What to do and see in Philadelphia, United States: The Best Places and Tips

December 7, 2017 Giuseppe Pratt

One of the most historic cities in America, Philadelphia is an ideal place to spend a weekend - preferably a long one. Be sure to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed. Both are part of Independence National Historic Park. Philadelphia also boasts some outstanding art museums, including the Rodin Museum. The Franklin Institute Science Museum is one of many area attractions honoring the life and work of Benjamin Franklin, the city's most famous ambassador. After digesting all of that history, be sure you save room for a classic Philly cheese steak sandwich.
Restaurants in Philadelphia

1. Wissahickon Valley Park

W Valley Green Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19118 +1 215-247-0417
Excellent
82%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 183 reviews

Wissahickon Valley Park

Reviewed By Stan K

Recently ranked the number one trail in Pennsylvania in 2018, this is a wonderful place to visit in the city. It contains the only covered bridge in an urban area in the United States. It has a few different trails that you can find at different intersections; I usually start at either Valley Green or Bells Mill road .

There’s a large running and biking trail that most people use but if you’re able to go and find the orange or white trail that’s where the hiking takes place. Stop at the Valley Green Inn if you want to have a nice lunch or romantic dinner. If you have children, bring some leftover bread so you can feed the ducks with them. Make sure you get a chance to see the secretive Indian statue on the white trail. It’s worth the hike!

Make sure you bring a lot of water, as water fountains are scarce. Also cell phone service is pretty nonexistent.

2. Philadelphia Museum of Art

2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130-2302 +1 215-763-8100
Excellent
75%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 6 reviews

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Set within a lively urban neighborhood, commanding a spectacular view of Fairmount Park, and just across the street from the main Museum building, the Perelman Building galleries and study centers showcase some of the Museum's most comprehensive, colorful, and cutting-edge collections. The new spaces offer a variety of other wonderful new amenities. Among them are a library open to the public and offering a wealth of resources, including ever-changing displays of rare books, precious documents, and graphic arts; a café overlooking a landscaped terrace; a new bookstore; a soaring skylit walkway; and a succession of other spaces in which to stroll, linger, and explore the visual arts.

Reviewed By Kirk E - Santa Fe, New Mexico

One of America’s oldest and largest, yet paradoxically least-known museums, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is testament to the city’s long support and boosterism of art and artists. The physical space, a soaring glass and steel construction that spans three expansive floors, is a work of art in itself, and offers ample display space for rotating selections from the museum’s 54,000-strong collection. The galleries devoted to European and American art are both quite extensive and revelatory, but the true highlights are upstairs, in the Asian and African art wings. Exquisite Chinese ceramics, some dating back more than a millenium, reveal an unparalleled mastery of craft, while the elaborate masks, ceremonial paraphernalia and extraordinarily rich carvings from African tribespeople are uncannny in the way they suggest and anticipate similar displays in the New World. Beyond the museum proper, the grounds and gardens are well worth a stroll in good weather, especially in the spring.

3. The Barnes Foundation

2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130-3602 +1 215-278-7000
Excellent
82%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 4 reviews

The Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation houses one of the finest collections of nineteenth- and twentieth-century French painting in the world. An extraordinary number of masterpieces by Renoir, Cezanne and Matisse provide a depth of work by these artists that is unavailable elsewhere. Established as an educational institution, the Barnes carries out its mission teaching classes in its galleries and Arboretum.

Reviewed By UnrepentantFoodie - Bellingham, Washington

It's almost had to fathom the drive (or wallet) of a man like Dr. Barnes who collected all this in a single lifetime. In fact, he was on his way to close another art deal when he was killed in an automobile accident, though at 84 I believe it was you can't say he hadn't already lived a full life.

This collection includes the largest single holding of Renoir paintings in the world--181 I was told. Impressive (though many looked alike--lots of comely young females wearing bonnets), but on a dynamic basis the 60 or 80 Matisses and Picassos might be the most compelling. The collection also includes Monet, Seurat and some lesser known suspects.

Possibly the most impressive thing is the way his entire show space was meticulously duplicated, even down to the ugly ochre-yellow paint, of the spaces he himself displayed them at his home (well, an extra building to his home built expressly for this purpose). There's also the quirky element of all the antique hinges he also collected interspersed throughout.

In all, an inestimable treasure.

4. Reading Terminal Market

12th and Arch, Philadelphia, PA 19107 +1 215-922-2317
Excellent
70%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 3 reviews

Reading Terminal Market

Featuring over 80 concessions, this historic market has something for even the most eclectic of tastebuds.

