Uncover The History Of The Eastern State Penitentiary
Opened more than 180 years ago, the combination of majestic architecture, rigid rules, and modern cells, helped set prison standards worldwide. Said to have had running water and central heating before the White House, this former prison complex serves as a testament to the limits human ingenuity, and cruelty.
In its hay day, the prison played center stage in a number of fascinating and frightening tales, now imortalized in the facilities Museum.
With modern-day attractions such as mp3 guided tours, interactive exhibits and thought-provoking art, this is definitely a Philadelphia must-see!
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Catch A Free Concert At Wxpn
Perfect for music lovers looking for awesome things to do on a budget!
Only in Philly can you enjoy a weekly free concert every Friday at noon! WXPN hosts some of the most talented artists every week at the World Cafe! The only catch is that you have to register for your free tickets. This should be done asap as they sell faster than a cheesesteak at 3 a.m. on a Saturday night.
Open to the public, WXPN has hosted the likes of Adele, John Legend, Peter Bjorn & John and many more, all in the name of bringing quality performances to Phillys residents, and all for free!
Walk In The Footsteps Of The Founding Fathers At The Independence National Historical Park
A wonderful nod to a pivotal point in American history, the Independence National Historical Park features Independence Hall, where the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence the Liberty Bell and the Benjamin Franklin Museum, which tells the story of Americas first Postmaster General.
For history buffs, a guided tour of this iconic area is one of the essential things to do in Philadelphia.
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Things To Do In Philadelphia: Rodin Museum
Nestled between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Free Library of Philadelphia is the Rodin Museum. Dedicated to showcasing the works of Auguste Rodin, the museum was designed by French architect Paul Cret in the beautiful Beaux-Arts style and is surrounded by formal French gardens designed by French landscape designer Jacques Gréber, which serve as a magnificent backdrop for some of Rodins sculptures.
Today, the Rodin Museum houses one of the most comprehensive public collections of Rodins work outside of Paris and is one of the citys most defining icons.
2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Phone: 215-763-8100
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Wanamaker Grand Court Organ
Fernando Garcia Esteban / Shutterstock
It might seem hard to believe, but the largest functioning musical instrument in the world is at a Macys in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Wanamaker Grand Court Organ is the embodiment of the word incredible.
You must check it out if youre looking for amazing things to see in Philadelphia.
With an astonishing 29,000 pipes, this instrument still sounds beautiful.
Operational since 1911, the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ continues to be played.
A shopping trip can turn into something much more profound when youre being treated to lovely compositions played on such a gorgeous instrument.
Classical works can be heard emanating through the walls and make you swoon.
Seeing and hearing the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ is one of the most fun things to do in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
If youre in downtown Philadelphia and want a great experience, head into the Macys to witness this beauty.
This is what to see if youve got a love for music.
Address: 1300 Market St Macys, Philadelphia, PA 19107, United States
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How To Spend The Spooky Season In Philadelphia
In lieu of its annual haunted attraction Terror Behind the Walls, Eastern State Penitentiary is hosting a festival-style event called Halloween Nights , where 15 different attractionsincluding two haunted housesare spread throughout 10 acres of prison yards and spooky hallways. The experience is enhanced with state-of-the-art sound and light shows, live performances, and no less than four themed bars and lounges.
During the entire month of October, Franklin Square in Old City is spooking-up its mini golf course with spider webs, fog, and eerie tunes and lights. Then, on , the festivities peak with Trick-or-Treat Street, which gives little ones a chance to visit and pick up treats from houses set up around the park.
Kids are welcome to visit the Philadelphia Zoo in costume during Boo at the Zoo, happening select weekend days from through . The Zoo will be decorated for fall, and kids will love all the moving beasts on display in the massive dinosaur exhibit Big Time, which has been extended through .
The open-air Now + Then Marketplace in Port Richmond closes out its season with a Halloween market on thats tailor-made for four-legged friends and the people who love them. The Howl-o-ween pup parade, market and costume contest features a host of pet-centric vendorsfrom sitters to groomers to accessory makersa doggie costume contest, full bar and live music.
Walk The Pennypack Trail From Northeast Philly To The Delaware River
Starting from Pine Road, the Pennypack Trail extends from the edge of Lorimer Park alongside the Pennypack Creek to the Delaware River. This hilly, forested, and shaded area provides some beautiful views of the greater Philadelphia landscape.
