Filled with historic attractions, great restaurants and unique experiences, Philadelphia is one of the most popular cities in the country. Whether you're planning a trip to Philly or contimplating a move, take a look at our picks for the best things to do.
Eat a Cheesesteak
Wit or widout onions? Be sure to sample a Philly cheesesteak – a long, crusty roll filled with thinly sliced sautéed ribeye beef and melted cheese. Toppings can include fried onions, sautéed mushrooms and ketchup, and some popular eateries include Tony Luke's, Geno's Steaks, Jim's Steaks, Campo's, Dalessandro’s Steaks, Pat’s King of Steaks, Sonny's Famous Steaks and Philip's Steak.
See the Crack
The historic Liberty Bell is on public display year round at Liberty Bell Center, with no tickets required for admission but visitors must pass through security screening. The 2,080-pound symbol of freedom has several accompanying exhibits, including x-rays that provide an interesting view of the bell's crack and inner workings.
Catch a Game
Philadelphia’s professional sports teams play within a few miles of Center City at the South Philadelphia sports complex, which includes Lincoln Financial Field (football), Citizens Bank Park (baseball), Wells Fargo Center (basketball and hockey) and Wachovia Spectrum (soccer). Philadelphia fans are known for their knowledge of sports, and they demand that Philly players give maximum effort.
Climb the Steps
The Rocky Statue and “Rocky Steps” outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art are two of the most popular attractions in the city, but be sure to witness the inside of the building as well. On display are priceless artworks by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Jasper Johns along with 227,000 other paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures and decorative arts.
Take the Kids
Two playgrounds – one for younger children and the other for older ones – grace the property of Franklin Square, one of five open-space parks originally planned by William Penn when he designed Philadelphia in 1682. The outdoor destination was refurbished in 2006 and includes Franklin Square Fountain, Parx Liberty Carousel, Philly Mini Golf, Living Flame Memorial and a SquareBurger fast food eatery.
Quoth the Raven
The six years that Edgar Allan Poe lived in Philadelphia (1838-1843) are considered his happiest and most productive, and visitors today can tour the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site on North 7th Street. Poe published 31 stories during his time in Philadelphia, including The Tell-Tale Heart and The Murders in the Rue Morgue.
Watch Money Multiply
The Coinage Act became law in 1792, at which time Philadelphia was chosen to house the first United States Mint. The facility still manufactures circulating coins of all denominations as well as commemorative coins, and free tours are available Monday-Friday. Many of the in-house tour videos were narrated by Philadelphia Phillies Baseball Hall of Fame announcer Harry Kalas.
Go to Jail
Al Capone served time there, and so did notorious bank robber “Slick Willie” Sutton. Eastern State Penitentiary in the Fairmount district was long regarded as one of the most ominous prisons in the world. It closed in 1971 and is now a National Historic Landmark that features tours seven days a week, with a gloomy atmosphere still present.
The name says it all. Please Touch Museum focuses on teaching young children through interactive exhibits and themed events. Activities are aimed at kids seven years old and younger, with attractions like a Playhouse Theater, Alice in Wonderland play area, The Walking Piano and a Space Station with three decades of Star Wars toys.
Visit the First Zoo
Philadelphia Zoo was America's first zoo and today has more than 1,300 exotic animals, with exhibits such as Primate Reserve, Carnivore Kingdom, Reptile & Amphibian House and a Children's Zoo with petting yard and daily live animal shows. Also on the grounds are a paddleboat lake, a rainforest-themed carousel and several interactive displays.