Philadelphia is one of the oldest cities in America and played a huge role in the development of the country. Today it is a vibrant city full of history, food, architecture, and of course “brotherly love”. So much so that the word Philadelphia actually comes from the Greek “Philos” meaning beloved and “adelphos” meaning brotherly. If you’re planning a trip to Philly but aren’t sure how to spend your time, this post will help. Here are my tips on spending a day in Philadelphia.
Visit the Benjamin Franklin Bridge
The “Ben Franklin Bridge” is an iconic landmark in Philadelphia. Lined with several piers that feature artwork, seasonal markets, food, drinks, and more, it is the perfect place for a stroll along the Delaware river. This light blue suspension bridge built in 1926 was the largest in the world at one time. Today it is the 57th longest bridge, but it is still a beautiful sight to see.
Reading Terminal Market
Philadelphia has long been regarded as the best eating city in the country, and whether this is an official statistic or not, the food scene in Philly is still worth experiencing. Aside from the many incredible restaurants, one of the best ways to sample the local cuisine is at the Reading Terminal Market.
Prior to its construction as a train station, the location of the Reading Terminal was occupied by a 30-year-old open-air market. In 1893 the station opened the Reading Railroad Train Station. At the time it was one of the world’s largest single-span arched roof structures in the world. After a decline in business after WWII, the Market and train was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
Today over 6 million people visit the market every year to shop at some of the 100 per cent locally owned businesses. The revenue made at the market goes directly back into the Philadelphia region and it is visited by a majority of local Philadelphians. Only about a quarter of the Market’s annual shoppers are tourists, so your visit is sure to give you a “local” experience.
The Liberty Bell
A trip to Philadelphia really wouldn’t be complete without a trip to its most iconic symbol, the Liberty Bell. Despite its famed status today, its origins are not very significant. Its crack was simply formed because the metal was too brittle during its first test strike. The bell used to be inside the old State House, but during the abolitionist movement in the 19th century, its inscription gave inspiration to the movement in Philadelphia. The bell reads, “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof.” Because of this, it went on to be a symbol throughout the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Women’s Suffrage movement.
Today the Liberty bell is displayed in its own building and visited by millions of people each year. Admission to see the bell is free, but it can get very crowded as lines form through the building which is also a small museum, and even out the door. If you don’t want to wait in line to see the bell up close, it can also be viewed through the window. However, the lines usually move very quickly and visitors get a really great view of the bell and the opportunity to take pictures.
After your visit to the Liberty Bell, walk over to Independence Hall, the original statehouse of Pennsylvania. Independence Hall is most famous for its role in America’s Independence. It is the location where the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Tours of the building are free, but also mandatory. You will have to wait in line to join a tour which leaves every 15 minutes. You may wait in line longer than the tour, but especially in the summer months, you will probably be required to reserve a time slot.
Cheesesteaks, Craft Beer, and More
Philadelphia is famous for its Cheesesteaks, as well as a robust craft beer scene, however, the food possibilities are endless. As a city full of immigrant communities, you can find just about any cuisine you’re craving in this historic city. While you can’t leave Philly without at least one cheesesteak sandwich, there are lots of other restaurants you should try. Chinatown is one of Philadelphia’s oldest neighbourhoods, and it is still growing today. You can also head to the old Little Italy, which features a lot of nearby Latin American restaurants.
Wherever you choose to eat in Philadelphia, you’ll experience its rich and diverse atmosphere.
About the author: Jenn Walker is a freelance writer, blogger, dog enthusiast, and avid beachgoer out of Southern New Jersey. She writes for a senior living community in Bucks County.
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