Exploring the place to go in Philadelphia reveals its captivating history and vibrant culture. Independence Hall, a pivotal site in one of America’s most historically significant cities, stands as a testament to the nation’s founding. In 1776, it was here that the Declaration of Independence was adopted, and in 1787, the Constitution was drafted, events that William Penn, a Quaker and the namesake of Pennsylvania, significantly influenced. These events were crucial in transforming the British colonies into an independent nation.
Philadelphia’s Top Attractions
Philadelphia, a city rich in tourist attractions in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, is home to revolutionary-era figures, historic buildings, and structures such as the Liberty Bell. Many of these landmarks, found in Germantown, have been meticulously restored, contributing to the city’s status as a major tourists attractions.
West of the Schuylkill River lies Philadelphia’s sprawling green space, Fairmount Park. This park is not just a natural haven but also a place of historical significance, featuring many Victorian-style mansions and Federal-style historic houses. Adjacent to these are the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum, making this area a focal point for those looking for iconic places and points of interest in Philadelphia. The park’s southern boundary is the museum district, a must-visit area including the Franklin Institute and the Academy of Natural Sciences, adding to the diverse array of places to explore in Philadelphia.
1. Liberty Bell Pavilion: A Premier Place to Go in Philadelphia
The Liberty Bell stands as one of the top tourist attractions in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Ringed historically to mark the signing of the Constitution, this iconic bell developed its famous crack in 1846 during a tolling in celebration of George Washington’s birthday. The Liberty Bell, symbolizing unity, was adopted by various groups, including abolitionists and suffragists, and became a symbol of a movement that culminated in Philadelphia by 1915.
Visiting the Liberty Bell Pavilion is a must-do activity and ranks high among places to explore in Philadelphia. Entry to the pavilion is free, making it an excellent choice for those seeking free or low-cost things to do in Philadelphia city. It’s not just a historic site but a significant place of interest for those looking to delve into the heart of America’s freedom story.
Address: 143 South Third Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2. Independence Hall: A Major Tourist Attraction in Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Independence Hall, not just a historic building but also a centerpiece among the place to go in Philadelphia, was the hub of government for the colony of Pennsylvania. It gained prominence as the site where independence was declared in 1776. In 1787, this iconic hall witnessed the Continental Congress drafting the new constitution. Additionally, in 1801, it hosted President Thomas Jefferson’s reception for Emperor Alexander II of Russia, the last Emperor of the Romanov dynasty.
The Assembly Hall within Independence Hall, a notable point of interest in Philadelphia is where the Second Continental Congress debated and ultimately declared independence from the British. It was in this hall that the Declaration of Independence was signed, and George Washington was appointed commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
Visitors can explore Independence Hall, one of the most iconic places in Philadelphia, free of charge. It’s a key place to explore in Philadelphia, offering an insightful glimpse into American history. Although there’s no entrance fee, tickets are limited, and visitors should be prepared for security screening. Free ESL services are also available upon request.
Address: 143 South Third Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
3. Independence National Historical Park: A Key Place to Explore in Philadelphia
Independence National Historical Park is renowned as America’s most historic square mile and a central point of interest in Philadelphia. It houses notable historic sites including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, among other significant place to go in Philadelphia. This park has witnessed some of America’s most crucial historical moments and hosted many of the country’s founding figures. Here, Independence Hall was the site of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and the drafting of the United States Constitution in 1787, making it a major tourist attraction in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
Adjacent to Independence Hall is Congress Hall, another important place of interest in the park. From 1790 to 1800, it served as the meeting place for the first United States Congress, where George Washington and John Adams were elected Presidents, a testament to the park’s status as one of the iconic places in Philadelphia.
Extending north from Independence Hall is the spacious Independence Mall, while on its eastern side at 55 North 5th Street lies the National Museum of American Jewish History. This area, rich in cultural and historical exhibits, further cements the park’s reputation as a top place to explore in Philadelphia. For visitors seeking a comprehensive experience of America’s revolutionary history, the Visitor Center off Dock Street serves as an excellent starting point.
4. Philadelphia Museum of Art and the “Rocky Steps”: Iconic Places in Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, a notable place to go in Philadelphia, boasts an extensive art collection featuring works by Rogier van der Weyden, the Van Eyck brothers, and an array of medieval masterpieces. The museum’s diverse collection spans various eras, representing art from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, including modern artists like Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cézanne, Renoir, Miró, and Picasso. This positions it as a leading destination for art lovers among the tourist attractions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The museum also prominently showcases American art, featuring masterpieces from renowned artists like Thomas Eakins and Charles Wilson Peale, among others. Additionally, the museum’s Asian art collection, which includes jade, porcelain, and Oriental carpets, adds to its status as a prime place of interest in Philadelphia.
