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One Day in Philadelphia

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Philadelphia is simultaneously one of the most historic and happening cities in the USA, boasting many relics of Independence, such as the Liberty Bell, as well as a cutting edge modern art and music scene. Consequently, Philly, as it is often known, has something for everybody, from top class museums to tiny watering holes. If you only have a day here, choose from these fine places in order to get the most out of your visit.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Foodie
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Like a Local

10 Places

7 City Tips

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Map

10 Places

Independence National Historical Park

Historic Sites, Historic Walking Areas, National Parks

City Hall

Architectural Buildings, Government Buildings, Historic Sites

Penn's Landing

Parks

Society Hill

Neighbourhoods

National Constitution Center

History Museums, Speciality Museums

Rittenhouse Square

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Art Museums

Fairmount Park

Jogging Paths & Tracks, Parks

The Franklin Institute

Science Museums, Children's Museums, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Speciality Museums

Philadelphia Zoo

Zoos

Nick E's City Tips

  • Philadelphia has a huge choice when it comes to eating, from humble ethnic takeout joints to high class steakhouses.
  • Don't miss the chance to try one of the city's signature Philly cheesesteaks, bursting with beef, melted cheese and other toppings.
  • Tipping for table service is in line with the American norm of 15–20%.
  • Philadelphia has an efficient and extensive public transportation system, with buses, a subway system and suburban railways, all run by SEPTA.
  • Get a SEPTA day pass if you are planning to take more than three rides on any means of transport.
  • Most of the core areas of interest are walkable, from Center City to Old Town or the Museums District, for example.
  • There is no official dress code in most establishments, other than a handful of high-end restaurants.
  • Independence National Historical Park
    Historic Sites, Historic Walking Areas, National Parks
    See more photos
    Nick E Says:

    Philadelphia's number one unmissable attraction is Independence National Historic Park, which is an entire four-block history lesson. Among its fascinating features are Independence Hall, Congress Hall, the First Bank of the United States, Franklin Court, and, of course, the new multimedia Liberty Bell Center. Simply walking around the area is like breathing in the past.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • It's best to arrive early in the day to avoid the crowds, especially in high season, when you must obtain free timed tickets from the nearby Independence Visitor Center.
    • There are plenty of places to eat or drink in the streets of nearby Old City.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #14 of 428 things to do in Philadelphia
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • More than just a bell 16/12/2018
    • Nice Visit. 12/12/2018
    • Independence National Historical Park
    Address:
    143 S 3rd St
    Philadelphia, PA 19106-2818
    Phone:
    +1 215-965-2305
    Other:
  • City Hall
    Architectural Buildings, Government Buildings, Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Nick E Says:

    Architecturally ornate from its limestone base to its marble corridors, and crowned by the iconic statue of William Penn, after whom the state of Pennsylvania is named, City Hall is most worth visiting for the panoramic vista that unfolds from its 30th-floor observation deck. The lavish rooms within, also featuring numerous fine statues, should not be missed.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Thrifty Traveller
    Tips
    • Only four blocks away, Reading Terminal Market is a fantastic place to grab a snack while watching the traders go about their business.
    • City Hall is closed at weekends.
    • City Hall Tower & Observation Deck is included in the great-value Philadelphia Pass, available online or from the tourist office.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #27 of 428 things to do in Philadelphia
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • 440+ feet of pure historical pleasure! 13/12/2018
    • Go at Christmas 12/12/2018
    • City Hall
    Phone:
    +1 267-514-4757
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    09:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Penn's Landing
    Parks
    See more photos
    Nick E Says:

    The southern end of Philadelphia's old port on the Delaware River has been renovated as the Penn's Landing development, to commemorate the spot where William Penn stepped ashore in 1682. Apart from the fine riverside views, the most interesting feature is Independence Seaport Museum, which includes an old flagship and a WWII submarine.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    • Thrifty Traveller
    Tips
    • You can take the Riverlink ferry across to Camden, NJ, and visit the excellent Adventure Aquarium there.
    • If you're hungry, avoid the expensive and touristic restaurants on the waterfront and look a few blocks back in Old City or Society Hill.
    • Independence Seaport Museum and Riverlink are both included in the great-value Philadelphia Pass, available online or from the tourist office.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #71 of 428 things to do in Philadelphia
    • beautiful 11/12/2018
    • OK, but needs work 01/10/2018
    • Penn's Landing
    Address:
    On the Delaware River from Market St. to Lombard St.
    Philadelphia, PA 19103
    Phone:
    +1 215-922-2386
    Other:
  • Society Hill
    Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    Nick E Says:

    One of Philadelphia's oldest and classiest neighborhoods, occupying several blocks adjacent to the Delaware River, Society Hill is a pleasure to walk around. There is a wealth of delightful colonial architecture, as well as a great selection of restaurants to suit all budgets.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • At Society Hill's southern limit, check out buzzing South St. full of trendy shops and restaurants.
    • Look out for I. M. Pei's twin skyscrapers, which sit atop the small hill after which the area is named.
    • Few buildings are open to the public, although the Physick House is an interesting exception and worth a visit.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #94 of 428 things to do in Philadelphia
    • Simple architecture 09/08/2018
    • Charming History Location of Philly 11/07/2018
    • Society Hill
    Phone:
    +1 215-923-0210
    Other:
  • National Constitution Center
    History Museums, Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Nick E Says:

