Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is a culturally diverse center of American influence and innovation. Its enormous diversity and history have earned it the nickname “The City of Brotherly Love.” And its very nature-dense, sprawling Philadelphia neighborhood is home to many historic sites reflecting the city’s long and colorful history of conflict and innovation.
Philadelphia is among the many United States cities which have a multitude of historic sites, including the U.S. National Museum of Natural History & the U.S. History Museum, plus the Science Museum of Pennsylvania. The University of Pennsylvania’s Institute of Medicine and Children’s Hospital bring much more to the Philadelphia scene as well. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is also notable for being home to the first lady U.S. President, Martha Washington. Philadelphia is notable among the United States cities for its diversity and history.
Besides its history, Philadelphia is renowned for its arts and music. Many performers who have gained worldwide popularity include pianist-composer-pianist-actor-writer Frank Sinatra, pop-psychologist and author John Lennon, and the band America, the very popular Philadelphia Soul bands. The Philadelphia International Piano Competition is an annual competition showcasing the best piano players from the United States and internationally. Philadelphia is also home to numerous jazz festivals and the annual “Jazz Summer” festival, attracting audiences from around the world.
1. Liberty Bell Pavilion
In the United States, the Liberty Bell has long been a symbol of freedom and independence. In the late 19th century, in an effort to inspire a sense of freedom and conquer divisions left by the Civil War, it went on tour around the country. In 1915, the bell completed its journey to Philadelphia, where it stayed. Today, in a pavilion that houses exhibits and videos about its history, the bell is open for free public viewing.
Address: 526 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, United States
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2. Independence National Historical Park
Independence National Historical Park is, perhaps, the most historic square mile in America. Many other important attractions line the cobbled streets of this old area, in addition to housing famous sites, such as the Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Independence Hall has seen some of the most significant historic moments in America and has hosted some of its most famous fathers. On July 4, 1776, it witnessed the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the creation in 1787 of the Constitution of the United States. It is flanked by the Congress Hall, where from 1790 to 1800 the first Congress of the United States met and George Washington and John Adams were elected President, and the Old City Hall, which from 1791 to 1800 was never actually the town hall but was the seat of the Supreme Court.
Address: Philadelphia, PA 19106, United States
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3. Independence Hall
Independence Hall originally served as the Pennsylvania Colony State House and is better known as the location where the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It was also where, 11 years later, the Continental Congress met again and wrote the Constitution of the United States. The highlight is the Assembly Hall, where, behind closed doors, the Second Continental Congress met to discuss their desire for British independence. This is where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where George Washington was selected as the Continental Army’s Commander-in-Chief. Independence Hall sits in the Independence National Historical Park across from the Liberty Bell Pavilion. There is no entrance fee, but tickets are scheduled and limited and security screening should be prepared for all visitors. Free ESL services are available on request in advance.
The park-like Independence Mall, constructed in 1948, stretches to the north of Independence Hall. The National Museum of American Jewish History is on its east side, at 55 North 5th Street. The Ben Franklin Museum, which has a collection of exhibits devoted to celebrating the many remarkable qualities of this revolutionary inventor, is also home to the park. A good place to start the day to get current information, tickets and walking tour maps is the Visitor Center off Dock Street.
Address: 520 Chestnut St Philadelphia, PA 19106 USA
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4. Reading Terminal Market
Since 1995, the market at Reading Terminal has been a National Historic Landmark and is a deeply rooted institution in Philadelphia. Since 1893, when the Reading Railroad Company built this space under its new station to accommodate farmers and butchers who had used the area for their open-air markets for decades before, it has been in operation. The old market has undergone renovations, but its unique ambiance and many of the original features of the structure have been preserved. You’ll find more than 80 merchants today, 75 of which are small, independent companies. Both locals and tourists come to buy local products; free-range meats; canned products; freshly baked Amish bread; and handmade crafts, including apparel, jewelry, and gifts.
