Discover a diverse range of cultural attractions in the City of Brotherly Love. This was the birthplace of a revolution and a nation – with the historical sites still powerful reminders of what occurred here. Other Philadelphia attractions such as the Museum of Art have found later fame in the movies, and the Magic Garden is a true one off creative space.
Take in the best of Philadelphia’s artistic, cinematic, historic and cultural attractions during your stay and discover a city that’s as important today as it ever has been. Here’s our list of Philadelphia’s cultural highlights.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Marvel at this imposing building as it rises up from the top end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. It sits majestically on the rise of this green strip and the treasures inside are no less spectacular. An absolute must on the city’s cultural circuit with some added pop culture points too. The steps in front of the museum were used in the film Rocky, with a statue of the title character standing outside as a tribute to the famous training scene. The perfect place for a holiday snap.
Visit the birthplace of both the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence. This building is dripping with history – an integral part of the fabric of United States history. The men who signed this famous document risked ‘their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor’ but were able to gather 12 years later to shape a new nation.
The Franklin Institute
Get interactive at this impressive museum and cultural space. Named after the city’s most famous son – Benjamin Franklin – the institute was a pioneer in hands-on exhibitions before they became all the rage. It’s something its namesake would have been very proud of. Learn more about everything from space travel to anatomy in the grand halls of this historic building.
National Constitution Center
Explore high-tech exhibits, learn first hand with interactive displays or become immersed in the 360˚ multi-media ‘We the People’ story. The center explores the meaning and details of this legendary document in what must be one of the world’s only museums dedicated entirely to one piece of paper.
Reading Terminal Market
More than just a marketplace – Reading Terminal Market has been selling to the good people of Philadelphia since the mid 19th century. Buy everything from fruit and veg to exotic spices, clothes and souvenirs here. Even more remarkably, some of the hundred or so stallholders are descendants of the original market traders from 150 years ago. A true cultural landmark in the city.
Please Touch Museum
You might not be able to get your hands on the real Constitution or Liberty Bell. But at the Please Touch Museum, being tactile with exhibits is all part of the fun. This is a great place for kids and adults to come and learn together – crossing the boundaries that you find in most cultural spaces with a refreshing new approach. If the kids are a little bit tired of the history lessons – this is the place to fire their imaginations.
The Magic Garden
Covering half a city block, this community art space manages to combine creativity with a hint of the eccentric. Founded by local legend, Isaiah Zagar, this South Street institution features unique spaces covered with found objects. Explore the glass bottle and mosaic labyrinth and other spaces covered with old bike wheels and everything else you could imagine. It’s a truly unique cultural stopping point in the city.
The Betsy Ross House
How many world famous seamstresses do you know? Betsy Ross has passed into legend as the maker of the first ever US flag. Historians now debate the accuracy of the story but wander through the tiny rooms of Betsy’s 1740 home and learn why she took on the potentially treasonous task at the request of George Washington. It’s another of Philadelphia’s unique historical attractions.