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When it comes to visiting Philadelphia, some of the best things to see and do are free—or close to it. For families and budget-conscious travelers eager to explore the region, that’s great news. Check out the city’s many low-cost or no-cost attractions, including historic Independence Hall, student recitals at the Curtis Institute of Music, the high-tech production line of Herr’s Potato Chip Factory and the always-colorful Mummers Museum.
- Snuggled behind the east wing of Independence Hall is Philosophical Hall, a brick building erected in the late 1780s that was the nation’s first museum, national library and academy
With its cobblestone streets and original 18th- and 19th-century buildings that line the streets from the Delaware River to 7th Street and Walnut to Lombard Streets, Philadelphia’s quaint Society Hill neighborhood remains as picture-perfect today as it was hundreds of years ago. Its proximity to Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the Independence Visitor Center make it hard for visitors and locals to resist the appeal of walking the same streets the nation’s founders once strolled.
Following an era when the neighborhood was home to a number of luminaries—Samuel Powel, the first mayor of the...
Since Philadelphia’s earliest days, African-American culture has played an influential role in shaping the city’s personality. This February, Philadelphia celebrates that heritage and Black History Month with special events, exhibitions, film screenings and other activities. Visitors can join members of the esteemed Tiberino family of artists on guided tours of The Unflinching Eye: Works of the Tiberino Family Circle at The African American Museum in Philadelphia, catch the Tony Award®-winning classic Porgy and Bess at the Academy of Music or explore the path to Civil Rights at the National Constitution Center.
Here are some highlights of Philadelphia’s Black...
While Philadelphia offers a variety of authentic and top-notch attractions, exploring this vibrant city takes some planning—especially for first-time visitors. With so much to see, do and taste, it’s challenging for a novice to know where to begin. From the historic Liberty Bell to the deliciously indulgent cheesesteak, here’s a look at Philly 101:
- Independence Hall – While historical attractions abound in Philly, Independence Hall has particular significance to the development of the nation. In this building in 1776, the Founding Fathers came together to sign the Declaration of Independence. Eleven years later, representatives from a dozen
Spanish-speaking visitors to Philadelphia can feel truly welcomed at many of the region’s tourist attractions, thanks to a wealth of bilingual docents, translated audio guides and multi-lingual written materials. Each year, more than one million domestic visitors to Greater Philadelphia are of Hispanic origin. Because of this influx, the region’s historical and cultural highlights are busy making accommodations so that their Spanish-speaking guests don’t have to miss out on a thing.
- The best place to launch a visit to Philadelphia is at the Independence Visitor Center (IVC), where multilingual concierge staff can assist with all of a
- Note: Most attractions were listed in the Philadelphia Business Journal Book of Lists 2013. Those that were not are marked with an asterisk.
Historical Sites & Attractions:
- While exploring the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial, visitors can enjoy exhibitions that display artifacts from the ship’s past and play an interactive role as they follow the tour route. America’s most decorated battleship also hosts special events and overnight encampments. 62 Battleship Place, Camden, NJ, (866) 877-6262, battleshipnewjersey.org
- While historians debate Betsy Ross’ role in making the first American flag, the Betsy Ross House offers an excellent portrayal of a
Philadelphia is brimming with historical riches, and the sites and attractions that show off the city’s historic side are constantly evolving to create richer experiences for modern-day visitors. This year brings upgrades, expansions and exhibitions designed to shine a new light on Philadelphia’s well-established historical attractions.
Renovated & Renewed:
- The Pearl S. Buck Museum reopens after the completion of its eight-year interior restoration project on June 26, which would have been the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer’s 121st birthday. Tours of the national historic landmark home feature increased access to collections, including clothes that she wore, tableware and linens that
For those visitors who like to stray off the beaten path, Philadelphia is bursting with attractions that pay homage to the unusual. The region boasts a slew of delightfully quirky spots, including a bench that seems to contradict the laws of sound, the country’s largest bug museum, an anatomical model made of a human nervous system and more. Here’s a look at some of the Philadelphia-area attractions that make the region just a little delightfully weird:
Collections Of A Natural Kind:
- There’s an unsettling site at the entrance to the bookstore at Drexel University College of Medicine’s East Falls
A long list of sacred places, thanks to their history, architecture or emotional resonance, help make Philadelphia and The Countryside® an awe-inspiring place to visit. Around the region, new sites rise next to centuries-old houses of worship. Together, they provide physical testaments to the indomitable spirit of people who made great sacrifices for the liberty to worship as they please. Here’s a look at some of the region’s old and new sacred sites:
- Hundreds of thousands of visitors travel each year to pay their respects at The National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa. Guests are invited
Anglophiles rejoice: Brilliant!: The 2013 PHS Flower Show will be on view at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from March 2-10, 2013, and the best of Britain doesn’t end with the show’s exquisite themed garden displays, on view for two full weekends for the first time ever. English culture remains alive and well across the Philadelphia region, with historic sites, top-notch museum collections, pubs, tearooms, theaters and sporting events. This season makes the perfect time to explore Philly’s British treasures, and the following are just a few places to start:
Ace Sights: History & Art:
- Independence National Historical Park –
LOCATION: Center City, Philadelphia; South Philadelphia; and the suburbs
TRANSPORTATION: By foot in Center City; by taxi, Septa or car for locations beyond
TIME: An overnight
SUMMARY: Featured on visitphilly.com/itineraries, this jaunt takes visitors to many of the spots featured and mentioned in Philadelphia native Bradley Cooper’s hit film, Silver Linings Playbook. (These sites are bolded throughout the itinerary.)
