With some of the most significant historic places in the world, Philadelphia or “The Birthplace of America” is the one city you need to consider yourself lucky if you have a long layover or delayed flights.
If you get “stuck” between connecting flights for more than seven hours, don’t sit around and spend time at the airport. Despite being one of the busiest airports in the country, the Philadelphia International Airport may get a little boring after two hours. Instead, take a taxi or the public train which takes you to the heart of the “City of Brotherly Love” in just half an hour.
Not only is the airport close to the center of things, but the city is also easy to explore on foot. So, drop your suitcases off at secure luggage storage near Philadelphia International Airport and check out these 6 places everyone gets to see on their visit to Philadelphia.
Explore Old City
The Old City in Philadelphia is one of the best spots for tourists and locals alike. If you happen to be there on the first Friday of the month, you’ll be part of the art lovers gang who fill the streets to admire the edgy art scene and hop from one eclectic gallery to another. Walk along the cobblestone streets and snap photos of 18th-century architecture.
Shop in the fashionable boutiques or dine in some of the great restaurants in town. You will love the neighborhood and the proximity to some of Philly’s best highlights. Walk on Benjamin Franklin Bridge or get some rest with a cup of coffee in one of the large parks.
If you feel like having ice cream, try some great flavors at Franklin Fountain. They are one of the best in town.
See the Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell is a significant part of American history. So if you are a history nerd, you are in for a treat. It’s also free to visit, so be sure to check out some of the exhibits inside and outside the building. Luckily, it is within walking distance from the Independence Hall in the Old City.
Originally called the State House Bell, this historic treasure used to be a signal to call the lawmakers to their meetings and to call the people to hear the news. The ringing of the bell also announced deaths and some more important events like Presidential elections. But it’s also known as the place where the Declaration of Independence was first read in public.
Take a snap of the quote “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof,” inscribed at the top of the large bell.
Go back in time at the Independence Hall
Philadelphia is known as the “Birthplace of America” because it’s the place where the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed. And that happened in the Independence Hall building.
This historic building is where every tourist goes first, and I suggest you do the same. Before getting there, make sure you buy your tickets well in advance, as it’s a busy site and they run out of tickets fast. Then, walk into the Assembly Room, where Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin signed the Declaration of Independence.
It shouldn’t take you more than an hour to explore the historic civic building, and you will learn a great deal about the Revolutionary period. Once you are done, wander around the Independence National Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Try some Philly Cheesesteak
You haven’t been to Philadelphia if you haven’t tried the famous Philly cheesesteak. What is so special about them? Well, these delicious sandwiches are made of thinly sliced rib-eye steaks, cooked on a grill, drizzled with melted provolone cheese, and caramelized onions on crusty Italian loaf bread. It’s like heaven in a bun if you are a meat lover!
After you have tried a Philly cheesesteak, you’ll never look at a steak and cheese sandwich the same ever again. Near Passyunk Square are the two most touristy establishments considered the inventors of cheesesteak, Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks. Open 24 hours, 7 days a week, there is no reason why you shouldn’t visit them.
Even if you are not in the neighborhood, trying these iconic sandwiches is worth the drive.
If you want to get the real taste of a Philly Steak in the Old City, hit up Campos, near the Liberty Bell.
Walk around Midtown Village
Located between the Old City and Independence National Historical Park is the vibrant neighborhood of Midtown Village. This place is in the heart of Center City and has some of the greatest restaurants, hotels, and theatres in town.
You could find absolutely anything here. It’s also known as the Gayborhood as it’s the hub of LGBT nightlife. However, as it’s right in the middle of everything, this area can get a little loud, so if you want to escape the bustling city life, this is not the place for you.
Walk further and sit, relax, and people-watch at Dilworth Park. While you are still in the neighborhood, stop by Philadelphia City Hall and admire the majestic building. City Hall is the “world’s largest free standing masonry building and was the world’s tallest habitable building upon its completion in 1894.” The building is the seat of the municipal government of Philadelphia.
See live music performance at Rittenhouse Square
Rittenhouse is another centrally located area that is easy to get to. As one of the safest residential areas, surrounded by luxury housing and everything within walking distance, it’s the most desirable but also the most expensive and exclusive neighborhood in the city.
Sit in one of the many great restaurants for alfresco dining or shop from the many high-end stores. While you are there, take a walk to the famous Rittenhouse Square.
Known as the commercial hub of Philly, the square is centered in a gorgeous park.
Sit and people-watch, or have a picnic in this lively historical square. Listen to the sounds of live musicians or check out the farmer’s market on Saturdays.
With so many places to see and things to do in Philadelphia, you’ll be happy to have those long layovers in between your flights. Before you head back to the airport, don’t forget to pick up your luggage.