If you were you to search top cities in the United States to visit, Philadelphia would show up on multiple lists. Why? Because, whatever you are searching for, whether it is culture, history- or cheesesteaks- “The City of Brotherly Love” has all of it. 

Start with the History 

Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is the original capital of America and one of the most historically important sites in the United States. 

Take a stroll in Independence National Historical Park, and see things like The First Bank of the United States, The Benjamin Franklin Museum, and the Third Presidential Mansion.  

Find where the Founding Fathers signed the Constitution and Declaration of Independence at Independence Hall in 1776 and rang the Liberty Bell to gather all citizens for the very first reading of the document. 

About twenty minutes from the park is another one of Philadelphia’s most important historic sites: The Eastern State Penitentiary. This Quaker-inspired prison was first opened in 1829 and later shut down in the 1970’s.

Why is it important to visit? Because it led the way to reform the judicial system. And plus, it’s just plain creepy fun. Guests are welcome to tour the eerie facility and stand where some of the most notorious criminals once stood- including Chicago’s most well-known mob boss, Al Capone. Locals say the best time to go is on Halloween night! 

Things to Do 

Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia at sunset

  • Get some exercise with a view at the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, where you can jog, walk, or bike above the Delaware River.
  • Eat, shop and catch a little nightlife at the Rittenhouse Square.
  • View galleries of Impressionist era art at the Philadelphia Museum
  • For family-friendly fun, head to the Please Touch Museum, where kids are allowed to touch and explore the hands-on exhibits while learning about reading, science and putting together crafts.
  • Visit Reading Terminal Market located underneath the Reading Railroad to see America’s oldest market up close and personal. They recently celebrated 125 years! There you can sample food from around the world while browsing some of the finest homemade crafts and jewelry. (It doesn’t matter where you start but you have to end with an order of Amish donuts from Beiler’s!)

Places to Eat

Close up of a philly cheesesteak with red and green peppers, onions, meat and cheese spilling out

Philly Cheesesteaks 

While it’s true that Philadelphia is much more than a sandwich – it’s also true that your visit isn’t really complete without a Philly Cheesesteak. Especially if it’s your first visit. Wouldn’t you like to know what all the fuss is about? Here are some of the local favorites to test out: 

While you’re eating, look up why Philly is famous for cheesesteaks in the first place. Because nobody seems to know. There is a big debate over the origin. 

Want to break tradition?

Not feeling a Philly? No problem. Sometimes it feels good to be bad. 

Grab a slice of pizza, and bottomless Blood Mary’s over at Brigantessa‘s. Test out the best Chicken Wings in the city over at Irish Pub, Moriarty’s. Discover the beauty of creamy macaroni and cheese, topped with savory bacon at Mac Mart. For American style food, head to Bud & Marilyn’s, and try to devour an entire Funfetti Cake.  

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