American Revolutionary history, multiple professional sports teams, and local eateries are a few of the highlights of Philadelphia. Yet, with so many places to visit, is Philadelphia overrated, or is it worth a visit?
Philadelphia is a must-visit destination. It is Pennsylvania’s largest city and has enough to satisfy even the most ambitious traveler. In addition, fabulous activities like watching the Phillies play, eating a cheesesteak, or visiting Independence Hall are virtually unmatched by any other destination.
Visiting a city like Philadelphia, composed of 1.6 million people and covering 142.59 square miles, is daunting. However, as you read on, you will find this city’s highlights and hidden gems, which will ensure your trip to Philadelphia is one you will never forget.
Philadelphia: A Must-See City
The city of Philadelphia, commonly referred to as Philly, is older than America itself. William Penn originally founded the city in 1682. During the colonial era, this city was the capital of the Pennsylvania Colony.
One of the most notable things about Philadelphia is its history. One must-see historical sight to explore is Independence Hall. While it has been renovated multiple times over the years, parts of the building are still original.
Originally completed in 1753, this Georgian-style brick building is where the founding of America took place. First, the Declaration of Independence was debated, agreed upon, and signed in Independence Hall (then called the Pennsylvania State House) on August 2, 1776.
Another of America’s founding documents, the Constitution, also originated from Independence Hall. The Founding Fathers gathered to debate, write, and sign the Constitution, a document outlining the fundamental rights of American citizens. Both documents were critical to the founding of America.
Independence Hall is now maintained by the National Park Service and serves as a piece of living history to tell the stories of early America. Tickets are required to visit Independence Hall, but they are only $1.00.
Another historical landmark is the Liberty Bell. The Bell is an excellent stop in conjunction with Independence Hall since the two are right next to each other. The Liberty Bell is a symbol of liberty for all, attracting people from all walks of life. In the past, abolitionists, civil rights leaders, and women’s suffrage activists have looked to the Liberty Bell and have used the Liberty Bell as a beacon of hope.
It is free to visit the Liberty Bell, and tickets aren’t required. However, admission is first-come, first-served, so make sure to give yourself plenty of time, as you might have to wait for the next available tour.
Nearby there are other historical sites to visit, including the President’s House and Independence Visitor Center. Visitors that stop at one or more of Philly’s historical sites are sure to walk away with a greater understanding and appreciation for the founding of America.
Another thing that makes Philadelphia worth a visit is the Philadelphia Museum of Art (and its stairs). Ever since Rocky Balboa ran up the steps of the Museum of Art in the movie Rocky, the steps have become iconic and a must-see destination for many tourists around the world.
Run up the 72 steps with fists pumping in the air, or snap a picture with the bronze Rocky Statue at the bottom of the stairs. At the top of the stairs, there is also a magnificent view down Benjamin Franklin Parkway and of the city skyline.
The museum is also worth a visit as there are pieces of art from around the world. The over 240,000 objects in the Philadelphia Museum of Art contain European, Asian, and American collections. On display are photographs, paintings, sculptures, and more.
Renowned Philadelphia Food
Everyone visiting Philadelphia should get excited about all the unique and delicious food options. Filled with both savory and sweet food, exploring Philly through its food is any foodie’s dream.
Some of the foods Philadelphia is most well known for are:
- The Philly Cheesesteak – A classic Philly Cheesesteak has thinly sliced beef and cheese all held together by a crusty roll. Many locals debate the best cheese to put on a Philly Cheesesteak, and some of the options are American, provolone, and Cheez Whiz. Many cheesesteaks have sautéed vegetables like bell peppers and onion. While there are countless places to grab a cheesesteak, Geno’s Steaks and Pats King of Steaks (across-the-street neighbors) have a long-standing rivalry for the best Philly Cheesesteak. To order a cheesesteak like a pro, first, specify if you want steak with (wit) or without (wit-out) onions, and then say what cheese you would like.
- Roast Pork Sandwich – Perhaps the second most popular food in Philly, and lots of places serve them. This sandwich comes with shaved or chopped roasted pork shoulder topped with melted provolone and broccoli sautéed in garlic.
- Pretzel – The famous Philadelphia soft pretzel – Originally introduced by German settlers, the pretzel has been a longtime popular snack around Philadelphia. They can be found throughout the city and are frequently served with mustard.