5. Eastern State Penitentiary
With the aim of rehabilitating criminals through solitary confinement, the Eastern State Penitentiary was built in 1829. It was considered the world’s most expensive and high-tech jail at the time of its opening. Willie Sutton and Al Capone were some of the notable “guests,” of the prison and visitors can see the lavish cell of Capone as it was during his stay. The prison closed in 1971, and today, as a museum, it is open to the public. The facility’s tours demonstrate many sections that remain much the same as they were during their operational years. Exhibits include an in-depth look at U.S. incarceration, how it compares with other nations, and the ever-increasing disproportionate incarceration of minorities.
6. Philadelphia Zoo
A wide range of animals from all over the world is located in the Philadelphia Zoo and is active in wildlife conservation and rehabilitation activities that focus on informing visitors of the ways in which people impact other people in the world. The biggest cat is Big Cat Falls. The biggest cats can traverse the world’s plants and waterfalls and discover the whole park via tunnels winding over another habitat – including human visitors. One of these most important habitats is Big Cat Falls. The African Plains habitat is also a favorite of both children and adults. It allows you to meet some of the most imposing inhabitants of the zoo including giraffes, hippos, and a snowflake.
7. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Museum
This Fine Arts Museum features an 18th, 19th, and 20th-century collection of American art, including works from early American artists right through to Andy Warhol. It is housed in a building designed by American architects Frank Furness and George W. Hewitt, which is a National Historic Landmark. The museum is part of the Fine Arts Academy, and an important resource for the school is its exhibits and archives. The museum features exhibits of work by the students of the academy, in addition to contemporary and historical art exhibitions. The academy is also known in the United States for being the oldest of its kind.
8. The Barnes Foundation
This is an integral part of the Philadelphia Parkway Museum District, created by Dr. Albert Barnes. It is home to some of the largest collections of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings in the world, including the largest collection of Renoirs in the world and more of Cézanne’s works than in all of France. There are only less than 60 paintings by Matisse, as well as numerous works by Degas, Manet, and Titian. Early modern artists, including Picasso, as well as a large collection of African sculptures, are included in additional collections. The museum welcomes guests for gallery viewings, activities, and family-friendly entertainment free of charge on the first Sunday of the month, while adults are invited to spend the evening every month on the first Friday exploring collections, attending lectures, and mingling with like-minded fans while enjoying live music and refreshments.
9. Please Touch Museum
The Please Touch Museum is each child’s dream – a place to “look with their hands” rather than just your eyes. This fully interactive museum encourages children of all ages to study and to experience history, fantasy worlds, space, and the world around them. Exhibits such as the city of children include costumes that can be used for playing the role while experimenting with various professions. As educational as this is fun, River Adventures encourages children through dams, rivers, heels, locks, and other water handling equipment to learn about science and physics. Children can even explore the garden, where the café of the museum produces its products. Outside, you will find also the more than a century-old Dentzel Carousel, which was originally operated by Woodside Park nearby and has now been completely restored to its former glory.
10. The Franklin Institute Science Museum
This creative museum honors the scientist Benjamin Franklin with an enormous marble statue of Franklin in one of the large halls. Much of Franklin’s experiments have been exhibited at the Franklin Institute Science Museum, which is actually several museums below one roof. It focuses on physical technology bases and offers visitors the opportunity to try their own experiments in many areas – computers, IT, space travel, astronomy, and oceanography. The center also features an IMAX Theater and the Fels Planetarium, as well as the museum.
11. Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Museum of Art in Philadelphia contains one of the largest collections of art in the United States. It is located in a Neoclassical building facing a wide set of stairs, which became famous after the classic American Rocky movies featured them. The medieval galleries, which include images by Rogier van der Weyden and the van Eyck brothers, are among the finest sections of the museum. Renaissance and Baroque works and art from the 18th and 19th centuries are included in other rooms, including paintings by Van Gogh, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Manet, Cézanne, Monet, and Degas. Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, Miró, Paul Klee, and other artists represent a collection of 20th-century European art. The Philadelphia artists Thomas Eakins, Charles Wilson Peale (“The Staircase Group”, 1795), and many others, also have American art.
