If you’ve only got 2 days to spend in this historic US city, and want to make the most of your trip, we’re here to help. Plan your Philadelphia itinerary well and you can see and do a lot in a short time. Visit the famous Liberty Bell, run up and down the Rocky Steps, and tuck into a delicious Philly cheesesteak.
Here’s how to spend 48 hours in Philadelphia…
Philadelphia might not be one of the obvious US holiday hotspots, but it lines up so many landmarks and attractions. There are 67 official National Historic Landmarks, and loads of key sights from US history to explore. In fact, Philadelphia was integral to the founding of America, so you’ll get a real insight into the country’s roots here.
Spend your first day exploring the city on a hop-on, hop-off bus tour. You’ll be taken straight to the main sights, and you can stop at as many attractions as you please. The unmissable sights in Philadelphia include Independence Hall, which is known as the birthplace of democracy, and where the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. The Liberty Bell, which is the iconic symbol of American Independence, and, the Rocky Statue and Steps which featured in scenes from the Rocky film franchise.
When you need a break from sightseeing, grab a Philly cheesesteak from one of the many cheesesteak shops across the city. This iconic snack is a sandwich made with thin slices of beefsteak and melted cheese. Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks are the well-known shops, and popular with tourists, while Steve's Prince of Steaks is a locals’ favorite. Each sandwich is made slightly differently, so you’ve got an excuse to tuck into a few and find the perfect one.
There’s nothing like getting a panoramic view of a city to really appreciate the vast skyscraper-dotted landscape. Head up to the One Liberty Observation Deck just before sunset, to get a sky-high view of the city illuminated in a myriad of colors. You’ll get sweeping 360 degree views of all the key landmarks including the Ben Franklin Bridge, the stadium complex and University City. Plus, there are touchscreen monitors telling you about everything you can see.
After your sky-high landmark-spotting experience, take your pick from the restaurants and bars in the area. There’s Bank & Bourbon, Oyster House, Dizengoff, and Luke’s Lobster, to name a few.
You’ve taken a whistle-stop tour of Philadelphia’s famous attractions, so use your second day to delve deeper into the history and culture of the city.
Visit the Eastern State Penitentiary to get an insight into prison life in the 1800s and see where some of America’s famous mobsters were held. Or, tour the Betsy Ross House to see where the first American flag was made – here you’ll experience costumed re-enactments from the 18th century. There’s also the Please Touch Museum which is a great attraction for kids under 7. The strictly hands-on exhibits in this museum include a space station, a replica arm and torch from the Statue of Liberty, and a carousel from the early 1900s.
Philadelphia Zoo is the place to be if you prefer animals to artefacts. It’s the oldest zoo in the whole of the USA (having been founded in the 1800s), and there are over 1,300 animals to see. The park also features Zoo360 – an animal trail system where big cats, gorillas and apes travel along suspended mesh structures to different areas of the park.
Toast a perfect 48 hours in Philadelphia with a drink at one of the city’s quirky bars and pubs. There’s Hop Sing Laundromat which is a speakeasy-style cocktail bar disguised as a launderette. Garage is a drinking spot in a former car body shop, with motorbikes on display, and over 400 canned beers to choose from. And, The Franklin Bar is a prohibition-era favorite with a themed cocktail menu to choose from.
Excited to discover everything that Philadelphia has to offer? Follow our itinerary above and you’ll see the city’s best bits, learn about its history and culture, and try a Philly cheesesteak or two, all in just 48 hours.