- The Hoagie – Philadelphia’s version of a sub. These sandwiches are packed with meats, cheeses, and veggies. Quality, local bread helps the hoagie stand above other sandwiches.
- Water Ice – Don’t be fooled by its name; this is a refreshing and sweet treat. Water ice is made by combining fruit or syrup with shaved ice. Summertime offers the ideal weather to grab this cool, sweet indulgence.
- Iconic Treats – Tastykakes – These have been a favorite for many Philadelphians for over 100 years. Known for their Butterscotch and Crème Filled Krimpets, these cakes are available in convenience stores throughout the city and around the country.
No matter when you visit Philadelphia, there will be plenty of food to fuel your adventure as you explore the city. These are just a few options, and there are many more local eats waiting to be discovered on your next trip to Philly.
Keystone Answers Fun Fact: Before critical moments in a baseball game at Citizens Bank Park, the stadium plays the theme song from Rocky.
Professional Sports in Philadelphia
It’s hard to find four professional sports teams in one city. Philadelphia is one of only a few cities that have professional football, baseball, basketball, and hockey teams. Sports fans will have more than enough to do during a visit to Philadelphia.
- Philadelphia Eagles – The city’s NFL team. Catching a game at Lincoln Financial Field is an opportunity of a lifetime. Arriving before a game is also exciting as dedicated fans tailgate in preparation for the game. The team is actively engaged in improving Philly with various projects.
- Philadelphia Phillies – The local MLB team. The team plays home games at Citizens Bank Park, a 43,500 -seat stadium with views of the city skyline. It is lauded as one of the most kid-friendly ballparks in the nation, so catching a game here is fun for the whole family. Little ones can play Wiffle ball and other games at The Yard.
- Philadelphia 76ers – The city’s NBA team plays at Wells Fargo Center, the same place the Philadelphia Flyers play their games.
- Philadelphia Flyers – This NHL team is known for their consistent performance near the top of the National Hockey League and their orange, fuzzy, 7-foot-tall mascot, Gritty.
One of the best parts about Philadelphia’s many professional sports teams is how close all of the stadiums are. Wells Fargo Center, Lincoln Financial Field, and Citizens Bank Park are all part of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex and are within walking distance of one another. The tallest building in Philadelphia even took steps to help ease the fears of many local sports fans about the Curse of William Penn.
In addition, you can head to nearby Chester to Subaru Park, about 15 miles away, to watch the Philadelphia Union. Since 2010, fans have headed out to Subaru Park to watch this MLS team, whose name is a tribute to Philadelphia’s vital role in US history.
How Many Days Do You Need in Philadelphia?
The number of days someone needs to visit Philadelphia depends on how much of the city they want to experience. Visitors looking to explore one aspect of the city (food, history, sports, etc.) can be satisfied with one packed day of activities.
However, those looking to immerse themselves in Philadelphia’s rich culture should plan for three days or more, allowing them to take in much of what the city has to offer. Whether you’re passing through for a day or Philadelphia is your final destination, the city is sure to keep you engaged throughout your visit.
What is the Best Way to Get Around in Philadelphia?
Depending on the activities you’re looking for, there are many ways to get around Philadelphia. Walking is common between places that are not too far away and is excellent for those not in a rush. Also, by walking, you can appreciate the details of the city’s architecture.
Philly also has SEPTA, a public transportation system composed of buses, trolleys, and the subway. There are affordable options for day passes or flexible reloadable cards that allow visitors easy access to all the modes of public transportation.
Other popular modes of transportation include cycling and taxis.There are many bike lanes throughout the city, but taxis are always an option if you are in a rush and willing to spend a bit more money.
What Months are the Worst to Visit Philadelphia?
Philadelphia experiences busy summers and harsh winters. Some of the worst months to visit Philly include the peak summer months, like July and August, and the most frigid months, December and January.
However, even in the busy summers and cold winters, Philadelphia offers fun activities and delicious food for those ready to brave the crowds or the cold.
Philadelphia – A Vibrant City with Much to Offer
Philly is a city teeming with culture, tradition, energy, and life. As one of the most established cities in the country, there is no shortage of activities for couples, individuals, and families. Days spent in Philadelphia are packed with history, authentic Philly food, beautiful architecture, breathtaking city views, and so many possibilities.