Moving to Philly? Here Are the Best Things to Do in Philadelphia
Did you know that as many as 45 million tourists visited the City of Brotherly Love last year? They all came for a reason – Pennsylvania’s biggest city has a lot to offer. Among many interesting things to do in Philadelphia, there’s something for everyone’s taste and interest.
From stunning architecture, rich culture, and remarkable museums to charming parks and cozy restaurants and bars – it has it all. Your only task is to plan your tour carefully so that you don’t miss any major sites, at least for a start. Now that you’re moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, you’ll have plenty of time to explore every corner of this fantastic metropolis and get to know it better. Just like many before you, we assume that you’ll gradually grow to love it more and more as time goes by, and you begin to feel like a local.
But right now, you just want to know where to start. Which places should you go to first? Where to go when you need a moment to recharge your batteries? Where to meet new friends if you’re moving alone to another state? How to avoid relocation depression? Where to go to learn more about Philly’s rich culture? Where to take your kids? There are so many questions you’re beginning to feel somewhat overwhelmed already. But we are here to help you narrow down your choices. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous destinations that should be on your list when you start planning your tour around town.
Your Summer Holiday Is a Perfect Time to Relax at the Oval
When summer comes, one of the places where you can enjoy the weather is the Oval. This eight-acre outdoor public space is devoted to summertime fun with a variety of activities that you can enjoy with your friends and family. During summer, the Oval turns into a vibrant destination popular among visitors and locals equally.
Every season, the Oval brings new interactive activities and fun games to take part in, something interesting for people of all ages. If you’re not up for games, you can enjoy public art, go to outdoor movie nights, or attend fitness classes. And when you get hungry, there are plenty of food trucks where you can go for a snack or a tasty meal. Those might not be the best restaurants in Philadelphia, but you can still find excellent culinary delicacies. Plus, you don’t have to worry about bringing the food yourself. In addition to this, there is also an outdoor beer garden where you can get a refreshment. Enjoy a cold brew after a day full of fun activities and enjoy the sunset.
Go to the Reading Terminal Market
Located in the Market East District, the Reading Terminal Market is a perfect place to go to to get the real feel of Philly’s food, from local produce to baked goods. In addition to local delicacies, you can also taste some specialties from around the world, including Greek, Indian, Thai, and Mexican cuisine.
When you find what matches your taste (and there’s no doubt that you will), you can eat your meal in the central dining area. Another option is to find a stall with its own seating and eat there before you move on. Beiler’s Bakery is worth visiting if you like doughnuts, while Dutch Eating Place is often praised for the apple dumplings.
The site is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. featuring 80 different vendors. So, you might want to leave a whole afternoon or even the entire day to explore every corner. In case this is too much for you and you don’t think you can get around by yourself, there are excellent food tours that make stops at the Reading Terminal Market. Be sure you sign up for one of these to get proper guidance.
Take a Tour of the Eastern State Penitentiary
Even though walking around the former prison that today stands all in ruin might sound a bit spooky, the Eastern State Penitentiary is worth considering. This is a museum and historic site of grand Gothic architecture to admire, and a great history to tell.
Namely, the prison was operational between 1829 and 1971, during which time some of the most notorious criminals were held there. The prisoners were kept in separate cells, which was later called the “Pennsylvania system.” Outside the cells, they also had an area for exercise, again individual so that they could not talk to one another.
Nowadays, you can go to this museum all year round and see the cells of former inmates, which included Al Capone and bank robber Willie Suton. If you’re moving during the holidays, you might want to check out the annual Haunted House Halloween event called “Terror Behind the Walls” if you’re ready to be really scared.
Enjoy a Breathtaking View from One Liberty Observation Deck
One Liberty Observation Deck is an excellent destination whether you want to go with friends or you’re moving with kids and want to take them, too. Enjoying a majestic view of the Philadelphia skyline from the almost 900-foot tall deck will be an out-of-this-world experience for everyone.
The deck offers a view of several landmarks, including Ben Franklin Bridge and City Hall. This 57-floor high skyscraper is located within walking distance to other Philly’s landmarks, so it will be convenient to move on with your sightseeing. Interactive technologies give you a chance to get a closer look at the key sites, as well as learn about their history and architecture.
One Liberty Observation Deck is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. from September to April.
