Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

Jun 16 2017

30 Top Philadelphia Region Attractions

Fact Sheet

* Note: Most attractions were listed in the Philadelphia Business Journal Book of Lists 2016. Those that were not are marked with an asterisk.

Historical Sites & Attractions:
1. African American Museum in Philadelphia* – Founded in 1976, the museum is the first institution built by a major U.S. city to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage and culture of African-Americans. The museum takes a fresh and bold look at the stories of African-Americans and their role in the founding of the nation through the core exhibit Audacious Freedom. Other exhibits and programs explore the history, stories and cultures of those of African descent throughout the African diaspora. 701 Arch Street, (215) 574-0380, aampmuseum.org
2. Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial – While exploring the museum and memorial visitors can enjoy exhibitions that display artifacts from the ship’s past and play an interactive role. A walk down Broadway, the longest and most impressive passageway on the battleship, is part of the Turret II guided tour. America’s most decorated battleship also hosts special events and overnights. 62 Battleship Place, Camden, NJ, (866) 877-6262, battleshipnewjersey.org
3. Eastern State Penitentiary – The former prison introduced Americans to a new form of housing inmates: solitary confinement. Al Capone and Willie Sutton were among the 75,000 inmates who spent time here. Self-guided tours, a once-daily guided tour and a Halloween haunted house, along with exhibitions and special events, make the massive prison a favorite among those who dare to enter. 2027 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 236-3300, easternstate.org
4. Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site – Serving as a prime example of an American 18th and 19th century rural "iron plantation", the historic site showcases an early American industrial landscape from natural resource extraction to enlightened conservation. Visitors can experience the lifestyles and operations of the historic iron making community through demonstrations and living history programs. 2 Mark Bird Lane, Elverson, (610) 582-8773, nps.gov/hofu
5. Historic Philadelphia, Inc. – In locations throughout the historic district, modern-day visitors get the chance to experience Colonial times through immersive experiences that include period dinners, pub crawls and re-enactments. Storytellers recount lively tales at Once Upon A Nation benches sprinkled throughout the district. Independence Visitor Center, 6th & Market Streets, (215) 629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org
6. Independence National Historical Park – Open seven days a week, the iconic park tells the story of how American democracy came to be. Historic landmarks and attractions such as the Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, The President’s House and Franklin Court take visitors back to the time of the nation’s Founding Fathers. (215) 965-2305, nps.gov/inde
7. The National Constitution Center – At the only museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution, visitors can begin their journey with Freedom Rising, a 17-minute, live theatrical production about the American quest for freedom and then explore the interactive main exhibit, The Story of We the People and enjoy a Founding Fathers photo opportunity in Signers’ Hall, featuring 42 life-sized statues of the delegates who were present for the signing of the Constitution. 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6700, constitutioncenter.org
8. National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum® Through a series of interactive tours and web exhibits, visitors can learn about America’s steelmaking past, steel entrepreneur Rebecca Lukens and other heroes of the industrial heritage. A full tour of the museum isn’t complete without viewing the three mansions of the Lukens/Huston families: Brandywine Mansion, Terracina and Graystone. 50 S. 1st Avenue, Coatesville, (610) 384-9282, steelmuseum.org
9. National Museum of American Jewish History* – Located on Independence Mall, the attraction delves into the stories and contributions of Jewish people in the U.S., from early settlers to history-makers such as Albert Einstein, industry giants such as Esteé Lauder and artists and entertainers, including Barbra Streisand and Steven Spielberg. It aims to inspire in people of all backgrounds a greater appreciation for the freedoms to which Americans aspire. Four floors of artifacts, memorabilia and interactive media tell the narrative in chronological order. Bonus: Entry to the first floor is free of charge. 101 S. Independence Mall East, (215) 923-3811, nmajh.org
10. Valley Forge National Historical Park – No battles were fought in Valley Forge, but the time the Continental Army spent here went down as one of their most trying periods. Exhibits and artifacts in the Visitor Center, replicated huts and the original headquarters tell the story of the pivotal winter that George Washington and his troops endured. The 3,500-acre Valley Forge National Historical Park also includes trails and picnic areas. 1400 N. Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia, (610) 783-1000, nps.gov/vafo

