If you would’ve asked me this time last year what I know about Philadelphia, the truth is I would’ve said: absolutely nothing. Next confession is that if you ask me why I chose to go there in the first place, my answer would be: money. At the time, it was simply the cheapest option for a 4 day trip mid-summer.
I’m very happy we chose Philadelphia because the verdict is that this city has something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff wanting to learn more about our country, someone searching for an artsy scene, and everything in between.
I’ve since then discovered that Philadelphia is the 5th largest city in the U.S; a fact not hard to believe because we spent 4 full days and never ran out of things to do or see. Follow along below to see the itinerary I followed to explore the most of this city:
Liberty Bell- Liberty Bell is as symbolic to Philly as the statue of Liberty is to NYC. No trip would be complete without snapping a picture.
If you come across arched gates you know you are now entering Philadelphia’s Chinatown. The gate, Chinatown Friendship Gate, is a symbol of the cultural trade between Philadelphia and their sister city Tianjin. Although not the largest in the U.S, it is worth a stroll through its eclectic shops and restaurants. Don’t forget to stop by Frozen to indulge in fried ice cream and watch in awe as they make it.
Conveniently across the street from the Liberty Bell you will find Independence Hall. The birthplace of the Declaration of Independence. Although the entrance is free, you do need a ticket. I visited during a particularly busy time of year so tickets were sold out, but you can still admire it from the outside.
Tips: You can get a free ticket from the Independence visitor center which opens daily from 8:30am, grab a ticket as soon as you can in order to avoid long lines or tickets running out.
A trip to Philly is not complete without taking a picture with the iconic love sculpture.
Tips: The sculpture’s location is usually Love Park but it is currently going through renovations. You will find it in Dilworth Park until spring 2017.
Spruce Street Harbor Park-
If you are ever in Philadelphia during the summer time you must visit this park! This pop-up park features colorful string lights, hammocks, and its a super fun and cute way to spend your day/night. You will find various options for food/drinks. The whole place has a very artsy feel to it. You might even spot this huge beach chair, take advantage to snap some pictures!
Philadelphia Mint & National Constitution Center-
Spend your morning learning how money is made. Then cross over to the Constitution Center to learn more about our Constitution using artifacts and high-tech exhibits.
Tips: No pictures are allowed in the U.S Mint
Eastern State Penitentiary-
Have a chance to tour this 11-acre prison that once held Al Capone. You’ll be able to take a look inside prison blocks, isolation rooms, and marvel at the wagon-wheel floor plan. A must do. Truth be told, I wanted to skip this tour (fear it would be too boring) and it ended up being one of my favorite things to see.
Philadelphia Museum of Art-
Beautiful museum to stroll through, but beware, it is huge. We walked through it at a very fast pace and even then it took us quite a couple hours to see it all.
No trip to Philly would be complete without running up the legendary Rocky steps.
Head over to this science museum and you are guaranteed to lose track of time. Interactive activities, a planetarium, and even a gigantic heart that you can walk through!
Just across the Ben Franklin Bridge, you will find yourself in Camden, NJ. Although this isn’t exactly in Philadelphia, you will find many sites that refer to this waterfront spot a Philly attraction due to its close proximity.
Tips- There are multiple ways to get to Camden.
Take a Ferry ride aboard the Freedom Philadelphia.
Walk across the Ben Franklin Bridge
Take an uber or lyft ride (see below to receive $ off your first ride)
A cute spot to spend an hour or so learning about our underwater friends.
Battleship New Jersey-
If you only do one thing in Camden, do this. You can explore the ship and its many narrow passageways. The ship is HUGE; about 3 football fields to be exact. Once inside, it will feel like you’re in a maze. You get around using colored arrows that are on the floor. We spent hours explore every nook and cranny. You will definitely get your money’s worth, and many pictures too.
Tips- It gets really hot in some areas of the ship so make sure to bring some water with you.
One Liberty Observation Deck-
Next, head back and explore Philadelphia from the 57th floor. You will have spectacular views of the city and it makes for great pictures! You’ll even find a towering statue of Benjamin Franklin.
Sugar House Casino-
To end the night, visit to Sugar House Casino. As an added bonus they will give first time visitors $25 to play and sometimes even a $10 credit towards food. If you’ve never visited a casino, beware, its addicting; even a money-conscious traveler like me had trouble stopping.
So you still have a couple hours to spend in Philly before departing?
Walk the streets-
Whether you walk through the old city or the more modern downtown area, just stroll and take in the sights! It’s definitely a beautiful city.
Philadelphia Magic Gardens-
End your trip on a great note and visit this hidden gem. It’s crazy what creativity can do and this place proves just that. The price might seem a little high for the amount of time it takes to explore the whole place, but the intrigue was worth it for me.
I’m also happy to report that it did not break the bank either, click here to find out exactly what I spent on attractions for 4 days.
Did you find this post helpful? Have you ever visited Philadelphia? Comment below!
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