City located in the northeast of the United States between New York and Washington DC, Philadelphia - also called Philly - is the fifth city and the sixth agglomeration of the country. Philadelphia is a major economic, cultural, historical and artistic center in the United States. The city was founded in 1682 and was a hotbed of the Enlightenment Philosophers, also a capital of the country before Washington DC became it.
What to do in Philadelphia? From historic buildings, museums, party spots to hang out, parks and green spaces to stroll, there's no shortage of activities when visiting Philadelphia. To guide you in your preparation for a trip to Philadelphia. I summed up for you the best vthings to do in the city.
Visit the historic center
To get started, explore historic downtown of Philadelphia. The little streets are really cute, and even more so in the spring when the trees are blooming ! The neighborhood, built on the western banks of the Delaware River, is full of historic buildings to visit. First, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the Museum of the American Revolution. Nearby, the historic 18th century Gardens are a must-see when visiting Philadelphia.
Eat a cheesesteak
Coming to Philadelphia without enjoying a good cheesesteak would be a sacrilege but Philadelphia cuisine isn't limited to cheese-dripping sandwiches: the city is full of trendy addresses of renowned chefs offering delicate dishes with international flavors. If the locals love the small French bistro called Parc in the Rittenhouse Square district, they are also fond of BYOB restaurants (bring your own bottle, as known as restaurants where customers can bring their bottle of wine). Definitely, there is something for everyone in Philadelphia and special diets aren't left behind with many vegetarian and vegan addresses across the city.
One Liberty Observation Deck
One shouldn't visit Philadelphia without climbing to the top of the One Liberty Observation Deck, a skyscraper towering 269 meters high, to enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view - as you climb to the 57th floor - of the city. Your tickets will be valid for 48 hours, allowing you to admire the city day and night. This skyscraper, also called "Philly from the Top" opened on November 28, 2015 and offers its visitors a 360 ° view of the city.
Symbol of American Independence, the Liberty Bell means the "freedom bell": it is said to have sounded the proclamation of independence on July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia. Near its crack, you can read the name of the two craftsmen who tried to repair it and the slogan: "You will proclaim freedom throughout the country for all its inhabitants."
Philadelphia may be the sixth largest city in the United States, but its urbanization is far from oppressive. On the opposite, green spaces abound in the four corners of the metropolis and its founder William Penn had also imagined in 1682 the grid of the city according to four main parks : Rittenhouse, Logan, Franklin and Washington squares. Since then, green spaces have multiplied particularly in East and West banks with in particular the gigantic Fairmont Park. It is possible to cross it from the Museum of Art and boat trips are possible on its lake to discover the Boathouses, these colonial-type houses whose facades light up at nightfall. Yes, nature is indeed present in Philly and when you are walking, it is always more pleasant to take advantage of these green corners!
The Barnes Foundation
The Barnes Foundation is without a doubt, the jewel of Philadelphia! Albert C. Barnes (1872-1951) was a pharmacist who made fortune and amassed an incredible art collection. Today estimated at 25 million dollars, it has no less than 181 Renoir, 69 Cézanne, 59 Matisse, 46 Picasso… It is the largest private collection of impressionist paintings in the world… It reopened in May 2012 in brand new premises. Within its old walls, the collection was cramped, and you had to book months in advance to get the chance to get inside. With these new buildings, the entry capacity has increased from 60,000 visitors per year to 220,000. The presentation of the works is quite original. Not at all according to the authors or the chronology, but exactly as Barnes had decided at the time: according to the colors, the themes and the sizes of the paintings. The first impression may seem a bit cluttered and crowded, but in fact it's quite fascinating to see so many exceptional works at one glance.
It's a legendary scene in American cinema: you remember, in Rocky, Sylvester Stallone jogging through the city and ending up running up stairs with a panoramic view ... Well, it's in Philadelphia! And these steps are those of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, now renamed "Rocky Steps".
The funny thing is that everyone re-enact the scene and run up the stairs to raise their fists high in victory when they get to the top! A real unusual spectacle to watch …
Fishtown and Old Kensington
This is where you will find the cool shops, cafes and restaurants. Let's be clear, these are the two hipster neighborhoods of Philadelphia where you'll find cool, well-dressed people; the kind of neighborhood we like to discover. Like Williamsburg in New York or Mile-End in Montreal. The area has been gentrified but the popular side has remained there, most certainly due to the skytrain line which crosses the neighboordhood and which gives that little “ghetto” side.
Photo by : Kelly Lacy
Lots Of Love, Valerie & Alex