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    What to see in Philadelphia: places of interest and attractions to visit

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    Lluis Enric Mayans
    @lluisenricmayans
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    wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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    Imagine bringing a person you care about a lot to your city for the first time. In addition to the places of greatest interest, you will surely show her what you like best, the one that is most dear to you: the heart of the city. Well, you can't go to the United States without knowing where America's heart started beating. This is Philadelphia, a beating heart from which the New World has arisen. But once you get there Philadelphia, what to see?



    Hometown of Louisa May Alcott, Andy Warhol and Grace Kelly, it's an elegant and vibrant city full of things to do. Precisely in 2015 it entered the UNESCO list as a World Heritage Site for its important historical and cultural value. To understand what to see in Philly (as Americans affectionately call it) we must first know how the city is arranged, which could be divided into two parts: the first, theOld Town, stands on the bank of the Delaware River and is the area where the historical attractions are concentrated; the other, crossed by the Schuylkill River, is theUniversity City, the modern neighborhood that looks just like a university town.

    Index

    • The park of history
    • Romantic places to fall in love with:
      • Society Hill e Elfreth’s Alley
    • Leisure 
      • Philadelphia Zoo and Rittenhouse Square
      • Adventure Aquarium
      • One Liberty Observation
    • The main museum of Philadelphia and the Rocky Staircase
    • The street of artists
    • Visit Philadelphia with organized tours
      • Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour
      • The Founding Fathers Tour and the Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia
      • An evening on a cruise
    • Philadelphia Pass
    • Tour around Philadelphia
      • Round trip to The Big Apple
      • Lancaster: the Amish community
    • How to find accommodation?

    The park of history

    THEOld city starts at the point where theIndependence National Historical Park which has been called "the square mile richest in history in all of America". Without a doubt, you cannot come to Philadelphia without seeing a park so full of places of interest. The first stop I recommend is the Liberty Bell Center, where there is the bronze bell whose tolling accompanied the first reading of the Declaration of Independence. In addition to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Congress Hall and the Benjamin Franklin Museum are definitely worth seeing. In short, the things to see are countless, the 22 hectares of park are a real concentration of American history.



    Romantic places to fall in love with:

    Society Hill e Elfreth’s Alley

    The old city formed the original nucleus of Philadelphia along with Society Hill, the refined residential neighborhood with red brick houses, stately doors and the American flag affixed to the windows. The buildings date back to the eighteenth century and hiding in the streets of the neighborhood will really make you enter the history of this city, sensing all the meaning so dear to Americans.

    If you liked Society Hill you'll love it Elfreth’s Alley which resembles an English street of the 1800s told by the Brönte sisters. IS a pretty cobbled street that boasts the reputation of being nothing less than America's oldest street. Your partner will be grateful to you for eternity. But there's a prize for men too: Did you recognize the places where Eddie Murphy's hilarious scenes in Armchair for Two are set?

    Leisure 

    Philadelphia Zoo and Rittenhouse Square

    Philadelphia means history but also fun. Lo Philadelphia Zoo, the first in America, and if you are not yet tired the central one Rittenhouse Square, also known as “the living room of the city”, it promises endless things to do and will make you rest from shopping.

    Among the clubs in the area, Chris’ Jazz Club, famous for listening to live music, the Rumor and the Fado Irish Pub. But also great places to eat, like Thin beak, considered to be the best restaurant in town o Mama Palmas, a small place famous for its wood-fired pizza.


    Adventure Aquarium

    What child doesn't dream of celebrating their birthday among the fascinating inhabitants of the ocean? At the Adventure Aquarium this dream can come true. Not only that: in addition to booking a birthday party, in this magical place you can even choose to celebrate your wedding!


    An ideal place for families where children can feed the penguins or watch the hippos go to sleep, as well as see the exotic turtles and the king of the sea: the shark.

    One Liberty Observation

    There is no better place to see Philadelphia thanpanoramic observatory. From here you can orient yourself not only thanks to the view but also through touch screen monitors that allow you to understand where the places of interest in Philadelphia are located and evaluate their distance. Convenient especially for those who have little time to dedicate to the city: in this way you can observe it all together in one fell swoop.

    Tickets for the Observatory

    The main museum of Philadelphia and the Rocky Staircase

    Half an hour from Rittenhouse Square is the city's most important museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art with the works of Picasso, Duchamp and Matisse. If you see people running up and down the steps to be photographed by friends, don't be afraid: if you haven't noticed, you are right on the set of the legendary film. Rocky, shot in 1976. Fans from all over the world come not only to fulfill a dream and climb Sylvester Stallone's stairs but also to take a photo under the statue of the most important boxer in the history of cinema.