Art Everywhere:
11. Barnes Foundation – Located on Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Barnes Foundation houses one of the finest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist and early modern paintings in the world, with a jaw-dropping 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, 59 Matisses and 46 Picassos, along with works by Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Degas, Seurat and Modigliani. The captivating collection also includes American paintings and decorative arts, metalwork, African sculpture and Native American textiles, jewelry and ceramics—all presented in Dr. Albert C. Barnes’ distinctive arrangements in 26 intimate rooms. 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 278-7200, barnesfoundation.org
12. Brandywine River Museum of Art – The bucolic settings that inspired much of the art on view in the galleries—rolling hills, verdant meadows and a flowing river—surround the attraction. For many, the landscape is synonymous with Andrew Wyeth, whose work is exhibited here alongside a collection of American art that includes works by N.C. and Jamie Wyeth. The museum also offers guided offsite tours of the Andrew Wyeth Studio, the N.C. Wyeth House & Studio and Kuerner Farm. 1 Hoffman’s Mill Road, Chadds Ford, (610) 388-2700, brandywinemuseum.org
13. James A. Michener Art Museum* – The museum pays homage to the beautiful Bucks County landscape—inspiration for countless artists—with a collection of regional impressionist works and an outdoor sculpture garden. The museum also hosts special exhibitions featuring the work of internationally known artists with ties to the region. Its glass-enclosed pavilion serves as the site for jazz nights and special events. 138 S. Pine Street, Doylestown, (215) 340-9800, michenerartmuseum.org
14. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts* (PAFA) – The country’s oldest art museum and school presents special exhibitions, an outstanding permanent collection of American art and work by some of the nation’s most talented contemporary artists, including PAFA alumni. The museum features treasures by luminaries Charles Willson Peale, Thomas Eakins, Nancy Spero, Elizabeth Murray and Kehinde Wiley. 118-128 N. Broad Street, (215) 972-7600, pafa.org
15. The Philadelphia Museum of Art – The vast collections of art from across the globe and through the ages—including Renaissance, American, Asian, impressionist and contemporary masterpieces—make the museum one of the most important art museums in the country. Its
impressive holdings, exhibitions, special programs and outdoor Sculpture Garden make it a cultural must-see. 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org

Museums Of All Kinds:
16. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University – At 205 years old, the academy serves as America’s oldest natural history museum. Visitors of all ages can get face to face with towering dinosaurs, wander through a tropical garden filled with live butterflies, meet live animals and see three continents of wildlife in their natural habitats. 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 299-1000, ansp.org
17. The Franklin Institute – As one of the leading science centers in the country and a prominent educational and cultural resource for Philadelphia, this popular museum demonstrates the science involved in life everywhere, from sports to space. The special exhibitions here add to 11 hands-on exhibits, such as the highly interactive Your Brain and the newly reimagined SportsZone, and is home to the Fels Planetarium; the Tuttleman IMAX® Theater; and the Joel N. Bloom Observatory. The Giant Heart, a walk-through human corpuscle that would belong to someone 220 feet tall, was one of its first attractions and remains one of the most popular. 222 N. 20th Street, (215) 448-1200, fi.edu
18. Independence Seaport Museum – Overlooking the Penn’s Landing waterfront, this museum features one of the largest maritime collections in North America. Inside, it offers two floors of antique and modern vessels to explore, hands-on exhibits, a Citizen Science Lab and a boat-building workshop. Outside, visitors can climb aboard the life-sized model pirate ship DILIGENCE and National Historic Landmark ships 1890s Cruiser OLYMPIA and World War II Submarine BECUNA. 211 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 413-8655, phillyseaport.org
19. National Liberty Museum* – This pint-size museum honors heroes of all backgrounds through the stories of everyday heroes, such as teachers, students, firefighters, police officers and others. Among the artful displays are the Jellybean Children sculpture, which celebrates diversity using colorful candies, and glass artist Dale Chihuly’s dramatic 21-ft. Flame of Liberty. 321 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-2800, libertymuseum.org
20. Penn Museum – The museum attracts visitors with a 15-ton Egyptian sphinx, surrounded by massive columns from the Palace of the Pharaoh Merenptah—all circa 1200 B.C.E.—star in a renowned international collection that includes Egyptian mummies, Chinese Buddhist and ancient Greek sculptures, monumental steles from the ancient Maya and evocative African masks. 3260 South Street, (215) 898-4000, penn.museum
21. Please Touch Museum® Recognized as one of the nation’s top children’s museums, Please Touch Museum offers children and families play-based learning experiences across more than 60,000 square feet of interactive exhibits in Fairmount Park’s National Historic Landmark Memorial Hall. Special temporary exhibits, hands-on daily programming, original theatrical performances, art-making creative spaces and more are all included with general admission. 4231 Avenue of the Republic, (215) 581-3181, pleasetouchmuseum.org