Outback Outpost is home to some of the most exciting wildlife of Australia, including red kangaroos and emus. Other habitats include the bear country, home to Asian, South American, and Kingdom Carnivore species, where dwarf mongooses and even the (vegetarian) red panda can be found. A reptile and amphibious house is also available; an aviary; and Monkey Jubile is home to two pairs of spider singes. Visitors can see night residents at the small mammal house during their day, with smart lighting that reverses their sleep cycle. The zoo also has a primate reserve and a rare animal conservation center, where you can see some of the most endangered animals in the world, learn more about their problems, and learn to help.
12. Rodin Museum
This museum contains one of the largest collections of his work outside France and nearly 100 works by the famous French sculptor Auguste Rodin. The museum includes some of Rodin’s most famous masterpieces in plasters, bronzes, and marbles. Visitors can enjoy some of his famous works, including The Thinker and Rodin’s seminal work, The Gates of Hell, in the outdoor sculpture garden. The carriage of Rodin was remarkable because of its unconventional training and his philosophy of keeping a sculpture true to the natural shape.
13. Fairmount Park
This beautiful park along the Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Creek, together with various other attractions and things to do, is home to the Philadelphia Zoo, the Rodin Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Japanese House and Garden. Gardens, ball fields, pools, tennis courts, hiking tracks, picnic areas, and playgrounds are available as well. The park is a national historic landmark and one of the first parks to serve as public greenery as well as a protection area for watersheds.
Address: Reservoir Dr, Philadelphia, PA 19119, United States
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14. City Hall
With nearly 15 acres of floor space, Philadelphia’s City Hall is the largest municipal building in the United States. Built on a solid granite foundation, the construction is supported by a 548-ft tower, the highest steel frame in the world. A 27-ton statue of William Penn sits at the top of the tower, and at his feet, an observation deck offers tourists a view of the whole city, as well as the park below, which features a fountain, lawns, and a café.
Address: 1400 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19107, United States
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15. Society Hill Historic District
This beautiful area, south of Walnut Street and east of Washington Square, has a unique blend of buildings, restored warehouses, new houses, colonial houses, and apartments of the 18th Century. Some galleries and other tourist-friendly retailers are occupied. The area’s attractions are Washington Square, the Cultural Center, and Old St.Church Mary’s as well as the Presbyterian Church and Pennsylvania Library’s Historical Society.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Revolution, with eternal fire, was once the graveyard at Washington Square of the victims in the struggle for independence. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is the only gravesite built in America to commemorate the unknown soldiers of the Revolutionary War.
16. Peddler’s Village
A small town of colonial charm, one hour from Center City Philadelphia, Peddler’s Village.
Established in 1962, Peddler’s Village is home to a 42-acre village with over 70 independently-owned specialty stores, restaurants and a charming inn. It has an annual attraction of 1.6 million visitors.
This family-friendly Peddler’s Village provides the setting for recreational activities from shopping to diner and events to festivals for a relaxing trip or a full day of retail therapy.
Before you have the chance to have a break with a delicious meal in one of the several restaurants at Peddler Village you can relax in the shops and specialty stores.
17. Longwood Gardens
A little like Philadelphia’s answer to Versailles with 1,083 acres of themed, manicured gardens is Longwood Gardens, bought by Pierre du Pont in 1906. Spring and summer are the best seasons for florals, of course, but this place is a popular destination all year round with its Conservatory known for its indoor displays.
The Fountain Garden is a favorite in the summer when several times every day a dramatic show of water plays classical music – the Conservatory is a must for Christmas with its tiny lights, trees, and poinsettia.
18. Museum of the American Revolution
One of the crucial hubs of the American Revolution was Philadelphia, which makes the Historic District of Philadelphia the perfect place for an all-encompassing museum. The Museum of the American Revolution is an essential artifacts repository and an absolute delight for Americans.
The area comprises a large collection of 118,000 square feet, including art, manuscripts, and printed works from the Revolutionary Period. It also displays a variety of items collected from and related to the Revolutionary War, including British, French, and American weapons used in battle and written in camp personal diaries.
The exhibitions housed in the American Revolution Museum offer an inclusive image of the American Revolution that is often ignored by other academic institutions. Explore tales of enslaved and free Africans, Native Americans, and women through immersive displays and fascinating artifacts that create a modern storytelling experience, in addition to the Founding Fathers and Revolutionary War soldiers.
