Best things to do in Philadelphia

Photography by Sean Pavone

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june 2017

Where the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were drafted, Philadelphia is officially the birthplace of America. Check out the must-do things in the city.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Sat at the end of Benjamin Franklin Parkway, with its columns and iconic features, the Philadelphia Museum of Art looks like an ancient Greek temple. Itself a temple to art, the museum contains work by the greats, from Cezanne to Degas, as well as contemporary artists. Standard adult admission price is $20 for two consecutive days – and as the third largest art museum in the US, you’d do well to space out your visit. Look out for the Art After 5 events in the great stair hall with live jazz concerts and a cash bar.

Independence Hall

Independence Hall is where both the United States Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution were debated and adopted. Completed back in 1753, the building is now listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Admission to the red brick building is free (pick up timed tickets at the Independence Visitors Center) and it’s open all year round apart from Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years Day.

Citizens Bank Park

Home to Philadelphia’s Major League Baseball team the Philadelphia Phillies, Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004. Support the Phillies on their quest for glory and be part of the 43,651 capacity crowd, who always create an electric atmosphere. Grab a cheesesteak or hoagie (sub sandwich) from one of the food-stands and get your cheer on. Don’t fancy match day? Book yourself a behind-the-scenes tour with a Philly Phamily Pack where single tickets cost from $22.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art looks like an ancient Greek temple

  • Please Touch Museum ©Please Touch Museum.
  • Independence Hall in Philadelphia ©Manakin.
  • Citizens Bank Park, home of baseball's Philadelphia Phillies ©RGB Ventures / SuperStock / Alamy Stock Photo.

The Franklin Institute

Named after the American statesman and scientist, Benjamin Franklin, the Franklin Institute is a science museum at the heart of science education and research in Philadelphia. Popular exhibits include Experience The Science Behind Pixar and Lost Egypt. Interactive exhibitions - children can build their own structures to survive an earthquake and calculate their own carbon footprint - will keep the kids entertained. Prices range from $15 to $19 for a museum pass.

American Helicopter Museum & Education Centre

Over 40 civilian and military autogyros, convertiplanes and helicopters are all on display at the American Helicopter Museum. Helicopter rides are available on selected days and the museum also puts on special tribute events to war veterans. Adult entry fees are $10 per ticket.

Adventure Aquarium

Come face-to-face with penguins, stingrays and sharks at Philadelphia’s Adventure Aquarium. Situated just a few minutes from downtown Philadelphia on the Camden Waterfront, the Aquarium is home to more than 8,500 aquatic species, with the largest collection of sharks on the US east coast. One-of-a-kind exhibits including Hippo Haven and Penguin Island are real crowd-pleasers; tickets cost a maximum of $29.45.

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  • Philadelphia Museum of Art © Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Please Touch Museum

The fascinating Please Touch Museum is a children’s museum located in the Centennial District of Philadelphia. The museum, which originally opened in 1976, has exhibits including an Alice in Wonderland play area, a Space Station with Star Wars toys and a Woodside Park Carousel. Entry costs a maximum of $17.

The Barnes Foundation

From Mary Histia’s delightful pottery to Paul Signac’s intricate La Rochelle, The Barnes Foundation boasts 800 paintings and 2,500 objects, estimated to be worth around $25 billion. The value is no surprise when you consider the Barnes Foundation showcases primary works by impressionist and modernist masters. Visit on the first Sunday of the month for free entry, otherwise prices range from $10 to $25.

Philadelphia Zoo

The first zoo to open in the United States, the Philadelphia Zoo opened in 1874. It’s now home to more than 2,500 animals and offers many special experiences, including Zoo360 where wildlife, such as tigers and gorillas, roam above and around visitors thanks to a network of see-through mesh. Located in the Centennial District on the Schuylkill River, the Philadelphia Zoo is easy to get to. Adult admission is $23 per ticket and $19 for children under 11.

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