The museum’s fame extends beyond its art collections to its Neoclassical architecture, especially the broad staircase known as the “Rocky Steps.” These steps have gained fame through the Rocky movies, attracting thousands of visitors who come to reenact the iconic Rocky pose, further cementing the museum’s status as one of the most iconic places in Philadelphia. It is a must-visit for both art lovers and movie fans, offering a unique blend of cultural experiences.
Address: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
5. Reading Terminal Market: A Must-Visit Tourist Attraction in Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Reading Terminal Market, a renowned place to go in Philadelphia and a National Historic Landmark, has been a staple in the city since 1893. Originally constructed by the Reading Railroad Company, the market provided essential space for food vendors during the construction of a new station.
Today, the market has evolved while preserving its unique ambiance and many original structural features, making it a significant point of interest in Philadelphia. Visitors to the market, which ranks high among major tourist attractions in Philadelphia, will find over 80 merchants, with 75 being small, independent businesses. This bustling marketplace attracts both locals and tourists, offering a wide array of products including local produce, free-range meats, canned goods, freshly-baked breads, and an assortment of handmade crafts like clothing, jewelry, and gifts. A highlight for many are the vendors specializing in Pennsylvania Dutch foods, adding to the market’s charm as an iconic place in Philadelphia.
Address: 51 North 12th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
6. The Barnes Foundation: A Premier Place of Interest in Philadelphia
The Barnes Foundation, established by Dr. Albert Barnes in 1892, is a distinguished place to explore in Philadelphia. It houses an impressive collection of Impressionistic and Post-impressionist paintings, including the world’s largest collection of Renoir’s works, more Cézanne pieces than found in all of France, and nearly 60 paintings by Matisse, who also painted in Philadelphia. The museum also features works by other renowned artists such as Degas, Manet, and Modigliani, making it a significant tourist attraction in Philadelphia Pennsylvania for art aficionados.
The Barnes Foundation stands out among major tourist attractions in Philadelphia by offering free admission and a range of interactive activities on the first Sunday of every month. Additionally, on the first Friday of each month, the museum hosts live music and refreshments, creating an informative, entertaining, and welcoming environment for visitors. This approach solidifies its status as one of the most iconic places in Philadelphia for both locals and tourists.
Address: 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
7. LOVE Park: A Unique Place to Go in Philadelphia
LOVE Park, a notable point of interest in Philadelphia, is renowned for its iconic sculpture created in 1956 by Robert Indiana. This sculpture, emblematic of Philadelphia’s nickname “City of Brotherly Love,” ranks it among the top tourist attractions in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Situated near the entrance to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, LOVE Park is not just a green space but a cultural hub, flanked by prestigious institutions like The Barnes Foundation, the Franklin Institute, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, all significant places to explore in Philadelphia.
The park, blending elegant architecture and lush green areas, provides a versatile space for various events, making it one of the most iconic places in Philadelphia. Throughout the year, LOVE Park hosts numerous pop-up events, including a festive Christmas village, further enhancing its appeal as a major tourist attraction in Philadelphia.
Address: 16th Street and JFK Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
8. Please Touch Museum: A Family-Friendly Tourist Attraction in Philadelphia Pennsylvania
The Please Touch Museum stands out as a popular tourist attraction in Philadelphia. This fully interactive museum offers a unique learning experience for children, making it a key place to go in Philadelphia for families. By using replicas of cultural artifacts and interactive technology, the museum enables children to explore history, science fiction worlds, and even outer space, making it one of the most engaging places to explore in Philadelphia.
Among its exhibits, the kid-sized home allows youngsters to experience different professions, such as building their own city, while learning about science and physics. These educational and interactive exhibits focus on themes like water usage and gravity, blending learning with fun. Additionally, the museum’s dedication to teaching about gardening, animal husbandry, and sustainable farming through interactive exhibits cements its status as a major tourist attraction in Philadelphia. The exhibit gardens, featuring heirloom vegetables and plants, provide valuable lessons in nutrition and sustainability.
Address: Memorial Hall, Fairmount Park, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
9. Philadelphia Zoo: An Iconic Place to Go in Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Zoo, recognized as one of the best tourist attractions in Philadelphia Pennsylvania offers engaging and interactive exhibits that provide visitors with an up-close look at a diverse range of animals. The zoo’s commitment to wildlife conservation and rehabilitation, as well as its efforts to educate visitors about the impact of humans on other earth residents, makes it a premier place of interest in Philadelphia.
A standout attraction at the zoo is Big Cat Falls, a remarkable place to explore in Philadelphia where visitors can admire the stunning terrain and observe various animals in their habitats. Equally popular with both kids and adults are the African Plains, featuring some of the zoo’s most fascinating animals like giraffes, hippos, and white rhinos, adding to its status as a major tourist attraction in Philadelphia.
The zoo also houses a range of Australian wildlife, including red kangaroos and emus. Other notable attractions include Bear Country, home to species from Asia, South America, and North America; Carnivore Kingdom, with its unique inhabitants like dwarf mongooses and the vegetarian red panda; a reptile and amphibian house; an aviary; and Monkey Junction, home to pairs of spider monkeys.