    The statue was made during the filming of Rocky III and was placed at the top of the Museum staircase. Although much loved by fans, the citizens of Philadelphia never liked it, so much so that their protests made it move from the Museum to the Spectrum, the basketball arena that also appeared in the film. Lately the statue has returned to its original place even if at the bottom of the steps but this does not seem to upset the fans who start their run along the 72 steps just saying goodbye to their idol.


    Tickets to the Philadelphia Museum

    The street of artists

    Full of clubs, shops of all kinds and restaurants, South Street will make you fall in love. Close your eyes and imagine you are in New York's Greenwich Village; maybe smaller but the romantic and a bit bohemian atmosphere is the same. Among the things to do in Philadelphia, the walk in the street of the artists, near the shipyard, is definitely worth it. If only to get to the Magic Garden, an enchanted garden in which works of all kinds are exhibited together with the mosaics of the artist Isaiah Zagar.

    Visit Philadelphia with organized tours

    Said so perhaps it seems like many things and, in fact, Philadelphia offers endless attractions, not only of a historical nature. Actually this is a city that, if well organized, can be visited in a couple of days, take a look at best selling tours it might help you. If, on the other hand, you prefer to rely solely and exclusively on your own strength, you can take a look at our tips on how to get around Philadelphia by public transport.

    Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour

    The panoramic tour on board the bus: minimum effort for an excellent result. A fully commented tour with 27 stops to see (including Liberty Bell, Elfreth's Alley, Independence Hall, City Hall, Chinatown, South Street and many more) without moving a muscle other than the finger that will take photographs.
    To view the route on board the bus, click on the button below:

    Info sul Tour

    The Founding Fathers Tour and the Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia

    Both retrace the historical itineraries of the city, you will have the opportunity to see the places where America was made, from the Liberty Bell to the Declaration House, passing by the home of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and William Penn, the man who founded Philly. You can choose between the Founding Fathers tour and the Constitutional Walking Tour oh Philadelphia.

    An evening on a cruise

    Last but not least, the enjoyable part. An evening aboard a cruise ship with dinner, music and the magical Philadelphia skyline before your eyes. An evocative experience that will give you another point of view of the city.

    Philadelphia Pass

    But how do you understand which is the best itinerary to visit Philadelphia without risking to put too much meat on the fire? The danger is precisely that, of not knowing where to start and then biting your hands for having missed stops such as the Adventure Aquarium, the Rocky staircase or the Zoo. For this reason there are Philadelphia Passes that help to better organize the trip : they consist of a package of attractions sold at a cheaper price than the single itinerary, and therefore more convenient.

    Tour around Philadelphia

    Round trip to The Big Apple

    One of the things you can do if you are in Philadelphia is to go to New York. Its proximity allows you to make a "jump" at any time and in fact every moment is good to see The Big Apple.

    From downtown Philadelphia (30th Street Station) there is a daily tour to visit La City and come back the same evening. Arriving in the heart of the city will allow you to go to the most famous places, such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and the Freedom Tower.

    Info sul Tour

    Lancaster: the Amish community

    In the Dutch Country, east of Lancaster, live the religious communities of Pennsylvania Amish, visiting their county will be like taking a journey through time of more than a hundred years: the faithful of this community do not use electricity and move in horse-drawn carriages and lead a life centered on the precepts of the Bible. Now there are almost more tourists than inhabitants, so their lifestyle has become of public interest. At the button below you will find directions to visit the Dutch Country from Philadelphia.

    Info sul Tour

    How to find accommodation?

    The city is teeming with hotels and hostels but since the neighborhoods are so different from each other, you'll have to figure out if you prefer to stay overnight in the Old City, close to the historical points of interest, or in the charm of the old colonial-era buildings, on South Street. or among the luxury shops of Rittenhouse Square. For more information on the subject, I suggest you take a look at our article on where to sleep in Philadelphia, with all the advice on the best areas to find accommodation.

    As you may have guessed, this is a city that has many faces; undoubtedly the historical one is its main one but if you have the opportunity to know it thoroughly you will discover a lively, young and romantic Philadelphia. A stop not to be missed for lovers of the States: if you include it in your trip you can certainly say that you have visited the city where America was born!

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