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Philadelphia Travel Guide

Philadelphia Travel Guide

With impressive food, music and art scenes, diverse neighbourhoods, and oodles of fascinating history, Philadelphia is one of the best loved cities in the US:

Endearingly known as the 'City of Brotherly Love' and the 'Cradle of Liberty', Philadelphia is a fun and interesting destination, associated with lofty and inspiring moments in the history of the US. The many famous historic attractions are the main lure for travellers, but Philadelphia really does boast something for everybody.

A holiday in Philadelphia is a delightful exercise in exploring the city's many diverse districts: the Old City, where the Liberty Bell takes pride of place; the city centre, filled with shopping malls and museums; the Italian-flavoured South Philly; and the trendy, arty district of the North Liberties. History and a lively student population combine to ensure a Philadelphia holiday is a busy buzz. Regarded as one of the nation's most dynamic destinations, a holiday in Philadelphia offers enough to please any age group.

Best time to visit Philadelphia

No matter what time of year you travel to Philadelphia there will always be a plethora of attractions to visit. In spring the city is bedecked with spectacular cherry blossoms, and summer, especially around 4th July, is especially festive with many celebrations centred in the historic district. In autumn the cultural calendar is in full swing with numerous concerts and theatrical productions. In winter it can be very cold, but this is a good time to travel to Philadelphia to take advantage of the city's excellent shopping. Read more on Philadelphia's Climate and Weather.

What to see in Philadelphia

-Visit Franklin Court, the former site of Benjamin Franklin's home.

-Enjoy perusing the celebrated collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

-See the iconic Liberty Bell, displayed in the historic Independence Hall.

-Wander around the Christ Church Burial Ground, where many US leaders are buried.

What to do in Philadelphia

-Explore Philadelphia's most visited museum, the Franklin Institute Science Museum.

-Treat the kids to a fun day at Philadelphia Zoo, the oldest zoo in the US.

-Take an excursion to Hershey's Chocolate World, heaven for chocoholics.

-Spend a day wandering the Historic District of nearby Doylestown.

Beyond Philadelphia

Many attractions await visitors just beyond the city limits: the Brandywine Valley is full of scenic beauty as well as many cultural attractions; Dutch Country is one of the most rewarding summer road trip destinations in the US; and the famous Gettysburg National Military Park lures military history buffs.

Getting there

Philadelphia International Airport, located seven miles (11km) from downtown, is the main air traffic hub in the region, and one of the busiest airports in the US. Get more information on Airports in Philadelphia.

Did you know?

-The first American flag was designed in Philadelphia, by Betsy Ross.

-Philadelphia is considered to be one of the most haunted cities in the US.

-The first American stock exchange and the first American newspaper originated in Philadelphia.


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Boathouse, Philadelphia © Pennsylvania Tourism

Over the years numerous taglines have been coined to apply to America's most historic city, Philadelphia. It has been called the 'Athens of the Americas', the 'city of brotherly love', 'the friendliest city', the 'most honest city', 'the safest city' and, most recently, 'the city that loves you back'. Fabulous Philly, the fifth largest metropolis in the United States, is all these things and more, which is why it is regarded as one of the world's most dynamic destinations and the happy home of more than three million people.

The city is sensibly situated 60 miles (97km) inland from the Atlantic coast on a protrusion of land at the merging of the mighty Delaware River and the Schuylkill River, land granted to William Penn, an English Quaker, back in 1682. Penn's vision was to establish a 'green countrie towne', but because of its location controlling the Delaware Valley and its good freshwater port facilities, Philadelphia soon outgrew its original boundaries and by the 18th century was the second largest English-speaking city in the world.

Today, Philadelphia draws tourists mainly for its historical wealth, centred around Independence National Historical Park, regarded as the most significant historic square mile in America, where the United States was conceived, declared and ratified. The Constitution of the US was written here in 1787 and the city was the nation's first capital between 1791 and 1800.

Philadelphia is also a shopper's paradise, featuring the world's largest mall, as well as offering some of the finest dining establishments in the country, thousands of acres of beautiful parkland, attractive boulevards where street fairs and parades are common events, and a vibrant arts and entertainment community. In short, to add to all its other tags, Philadelphia can justifiably be said to offer something for everyone.

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