At the small mammal house, visitors are treated to the sight of nocturnal animals active under artificial lighting, while the zoo’s primate reserve and rare animal conservation center offer insights into endangered species. These diverse exhibits reinforce the Philadelphia Zoo’s role as a comprehensive tourist attraction in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Address: 3400 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
10. Rodin Museum: A Renowned Tourist Place in Philadelphia
The Rodin Museum, acclaimed as one of the most highly regarded tourist places in Philadelphia, boasts an extensive collection of sculptures by French artist Auguste Rodin, one of the largest outside France. This museum showcases castings, bronzes, and marbles of Rodin’s most famous masterpieces, making it a significant point of interest in Philadelphia.
Art enthusiasts visiting this museum can admire renowned works like The Thinker and Rodin’s seminal work, The Gates of Hell. Rodin’s unique approach to sculpture, staying true to natural forms, has earned him the title of the father of modern sculpture, further enhancing the museum’s status as a key place to go in Philadelphia.
Address: 2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
11. The Franklin Institute Science Museum: A Hub of Exploration in Philadelphia
In tribute to the celebrated scientist, The Franklin Institute Science Museum offers an interactive journey, making it a leading tourist attraction in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This museum, encompassing various scientific fields under one roof, features exhibits that delve into the life and experiments of Benjamin Franklin, adding to its appeal as a major tourist attraction in Philadelphia.
Dedicated to advancing human knowledge in technology and space, the museum provides immersive experiences in computer technology, information technologies, space travel, and astronomy. The inclusion of an IMAX theater and a planetarium offers visitors realistic views of the universe, solidifying its position as an iconic place to explore in Philadelphia.
12. Fairmount Park: A Diverse Tourist Attraction in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Fairmount Park, sprawling along the Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Creek, is a significant place to go in Philadelphia. It is home to renowned attractions like the Philadelphia Zoo, The Rodin Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and The Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, among others, making it a major tourist attraction in Philadelphia. The park offers a variety of amenities including gardens, ball fields, swimming pools, tennis courts, hiking paths, picnic areas, and playgrounds, catering to a wide range of interests and activities.
Shofuso, a traditional Japanese house brought to Philadelphia for the 1876 Centennial Exposition, adds to the park’s cultural diversity, making it an iconic place to explore in Philadelphia. The Tanabata Family Weekend, with its family-friendly activities and traditional Japanese crafts, enhances the park’s appeal.
Another highlight of this 2,000-acre park is the historic boathouses along the Schuylkill River. These boathouses, integral to Philadelphia’s collegiate rowing community, are a cherished part of the city’s history and contribute to the park’s status as a point of interest in Philadelphia.
Address: Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
13. Eastern State Penitentiary: A Historic Place of Interest in Philadelphia
Opened in 1829, Eastern State Penitentiary was once considered the world’s most advanced prison and is now a key tourist attraction in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Visitors can explore Al Capone’s famously luxurious cell, among other notable aspects of the prison, making it an intriguing place to explore in Philadelphia.
The penitentiary offers tours that provide insights into the history of incarceration in the United States and other countries. Its exhibits explore how laws, politics, and society have shaped the prison system, solidifying its place as an iconic place in Philadelphia for history enthusiasts.
Address: 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
14. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Museum: A Cultural Highlight in Philadelphia
At the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Museum, visitors can immerse themselves in a vast array of American art spanning from the 18th century to modern times, including notable pieces by early American artists through to Andy Warhol.
Located in a historically significant building crafted by the renowned American architects Frank Furness and George W. Hewitt, this museum is a standout tourist attraction in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, showcasing a blend of permanent and rotating exhibitions as well as student works.
Address: 118 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
15. City Hall: An Architectural Marvel in Philadelphia
The grandeur of Philadelphia’s City Hall, noted as the United States’ largest municipal building, is built on solid granite foundations. Its impressive 548-foot tower, surpassing any non-steel frame structure in height, is crowned by a 27-ton William Penn statue.
Visitors at this historic site can enjoy breathtaking city views and a range of tour experiences, making it a premier place of interest in Philadelphia.
Address: 1401 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
16. Society Hill Historic District: A Historical Treasure in Philadelphia
In the Society Hill Historic District, a spectrum of beautifully restored buildings, colonial residences, and quaint shops offers a window into Philadelphia’s past near the intersection of Walnut Street and Washington Square.
This district, brimming with iconic places to explore in Philadelphia, includes cultural sites like the Polish American Cultural Center and Old St. Mary’s Church. The nearby Historical Society of Pennsylvania Library adds to its appeal as a major tourist attraction in Philadelphia.
The district’s Washington Square houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a solemn memorial with an eternal flame, paying homage to the unsung heroes of the Revolutionary War.