As the fifth largest city in the United States—and the second largest on the East Coast—Philadelphia has all the amenities you would expect, including world-class cuisine and every type of overnight accommodation. But its compact, walkable downtown area and friendly citizens make travellers feel like they have arrived in a country town—or, as the locals like to call it, the smallest big city in the U.S.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Highlights
Don't leave without tasting...
The Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwich, sliced rib-eye beef served on a long white roll with melted cheese. As for who makes the best one, the debate never ends.
Where locals go to relax
Fairmount Park, the largest urban park in the world, has more than 215 miles of trails, including the Schuylkill River Trail, which includes a 26-mile paved path between downtown and surrounding suburbs.
You might be surprised by...
Among the tree-lined residential streets of the artist-friendly Parkway Museums District stands the foreboding Eastern State Penitentiary. Once the nation’s largest prison, the 182-year-old fortress is now one of the area’s spookiest sites. Day, evening and haunted tours are available—but the most popular time to visit is the autumn, when the museum is transformed into one of the nation’s top-rated haunted houses.
Want to stay up late?
- Those in the mood for playful, creative cocktails and a retro house party atmosphere should visit the Penthouse Bar at Continental Midtown
- Try your hand at bowling in state-of-the-art lanes at Lucky Strike
- One of the most modern lounges in the city, G Lounge, has an evolving atmosphere due to moveable wall panels and ‘electronic wallpaper’
- Buffalo Billiards and Metropolitan Lounge are great for a game of pool a beer or a martini.
Your child will always remember...
The city’s children’s museum, The Please Touch Museum, reopened in 2009 in a much larger location, Memorial Hall. It features six exhibit zones, filling more than 38,000 square feet of space highlighted by a 40-foot ‘replica’ of the Statue of Liberty’s Arm and Torch, made completely of toys.
The vast collections of Renaissance, American and Impressionist art make the Philadelphia Museum of Art one the country’s most important museums. Plus, you can sprint up the ‘Rocky Steps’ featured in the Rocky films as if you’re Rocky Balboa. Or head over to the Rodin Museum, home to the largest Auguste Rodin collection outside of Paris.
Don't overlook this...
The sweet and sexy music of Gamble and Huff, natives of the region, is known as ‘The Sound of Philadelphia’. Their repertoire includes well-known and much-loved songs such as ‘Love Train’, ‘Me and Mrs. Jones’ and ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’. You can experience some of the duo’s famous work at The Sound of Philadelphia Souvenir Shop, beneath Philadelphia International Records. You can even step into the recording booth and lay down your own track!
- The upmarket Rittenhouse Row and diverse Walnut Street Shopping District offer high-end boutiques, discount chains and specialty shops
- For a one-stop location, head to The Shops at Liberty Place
- Or wander over to the Piazza at Schmidt’s in the Northern Liberties for hip boutiques.
History happened here
- Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence was signed and the U.S. Constitution was adopted
- The Liberty Bell Center showcases the famous cracked bell against the backdrop of Independence Hall
- Betsy Ross’s House offers an excellent portrayal of a working-class woman’s life in Colonial America
- Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continually inhabited street in America, features quaint brick homes that offer a peek into colonial America
- The National Constitution Center explores one of the most influential documents in the history of the world.
- View the scenic areas of eastern Pennsylvania by hot-air balloon
- Go skydiving!
- Swim with sharks and feed the stingrays at Adventure Aquarium
Trip Ideas Near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Official Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Travel Site
Official Philadelphia Travel Information