If you are a fan of walking and strolling, this is a great city only for you. In fact, just doing this much will take you on an exciting tour of the major Philadelphia tourist attractions. Yes, so this is the American city to be explored mainly on foot. With its great historic sights to excellent museums, the list of the Philadelphia tourist attractions is quite long and all-inclusive. I mean there is something alluring for each type of visitor holding varied budget range. So, after my Maui Whale Watching tour let me tell you about my own experience of the major Philadelphia tourist attractions.
The Independence National Historical Park was my first visit. The name itself indicates that is a historic site and that I could explore many such free highlights dating from the American Revolution. First, visit the Independence Visitor Center to have good information about the attractions here via some video presentations. The National Constitution Center and Independence Hall marks the Constitution proclaimed in 1787 and the Declaration of Independence in 1776. On the other hand, the Liberty Bell Center is where you can see the broken bell that rang after the Declaration was first publicly read. Overall, there are some 20 buildings – Old City Hall, former residence of the US Supreme Court, Carpenters’ Hall, site of the First Continental Congress, and the Second Bank of the United States with a gallery. The park wardens assist you in exploring all.
In the same area is the Christ Church of the 17th century – the first Protestant Episcopal Church in the nation. You will find it exciting to know that great people such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin used to come here for worship. The interior is elegant interior with columns, wooden pews, and highly arched windows. Active since its construction, the colonial church was the tallest structure in the continent until 1829.
The Elfreth’s Alley off the Second Street refers to a narrow and paved residential street that is the most ancient one in the continent. The blacksmith name Elfreth of the 18th century erected the currently seen 33 row houses of brick and rented them to the artisans. The scene is not less than a movie shoot, but all are owned ones. Only the Elfreth Alley Museum exhibiting the early eras until the 18th century is open to public. The museum is really not a bore one, but an interesting one. I recommend coming here on Fete Day – first Saturday of June where several homes can be visited and a street fair with historical dramas can be attended.
On the South Columbus Boulevard, the Penn’s Landing is a refreshing waterfront along the Delaware River where the city’s founder, William Penn, landed in 1682. Apart from restaurants, live music, and marina, the main highlights here are the Independence Seaport Museum and the Adventure Aquarium. The nautical museum offers hands-on exhibits and illustrations through which you learn about the immigration past of the region. Further, check out for the 1892 cruiser, USS Olympia, and the World War II submarine Becuna. From the waterfront, take a boat to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden located on the opposite side of the river. The waterfront is also famous for a myriad of festivals particularly the July fireworks show.
Then, I headed towards the National Liberty Museum on the Chestnut Street where interactive displays showcase the concepts of diversity, racism, heroism, and liberty.
Much of them are glass exhibits including the Flame of Liberty. See what a bullet’s use can be via Shattered Lives – a bullet through glass, while the Jelly Bean People pass the message of ‘no racism please’. In the same area, do go for the Lights of Liberty Show where the technology takes you in the era of the American Revolution. This sound-and-light presentation focuses on the Independence National Park where on the historic buildings, images are flashed marking the spots of actual events. With effective background music and special effects along with the acting, the show is performed in five languages.
My next visit was to the Fairmount Park along the Schuylkill River known as the largest landscaped city park in the continent offering verdant parkland and points of interest. The main attractions here are the Japanese House, its Garden, and the Boathouse Row that is an array of mid 19th century riverside structures holding many rowing clubs. Further, there are many 18th and 19th century buildings out of which only some are open for discovery. Do also take a tour of the first menagerie of the nation – the Philadelphia Zoo. The fun doesn’t ends here, but augments for those like jogging and cycling. For them, the park is quipped with 215 miles of scenic trails – the most famous being the Schuylkill River Trail along the beautiful riverside – a cobbled 25 mile trail.
Lastly, I explored the Philadelphia Museum of Art – a neoclassical structure atop a hill accessible from the downtown offering breathtaking vistas of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the City Hall. Accessible by steps, the museum holds some of the most vital exhibits including a million paintings, sculptures, and artifacts since 2,000 years – from Asia, Europe, and America. The Pennsylvania Dutch and Shaker furniture, superb collection of French impressionists, and a 16th century Hindu temple are some highlights. Come here on Friday in the evening, when ‘Art after Five’ offers live music and cocktails.