Visitors will find that the galleries within the museum are organized chronologically to take you on a journey through the creation of our nation from the beginning of the conflict in the 1760s. The showroom also examines the challenges of creating a new nation and the lasting effect of the Revolutions on people around the world.
General Washington’s Headquarters Tent, an iconic piece of history where President George Washington slept and made world-changing decisions, is one of the most memorable pieces in the museum. The tent is part of a Washington multimedia presentation.
19. Congress Hall
Built as the Courthouse of Philadelphia County, Congress Hall was the home of the U.S. Congress from 1790 to 1800, when Philadelphia served as the United States’ temporary capital.
The former courthouse, a two-story Georgian brick structure at the corner of 6th and Chestnut streets, was occupied by the fledgling legislature of the nation.
Several historical accomplishments occurred in Congress Hall such as the creation of the US First Bank, Federal Mint and Navy Ministry and the ratification of Jay’s Treaty with England.
The building is part of the National Historic Park of Independence and is open to the public for tours.
20. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, founded in 1812, is the oldest museum of natural history in the Americas. Through hands-on exhibits, live animal shows, video presentations, dynamic speakers, special workshops and classes, and evening programs with environmental themes, the excitement and wonder of the natural world comes to life for visitors of all ages.
Scientists at the Academy are globally renowned for their research on biodiversity and aquatic ecology. One of the best specimen collections in the world is a collection of over 17 million animals and plants, housed in the research portion of the museum. The Ewell Sale Stewart Library is a major treasure trove for researchers around the world, with rare books dating to the 1500s and accounts of early explorers.
21. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
The Magic Gardens of Philadelphia is a non-profit organization located on South Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a folk art environment and gallery space. It is the largest work to date produced by the mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar. Three city lots span the Magic Gardens and include indoor galleries and a large outdoor labyrinth.
22. Morris Arboretum
Try a stroll through the classic English landscape structures and sculpture gardens at Morris Arboretum, a 92-acre Victorian arboretum in the Northwestern corner of Philadelphia, if you feel the need to escape city life for an afternoon.
The Arboretum serves as an interdisciplinary center that integrates art, science, and the humanities, connected to the nearby University of Pennsylvania.
Here are growing thousands of rare and beautiful wooded plants including many of the oldest, rarest, and most beautiful trees of Philadelphia.
23. Second Bank of the United States
During its 20-year charter from February 1816 to January 1836, the Second Bank of the United States, situated in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, was the second national Hamiltonian bank federally authorized in the U.S. The official name of the bank was “The President, Directors, and Company, of the Bank of the United States” according to section 9 of its charter as passed by Congress.
The bank handled all of the financial transactions for the U.S. as a private corporation with public duties. And he was accountable to Congress and the U.S. Hacienda. Treasury. The federal government-owned twenty percent of its capital, the single largest stockholder of the bank. 80 percent of the capital of the bank, including three thousand Europeans, was held by four thousand private investors. A couple of hundred wealthy Americans held the bulk of the stocks. The institution was the world’s largest monetized corporation at its time.
The bank was mainly responsible for regulating public credit granted by private banks through the tax duties that it had performed in the United States. Treasury, and a sound and stable national currency to be established. The BUS was given its regulatory capacity by federal deposits.
Address: 420 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, United States
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24. The Betsy Ross House
The well-known and much-loved story of Betsy Ross sewing the first American flag is interwoven into the colorful history of the United States. You will find the true meaning of America in the Betsy Ross House, where the Stars and Stripes were born. Have a look around the house and make your acquaintance with Betsy and her fascinating career with activities that will both teach you about her as well as highlight the important milestones in her life.
Address: 239 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, United States
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25. National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is a national museum dedicated to the Constitution of the United States, plus the Bill of Rights, and other related documents. It is one of the most visited museums in the entire country, with over two million visitors every year. A fascinating part of any visit to this Philadelphia museum is the “Related Issues” room, which features a wide variety of prominent topics related to the Constitution. Here you will find a listing of all the current exhibitions and events occurring in the related issues room, as well as some information about past exhibitions.