Whether you’re seeking a place to relax, eat, drink or learn about American history, Philadelphia is the ultimate destination. Located just 141 miles from Washington DC and 94 miles from New York City, Philadelphia is easily accessible by train or car in three hours.
We’ve gathered a few of our favorite places to visit, eat, and stay including useful tips in this weekend guide to Philadelphia. It’ll help you plan your trip to the City of Brotherly Love.
Places to visit:
1. The Rocky Statue and the Rocky Steps
Remember the scene where Rocky ran up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art? You can do that too at the “Rocky Steps” of the museum. Run up the 72 steps and don’t forget to pose in front of the Rocky III sculptor.
2. Liberty Bell
It’s free to visit Liberty Bell, but there’s always a long line at the Liberty Bell Center. According to NPS, no tickets are required, but the entrance is on a first-come, first-served basis.
3. Independence Hall
It’s the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Before visiting, pick up free timed tickets at the Independence Visitor Center at 599 Market Street. Go early to the visitor center especially during peak season, as tickets may not be available.
For your convenience, NPS offers reserved tickets online for a reservation fee of just $1.50. Bring your confirmation letter to the Visitor Center for your reserved tickets on the day of your visit.
4. Reading Terminal Market
America’s oldest farmers’ market is also the place for Philly cheesesteaks, fresh produce from Amish merchants and Beiler’s Doughnuts.
5. Pennsylvania Hospital
Tour America’s first hospital, founded in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond. The hospital has a 45-minute guided tour, and you must reserve a spot by calling 215-829-3370 between 9 am to 4 pm on from Monday to Friday. Though its free, the hospital suggests a $4 donation per visitor.
6. The Book Trader
If you like hunting for rare books or vintage vinyl, go to The Book Trader. You’ll never know what’s in there. This over 40-year-old bookstore is cluttered, but it has lots of charm.
7. Christ Church and the Burial Ground
Walk the burial ground or view Benjamin Franklin’s grave from the sidewalk through the railings. The church was founded in 1695 and was the home church for some of the founding fathers.
8. Betsy Ross House
The founding fathers consisted of a group of men, but the first American flag was made by the famous female seamstress, Betsy Ross. Visit her 18th century home with exhibits of her family treasures. The house is open daily from March 1 to November 30.
9. One Liberty Observation Deck
Get a 360-degree view of Philadelphia at the city’s tallest building. The observation deck is open daily from 10 am to 8 pm.
10. The Franklin Institute
Kids would love the hands-on exhibitions at The Franklin Institute. There’s always something different at Institute. From September 30, 2017, to March 4, 2018, check out the Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor of China.
What to eat and drink:
1. Philly cheesesteak
Taste the city’s iconic Philly cheesesteak, a crusty sandwich roll filled with melted cheese and thinly sliced sautéed beef. Read Authentic Philly Cheesesteak to learn how to order yours.
2. Soft pretzels
Philly style soft pretzels were introduced by the German settlers in the 18th century. Try one with mustard when you visit Philadelphia. At Miller’s Twist in Reading Terminal Market, their hand-rolled pretzels come in many flavors including chicken cheesesteak.
3. Craft beer
VisitPhilly.com has a list of 64 places where you can go for craft beer in Philadelphia.
Where to stay:
1. Hilton Penns Landing
It’s the only waterfront hotel located along the Delaware River with easy access to the highway without the midtown congestions. Located only a 15-minute walk from the Independence Hall, the hotel offers ample parking spaces for guests at $32 per night for self-parking and $44 for valet parking.
2. Sheraton Philadelphia University City
Located on the University of Pennsylvania campus, this hotel is ideal for families visiting the various colleges. It’s only six miles from the Philadelphia International Airport.
3. The Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square
For a hip and historic hotel, consider the Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square. It’s listed as one of the National Registry of Historic Places and minutes from the city’s nightlife and excellent restaurants.
Philadelphia or Philly for short is a destination for a solo traveler, couples, and family with kids. If you’re staying longer, we recommend spending time at the Parkway Museums District, South Philadelphia, North Philadelphia and Northwest Philadelphia.