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What to do in Philadelphia? The city of America’s Independence and Philly Cheesesteaks!

Philadelphia in America, aka Philly, is the city of independence and known for its world famous Philly Cheesesteaks and the Rocky Steps. It may not be the first city you would visit when traveling to America, but trust us, Philly really is that worth it!

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What to do in Philadelphia tips

What to do in Philadelphia? 7 tips!

Philadelphia, I think this is one of the most historic cities in the States. The Declaration of Independence has been signed here and one of the very first prisons is located here. You will also find the most adorable colonial British streets here and a lot of creativity. Are you also planning to visit this charming city? Below a number of must-do’s!

1. Independence Hall & Liberty Bell

You can’t ignore it when you are in Philadelphia, Independence Hall and Liberty Bell. Why not? Well, because this is the place where on July 4, 1776, American independence was signed and the American Constitution was drafted. Yep, Philadelphia has really been very important in America’s history. The Liberty Bell is also a symbol for this and is also an icon for freedom in general.

Elfreth’s Alley & Betsy Ross House

Things to do in Philadelphia Elfreth's Alley

Wat te doen in Philadelphia historic mile Elfreth’s Alley

2. Learn about America and Philadelphia on a tour of ‘The Historic Mile’

This city has a lot of history. Many people know the Independence Hall and Liberty Bell, of course, but there is so much more to see! The best way to see everything? With a guided walking tour along the most historic places walking via ‘The Historic Mile’. If you want to know more about the city, I definitely recommend a walk with Philly Tour Hub. The guide can tell you a lot and during such a tour you will also pass photogenic and special places such as Elfreth’s Alley (one of the most photographed streets in the entire city!), Betsy Ross House (it is said that this is the house where seamstress and flagmaker Betsy Ross made the first American flag) and Ben Franklin’s grave (he was a well-known American politician and scientist).

3. Museum of the American Revolution

Do you want to know even more about the history of Philly? Then you should not skip this museum. An important part of the entire American history took place in Philly and the Museum of the American Revolution tells you all about it!

Magic Gardens

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4. Philadelhia’s Magic Gardens

Have you had enough knowledge about the history of Philadelphia and America? Then it’s time for a good dose of creativity at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. What a special art you will find here! This masterpiece is by artist Isaiah Zagar. It’s incredibly colorful and you can go wild for some Insta snaps. You actually walk and look at a huge mosaic here and it is a kind of huge collection of materials such as bottles, bicycle wheels, pieces of stone and plates. You will certainly be amazed in this colorful maze!

5. Eastern State Penitentiary

The Eastern State Penitentiary is an absolute must-see in Philadelphia that you shouldn’t miss. What I found this prison very special to see! Many prisons worldwide are based on this prison and also once known criminals such as Al Capone and ‘Slick Willie’ could call this their home. What makes this prison so special is that everything is still in its original state, which greatly enhances the feeling. I definitely recommend doing an audio or guided tour so you can get to know the story behind this prison better.

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6. Reading Terminal Market

In addition to having a rich history, Philly also has delicious cuisine! Foodies can really indulge themselves here and fully enjoy the delicious delicacies that the city has to offer. One of the best places to go: Reading Terminal Market! So be sure to visit this covered food hall and let your taste buds work overtime. From fresh donuts to the famous Philly Cheesesteaks, there really is something for everyone here. You will find all the local specialties that the city has to offer.

7. Philadelphia Museum of Art

In this worldwide renowned museum you will find more than 200 galleries with art from Asia, Latin America and Europe. Besides being a spectacular building, you will also find the well-known ‘Rocky Steps’ that owe their fame to the movie ‘Rocky’. In addition, at the bottom of the stairs, a bit hidden between the trees, you will find the ‘Rocky Statue’. Despite the fact that it is ‘only’ a statue, tourists queue up to take a picture with this famous figurehead.

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Philadelphia rocky statue

This is how you plan your trip to Philadelphia in America (or combine it with a visit to New York)

There are not many travelers who travel to America for Philadelphia, but that is why it might be nice to know that Philly is a city par excellence that you can easily visit as a day trip from New York. You can drive from New York to Philadelphia in 2.5 hours by car and by public transport it takes about 1.5 hours. Philadelphia is also great to add to your route when you are making a road trip along the east coast. You will find cool cities on the east coast, so there is not only New York, but also Philadelphia and Florida in the south.

Fly to Philadelphia

After my trip I really recommend you to stay longer than a day in this nice city, but you can also combine it ideally. Another nice advantage, you can fly there from Amsterdam with Aer Lingus for next to nothing! You can sometimes find flights from 250 euros. Philadelphia is therefore a really good starting point to start an American road trip.

Hotel tip for Philadelphia?

I stayed overnight at the Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott in Philadelphia. Located in downtown Philadelphia, this hotel is the perfect base from which to explore the city. The rooms are nicely decorated and equipped with all facilities. In addition, the staff is also incredibly friendly and helpful.

Best time to travel to Philadelphia & America

Winter can be really cold in Philadelphia, the temperature drops easily below zero, so we recommend spring, summer or fall. The months of June, July, August and September are the hottest. It is then on average around 28 degrees. In the spring (April and May) it fluctuates around 20 degrees on average and in the fall (October and November) it is around 15 degrees.