The City of Brotherly Love, the former U.S. capital, and the home the Philly cheesesteak, Benjamin Franklin and Rocky Balboa: Philadelphia is all this and more.
Popularly known as “Philly,” Philadelphia is the fifth-largest city in the United States, sitting one and a half hours away from New York City and two and a half hours from Washington, D.C. With great shopping, dining, history and art, it’s no wonder Philadelphia was selected by the New York Times as one of the 52 places to go in 2015.
Cradle of Democracy, Symbol of History
In Philadelphia, you can reach pretty much anything by walking. Start your trip of the city by visiting Independence National Historical Park. All you’ve heard about American democracy is summed up here, as it is home to several historical monuments, including Independence Hall, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known as one of the top attractions in Philadelphia, this is where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.
Just steps away is the Liberty Bell, another top attraction in Philadelphia and a symbol of democracy across the city and the country. More democratic still is the price of admission: Free.
Right Out of the Movies
Philadelphia has long been the topic of songs, and the focal point of Hollywood movies. While visiting the city, take on one of the most iconic locations in the city, The Rocky Steps. Put on your headphones, turn on the “Rocky” movie theme song and join numerous other tourists making the famous mad dash up the 72 steps that lead to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Don’t forget to do the obligatory celebration at the top: Throw your arms above your head and punch into the air. While you catch your breath, enjoy the amazing view of the city’s skyline.
Vibrant Arts Scene
After taking on The Rocky Steps, step inside the Philadelphia Museum of Art and marvel at more than 200 galleries containing over 227,000 objects from around the world. From classical paintings to street art, Philadelphia is a mecca for anyone who loves art and the artists themselves.
After the museum, take a 10-minute stroll along Museum Mile to visit The Barnes Foundation, home to one of the finest and largest private art collections of early and post-impressionist paintings in the world. See masterpieces by renowned artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Renoir and many others.
The art in Philly is not limited to museums. Over 3,800 murals can be seen all over the city. Street art is officially supported through the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. Anyone who wants to know more about the history of the paintings should get a tour guide. They are happy to tailor tours according to your interests.
Plan a Shopping Spree
Philly has been named the second-best shopping city in the world by Condé Nast Traveler. As a major metropolis, it has many options to load up on fun items and staples. In addition, tax-free shopping on clothes and shoes makes a big difference in the checkout line. While you are still downtown, stroll over to Century 21, which offers up to 65 percent off retail prices and is the perfect place to spend some time. Check out Macy’s, the largest department store chain in the United States with the most sought-after brands; they offer a 10 percent discount to international customers. Macy’s Center City is in the beautiful Historic Wanamaker Building, where you’ll also find the world’s largest functioning pipe organ, so you can shop while listening to the music of a rare treasure.
Dining Options Abound
When your belly needs attention, walk to Reading Terminal Market, which is just a few minutes away from Macy’s. It’s the oldest continuously operating indoor farmer’s market in the United States. There are so many classic dishes that is hard to choose one from among the more than 80 vendors. Try the Down Home Diner for delicious breakfast options.
Head to Rittenhouse Square and lay out a blanket to enjoy a picnic. The square is full of locals, tourists, street performers and entertainers. From here, you can cross the street and grab an outside seat at Stephen Starr’s Parc Restaurant or head over to The Continental Midtown.
City of Brotherly Love
What is most distinct about Philadelphia is the people who clearly love their city. Wherever you go, you will always meet friendly people. One of the big meeting points is the Independence Beer Garden, right next to the Independence National Historical Park. Here, bring your friends and mingle with the locals.
Philadelphia has so much to see and discover. With luxurious accommodations, including the Sonesta Philadelphia Downtown Hotel, available in addition to pedestrian-friendly walkways, beautiful street cafés and famous cultural attractions, the city of Philadelphia surprises and delights visitors at every turn.