    Anything you could possibly want to know about that noble document, the US Constitution, is explained here in this fascinating museum. There are plenty of interactive displays to keep people of all ages happy, and you can even sign your name to it electronically.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • Don't miss the 360º "Freedom Rising" production, a 17-minute film shown every half hour.
    • The National Constitution Center is included in the great-value Philadelphia Pass, available online or from the tourist office.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #32 of 428 things to do in Philadelphia
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Sight and sound view of the Constitutional happenings during one's own lifetime--as well as from 1776. 11/12/2018
    • Large Venue, Great Mission, Underused Space 09/12/2018
    • National Constitution Center
    Address:
    525 Arch St
    Independence Mall
    Philadelphia, PA 19106-1595
    Phone:
    +1 215-409-6600
    Price range:
    US$14 - US$14
    Hours:
    Sun
    12:00 - 17:00
    Mon - Sat
    09:30 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Rittenhouse Square
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Nick E Says:

    One of the city's original squares laid out by William Penn, Rittenhouse Square is the hub of one of Philly's classiest areas. Bordered by trendy Walnut Street on one side and an area of attractive brownstones with ornate doors and windows on the other, the square is also blessed with some fine dining options.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The red-brick Rosenbach Museum in nearby Delancey Place dates from 1860 and has over 30,000 rare books on display.
    • Look out for the frequent free jazz or R&B concerts on summer evenings.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #41 of 428 things to do in Philadelphia
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Very beautiful neighborhood 09/12/2018
    • Beautiful park in the hearth of Philadelpia's action 03/12/2018
    • Rittenhouse Square
    Address:
    18th and Walnut Streets
    Philadelphia, PA 19103
    Phone:
    +1 215-636-1666
    Other:
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Nick E Says:

    The Philadelphia Museum of Art boasts one of the richest art collections in the entire country. Apart from priceless paintings from the Renaissance and Impressionist eras, there are other treasures such as a 12th-century French cloister, Rubens tapestries, and Pennsylvania Dutch crafts.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • You can re-enact the famous scene from the film "Rocky" by running up the museum steps like Sylvester Stallone.
    • The Philadelphia Museum of Art is included in the great-value Philadelphia Pass, available online or from the tourist office.
    • The museum is closed on Monday.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 428 things to do in Philadelphia
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Philly 17/12/2018
    • Relishing Outstanding Late Medieval and Renaissance Period Paintings At A Stellar Art Museum 17/12/2018
    • Philadelphia Museum of Art
    Address:
    2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy
    Philadelphia, PA 19130-2302
    Phone:
    +1 215-763-8100
    Price range:
    US$20 - US$20
    Hours:
    Tue
    10:00 - 17:00
    Wed
    10:00 - 20:45
    Thu
    10:00 - 17:00
    Fri
    10:00 - 20:45
    Sat - Sun
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Fairmount Park
    Jogging Paths & Tracks, Parks
    See more photos
    Nick E Says:

    One of the biggest landscaped urban parks in the world, verdant Fairmount Park occupies no less than 900 acres on both sides of the winding Schuylkill River, making it a superb place to get away from the crowds and relax or take a picnic. Criss-crossed by a maze of paths and trails, the park also encompasses some venerable properties and the odd memorial.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The most central access point to Fairmount Park is at the top of Benjamin Franklin Parkway, right behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
    • Grab all the fixings for a picnic from Reading Terminal Market and take the subway to 30th St. for easy access to the park.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #25 of 428 things to do in Philadelphia
    • Beautiful 30/10/2018
    • Beautiful Park 29/10/2018
    • Fairmount Park
    Address:
    Reservoir Dr
    Philadelphia, PA 19131
    Phone:
    +1 215-683-3600
    Other:
  • The Franklin Institute
    Science Museums, Children's Museums, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Nick E Says:

    Named after one of Philadelphia's most famous residents, himself an enthusiastic scientist, the Franklin Institute is crammed full of scientific gadgets from various eras, and traces the development of technology with a variety of interesting interactive displays, especially in the Mandell Futures Center. There is also a planetarium and IMAX theater.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • The Franklin Institute is included in the great-value Philadelphia Pass, available online or from the tourist office.
    • It is advisable to book timed tickets for special exhibits in advance online.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #31 of 428 things to do in Philadelphia
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Good educational place 17/12/2018
    • Educational 14/12/2018
    • The Franklin Institute
    Address:
    222 N 20th St
    Philadelphia, PA 19103-1115
    Phone:
    +1 215-448-1200
    Price range:
    US$23 - US$23
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:30 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Philadelphia Zoo
    Zoos
    See more photos
    Nick E Says:

    Occupying the western edge of Fairmount Park, across the Schuylkill River from downtown, Philadelphia Zoo is notable for having been the country's first. There is a huge selection of mammals, birds, reptiles, and other creatures, some of them on the endangered list. The compounds are spacious and clean, and there is a list of feeding times that can be attended.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The zoo is most easily accessed via SEPTA no.15 trolley or no.38 bus.
    • The zoo is included in the great-value Philadelphia Pass, available online or from the tourist office.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #48 of 428 things to do in Philadelphia
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beginning of Winter Season 19/11/2018
    • Oldest zoo in the US 19/11/2018
    • Philadelphia Zoo
    Address:
    3400 W Girard Ave
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-1196
    Phone:
    +1 215-243-1100
    Price range:
    US$23 - US$23
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:30 - 17:00
    Other:
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