Parks, Gardens & Animals:
22. Elmwood Park Zoo – Started in 1924, the zoo features animals from around the globe, including bison, red pandas, jaguars, giraffes and zebras. Visitors love Treetop Adventures, a zip line park inside the zoo, which includes more than 50 challenging games and zip lines high in the trees. 1661 Harding Boulevard, Norristown, (610) 277-3825, elmwoodparkzoo.org
23. Franklin Square – The open-space park delights the young and not-so-young with its old-fashioned carousel, playground and Philadelphia-themed mini-golf course. When hunger strikes, visitors head to SquareBurger for sustenance (burgers, fries and Cake Shakes, made with Philadelphia’s own Tastykakes). 6th & Race Streets, historicphiladelphia.org
24. Longwood Gardens – The American botanical garden attracts visitors from around the globe to its 1,077 acres filled with 20 outdoor gardens, 20 indoor gardens, 11,000 different types of plants, spectacular fountains and picturesque meadows and woodlands. The horticultural haven also hosts 400 events each year, including flower shows, gardening demonstrations, educational programs, children’s activities, concerts and musical theater. 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, (610) 388-1000, longwoodgardens.org
25. Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania – The 92-acre garden in Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill section offers an ever-changing landscape complete with colorful gardens, champion trees and beautiful fountains. Nationally award-winning exhibit Out on a Limb takes visitors 50 feet up into treetops on a canopy walk that requires no climbing. An outdoor Garden Railway features a miniature world with model trains on a quarter-mile track, open in summer and during winter holidays. 100 E. Northwestern Avenue, (215) 247-5777, morrisarboretum.org
26. Philadelphia Zoo – Visitors will discover Zoo360, the world’s first system of see-through mesh trails that cross over pathways, connect habitats and encourage animals to travel and explore throughout the campus. So, as visitors move around the zoo, the zoo moves around them. Other wild highlights of America’s first zoo: Key Bank Big Cat Falls, PECO Primate Reserve and KidZooU, a wildlife academy of dynamic displays, rare breeds and hands-on experiences. 3400 W. Girard Avenue, (215) 243-1100, philadelphiazoo.org

More Fun:
27. McGillin’s Olde Ale House – Offering a vast beer selection, pub fare and karaoke, the popular Irish pub has been open since 1860, making it the oldest continuously operating tavern in the city—and one of the oldest in the country. Good food, reasonable prices, an impressive selection of local and regional beers on tap and warm hospitality keep patrons coming back. 1310 Drury Street, (215) 735-5562, mcgillins.com
28. Peddler’s Village – With festivals for every season, stores for every type of shopper and the just-for-kids Giggleberry Fair, the historic village packs a surprising number of activities in its bucolic, Colonial-style landscape. The Golden Plough Inn invites people to keep the fun going for multiple days. Routes 202 & 263, Lahaska, (215) 794-4000, peddlersvillage.com
29. Reading Terminal Market* – The circa 1892 and always busy market houses more than 80 vendors of farm fresh produce, meats, cheeses, herbs and ready-to-eat meals—from cheesesteaks to Amish baked goods to Greek fare. Tours are available. 12th & Arch Streets, (215) 922-2317, readingterminalmarket.org
30. SugarHouse Casino – The casino features 1,891 slots, more than 100 table games and a
28-table poker room. The seven restaurants and bars, a multi-purpose event space and a seven-story parking garage help make the attraction one of Philadelphia’s premier entertainment destinations. 1001 N. Delaware Avenue, (877) 477-3715, sugarhousecasino.com

 

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.
 

Contact(s):
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