Philadelphia is another one of America’s great, historical cities. It was here that the Declaration of Independence was written, discussed, and ratified. It was here that the Bill of Rights, the essence of America’s Constitution, was drafted and debated. Much of Colonial Philadelphia has been preserved and restored, as part of Indepence National Historic Park. Yet the city is much more than just its patriotic past. Browse through my list of things to do for some suggestions.
1. Visit Independence Hall — Here is one of America’s most historic buildings, harkening to Colonial times when a fledgling group of representatives from the thirteen original colonies, drafted and passed a resolution to break free from the iron fist of England and form a new nation.
2. Stand with one of America’s Enduring Symbols — The Liberty Bell, housed in an enclosure opposite Independence Hall, has long symbolized the enduring spirit and indefatigable resolution of the citizens who forged a nation from a collection of separate and philosophically diverse colonies.
3. Go Italian in South Philly — The city’s Italian enclave, south of the Colonial center, was immortalized in the movie, Rocky. It is still alive and thriving, with its street market and numerous shops, delis, and restaurants.
4. Have Lunch at the Reading Terminal Market — This former railroad station, now a covered farmer’s market, is a favorite place for a quick lunch, for both residents and tourists, because of the incredible variety of prepared food offered for sale.
5. Indulge in a Philly Cheese Steak — The signature sandwich of the area is this appetizing conglomeration of shaved steak, cheese, and onions. Some of the best places to find this gem are in South Philly (#3 above) and at the Terminal Market (#4 above).
6. Check Out Philadephia’s Distinctive City Hall — Topped with a statue of William Penn, founder of the Pennsylvania Colony, this impressive City Hall competes with the nearby skyscrapers to top billing on Philly’s skyline.
7. Go Weird at the Mutter Museum — This museum is operated by the College of Physicians and displays a bizarre collection of human anatomical specimens. It is not for the faint of heart, but is fascinating for people interested in the study of medicine over the decades.
8. Get Cultured at the Philadelphia Art Museum — Prominently situated at the end of Ben Franklin Parkway, opposite the Town Hall, this significant Art museum has excellent collections of artwork from all the important periods. It claims to be one of the largest museums of its kind in America.
9. Return to a Simpler Time in Pennsylvania Dutch Country — Just west of the city is a large concentration of Amish and Mennonite families who have preserved a simple, traditional way of life, despite the nearby incursions of modern society. Numerous venues in the area (centered around Lancaster) showcase this culture.
10. Relax at Longwood Gardens — One of the nation’s premier gardens is located just 30 miles or so south of Philadelphia, in Kennett Square, PA. Glorious flower-festooned walkways and exotic greenhouses dot the landscape, making this place a truely idyllic getaway.
11. Learn Some American History at Gettysburg — The famous battlefield, location of the most pivotal conflict in the American Civil War, has been carefully preserved and maintained. Visitors can take a driving tour of the entire area, stopping at the critical sites of the battle. Numerous memorials punctuate the reverence.