Explore Philadelphia

Explore Philadelphia
Philadelphia, commonly known as Philly, is the largest city in Pennsylvania. It is known for its “brotherly love” which is the translation of “Philadelphia” in Greek. The city was founded by William Penn, who was a member of the Quakers who wanted this “colony” to be free from religious persecution – where anyone could worship any religion. With this very liberal attitude for the time, it makes sense that Philadelphia is the birthplace for the Constitution. One of the most historically significant cities in the United States, Philadelphia has proudly preserved many of the 17th century buildings frequented by the founding fathers.

The Old City district is where you’ll find the roots of American Independence. Between 6th Street and the Delaware River, major sights include landmarks such as the Liberty Bell, Constitution Hall, and many art galleries and fashion type businesses. South Philly is the area for sports lovers, where you can find Philly cheesesteaks, plenty of sports bars, the Sports Complex, and an all time favourite, the Italian Market. The City Centre East is where you’ll find the gorgeous City Hall, China Town, and Washington Square. Further west is the museum area and Rittenhouse Square which is a popular nightspot for bars and restaurants. It’s a great area for outdoor restaurants and candlelit dinners, surrounded by natural landscapes.

Benjamin Parkway
Old City Philadelphia
City Hall, Philadelphia

Places to Visit in Philadelphia

  • Independence Hall
  • Liberty Bell
  • Eastern State Penitentiary
  • Franklin Square
  • Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Unique Things to See and Do in Philadelphia

  • Walk through Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
  • Explore the pizza culture at the Pizza Brain
  • Strike the chime like rocks at Ringing Rocks Park
  • Check out the Whispering Bench at Longwood Gardens

Philly’s Constitutional Walking Tour

One the principle reasons for travelling to Philadelphia, aside from the great taverns, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, and Irish potato candy, is to explore the grounds and footsteps of the founding fathers of the United States. The city has put together a self-guided walking tour, called the Constitutional Walking Tour, which will take you through all the major sights. During the 18th & 19th centuries, there were so many major events that took place that the information becomes overloaded with too many facts all at once. And similar to reading a Grade 9 history text book – it lacks context and interesting stories. This is where a guide can fill in the gaps, but make sure your guide will point out  the good eating spots and some activities for after the tour! Philadelphia is a pretty friendly city, so asking locals where’s a good spot for lunch is always the best way to go!

The Constitutional Walking Tour will take you through the National Constitution Centre, then over to The President’s House and Independence Mall. This is where presidents George Washington and John Adams lived when Philadelphia was the capital of the United States. Next on the list is The Liberty Bell which is where the first public reading of The Declaration of Independence took place. The streets are bit crowded so watch your footing, but make sure to look up at some of the older buildings. There’s a real contrast between the older buildings intermixed with newer modern highrises. There are over 32 stops along the way with all the historic buildings highlighted.

Getting Around Philadelphia

Philadelphia is ranked as one of the top walkable cities in the United States because of its easy layouts and there’s so much to keep you entertained. The city centre is a condensed grid system with most of the major sights concentrated into the Old City. Biking through Philly is another option as the city has over 60 bike rental stations. If you’d prefer a less strenuous option, then using public transit is the way to go. SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) is a network of buses, subways, and trolley’s. The Market-Frankford Line connects the Old City, the Historic District, Chinatown, University City and more. Of course, you have to jump on a trolley at least once while you’re here! Taxi’s are always an option too.

Best Time of Year to Travel to Philadelphia

Like most of the eastern states in the United States, the best time of year to visit is during the summertime. The temperatures are warmer, the sights are running at full hours, and cities are bursting with activities and events. Of course, this means you’ll experience quite a bit more in the way of crowds too.

Did you know…?

The Library of Congress, the first library in the United States, was established by Benjamin Franklin.

Library of Congress

Did you ALSO know…?

The Philadelphia Zoo was the first zoo established in the United States – it was created in 1874 it covers over 42 acres.

Philadelphia Zoo
High season runs from June to August with temperatures ranging from 20˚C to 31˚C. Bring light clothing suitable for higher humidities. During the winter months, the crowds are fewer and temperatures drop down to anywhere between -5˚C to 7˚C, and you can expect some snowfall too. The shoulder seasons are shorter but beautiful with moderate temperatures hovering around 10-15˚C mark from March till April and then from October through November.

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