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Five Things You Have to Do When You Visit Philadelphia

Between the Schuylkill River (foreground) and Center City Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has been a landmark since 1928. The institution is the home of internationally renowned exhibitions and a major permanent collection of Renaissance, American, impressionist and more art.

Philadelphia, the birthplace of American independence, is a vibrant city that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and modern attractions. Visitors from the UK may be familiar with some of its legendary food or maybe a fan of the city from watching a lot of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia! 

Now, planning a vacation is always going to be a bit stressful. You won’t have forgotten the travel chaos from last year, and you’ll probably be keeping an eye on the airports to make sure that you’re not getting into anything too difficult. The good news is that Philadelphia is on the shorter end of the long-distance flight bracket, with plane times clocking in at around eight hours. And there are so many different experiences to explore once you get there.

1. Immerse Yourself in History at Independence National Historical Park

No trip to Philadelphia is complete without a visit to Independence National Historical Park. Philadelphia was one of the most important cities in America’s history and was actually the capital until 1800. That means that you are not going to be short on important historical landmarks to see, and the Independence National Historical Park is home to a lot of them. You can pay a visit to Independence Hall, where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted. It’s well worth a guided tour to learn about the history of these hallowed halls and see the famous Liberty Bell nearby. You haven’t really been to Philadelphia unless you’ve seen the Liberty Bell!

Next to Independence Hall, you’ll find the National Constitution Centre. It’s a museum dedicated to exploring the United States Constitution and its impact on American society. Immerse yourself in interactive exhibits, multimedia presentations, and engaging programs that shed light on the foundations of the nation.

2. Explore the Artistic Side at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Of course, Philadelphia is not all about American history. It’s been a thriving art capital for centuries, and a visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a must. This iconic institution houses an extensive collection of artworks spanning various periods and styles, including pieces by renowned artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, and Picasso. Marvel at the masterpieces on display, take a guided tour or participate in special exhibitions and events. Philly is also a city of murals, so keep an eye out as you’re making your way around for some incredible splashy artwork!

Oh, and while you’re at the Museum of Art, don’t forget to make your way up the museum’s famous steps. You might also know them as the “Rocky Steps,” so it’s kind of essential for every tourist to recreate Sly Stallone’s run-up them! You can lift your arms in the air once you reach the top and take in the city’s amazing skyline.

3. Indulge in the Local Food Scene

Philadelphia is arguably most famous outside of the US for its culinary delights. You’ll find a variety of mouth-watering dishes to satisfy your taste buds, but you’re going to want to start with the most famous. Start your day with a classic Philly cheesesteak, a sandwich filled with thinly sliced beef and melted cheese, served on a crusty roll. Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks are two iconic spots known for their cheesesteaks, but there are many other local eateries to explore. If you’ve only ever had a Philly cheesesteak in the UK, then any local will tell you that you’ve never really had one. Just wait for the taste sensation, you won’t be disappointed!

Another must-try Philadelphia speciality is the soft pretzel. These twisted, salted dough treats are best enjoyed fresh from a street vendor or bakery. Pair it with a side of mustard for an authentic experience.

For dessert, indulge in a Philadelphia-style ice cream known as “water ice” or “wooder ice.” This frozen treat has a smooth, slushy texture and comes in various flavours, providing a refreshing respite on a warm day. Remember, you ran up the Rocky steps, so you deserve a treat!

4. Take Downtime Entertainment With You

While exploring the city, make sure to take advantage of Philadelphia’s diverse entertainment options. If you enjoy reading, grab a book, and spend a leisurely afternoon at one of Philadelphia’s many parks, such as Rittenhouse Square or Fairmount Park. These green spaces offer a tranquil escape from the bustling city streets.

If you prefer digital entertainment, bring your favourite streaming service with you. Many accommodations in Philadelphia offer high-speed internet access, allowing you to unwind with your favourite movies, TV shows, or sports events after a day of sightseeing. Just make sure to check the availability of internet access before booking your accommodation. It’s also worth remembering that jet lag can be tricky following trans-Atlantic flights. You should think about loading up some games on your devices.

5. Experience Sports Passion at Lincoln Financial Field

Philadelphia is a city known for its passionate sports culture. If you’re a sports enthusiast, attending a game at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles (NFL) and other sporting events, should be on your itinerary. Join the energetic crowd and immerse yourself in the thrilling atmosphere as you cheer on the local teams.

It’s worth noting that Philadelphia is also home to the Philadelphia Phillies (MLB), the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA) and the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL), so you’re not going to be short on options for great home team games. However, hockey fans should be aware that the last couple of seasons have not exactly been great for the Flyers. Everyone’s hoping that John Tortorella can turn it around!

Source: phillygrub