, Independence Hall is a must visit stop on a tour of Philadelphia. Visitors can acquire free tickets at the visitors center, head over to check out the Liberty Bell and finish up right on time for their scheduled tour of the iconic building. The tour goes through the east wing, where visitors get the chance to see the historic rooms for themselves and learn more about the history of nation from experienced guides.
The first zoo in the United States, the Philadelphia Zoo is both historic and modern, due to many recent renovation done through the years. Adults and children alike can explore the exhibits from the Big Cat Crossing to the Bird Valley to see the lions and tigers, small monkeys and exotic birds. At scheduled times, there are keeper presentation that include feeding and training times so guests can see the animals’ behavior first-hand.
A former American prison, Eastern State Penitentiary was founded in 1829 and was used as a facility to rehabilitate inmates through solitary confinement. The penitentiary was closed in 1971 when the amount of repairs needed to keep it running became too costly, but before then it was home to many infamous criminals, including Al Capone. Today, visitors to the facility can listen to an audio tour narrated by Steve Buscemi and incorporates the voices of prior guards and inmates. Every October, the penitentiary is turned into one of the most successful and popular haunted houses in the country that is known to frighten even the most stoic of individuals.
At the end of the Ben Franklin Bridge sits a small park that is one of the five parks planned by William Penn when he dreamed of Philadelphia. Franklin Square has many things to offer to create a peaceful day out with the family, such as a beautiful playground and fountain. The park also includes mini-golf where each of the holes is styled after a location in Philadelphia and a beautiful carousel. When the fun is over, stop by SquareBurger for some burgers, hot dogs and milkshakes.
A museum devoted to the study and education of science, The Franklin Institute is an exciting and interactive museum for all ages. The establishment features many fascinating exhibits from a giant model heart that is big enough to walk through to a space command where visitors can pretend to be astronauts in charge of a mission to space while simultaneously learning about the stars. The Franklin Institute is also home to a massive IMAX theater, and is the temporary stop to many traveling exhibits, such as exhibits on Cleopatra and Genghis Khan.
Built in the Greek Revival style in 1876, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a beautiful building inside and outside, and is one of the largest art museums in the nation. The museum is the home of over 227,000 objects and many of them considered world class, from medieval suits of armor to an indoor Japanese garden to rooms upon rooms of paintings. Some of the artists featured here are Picasso, DuChamp, Rembrandt, O’Keeffe and Warhol. Before leaving, don’t forget to run up the iconic Rocky Steps and pose at the top.
A medical museum full of various specimens and oddities, the Mütter Museum is a biologist’s dream. The building holds a number of wax models, antique medical equipment and wet specimens, all set up to be seen through glass cabinets. The goal of the museum is to spread awareness about the beauty, mysteries and utter weirdness of the human body, so that visitors can truly appreciate the history of medicine and the treatment of disease.
A museum designed just for children ages seven and below, the Please Touch Museum is an interactive place where children can let their imaginations run wild and do as they please. It was built in 1976, and has become a popular spot for parents to take their kids on rainy afternoons or for birthday parties. Their mission is to enrich the lives of children through play, and they also offer a variety of puppet shows and musical theatre.
An educational institution for art and horticulture, The Barnes Foundation is separated into two different locations, one in center Philadelphia and another (which includes the arboretum) in the suburbs. The museum showcases many well-known post-impressionist and modern paintings, from painters such as Renoir, Cezanne, Picasso, Prendergast and Demuth. At the arboretum, visitors can walk around and find over 2,000 different species of trees and plants, many of them rare.