Between the Nation’s Capital to its south and the Big Apple to its north, Philadelphia is often an unnoticed gem that has a lot to offer visitors and definitely worth a trip to. Philadelphia is known for its unique historical past as the nations first capitol for a short time and as the birthplace of America’s government. The city of Brotherly Love has a lot to offer, so I’ve compiled a list of the best things to do (and on a budget too).
1. Visiting the historical stuff. Of course what kind of American would you be if you didn’t pay homage to some of the most historical sites in Philadelphia, and surprisingly it doesn’t take long if you just want to quickly stop by. Located in what is aptly called “Old City” or east Philly, the historical district has a lot to offer. Stop by to see the Liberty Bell just for a few moments, you can stay, take a few pictures and get relatively close to the bell. It’s completely free and if you go at the right time (maybe 15 minutes before it closes at 7:00 PM) there is no line. While you’re there you can take a gander or a quick tour of independence hall, where the Declaration of Independence was written, and actually look at the chairs sat in by the founding fathers. Perhaps if you’re really interested in history you could spend a day at the Constitution Center, which offers a very in-depth experience about the Government and the Nation’s founding.
2. Just a short walk from the historical district (roughly 6 blocks) you can walk down to Penn’s landing, where you may stumble upon a concert or perhaps a cultural event. From here you can take a look at old Naval ships and the Ben Franklin Bridge.
3. Center city has some great sites to see which every Philadelphia tourist must experience. Take a few moments to marvel at City Hall or walk across the street to the famous Love Park. If you’re feeling hot and need to rest dip your feet in the fountain, and enjoy the view of the Philadelphia art Museum in the background. While you’re there make sure to stop by the game pieces also right across from City Hall to take some classic pictures with 10 foot tall domino pieces.
4. To get some great shopping from some of the top designers and stores in town head over to Walnut Street between 18th and broad. Plenty of New York style shopping and only a block away on Chestnut and 17th street are the Shops at Liberty Place, a much better shopping destination than the Gallery, another mall that is even further away. Just on 18th and Walnut is the famous Rittenhouse Square.
5. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a great place to visit, even if you don’t have time to go inside because of the views and the pleasant scenery and architecture. The entire Art Museum area is known as Fairmount and has a nice feel to it. There is Fairmount Park just west of the Art Museum and you could always visit the Eastern State Penitentiary and visit the cell that belonged to Al Capone exactly as he had it.
6. While in Old City be sure to stop by the US Mint located there, it was until 2009 the world’s largest mint. You can get a free self-guided tour any time of year, and actually see how money is made up close.
7. The Comcast Center is Philadelphia’s tallest sky scrapper and is home to one of the largest television screen you will probably ever see. Just walk in and watch the wall magically turn into an oversized television screen that blends in seamlessly. If you walk by it is definitely a must see. Located right by Love Park on JFK Boulevard and 17th Street. And if you have time, sit and eat at one of the best restaurants in Philadelphia – table 31, right outside of the Comcast center lobby.
8. Located in West Philly’s University City district, University of Pennsylvania founded by Benjamin Franklin has some of the best history and has a great college feel. It is known for great eats from many different cultures that have plenty of price range, as well as good shopping.
9. South Street is not far from Center City and has some of the best places to shop, eat and has a great nightlife with many bars, restaurants and clubs.
10. Well if Philadelphia is known for one thing it is their cheese steaks. The years old debate about whether Pat’s King of Steaks or Geno’s steaks on Passyunk Avenue and 9th street is better, why don’t you head to South Philly and see for yourself.