13 Cool Things to Do in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia is one of the most significant historical cities in America. The Declaration of Independence was ratified at Independence Hall on July 4, 1776, and the Constitution was written in September 1787. William Penn, a prominent Quaker and the state of Pennsylvania’s namesake, was a driving force behind the reforms that turned these British colonies into a sovereign state a century earlier.

In today’s Independence Historic National Park, which is home to historic structures and sights like the Liberty Bell, Franklin Court, and Independence Hall, modern office towers coexist alongside the park’s winding cobblestone streets. Society Hill, the city’s original residential district, is located to the south. Many of these 18th-century structures have undergone elegant restorations. Germantown, another historic neighbourhood in northwest Philadelphia, was originally settled by Germans and Dutch people.


Fairmount Park, a sizable expanse of green space to the west along the Schuylkill River, is home to numerous Federal-style homes as well as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum. The Franklin Institute of Science Museum and the Academy of Natural Sciences are both located in the museum district, which is just south of that.


Start with our list of the top tourist sites in Philadelphia if you’re not sure where to go.


Liberty Bell Pavilion, first

In the United States, the liberty bell has stood for liberty and independence for a very long time. Contrary to common belief, the first significant crack occurred in 1846 when it tolled in honour of George Washington’s birthday. It had previously rung to commemorate the signing of the Constitution.


This and other information on the bell may be found in the exhibits, and a movie demonstrates how abolitionists, suffragists, and other organisations used the bell as a symbol of liberation. The bell made a national tour in the late 1800s in an effort to heal the divisions caused by the Civil War. The bell arrived in Philadelphia in 1915 and has remained there ever since.


One of many free activities in Philadelphia is the Liberty Bell Pavilion, which is open daily.


Location: 143 South Third Street, Philadelphia, PA


Site officiel: www.nps.gov/inde/index.htm


2. Independence Memorial

Independence Hall, which was formerly the State House of the Colony of Pennsylvania, is best known as the location where the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The United States Constitution was also drafted there when the Continental Congress reconvened there after an absence of eleven years.


The Second Continental Congress gathered in secret in Assembly Hall to discuss declaring independence from the British. Here, George Washington was selected as the Continental Army’s Commander-in-Chief and the Declaration of Independence was signed.


In the Independence National Historical Park, Independence Hall is located across from the Liberty Bell Pavilion. Although there is no admittance cost, tickets are timed and restricted, and all guests must be ready to pass through security checks. On request, free ESL services are offered.


Location: 143 South Third Street, Philadelphia, PA


Park National Historic Site of Independence

The square mile that makes up Independence National Historical Park may be the most historic in all of America. Along with containing well-known locations like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, this historic district’s cobblestone walkways are home to numerous other significant attractions. Independence Hall has witnessed some of the most significant historical events in American history and has welcomed some of its most illustrious founders. It was present when the United States Constitution was drafted in 1787 and the Declaration of Independence was ratified on July 4, 1776.


Congress Hall, where George Washington and John Adams were chosen president and where the first Congress of the United States convened from 1790 to 1800, and Old City Hall, which was never the town hall but served as the Supreme Court’s location from 1791 to 1800, flank it.


The park-like Independence Mall, designed in 1948, stretches north of Independence Hall. The National Museum of American Jewish History is located on its east side at 55 North 5th Street. The Ben Franklin Museum, which has a range of displays honouring this revolutionary inventor’s many exceptional traits, is also located in the park. For up-to-date information, tickets, and walking tour maps, the Visitor Center off Dock Street is a nice place to go first thing in the morning.


4. The “Rocky Steps” and the Philadelphia Museum of Art

One of the largest collections of paintings and other artworks in the United States is housed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The mediaeval galleries, which feature artwork by the van Eyck brothers and Rogier van der Weyden, are one of the best parts of the museum.


