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Top 10 Things to Do in Philadelphia
November 15, 2019 | by Taylor Randolph
Philadelphia is one of the most historically important cities in the United States. Our founding fathers built our nation right here. This is where the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were debated, drafted, and signed. If you want to uncover the secrets, history, and stories behind this iconic city, then start planning your trip to visit the “City of Brotherly Love.”
#1 Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of freedom for the USA and is a must-see when you visit Philly. The bell once hung in the Pennsylvania State House, now known as Independence Hall. Discover the history, the meaning, and the stories behind this famous bell. This is one of the best free things to do in Philadelphia! There are no tickets required to visit the Liberty Bell.
#2 Independence Hall
Another important piece of American history is the Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated, drafted, and signed. In January and February, you must join a guided tour if you want to visit the Independence Hall. In March through December, you must obtain a ticket, which is technically free although there is a $1.50 handling fee. Reserve tickets in advance to avoid waiting in line. If you want to obtain truly free tickets without the handling fee, had to the Independence Visitor Center at 6th and Market Streets. They a limited quantity, so get there early.
#3 Philadelphia Museum of Art
This museum houses great masterpieces by Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, and many others. Even if you haven’t been to this museum, you will probably recognize it from the iconic steps from the famous scene in “Rocky.” In the museum, you will also find structures from around the world, like a 16-century Indian temple hall, 17-century Chinese Palace hall, and a Japanese teahouse.
Photo Credit: Grim Philly
#4 Haunted Pub Crawl
Get boozy in Philly and take a pub-crawl ghost walk to learn about the creepy underside of our great nation’s history. You won’t hear about the scandals and debauchery of Philadelphia on any other daytime tour. The Grim Philly Pub Crawl takes you to the sites of real Witch Trials, the Founding Father’s graves, bodies stacked under colonial structures, and colonial boneyard haunts. Then, you will enter the most haunted taverns known to Philadelphia for a hair-raising night of drinking and feasting. The guides all have a college history degree and many of them are professors and history teachers. Spooky ghost stories, dark American history, and haunted taverns are the perfect way to discover Philadelphia. For the under 21 crowd, try a Dark Philly Adult Night Tour to combine Philly’s major sightseeing with the darker elements of 1776 by night.
#5 Reading Terminal Market
The Reading Terminal Market is home to over 80 different vendors including food stalls, homemade crafts, and jewelry. You will love the variety of local Philly produce, baked goods, international cuisine, and coffee. There is truly something for everyone here. Whether you love Mexican, Indian, Greek, Thai, or anything in between, you are guaranteed to find a delicious meal. Check out the Reading Terminal Market for a quick lunch between sightseeing.
#6 Wissahickon Valley Park
Located 5 miles outside of downtown Philly, Wissahickon Valley Park is a beautiful 1800-acre park with miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. Wissahickon Creek is a great spot for relaxing, fishing, or bird-watching. Stroll along the Forbidden Drive trail for the best panoramic views. During the fall is a great time to see the beautiful Autumn colors of the changing leaves.
#7 Rittenhouse Square
Rittenhouse Square is a trendy area with lots of things to do. Some of the best restaurants in the city are located here as well as charming boutiques and vibrant nightlife venues. You can also relax in the park and enjoy a lovely picnic. Rittenhouse Square is a favorite amongst the locals and tourists visiting Philly.
#8 Mutter Museum
The Mutter Museum is not your typical museum. It is known for its gross yet fascinating exhibits on medical oddities. You can expect skeletal specimens, a tumor removed from Grover Cleveland’s mouth, the tallest skeleton on display in North America, and other items that belong to Marie Curie. Beware, this museum is not for people with a weak stomach.
#9 Philadelphia Ghost Tour
Discover the secrets hidden in the shadows of America's most historic and most haunted city on a Candlelight Ghost Tour of Independence Park and Society Hill. The tour is a blend of history and ghost story, with a costumed guide sharing tales of plague and pestilence, forgotten burial grounds, and haunted historical sites on a 75-minute walking tour. It is of the best things to do in Philadelphia with kids. Tours run year-round and are appropriate for all ages. You can reserve your spot on this spooky tour by visiting www.ghosttour.com.
# 10 Eastern State Penitentiary
The Eastern State Penitentiary opened in 1829 and is one of the most popular Philadelphia attractions. The highlight of the facility is Al Capone’s cell. You can take tours of the prison all year long. If you visit during Halloween, you will get to experience the Eastern State Penitentiary haunted house with six different attractions. The tours are not recommended for small children because the prison has a very eerie and disturbing feeling to it. If you want to visit with kids, there are tours that take place outside of the prison walls that are more suitable for the whole family.
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