12:00 noon – Ballroom at the Ben doesn’t appear in the Silver Linings Playbook until Pat’s and Tiffany’s dramatic dance competition scene at the end of the movie, but you can start your trip to Philadelphia with
If you haven’t updated your Philadelphia guidebook lately, you might be missing some major new museums and attractions. Over the past few years, the region welcomed some destination-defining—and trip-defining—attractions, including the Barnes Foundation, the renewed Rodin Museum, the National Museum of American Jewish History and The President’s House, as well as new fashionable hotels and fun festivals.
Between all their touring, visitors fuel up in a city that’s become a top dining destination, evidenced by recent multiple-page features in Travel + Leisure and Bon Appétit. The Italian Market, Reading Terminal Market, BYOB spots, red-gravy restaurants, chef-centric eateries, ethnic outposts, food...
Donna Schorr, a young-at-heart Baby Boomer
Director of Communications
Yes, I take a train ride to the city every day, and at this age, I’m no expert on late night clubbing. But I’ve lived in or near Philly for decades (never mind how many), and I can tell you a lot about great things to see and do that don’t cost a fortune. Here are some of my sentimental favorites:
- Rittenhouse Square: When I miss my dad, I visit his memorial bench in one of the most loved green spots in the city. Rittenhouse Square is the heart and soul
2012 is a year to look backward and forward in the Philadelphia region. In a nod to the past, several of the region’s cultural institutions will showcase globally revered treasures from the worlds of religion and art that date from antiquity to the 20th century. But with eyes focused on the future, the region is also embracing some of the most modern interpretive artwork ever commissioned. Plus, a number of the city’s museums are unveiling major renovations that will enable them to thrive for many years to come. Here are just 12 reasons to visit in 2012:
Greater Philadelphia pairs its annual fall events and Halloween haunts with big-name and curiously quirky exhibits—ranging from Rembrandt and Wyeth art showings to events centered around creepy crawlers, mummies and Jim Henson Company™ puppets. Plus a new month-long exhibit takes landlubbers to the sea. Here’s a look at what’s making Philadelphia and The Countryside® an exhibit town this fall:
- To mark the 100th anniversary of the publication of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, which included illustrations by Chester County artist N.C. Wyeth, the Brandywine River Museum will display all 16 paintings—the first time they will be
Girlfriends visiting Philadelphia can pack a lot into a few days. They can visit classic landmarks such as the Liberty Bell Center and also take in the region’s best restaurants, shops, nightclubs, museums and African-American heritage sites, including the Marian Anderson House. To download the itinerary, gal pals can log onto visitphilly.com.
LOCATION: Center City Philadelphia and its surrounding neighborhoods
TRANSPORTATION: Feet, public transportation, taxi
TIME: A long weekend
SUMMARY: A jam-packed tour of Philadelphia’s attractions, restaurants, shops, spas, nightspots and African-American heritage sites
HIGHLIGHTS: Old City and Rittenhouse Row shopping, The African American Museum in Philadelphia, The President’s...
The New York Times, The Washington Post & Forbes Shine A Spotlight On Philly's Diverse Neighborhoods
Five Philadelphia neighborhoods have made headlines in several national travel stories, focusing on must-see and must-do attractions, shops and restaurants beyond the city’s iconic Liberty Bell. Here’s a look at what some of the country’s most-read publications—The New York Times, The Washington Post and Forbes—had to say about Philly’s diverse neighborhoods:
- The historic houses of Germantown and local dining spots got the star treatment in The New York Times’ Frugal Traveler blog post, published on May 3. The articles highlighted the Johnson House, Wyck Historic House and Garden, Cliveden, Stenton, Deshler-Morris House and the oft-overlooked Grumblethorpe, along
Philadelphia’s countryside boasts a welcoming array of fun and easy side trips, all within an hour’s drive or train ride from the city’s Gayborhood. Spend the day enjoying lunch and a stroll along the Delaware River in New Hope, perusing the iconic landscapes of Andrew Wyeth at the Brandywine River Museum, hiking the miles of trails at Valley Forge National Historical Park or shopping for high-end goods at the King of Prussia Mall. (Don’t forget: There’s no sales tax on clothing or shoes in Pennsylvania.)
Here’s a look at eight close-by excursions to consider:
Destination: New Hope
Directions: One-hour drive
A generation of 78 million strong, Baby Boomers travel more frequently than older and younger generations, according to global market research firm Mintel. Philadelphia and The Countryside® welcomes them warmly with special discounts for tours, museums and attractions. Here’s a look at some of the many money-saving offers available for mature travelers:
- The Phlash Downtown Loop, which runs between Penn’s Landing and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, stops at more than 20 popular destinations. Ages 65+ always ride free. (215) 389-8687, visitphilly.com/phlash
- Big Bus Tours depart seven days a week from Historic Philadelphia. Riders can hop on
Philadelphia, which recently marked the 40th anniversary of its vibrant Gayborhood, continues to come out as one of the nation’s top travel destinations for gay and lesbian visitors. As reflected in its award-winning Philadelphia – Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay® campaign, the region has become the place to learn about America’s past by day and to experience a little of the party life by night. Philadelphia is now tied for the #9 spot on the list of most-visited gay and lesbian destinations on Community Marketing, Inc.’s annual LGBT Tourism Study, and it’s tied for #2 among...