Home to many symbols of the United States’ freedom, Philadelphia is a city that’s adored by many Americans. It’s every bit a modern city, buzzing with energy and full of diverse neighbourhoods, and yet there’s history to be seen everywhere.
Considered by many the birthplace of America, Independence National Historical Park is home to numerous sites that tell the tale of America’s founding, including the Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, the National Constitution Center and the Benjamin Franklin Museum. It was here that the Declaration of Independence from Britain was signed, marked by the ringing of the Liberty Bell. Walk the same streets as America’s founding fathers and visit the Independence Hall to witness the very place the Declaration was signed, as well as the U.S. Constitution, two of America’s founding documents.
Philadelphia: A Modern City
After a day of historical discoveries, a modern city of fun awaits you. With countless rooftop and piano bars, you can find yourself sipping on a cocktail in no time. Visit the Assembly Rooftop Lounge to see the city from 9 floors up and enjoy a drink next to a firepit, while Benjamin Franklin Parkway sits below you. Or, if you’re visiting between May and September, try the Bok Bar in south Philadelphia for incredible views of the city skyline.
If Philly’s history piques your interest, why not take the opportunity to expand your Philadelphia holiday and visit other historically significant cities? Take the AMTRAK to Washington DC and Boston to learn even more, or head to the bright lights of New York City, or combine your visit with a trip to the Caribbean or Bermuda for some serious rest and relaxation.
Great sample itineraries
If you’re looking for some inspiration for your Philadelphia holiday, have a look through our sample itineraries. For a tailor-made holiday uniquely put together for you, give our Destination Specialists a call.
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Experience the best of this historic city with its mix of modern attractions, historic sights and lively nightlife. From solo travellers, to couples and big families, there is something to suit every taste and interest. Below we've selected just a few of our favourite things to see and do while spending time in the city of brotherly love.
This city has no shortage of historical sights - this is the birthplace of America after all. Explore the magnificent Independence Hall - UNESCO World Heritage Site - this is where the founding fathers both debated and signed the Declaration of Independence - and thus created the United States of America. Head to nearby Liberty Hall to view the famous Liberty Bell, which rang to summon the citizens of Philadelphia to hear the first public reading of the Declaration in 1776 - still stands as a symbol of independence today. Or learn about the legacy of Philadelphia's most famous founding father, at the Benjamin Franklin Museum and discover his incredible accomplishments.
Dispite being one of the US's largest cities, Philadelphia still has plenty of outstanding green areas to escape from the hustle and bustle. Philadelphia most well-known parks is the iconic John F. Kennedy Plaza — better known as LOVE Park thanks to Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture - but Franklin Square Park is definitely worth a visit, with a miniature golf course, classic carousel and picnic area. Philly's Fairmount Park is one of the largest urban green spaces in the country, with acres of rolling hills, gentle trails, relaxing waterfront and shaded woodlands all within easy reach of downtown Philadelphia, perfect for outdoor activities from biking and hiking to horse riding and fishing.
Philadelphia is a city of vibrant and dynamic neighborhoods, each with its own distinctive personality and attractions. Head to Fishtown along the Delaware river, this classic working-class neighborhood historically was the centre of the fishing industry, now its narrow, colourful streets boast music venues, galleries, restaurants and some of the city's best breweries. For more of a cultured scene. Hire a bike and ride around Old City - still boasting charming cobblestone streets and plenty of 18th-century charm—along with an independent streak that’s evident in everything from its owner-operated shops to its edgy art scene. Or explore Bella Vista in the south of the city for its incredible Italian heritage and family-owned restaurants.
There are few cities as family-friendly as Philadelphia. From the numerous fascinating, and free, attractions in the Old City (like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall to child-friendly museums like The Franklin Institute and the Please Touch Museum and the incredible Philadelphia Zoo - the country's oldest, there's no shortage of activities to occupy the whole family for a day, a weekend or longer.
After a day seeing the historical highlights - experience the incredible in Philadelphia's vibrant neighbourhoods each with its own distinctive personality. Head over to Northern Liberties, this former manufacturing district is now a walkable network of quirky bars, restaurants and boutiques. Craft beer fans will love NoLibs’ bar and brewery scene or if you prefer something more refined, head to one of the rooftop cocktail bars. If live music is your thing, head to the Callowhill neighbourhood with some of the city's best live music venues and a steady-growing restaurant quarter.
"Philly has so many attractions to see and many of them, including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, are completely free to enter."
"Don’t miss a trip to Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, an entirely unique and immersive art environment. The beautiful colours and designs of the mosaic and the crazy sculptures make this folk-art space really inspiring. There are classes and workshops that you can join as well."
Philly Beer Week
Philadelphia’s been dubbed the best beer drinking city in America, so it’s only natural that the city has a 10 day celebration of beer each year. With lots of beer-related activities across the city, like tastings, beer-pairing dinners, pub crawls and even home brew competitions, this celebration is well worth a trip to Philly for any beer-lover.
Philadelphia is a city that’s very serious about its cuisine and, of course, nowhere does iconic Philly food like the city itself.
Potentially the most famous Philadelphian dish, a true Philly Cheesesteak is a crusty roll layered with thinly sliced beef and finished with melted cheese. What type of cheese is up for debate, so you might need to try more than one. You’ll find this delicious sandwich being served all over the city, so trying a couple out shouldn’t be too difficult.
Brought over Philadelphia by German immigrants in the 1800’s, soft pretzels are quite different to normal pretzels you’ll find elsewhere. Soft pretzels are dense and chewy, with a bread-like texture. You’ll find them all over the city, but if you’re really curious, it’s well worth making the one hour journey outside of the city to Lititz, a city that’s home to the first pretzel bakery in the area.
Scrapple is a breakfast meat that’s beloved by many locals. Usually made from pork that’s combined with cornmeal and herbs, the mixture is formed into a loaf and then sliced and fried before serving. It’s a Philly classic and can’t be missed.
Another of Philadelphia’s iconic sandwiches, Hoagies are filled with a combination of different cold cuts, along with cooked long-hot peppers, pickled and stuffed cherry peppers or hot pepper relish. What makes all the difference, though, is the italian bread. Hoagies vendors are very particular about the bread they serve; traditionally, it’s a crusty seeded roll or sometimes it’s a longer and softer roll, but it’ll always be delicious and fresh Italian bread.
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