Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love. The birthplace of American independence. I’ve been lucky to visit Philly on a number of occasions and the history never fails to hypnotize me. I’m a lover of history so Philadelphia is the perfect U.S. city to explore!
Each time I visit Philly, I always end up in the old town. I’ve seen the Liberty Bell a half dozen times but I just can’t get enough! Today I’m sharing an itinerary for two days in Philadelphia.
2-DAY ITINERARY FOR PHILADELPHIA
The actual location where the Declaration of Independence was signed! George Washington’s original chair is still on display. On the back of his chair is a carving of a sun. Depending on your take, it can be a setting sun or a rising son. Apparently during the convention, they said it was symbolic of the moment for America. The sun could either set on her, or it could rise above her and breathe new life and freedom into America. Free to visit, but a ticket is required. You can get tickets the day of at the Independence Visitor Center. I recommend getting there before they open if you’re there in the busy season (summer). You can also book online or call their 800-number and reserve them over the phone for $1.00.
My first time at the Bell, I was surprised by it’s size. I expected it to be much bigger! The Liberty Bell didn’t have a truly significant purpose in the beginning. It was simply the bell hanging in Independence Hall. However, as battles against the British broke out, it was removed in order to save it, as bells were often turned into munitions. Now it is a symbol of American freedom. It’s displayed in a lovely, light filled hall. Behind the Bell is a floor to ceiling glass window, with a view of her original home, Independence Hall. Free to get in, no tickets required.
My favorite spot in the old city. Cliche, perhaps, but it’s just SO charming! Elfreth’s Alley dates back to 1702 and is a National Historic Landmark. It’s named after Jeremiah Elfreth, a blacksmith. It was a hot spot for local merchants and tradesmen. People still live in these homes today, and there are galleries and artist studios on this cozy block.
EXPLORE HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOODS
There are 15 historic districts in Philadelphia and they all have their own unique style. Two of my favorites include Society Hill and Washington Square. They’re also close to the old city, so they are easily walkable. If you’d like to find more historical neighborhoods in Philly, this article has great info!
PHILADELPHIA CITY HALL
Built from 1894-1901, the Philadelphia City Hall is a stunning example of Second Empire architecture. Atop the tower stands a statue of William Penn, Philadelphia’s founder – the statue is 37 feet tall! Although it faced a potential demolition threat, the cost would have been too detrimental to the city. In 1976 it became a National Historic Landmark.
PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART
Rocky. It’s a love story. Ok, I’ll be honest. I’ve never seen any of the Rocky movies, but I have visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and posed with his statue. And to be even more honest, Instagram wasn’t even big back then, so I literally did it just to say I’d done it. But seriously, visit the art museum and check out the views of the skyline.
READING TERMINAL MARKET
The Reading Terminal Market has been serving Philadelphia since 1893. It’s open daily with exception on major holidays. Although it has encountered it’s own share of hardships (particularly during the Great Depression and again with the decline of the railroad industry), it is once again a bustling market. In fact, Reading Terminal Market is considered one of the best public markets in the U.S.
Head to Penn’s Landing, a popular waterfront strip. In the summer there are live concerts and in the winter there is an ice skating rink. Aside from a variety of bars & restaurants, you can also visit the Independence Seaport Museum, warships, and dinner cruises.
PLACES TO EAT & DRINK
- Luna Cafe (cash only when I visited)
- Menagerie Coffee
- National Mechanics
- Independence Beer Garden (if you’re there in the fall, try the Downeast Pumpkin cider)
- Cheu Noodle Bar (tons of tasty vegetarian options!)
- Baby Blues BBQ
- Franklin Fountain
There are plenty of things in Philadelphia to see and do that are not included on this list. A few honorable mentions if you find yourself with extra time: