Philadelphia Tourist Attractions - Unique Historical Sites, Art, and Nightlife
There are countless Philadelphia tourist attractions - but how do you know which ones are right for you? This page is designed to answer that question.
We're not enthusiastic about describing the visitors to our fair city as "tourists", as the term can be somewhat pejorative. But we wanted to call this page, "Philadelphia Tourist Attractions", because we want to speak to this particular readership - namely, non-Philadelphians, from anywhere in the nation, or the world - and for better or worse, you're often referred to as "tourists". So at least for the purposes of this page, that's how we have to describe you...
So here's an overview of the major attractions, custom designed for someone who has never set foot in Philadelphia, before...
If You've Come From the Visitor Site Map - Here Are Direct Links to Pages on All The Sights Listed Under "Philadelphia Tourist Attractions", In the Same Order
Added, September 18, 2010...
Philadelphia Museums and/or Historic Sites (many fall into both categories)
The Liberty Bell
Independence Visitor Center
National Constitution Center
Elfreth's Alley and Museum
Betsy Ross House
Lights of Liberty
Independence Seaport Museum
Christ Church and Burial Ground
Benjamin Franklin's Grave
American Philosophical Society
The Philadelphia Mint
Philadelphia City Hall and City Hall Tower
Masonic Temple Philadelphia and Museum
Eastern State Penitentiary
Philadelphia Science Museums
The Franklin Institute
The Academy of Natural Sciences
The Please Touch Museum, at Memorial Hall
The Philadelphia Zoo
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (known as Penn Museum)
The Mutter Museum (note: not for children)
Philadelphia Art Museums
Philadelphia Museum of Art (with the Rocky Steps & Statue)
The Rodin Museum
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA)
Most of the tourist attractions you will see, are located in what is known as Center City Philadelphia. The most famous ones - the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall - are both part of Independence National Historic Park, located in the Historic District - low numbered streets between 6th Street and Front Street (the equivalent of "1st Street", named because it is the front of the Delaware River).
That is one of the two major tourist districts in Center City. The other is called the Benjamin Franklin Parkway District, on the other side - the west side - of City Hall and Broad Street - the equivalent of "14th Street". The city's best-known museums are located along the Parkway - the Philadelphia Museum of Art (which has the Rocky steps), the Franklin Institute, and the Academy of Natural Sciences, just to name three.
Both of these districts have a thriving nightlife scene, after the culture and history and museums shut down after dark. You can really enjoy yourself in both Old City - another term for the Historic District - and "West of Broad" - there are many high-quality restaurants, bars, and night clubs in both.
Do I Need A Car to Visit the Philadelphia Tourist Attractions?
The answer to that question, is a resounding "no!". In fact, you're actually better off, without one. You can see nearly every major Philadelphia tourist attraction on foot or via access to SEPTA, or a cab, if necessary. Philadelphia's downtown is only two miles by two miles, compact and designed for walking.
Do I Need to Go to Independence Visitor Center, To Get My Bearings?
Yes, absolutely. Independence Visitor Center is located right next to Independence National Historical Park, at 6th and Market Streets. This state-of-the-art visitor center is an absolute must, for anyone visiting the city for the first time. You will be able to quickly assess which tourist attractions are most important to you, how to find them, and all of the logistical information that you need to make the most of your time in Philadelphia.
Also, to tour Independence Hall, you'll need a free timed ticket, which you can only get at Independence Visitor Center...
Independence National Historic Park Treasures: The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Many Others
The most important two are - of course - the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
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