On Saturday, November 6, you can walk a casual 4-mile round trip on the Pennypack Trail with the Bucks and Montgomery County Park Walkers. This Meetup group of nearly 2,000 members is an excellent resource for getting healthy exercise as you explore the great outdoors. Leashed dogs are welcome on this trip to Pennypack.
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Society Hill Historic District
This interesting neighborhood, south of Walnut Street and east of Washington Square, contains a unique blend of 18th Century buildings, restored warehouses, new homes, colonial homes, and apartments. Some of these are occupied by galleries and other tourist friendly retailers.
Attractions in and around this area include Washington Square, the Polish American Cultural Center, and Old St. Mary’s Church, along with the Old Pine Street Presbyterian Church and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania Library.
In Washington Square, once the burial-place of those who died in the fight for independence, is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Revolution, with an eternal flame. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is the only tomb in America erected to the memory of the unknown Revolutionary War soldiers.
Stroll Through Miracle On South 13th Street
Miracle on South 13th Street is, hands down, one of my favorite things about Christmas in Philadelphia. For years, this group of neighbors has coordinated to bring the joy of Christmas to those who need it and the thousands of people who visit every season.
Most of the houses pour all their creativity into their decorations. The result is a little bit like Christmas threw up on the streetbut only in the very best of ways. You just have to take a stroll or a drive through and see it for yourself.
Location: South 13th Street between Tasker and Morris
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Feast On Vegetarian Chinese Food At Su Xing House
The best Chinese restaurant in Philly just happens to be a 100% vegetarian restaurant. This is great news for anyone who loves Chinese food, particularly so for anyone who also hates attempting to find meat-free choices besides fried rice. The menu here is rather large with so many enticing options including lots of fun appetizers. I always start with the miso or hot and sour soup, spring rolls, and then either the Veggie fried rice or the Lo Mein for a fulfilling main dish.
The setting here is tranquil, perfect for a date night escape from the tourist crowds. Its always easy to get a seat here unlike many restaurants where you have to make a reservation months in advance. Overall, Su Xing House is a great place to enjoy healthy food in a quiet, non-touristy setting.
Le Virtu Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Inspired by family-friendly Italian-style meals in Abruzzo, Le Virtù offers guests a bold menu of Abruzzese-inspired cuisine, made with fresh, locally sourced or imported ingredients and traditional cooking techniques. Following age-old methods, meats are house-butchered and house-cured, pasta is hand-cut and savory ragùs are left to slow-cook and simmer for hours.
The rustic menu features slow-roasted lamb and pork dishes, thick soups, fresh pasta with homemade sauces and rich sheep’s milk cheeses. Desserts choices include saffron pannacotta, chestnut pudding, and tarte pognoli. Le Virtù presents an intimate wine list with wines sourced from the Abruzzo region, as well as a range of craft beers and signature cocktails.
1927 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, Phone: 215-271-5626
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Visit The Liberty Bell And Independence Hall
Two of the most historic monuments in Philly are free to visit! To see the Liberty Bell there is no need to reserve tickets in advance, only to show up and wait for your turn to enter. For Independence Hall, timed ticket tour reservations must be made before visiting. Both these monuments are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Treat Yourself To Authentic Italian Food
Of course, you would never visit Philadelphia without testing out some authentic Italian food. From pizza, to lasagna, to ravioli, to gelato, you can find all your Italian favorites here. From casual to elegant, classic to modern, numerous Italian restaurant are sprinkled throughout Center City. For terrific traditional old-world Italian food, check out Ralphs Italian , Dante & Luigis, or Giorgios on Pine. Gran Caffe LAquila and Tredici Enoteca are fun modern Italian establishments to add to your bucket list.
For the best pizza in the area, stop by Manny and Aldos. This classic no frills pizza joint serves the best comfort fare in the city including traditional pies, hoagies, strombolis, assorted pasta dishes, and traditional Italian desserts. Conveniently located just a short walk from Dilworth park, this is a perfect lunch choice in between activities.
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Tour The Eerie Eastern State Penitentiary
Once the largest, most expensive public structure in the country, the formerly-abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary which was operational from 1829 to 1971 housed infamous criminals like Al Capone and bank robber Willie Sutton.
Now a National Historic Landmark, true crime-loving visitors can tour the creepy wagon-wheel-shaped facility in all its former glory, checking out art installations and listening to the Steve Buscemi-narrated self-guided audio tour along the way.
Hot tip: for the best bang for your buck, book a hop-on-hop-off bus pass that includes penitentiary entry!