Renaissance and Baroque artwork as well as 18th and 19th century works of art, such as paintings by Van Gogh, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Manet, Cézanne, Monet, and Degas, can be found in other rooms. Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, Miró, Paul Klee, and other painters are part of a collection of 20th-century European art.


The Philadelphia artists Thomas Eakins, Charles Wilson Peale (“The Staircase Group,” 1795), and many more also produced American art. There are also exquisite collections of Asian art, including pieces made of porcelain, jade, and Oriental carpets.


The museum is built in a Neoclassical structure with wide stairs in front that, for many tourists, are now more appealing than the exhibits itself. Thousands of fans have come to the “Rocky Steps” every day to rush to the summit and strike a Rocky stance with the city as their backdrop ever since they were featured in the vintage American Rocky movie.


In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway


www.philamuseum.org, the official website


Reading Terminal Market No. 5

Since 1995, The Market at Reading Terminal has been recognised as a National Historic Landmark. It is a longstanding Philadelphia tradition. The Reading Railroad Company constructed this area beneath their new station in 1893 to make room for the farmers’ and butchers’ open-air markets that had been taking place there for years. It has been in use ever since.


The old market has undergone repairs, but many of the original elements of the building and its atmosphere have been preserved. There are more than 80 merchants here today, 75 of which are independent small businesses. Local fruit, free-range meats, canned products, freshly baked Amish breads, and handmade goods including apparel, jewellery, and presents are all items that locals and visitors can purchase. Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine is a specialty of several suppliers.


In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at 51 North 12th Street


the official website is readingterminalmarket.org


The Barnes Foundation, no. 6

This museum, which Dr. Albert Barnes founded, is a crucial component of Philadelphia’s Parkway museum district. It is home to some of the largest collections of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings in the world, including the largest Renoir collection and the greatest number of Cézanne’s works in existence. There are around 60 Matisse paintings and a sizable number of Degas, Manet, and Modigliani pieces.


Early modern artists like Picasso and a sizable collection of African sculpture are among the additional collections. On the first Sunday of each month, the museum offers free gallery viewings, events, and family-friendly entertainment. On the first Friday of each month, adults are invited to spend the evening perusing the collections, attending lectures, and networking with other enthusiasts while taking in live music and refreshments.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway


Website of the Barnes Foundation


Park LOVE 7.

The renowned LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana, which was erected in John F. Kennedy Plaza for the America’s Bicentennial celebration in 1976, honours “the City of Brotherly Love” in Philadelphia.


The square, which is now more commonly referred to as LOVE Park, serves as the gateway to Philadelphia’s Museum Mile, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which is home to the Barnes Foundation, The Franklin Institute, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


LOVE Park is the site of frequent pop-up events, such as a Christmas village, and combines green spaces, trees, walking routes, benches, and open paved areas for festivals and events.


Address: JFK Boulevard and 16th Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


8. Kindly Touch the Museum

Every child’s fantasy comes true at the Please Touch Museum, where they can “see with their hands” as opposed to only their eyes. The opportunity to explore history, make-believe worlds, space, and the vast, uncharted world around them is provided by this entirely interactive museum, which encourages children of all ages to learn via play.


When trying with various occupations, youngsters can dress up as the characters in exhibits like the kid-sized metropolis. The River Adventures exhibit enables kids to learn about science and physics by utilising dams, waterwheels, levers, locks, and other water-manipulating tools. It is both informative and entertaining.


Even the garden, where the museum café grows its food, is open to children. There is also a Dentzel Carousel outside that is more than a century old, used to be at the nearby Woodside Park, and has been completely restored to its former splendour. One of the most popular activities for families in Philadelphia is spending a day here.


Address: 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Fairmount Park, Memorial Hall, Philadelphia, PA


Website of the organisation: pleasetouchmuseum.org


9. Zoo in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Zoo is home to a variety of species from all over the world and is actively involved in wildlife conservation and rehabilitation activities, with a focus on informing visitors about how humans affect other members of the planet’s ecosystem.


