What not to miss in Philly
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was founded in 1682 and became an influential city in British America. During the American Revolution it was here that the Founding Fathers gathered to formulate the Constitution and sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The city's role in the formulation of the USA is the main draw for tourists who come to see where the pivotal events in the nation's history took place. In addition to Philly's national heritage it is also a hub of arts and cultural events, it is known for its many public sculptures and its lush urban parks. The city has a diverse mix of ethnic cultures as well as a reputation for great food like the Philly cheesesteak and the soft pretzel. Sightseers can save some money by purchasing the Philadelphia City Pass which can save you 44% on entrance to the city's top 5 attractions.
Top Philadelphia Attractions
The Franklin Institute - This museum is inspired by the great works of Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers who excelled in many different fields. The museum has exhibits aimed at younger visitors including the Kids Science section and the IMAX Theatre. Also at the museum is the Fels Planetarium, a 4D flight simulator and a huge model of a heart! Exhibits cover astronomy, electricity, health, weather and more. The museum is at 222 North 20th Street and admission is $16.5/$12.5.
Eastern State Penitentiary – Formerly the world's most expensive and famous prison today visitors come to the institution to see the cellblock, guard towers and grand architecture which was specifically designed to inspire repentance in the prisoners. Famous prisoners include Al Capone and bank robber Slick Willie Sutton. Visitors follow the mp3 self-guided tour around the complex as they listen to explanations about the facility. Tickets ($14/$12) can be purchased online and the penitentiary is at 2027 Fairmount Avenue.
Please Touch Museum – One of the best children's museums in the country, as the name implies this museum encourages visitors to touch the exhibits.
Philadelphia Museum of Art – With 300,000 works of art including pieces by Rodin, Van Gogh and Dali this is one of the city's top attractions. The works span from the 1st century to present day and cover a wide range of art mediums. Admission is $20/$18 and the main building is at 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Independence National Historical Park – Within this historic park are buildings and sites which played a role in the American Revolution and the founding of the USA. At this one site you can visit Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed in the Assembly Room; see the 940kg Liberty Bell; Franklin Court where there is a museum dedicated to Benjamin Franklin; Congress Hall, once the seat of the US Congress; Betsy Ross House where the first American flag was sewn; a Postal Museum; the Free Quaker Meeting House; the City Tavern which is a recreation of an 18th century pub; Franklin's Home and the 1st and 2nd Banks of America. Covering 20 city blocks in the historical district, your first stop should be the visitor Center and from there you can plan which sites within the park you want to visit. Take a stroll down Independence Mall (where the Visitor Center is located) which is lined with several landmark buildings including the National Constitution Center and the President's House.
Philly Breweries – Philadelphia has a tradition of brewing fine craft beer, and visitors can tour the facilities and taste the beer. Try Yards Brewing Company, the Philadelphia Brewing Company or the Dock Street Brewing Company.
Fairmount Park – This is in fact a chain of 63 parks (9,200 acres) stretching from South Philadelphia to the Northeast. The park includes 4,400 acres of greenery which borders the Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Creek. There are recreational and sports facilities within the park. Within the park is the Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Japanese House and Garden, Centennial Arboretum and the Botanical Garden as well as many works of public art.
For family fun there are attractions like the Philadelphia Zoo which is one of the best in the country, it was also the first zoo to open in America in 1874. Sesame Place is a theme park based on the famous street and its fury residents. Elmo, Cookie Monster and Big Bird will al great families at the park. And there is the Philadelphia Aquarium on the banks of the Schuylkill River housed in the historic decommissioned Fairmount Water Works building.
For shopping you can try the Franklin Mills Mall where there are more than 200 outlet stores and discount stores or visit the historic Reading Terminal Market. This is an indoor market which first opened in 1892; they sell fresh produce and arts and crafts.