In July 1776 the Liberty Bell rang out across Philadelphia and crowds gathered to hear the Declaration of Independence read in public for the first time. Eleven years later on September 17, the delegates of the Constitutional Convention again gathered in the city to sign the constitution in what is now known as Independence Hall. Today, Philadelphia enjoys the distinction of being steeped in history and on the cutting edge of culture and entertainment.
The city is enduringly marked from the days when historic figures such as Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson walked its streets. There are dozens of heritage sites in the Independence National Historical Park including the Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall. Explore the National Constitution Center where interactive exhibits focus on the important people and moments in those formative years.
History is celebrated in Philadelphia, but the city is certainly not stuck in the past. Gaze at some of the 227,000 objects housed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Enjoy a night out in a stylish Downtown bar or with the orchestra at the Kimmel Center in West Philadelphia. The city is also a center for cultural events, including an ever-changing program of special exhibits at Philadelphia’s African American Museum.
South Street, the Delaware River, the Schuylkill River and Vine Street bind the Central City area, or Downtown. Downtown is where you can try a Dutch shoofly pie at the Reading Terminal Market or a Philly cheesesteak at Geno’s. More than a simple lunch, a cheesesteak is a cultural experience unique to Philadelphia and everyone has an opinion on who serves them up best. Continue your foodie adventure at the Italian Market.
Families will enjoy visiting the Philadelphia Zoo. This is the oldest zoo in America, with 42 acres (17 hectares) of Victorian gardens and more than 1,000 animals. Nearby, let the kids run loose and explore the extensive displays at the Please Touch Museum.
When fresh air beckons retreat to the Morris Arboretum where there’s more than 13,000 labeled plants. Take a bike ride along the snaking Schuylkill River in the world’s largest city park, Fairmount Park.