Take a Stroll Down Elfreth’s Alley
This small street has great historical significance. Dating back to 1702, Elfreth’s Alley is the oldest residential street in America. It is full of history preserved in even the smallest architectural details. From Flemish bond brickwork to shutters and old-fashioned flower boxes – all of these details together make the entire street unique and charming.
Two of those beautiful houses lined down the street now serve as a museum, open Friday through Sunday. In the 19th century, two families lived in these houses, as well as a pair of dressmakers who ran a sewing business, which is just one of the many businesses that could be found here. There were also shoemakers, tailors, grocers, and cabinet makers.
The street got its name after a blacksmith, Jeremiah Elfreth, who lived here in the 18th century. Various events are held in the Alley, from Christmas festivities to the traditional Fete Day held in June, celebrating the diverse ethnic heritage of America’s oldest residential street.
Have Fun at Adventure Aquarium
When you soak up all the culture of Elfreth’s Alley, you can head to the Camden Waterfront just across the Delaware River for some excitement in Adventure Aquarium. Even though it belongs to New Jersey, it’s only minutes away from the downtown area.
This will be a particularly fun experience for the kids, but it’s fun for adults, as well. You can see as many as 8,500 aquatic species and the largest collection of sharks on the entire East Coast. This is also the only aquarium in the world where you can find hippos. You can also come face to face with the smallest penguins in the world, sea turtles, sea dragons, and giant Pacific octopus.
Spend a Lovely Day in Rittenhouse Square
When you want to go to some of the finest dining destinations in the Birthplace of America, you’ll head to Rittenhouse Square. The heart of the city’s most exclusive neighborhood, Rittenhouse Square is the most popular town square. This is one of the best places to live in Philadelphia, there’s no doubt about that. It has so much to offer, but, naturally, that comes at a price. Thus, if you’re thinking about this option, consider the cost of living in Philadelphia when you start planning your moving budget, perhaps finding the cheapest way to move out of state or moving into a smaller home might be a good idea.
In addition to elegant restaurants and world-class stores, there’s also a beautiful tree-lined park where you can relax in so many ways. You can have a picnic, sunbathe, or attend some of its many annual events, including the Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show held in the fall. During winter, you shouldn’t miss the annual Christmas Tree Lightning to feel the real holiday spirit.
Go to the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Speaking of art, we should also mention The Kimmel Center, a large performing arts venue where you can go to various concerts. In addition to jazz and symphony orchestra performances, you can also find educational events here. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is a part of the entire Kimmel Center complex, which also includes the Academy of Music and the Merriam Theater.
If you want to save some money, make sure you gather a couple of friends, your family, or any other theatre lovers, and you can get a discount of up to 35%. The group should consist of at least ten people.
There are also one-hour free tours that start at 1 p.m. daily and at 10.30 a.m. one Saturday a month. These free tours are organized on a first-come, first-served basis, and there is a limited number of 20 people per tour, so if you’re interested, make sure you get there early enough.
Visit Independence National Historical Park and Soak up the History
This US National Park is not just a good location to enjoy the beautiful green space, but also a site full of landmarks. There are a dozen buildings around that you should not miss, including the Declaration House, Merchant’s Exchange Building, and Liberty Bell Center. To get in touch with nature and relax, head to Rose Garden or Magnolia Garden, both charming in their own way.
The green space stretches on 55 acres. Due to its historical significance, it has been given the nickname “America’s most historic square mile.” It lies within Old City and Society Hill, two historic neighborhoods. These are also among the best neighborhoods in Philadelphia, in case you still haven’t decided where exactly you’re going to move.
One of the most significant sites there (though all the buildings have major significance) is the Independence Hall, which has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So, there’s an idea if you couldn’t decide which of the landmarks to go to first.
Enter Independence Hall
A place where both the United States Constitution and the United States Declaration of Independence were adopted, Independence Hall is a site of tremendous historical significance. To soak up the history behind it, it’s advisable that you book a guided tour and learn more about the site. You can check out the Assembly Room arranged the way it was during the original Constitutional Convention, as well as the original Constitution draft.
Explore Benjamin Franklin Parkway
The artistic, tree-lined Benjamin Franklin Parkway is probably the most beautiful boulevard in the area. It runs from Logan Circle to the edge of Fairmount Park, right through the city’s cultural heart. Thus, the boulevard boasts noteworthy cultural institutions, as well as public parks and other destinations that make it worth exploring. Sometimes called Pennsylvania Avenue, this parkway is a must-visit site that will make your day.
