Find Flights to Philadelphia
The social and geographical center of the original 13 American
colonies, Philadelphia is home to some of its most venerated historic
sites, like Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Its hospital was first
in the nation, Philadelphia Zoo is the oldest in the U.S., and the
Philadelphia Inquirer is the third-oldest surviving daily newspaper in
First-time visitors may be surprised to learn that Philadelphia
is also home to the world's largest municipal park, one of the best
collections of public art in the U.S., a plethora of architectural
styles (this is the city where the row house originated) and many
Now the sixth most populous city in the U.S, it is one of the few
that boasts teams in four major sports: the Philadelphia Eagles (NFL),
the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL), the Philadelphia Phillies (MLB), and the
Philadelphia 76ers (NBA). The city's sports fans have a reputation for
being especially passionate.
The Philadelphia tourism market caters
to history buffs, but the city also has enough attractions to satisfy
visitors who never even get to its historic sites. Its bustling
restaurants and bars serve up far more than the obligatory cheese steak
or cheesecake made from Philadelphia cream cheese - practically every
nationality is reflected in its populace and restaurants. Areas such as
South Street and Old City have a vibrant nightlife, and Irish pubs
One of America's most walkable cities,
Philadelphia has two pedestrian-friendly shopping districts. Its
easy-to-walk Benjamin Franklin Parkway is home to museums like the
Franklin Institute and the Museum of Art, which was made famous in the
"Rocky" films. Philadelphia's neighborhoods are divided into large
sections -- North, Northeast, Northwest, West, South and Southwest
Philadelphia -- all of which surround Center City (downtown), the
city's compact main area for culture, arts and dining.
Major historic sites include Independence Hall, where the Declaration
of Independence was signed, and the Liberty Bell. Others include homes
for Edgar Allan Poe, Betsy Ross and Thaddeus Kosciuszko; Fort Mifflin;
and the Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church National Historic Site.
When to Go
The most popular time to visit is
during summer, when kids are on school break. The Fourth of July
weekend in particular is very busy. Spring and fall tend to have more
moderate temperatures and fewer crowds, and consequently lower prices.
During winter, tourists should note that some of the city's tours
close. The first weekend in December, the city hosts the annual
How to Get There
Philadelphia is accessible by
car, train, bus or airplane. It is a two-hour drive from New York City,
90 minutes from Baltimore, three hours from Washington D.C. and about
an hour from Atlantic City. Amtrak provides service along the Northeast
Corridor, and the city is a hub for Greyhound. More than 25 airlines
serve Philadelphia International Airport, including low-cost carrier
Eastern State Penitentiary is an
abandoned, sprawling Gothic prison complex with church-like cells. It
was built in 1829, based on the assumption that solitary confinement is
good for the soul.
Liberty Bell, now old and cracked
despite numerous attempts at repair, is nevertheless a profound sight.
Liberty Bell Center is open daily except Christmas, and free to the
Rittenhouse Square in Center City is a lovely
tree-filled park with plenty of benches, surrounded by an affluent
community with many architecturally notable buildings and popular
restaurants. It is considered one of the best-used public spaces in the
U.S., and a central meeting places for residents from all walks of
Philadelphia Museum of Art features the "Rocky"
statue outside the entrance -- a tribute to the movie hero's charge up
the stairs. Once inside, visitors will find 225,000 other works,
including medieval armor, colonial portraits and several Van Goghs.
Italian Market, the largest outdoor market in the U.S., has
dozens of vendors along with gourmet shops and restaurants. Its butcher
shops and bakers are a throwback to another era. An incredibly strong
Italian heritage is complemented today by an increasingly international
feel, with Mexican, Vietnamese, Korean barbecue and Thai food among the
many cuisines represented. It is also home to two famous cheese steak
purveyors, Geno's and Pat's.