Philadelphia is often overlooked in favour of its neighbour NYC, but Philly is a diverse city in its own right, steeped in history and culture. Thanks to a Philadelphia Eagles Superbowl win this year, it’s rapidly climbing the ranks of American destinations to visit and for good reason.
There’s so much to see and do in Philadelphia and at just an eight-hour flight away, it’s a great alternative to a New York city break. Plus, the city is easily walkable, so pack your comfy shoes and get ready to explore one of the very best cities America has to offer.
Read on for my top tips on how explore this brilliant city, from finding the best Philly cheese steak at the bustling food scene at Reading Terminal Market, to climbing the Rocky stairs ‘Sylvester Stallone style’, or experiencing where Hamilton and the other founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence all those years ago.
- Food glorious food
You can’t pay a visit to Philadelphia without trying its famous Philly Cheese Steak (a steak sandwich oozing with melted cheese, onions and all of the sauces – yes, it is as delicious as it sounds). Find the very best at John’s Roast Pork, Pat’s Kings of Steaks or Geno’s Steaks. But it’s not just sandwiches that the city has down to a fine art. Reading Terminal Market, located at the heart of the city has been serving up delicious food from all over the world since 1863 and it’s still the perfect place to experience an incredible melting pot of flavours. From fluffy Dutch pancakes to artisan doughnuts and salty, fresh oysters, there is something delicious on offer every day of the week. I had the most amazing pancakes at Dutch Eating Place – get there early, pull up a seat at the bar and come hungry. You won’t be disappointed!
- The room where it happened
As a self-confessed American history geek (with the American Studies degree to prove it) I couldn’t wait to explore the historical landmarks of Philadelphia. Whilst it might not be everyone’s dream come true to spend the day exploring Philadelphia’s Historic District, it’s well worth a visit to learn a little more about the birthplace of the USA. Better yet, the landmarks are all within a short walk of each other, so it’s easy to hop from one museum or point of interest to another. Hamilton fans rejoice – Philly not only boasts Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence was signed back in 1776) but also the First Bank of the United States where he created the first central bank, and the Museum of American Revolution with artefacts from the war he played a huge role in. So, you really do get to see the room where it happened!
- Eye of the Tiger
Even if you’re not a fan of the Rocky movies, unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll be aware of the iconic scene from the first film where Rocky runs up the stairs to the Philadelphia Museum of Art during a triumphant training session. The iconic stairs are still very much a must-see attraction for visitors to the City of Brotherly Love. There’s even a Rocky statue situated at the foot of the steps. I recommend going for an early morning run to get a great view of the city and watch the sunrise. Who doesn’t want to say they followed in the footsteps of Sylvester Stallone?|
- Superbowl city
To say Philadelphians take their sport seriously is an understatement. This sport-mad city is not only home to the reigning world champions of American Football, it also has Basketball, Baseball and Ice Hockey teams to boot, so if you’re looking to catch an all-American game, you’ll certainly have your pick of the very best. With local team the Philadelphia Eagles the victors of this year’s American Football showpiece the Superbowl, I recommend getting a ticket to watch the reigning champs in action at Lincoln Financial Field. Go Eagles!
Philadelphia is full of amazing art, history and sporting prowess but once you’ve had your fix of culture, it’s also a great place to squeeze in a bit of retail therapy. Whether picking up homemade preserves at Reading Terminal Market or hitting the high street shops at crowd-pleasing Rittenhouse Row in the heart of the city, Philly is a brilliant place to shop. Plus, shoes and clothing are tax-free so you can really save a few $$s.
Have you ever visited Philadelphia? What was your favourite attraction?