In addition to the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul, Swann Memorial Fountain, Family Court Building, and Parkway Central Library, you shouldn’t miss a variety of world-class museums, either.
Enjoy Art in Some of the World-Class Museums
This is the most crucial part of Philadelphia’s Museum District. Thus, you can’t walk down the parkway without visiting at least some of them. Here are a couple of the most significant museums to explore:
- Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Franklin Institute
- Rodin Museum
- The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
- Barnes Foundation
When you decide to take a break from sightseeing and enjoy nature, head straight to the waterfront.
Relax at the Philly Waterfront
Right now, you might be exploring how to get a job before you move. Eventually, you’ll find one, and when you finally relocate, that job will take a great deal of your time, and we all know how work can be stress-inducing at times. You’ll need a place to leave all your troubles behind and recharge your batteries. When that moment comes, head to the Delaware River Waterfront and choose whatever you feel like doing at that moment – attend various events, walk the trails, go to a restaurant, or go to a museum. There are also several beautiful parks to relax in, such as Cherry Street Pier.
Take a Stroll Down Cherry Street Pier
In addition to the indoor-outdoor space, which is open all year round and offers excellent food options, there’s also a beautiful park where you can relax with your friends. If you’re moving with pets, you can bring them, too, as the outdoor space is pet-friendly, though you’re supposed to keep your dog on the leash.
Keep in mind that, while the pier itself is open seven days a week, all year round, the park is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The hours are the same on Sundays, while during Fridays and Saturdays, it’s open a bit longer, until 11 p.m.
Best Things to Do in Philadelphia in 2020
Have you already packed, and you’re looking to figure out how to change your address when you move? Or you’re waiting for professional Philly movers to provide you with packing services to get going? Either way, your relocation date is getting closer, so let’s find out about some of the top things to do in the Athens of America in 2020.
Best Things to Do in Philadelphia with Kids
If you’re relocating with children, there will be plenty of stuff to do with them in 2020, from zoos, gardens, and outdoor fun activities to museums. There is also a wide range of playgrounds. Some of the top recommended places to visit with kids include the following:
- Please Touch Museum
- Camden Children’s Garden
- Sesame Place
- Legoland Discovery Center
- Smith Memorial Playground
This metropolis is also full of some unusual things to do, so let’s find out about some sites to consider in 2020 if you’re looking for a memorable experience of something you’ve never done before.
Unusual Attractions in Philly
The Birthplace of America is a diverse place with so many places to visit and things to do that there’s something for everyone’s taste. For those of you looking for some quirky attractions in 2020, there is a wide range of options. For instance, you should go to Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, an outdoor gallery space covered with mosaics, or the Cave of Kelpius, which is believed to have housed one of the first apocalyptic cults. There are plenty of other sites, such as the Whispering Bench, the Moon Tree, Mount Moriah Cemetery, and many others.
Top Holiday Attractions in 2020
If you’re looking for fun activities to make the holiday season in the Cradle of Liberty magical, you’ll have quite a few options to choose from. For instance, you can have a lovely time at Dilworth Park, spark the holiday spirit at the LumiNature spectacle, enjoy the magical ambiance at Longwood Gardens, or visit Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest.
Places to Visit Live Music Events
You have chosen a metropolis widely known for its live music scene to be your future home, so make sure you include some of the many venues when you start exploring the area. There are many fantastic jazz spaces, such as Chris’ Jazz Café and Paris Bistro & Jazz Café, as well as alternative music venues, including District N9NE, The Rotunda, and Underground Arts. Bars with live music are also a great place to have some with some friends or to make new friends in a new city.
Head to the Schuylkill River Trail
Finally, you should explore the multi-use recreational trail that stretches alongside the Schuylkill River. This scenic 30-mile trail is an excellent place to ride a bike, go for a run, or just a walk. There’s a 2,000-foot pathway alongside the shoreline.
Whether you’re thinking about moving to the suburbs or somewhere closer to the downtown area, you’ll have plenty of places to visit and enjoy your home from the very first moment. If you can’t wait to get there and you want to speed up the process, you can always hire expert movers to provide you with professional moving services.