Things To See In Philadelphia
History buffs will feel right at home in the City of Brotherly Love. Things to do in Philadelphia include visiting the Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall. Since Independence Hall is considered the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, its no surprise that youll have lots of company when you visit this attraction. Still, these historical stops are worth the photo opportunity. Other things to see in Philly include the Philadelphia Orchestra and Opera Philadelphia in Rittenhouse Square.
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Independence National Historical Park
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All kinds of pieces of Philadelphia and American history can be found at Independence National Historical Park.
In addition to Independence Hall, there are also lots of other great places to go and things to see while youre here.
So many of the best Philadephia attractions are here.
No first-time visit to Philadelphia is complete without seeing the Liberty Bell.
Youll get to see that here, crack and all.
Theres also Franklin Court and the New Hall Military Museum, among other attractions.
Independence National Historical Park includes some of the finest attractions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Hours vary depending on the time of year. Certain attractions, such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, are free.
Address: 43 S 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, United States
Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Reading Terminal Market is a historic covered public market that sells a variety of farm-fresh produce, meat and seafood, freshly baked goods and groceries, artisan cheese, honey and beer, arts and crafts, books and clothing.
Located on the corner of 12th and Arch Streets in downtown Philadelphia, the 80,000-square-foot market is housed in a former train shed at the Reading Terminal and is one of Philadelphias most recognizable landmarks, hosting over 100 vendors selling their wares for over 120 years. The market is open every day of the week, year-round and is a popular source for culinary treats and unique gifts and merchandise.
51 N 12th St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Phone: 215-922-2317
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Explore The Reading Terminal
One of the oldest and biggest markets in the US, visiting Philadelphias infamous shopping market is a treat for the senses!
The Reading Terminal offers a variety of great foods from Amish whoopie pies, cheese straight from the farm, delicious ice cream and, of course, cheesesteaks! The eclectic mix of tourists and locals, pretzels and pot pies will have you spinning with choice! With more than 75 different vendors theres plenty to keep yourself entertained!
Rittenhouse Square And Rittenhouse Row
The toniest zip code in Philadelphia beckons travelers and locals alike with an array of stellar restaurants, happy hour spots and shopping galore. Hit Walnut Street, from Broad to 19th streets, for Phillys closest thing to New York Citys 5th Avenue. The promenade is filled with shops to fit every budget, like Anthropologie, L’Occitane and awesome locally-owned sneaker boutique Ubiq. Not in the mood to shop? Most people come here for the people-watching alone. Plop down on a bench in gorgeous Rittenhouse Square or nab an outdoor seat at French bistro Parc to ogle all the fashionable passersby.
- Bella Vista
You cant come to Philadelphia without trying a cheesesteak sandwich and, lucky for you, your options here are nearly limitless. Trips to Pats and Genos, two of the most hyped-up gridders in the game, dont disappoint with their bona fide South Philly authenticity. In other words, you dont come here just to eat. Located at the intersection of 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue, “Cheesesteak Vegas” is decked out in so much pulsating neon signage that you could probably see it from space. Is it touristy? Hell yes. Will you get a decent sandwich? Sure, and maybe some good ol Philly smack talk to go with it.
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Top Things To Do In Center City Philadelphia
From the historic green space of Rittenhouse Square to theelegant 18th-century row homes in dramatic contrast to the towering skyscrapers, Center City Philadelphia is a dynamic urban core with a rich history and lots of local color. Walk the tree-shaded streets lined with stunning architecture, hip restaurants and bars, shops, theaters and cultural attractions that create an alluring vibe and an unforgettable travel experience.
Located in Philadelphias Center City, The Rittenhouse is the perfect starting point for sightseeing tours and adventures in the City of Brotherly Love. Here are some fun things to do in Center City recommended by our concierge.
Bonus: New Years Eve And The Mummers Parade
The holiday season ends with two great events in the city.
During Philadelphias New Years Eve celebrations, you can see two great fireworks shows, enjoy family-friendly activities, and much more.
On New Years Day, the Mummers Parade is an amazing mix of artistry, pageantry, and craziness. Mummers parade through the streets on Philly acting out skits, playing music, and just having a great time.
For more information on this fantastic tradition, check out our guide to the Mummers Day Parade.
Do you have a favorite thing to do during Christmas in Philadelphia that didnt make my list? Let me know in the comments section below.
Article updated November 2021, to reflect operating dates for the 2021 holiday season. We have done our best to ensure the accuracy of this article, but its best to double-check before leaving home.
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