Reviewed By NJ-Surfcrab - Toms River

Large building with multiple stalls. Some shopping, but mostly food of all types to eat in an informal setting. Definitely not high end, but a gret place to go if you like to sample things you might not find in other places and great variations of food you will find at home. Inexpensive for a big city. Generous portions. Close to the convention center. Some times it is difficult to find a seat. There is a general seating area and some places have their own areas. We shared a table with a group of students from Peru who spoke English and were there as delegates to a Youth Convention. It was a memorable experience. We always stop at the Amish stand for big, soft pretzels no matter what else. Dres informally, but you will see folks in suits as well -- usually at an event at the convention center or from local offices. If you have access to your car, there's a lot of fresh produce, meat, cheese, fish, nuts, candy etc to take home. Bring a cooler.

5. Eastern State Penitentiary

2124 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130-2603 +1 215-236-3300
Excellent
68%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 5 reviews

Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world’s first true “penitentiary,” a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of convicts. Tours today include the cellblocks, solitary punishment cells, Al Capone’s Cell, and Death Row.

Reviewed By LonePineKath - Nottingham, United Kingdom

This place is well worth a visit. It explained the prison system really well and the atmosphere on the abandoned wings is really interesting. The recorded tour works really well and helps with the quiet feeling of isolation. We visited with teens and everyone felt it was well worth seeing.

My advice would be to wrap up warm as we visited in April and it was still pretty cold. You can take your time and spend as long as you like, wandering about and exploring at your own pace.

6. Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul

18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103 +1 215-561-1313
Excellent
71%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 793 reviews

Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul

The head church of Philadelphia's Catholic Archdiocese is on the National Registrar of Historic Places. Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass here in 1979.

Reviewed By ttaylor2u - Illinois

There was no mass when we visited, but there appeared to be a 'practice' session for Easter Sunday service. The exterior is massive and the interior is incredibly beautiful. The Cathedral was visited by two Popes in the last few decades and it is very well maintained. If you appreciate the artistic beauty and design, you will enjoy the viewing.

7. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

118 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102-1510 +1 215-972-7600
Excellent
70%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 349 reviews

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

A dazzling museum, as much for its interior design as for its collection.

Reviewed By Jeffrey T

Absolutely amazing historic museum. The architecture is as interesting as the art collection itself. Great, eclectic, and varied collection of paintings and photography. Staff was very friendly and attentive. Our docent for our tour was highly knowledgeable, interesting, and engaging. Viewing art is a fantastic experience when you better understand the many backstories of the museum, the artists, and the specific historical contexts of the work itself. A great way to spend 3-4 hours and to learn about how the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art (PAFA) and its 'school of artistic thought and technique' have so significantly impacted how we do art through history in the U.S.!

8. Morris Arboretum

100 Northwestern Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19118-2697 +1 215-247-5777
Excellent
74%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 389 reviews

Morris Arboretum

Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is a historic public garden and educational institution. It promotes an understanding of the relationship between plants, people and place through programs that integrate science, art and the humanities.

Reviewed By JUNI-BANERJEE - Los Angeles, California

An ideal example for what is called as 'Lovely place'! Went there during fall color and all I can summarize is that Morris Arboretum is so perfect for nice walks and spending memorable times with your loved ones. Its free for Upenn students btw :)

9. Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum

6825 Norwitch Dr # 31, Philadelphia, PA 19153-3412 +1 215-365-7233
Excellent
72%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 217 reviews

Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum

Located in Philadelphia, PA, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum is one of the world's greatest collections of racing sports cars. Through our theme, "The Spirit of Competition", we celebrate the history and evolution of these magnificent machines. Assembled over 50 years by renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Frederick Simeone, the Museum contains over 65 historically significant cars including Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Mercedes, Jaguar, Bentley, Porsche, Aston Martin, Corvette, Ford and more. We are open Tuesday through Sunday for General Admission and there is always something new and exciting happening here. We offer many different types of events including our world famous Demo Days, Special Events, Special Exhibits and more. The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit institution.

Reviewed By superjules123 - Richmond, Canada

I'd been waiting to go to this museum for many many years. They have great cars and the staff are really knowledgeable but I expected more, especially as they were rated as the "Museum of the year". The displays aren't that great, there's nothing that's really interactive. It really looks like they put some really nice cars in a warehouse, parked them and said "poof, we have a museum". I'm happy I saw it, but won't go back.

10. Masonic Temple

1 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19107-2520 +1 215-988-1917
Excellent
67%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 519 reviews

Masonic Temple

"The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania" is an example of elegant architecture. Inside, the lodge is adorned with lovely artwork.

Reviewed By Iressa-Andrey - Trevose, Pennsylvania

came here while visiting the center city. We get the tour. What can I say...the place Are Amazing and unexpected from how its looks outside...but the guide was not so good. I find out more info from my friend, who is member of this temple then from Guide
.

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