Top Tourist Attractions in Philadelphia
Walking the same streets that Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson did, I can't help but feel connected to my nation's past. Philadelphia does that to you – the sense of history permeates the city. But Philadelphia has much more than historical buildings and significant documents to offer its visitors.
This is the place where the John Hancock planted his name big and bold on the Declaration of Independence, along with 55 of his friends and colleagues, officially giving Great Britain notice that they were tired of being pushed around and considered themselves an independent country and no longer part of Great Britain. A few years later the U.S. Constitution was signed there as well. Independence Hall was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Visitors can head across the street to see the famed cracked Liberty Bell, which once hung in Independence Hall's bell tower.
520 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Philadelphia Art Museum
I'm approaching the art museum on foot. Ahead of me a tour bus empties out and the riders begin running up the front steps of the museum – and there are a lot of them – until they reach the top, where they jump up and down, punching their fists in the air.
What the heck?
Then it dawns on me – Rocky. They're reenacting that famous scene from the 1976 Oscar winning film. When in Rome... I run up the stairs and start jumping around at the top.
The inside of the museum is interesting too.
The Philadelphia Art Museum's galleries boast works created over the several millennia in places as varied as Paris and Beijing. From Impressionist paintings to Turkish rugs, art in its many forms is represented at the museum. Some of the museum's better-known works are Poussin's Birth of Venus, Cezanne's Bathers and Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase. See rooms from a 16th century Buddhist temple or a 12th century European cloister. I love seeing the elaborate quilts, lace and gowns of yesteryear, so naturally one of my favorite galleries was Costume and Textiles.
Philadelphia Art Museum
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130
The Philadelphia Zoo holds the distinction of being the oldest in the United States. The zoo encompasses 30 acres where visitors can wander to view the more than 1300 animals that reside there. Guests can see creatures ranging from the Andean condor to the addax, a Saharan antelope. There's also fierce lions, tigers, adorable red pandas, a Chinese alligator and much more.
3400 West Girard Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19104-1196
Ride the Ducks Philadelphia Tour
I know, it's so touristy, but you've got to try the duck tour. There's something so James Bond-esque about riding in a vehicle that drives around town then turns into a boat and cruises down the Delaware River. The tour takes you past several of Philadelphia's most famous historical sites like the Betsy Ross house and Ben Franklin's grave, and you can choose the ones you'd like to explore further on your own at a later date. The duck tour is a great hit with kids, but it's fun for all ages.
Philadelphia Ride the Ducks
Ticketing and Boarding is across the street from the Liberty Bell at 6th and Chestnut Streets.
Tickets - 877-887-8225
Valley Forge National Park
You can come to learn about the Valley Forge's role in our nation's history, to enjoy the bike trails, or both. Check out the exhibit at the Welcome Center that uses actual Revolutionary War artifacts to tell the story of how the minute men survived a bitterly cold winter while making camp in Valley Forge. Afterwards you can hike or bike the six miles of trails, fish in the river, take a trolley tour or picnic on the green lawns.