Philadelphia is arguably the most important city in America given its role in the historic development of the Declaration of Independence, which saw the thirteen American colonies break away from their colonial masters, the British.
It is the second biggest city on the US’s east coast; only New York is larger and its population is the fifth largest in the country. Philadelphia’s rich history ensures there are many fascinating paces to visit to get a flavor of times gone by, but there are also many modern facets to attract lovers of sport, music and the arts, as well as plenty of attractions to keep the children occupied and amused.
It can be easy when planning a trip to a big city to leave everything till the last moment or just suck it and see on arrival. It’s worth planning ahead though, because Philadelphia is so full of amazing things to see and do that it can lead to overload if preparations have not been made prior to leaving home.
As well as booking accommodations well in advance, visitors would do well to spend some time getting a sense of the layout of the city, where major attractions are located and draw up a list of “must do” and “will do if there’s time”. Here are a few ideas for some great things to do and see.
It’s impossible to ignore the importance of Philadelphia’s history to the development of the United States of America and there are plenty of engaging reminders as to how the city was instrumental in shaping a new country. It’s good to be reminded that today’s society did not just appear out of nowhere. There is a brave and proud tradition of independent thinking that adults and children alike will appreciate.
- Independence Hall:A landmark in the history of the US, this where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, on July 4, forever commemorated as the Independence Day holiday. The building was also the place where luminaries such as Benjamin Franklin (himself a son of Philadelphia), George Washington and Thomas Jefferson met on those momentous steps to freedom from British rule.
- National Constitution Center:The document that defines America comes to life in this huge center, with high-tech exhibits, a whole range of artifacts and interactive displays bringing new and valuable insights into the making of this key legislation.
- Museum at the Chemical Heritage Foundation:Much of civilization as known today exists thanks to the efforts, throughout history, of scientists exploring new ways of thinking about the world and how to improve things. This museum presents an enthralling range of exhibits and artifacts that display the wealth of research into all matters chemical.
- The Liberty Bell Center:Inscribed with the biblical verse “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof”, the Liberty Bell was America’s great symbol of freedom. The original bell can be seen in the center, along with exhibits about its origin and history.
Philadelphia – or “Philly” as it is often known, is ideal for families. Here are a few suggestions.
- The Smith Playhouse and Playground : Probably one of the best places for kids aged five and under to let off steam. The attraction, which is in East Fairmont Park, is host to a huge play mansion.
- Please Touch Museum:This is one of the world’s great children’s museums, with hands-on exhibits ranging from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to live theater experiences. It’s for children of all ages and adults will find a lot of enjoyment too.
- Adventure Aquarium : Who isn’t fascinated by what lives in or by the water? Just across the Delaware River, in New Jersey, is this highly regarded aquarium, perfect for a great family outing. There are sharks, penguins and so many other creatures of the deep to get up close to and learn about the way they live in their aquatic world.
Sports and entertainment
Philly is big on sport and entertainment. For a start it’s one of a handful of US cities that has teams representing the four major sports. Depending on the season, fans have a choice of Major League Baseball with the Philadelphia Phillies, ice hockey with the Philadelphia Flyers, basketball with the Philadelphia 76ers and football with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Big show entertainment can be found at the amazing Wells Fargo Center. Visitors are able to book tickets for an event at the Wells Fargo Center well in advance and with artists such as the Rolling Stones and Black Sabbath as past performers it’s well worth checking out the upcoming schedule.