Big Cat Falls is one of the park’s most unique habitats; here, the largest cats in the world can roam freely among vegetation and flowing waterfalls and explore the entire park via a network of tunnels that thread above other habitats, including those occupied by park guests. The African Plains environment, where you may meet some of the zoo’s most remarkable residents, including giraffes, hippos, and a white rhinoceros, is another favourite among children and adults.


Red kangaroos and emus are just a couple of the interesting animals that call Outback Outpost home. Other areas include Bear Country, where animals from Asia, South America, and North America can be found, and Carnivore Kingdom, where you can see dwarf mongooses and even the red panda (a vegetarian). There are also two pairs of spider monkeys at Monkey Junction, a reptile and amphibian house, an aviary, and more.


With the use of innovative lighting that reverses their sleep cycle, visitors to the small mammal house may observe the nocturnal inhabitants as they go about their day. The zoo also runs a primate reserve and a centre for the protection of rare creatures, where you may see some of the most critically endangered animals on the planet, learn about the problems that impact them, and discover what you can do to help.


Postal code for this location is 3400 West Girard Avenue in Philadelphia.


Website of the organisation: www.philadelphiazoo.org


10. Rodin Gallery

This museum has one of the largest collections of Auguste Rodin’s work outside of France, including about 100 of his iconic sculptures. Some of Rodin’s most well-known works are represented in the museum as marble, bronze, and plaster replicas.


Some of his most well-known pieces, including The Thinker and The Gates of Hell, a foundational work by Rodin, are on display in the outdoor sculpture garden for tourists to see. Rodin is regarded as the founder of modern sculpture because of his unorthodox training and belief that sculpture should remain true to the natural form.


Postal code for this location is 2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.


Website of the organisation: www.rodinmuseum.org


The Franklin Institute Science Museum, 11.

This imaginative museum is a monument to scientist Benjamin Franklin, and one of the great galleries is a massive marble figure of Franklin sitting. Many of Franklin’s own experiments are on exhibit at the Franklin Institute Science Museum, which is actually many museums together under one roof.


Visitors have the chance to conduct their own experiments in a variety of subjects, including computers, information technology, space travel, astronomy, and oceanography. It is particularly interested in the physical foundations of technology. The centre also houses the Fels Planetarium and an IMAX Theater in addition to the museum.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (222 N 20th Street)


Authentic website: www.fi.edu


Fairmount Park 12,

The Philadelphia Zoo, the Rodin Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Shofuso Japanese house and garden are just a few of the attractions and activities to do in this gorgeous park near the Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Creek. Additionally, there are parks, playgrounds, ball fields, swimming pools, tennis courts, hiking trails, and picnic places.


The 1953-built Shofuso was imported to Philadelphia and erected beside other Japanese buildings that have been there since the 1876 Centennial Exposition. Shofuso was constructed in Japan using conventional tools and materials. The mansion and Japanese gardens, which include a koi pond and island, are open for tours. The Tanabata Family Weekend, which takes place in early July, features family-friendly events and traditional Japanese crafts.


A second draw is a row of 15 ancient boathouses along the Schuylkill River, which are now the homes of regional college rowing organisations and are located on the perimeter of the 2,000-acre park. One of the earliest parks established in the country to act as a public green space and a watershed conservation area, the park is a National Historic Landmark.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Reservoir Drive


Eastern State Prison 13.

Using solitary confinement, the Eastern State Penitentiary was created in 1829 with the intention of rehabilitating criminals. When it first opened, it was regarded as the priciest and most advanced prison in the world. Visitors can view Capone’s opulent cell as it was during his imprisonment; Willie Sutton and Al Capone were among the prison’s noteworthy “guests.”


The prison was shut down in 1971, and it is now a public museum. Many areas of the facility can still be visited and are still largely the same as they were when it was active. A thorough examination of incarceration in the United States, how it differs from other nations, and the rising disproportionate imprisonment of minorities are all covered in the exhibits.


Location: 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA


Easternstate.org is the official website.

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