Indeed, Philadelphia is called the city of brotherly love for a reason! One of the largest cities in the United States, Philadelphia offers a multitude of things to do no matter what your interests are. You’ll never get bored exploring the city with its thriving arts and cultural scene, an eclectic array of small businesses, as well as thought-provoking exhibits. Tourists and natives alike, we’ve compiled a list of things you have to do at least once while in Philadelphia.
It’s no secret as to why visiting the iconic Rocky step & statue are number one on our list. The Sylvester Stallone “Rocky” movies about a fictional boxer were filmed in Philadelphia for those of you who aren’t movie buffs. In the original movie, Rocky ended his morning run by ascending the steps of The Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Besides being one of the world’s most famous movie locations, the Rocky statue means so much more to the city of Philly. It is a symbol of what is means to be a true Philadelphian- grit, hard-work, and determination. Philadelphians embrace and identify with the story of the underdog who later becomes victorious. Indeed, to run up the steps and take a picture with the Rocky statue, well, it’s a right of passage.
🥊 Where: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
With so many exciting things to do in Philadelphia, there’s one unique event you won’t want to miss. Enjoy iconic musical scores from some of the greatest artists in from music’s past and present. Not only will you get lost in the melody, but also, you will be enveloped by many flickering candles to set the magical ambiance. You’ll completely fall in love with the concert and the city too!
🎻 Where: see upcoming shows & get tickets here
The Reading Terminal is located in a Historical National Landmark, housed there since 1893. As one of America’s oldest and largest public markets, it’s a must-stop for anyone visiting or exploring Philadelphia. Much to your nostrils’ delight, you’ll find a vast assortment of locally grown and exotic produce as well as locally sourced poultry, meat, and fish. While there, stop and have a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants showcasing the diverse cultures and delicious eateries you can find in the city.
🍔 Where: 1136 Arch St.
Yes, you read that right! Up until recently, Philadelphia’s worst tourist attraction has beenThe Liberty Bell. Visitors would complain that the hoopla surrounding the infamous bell did not live up to its hype. The size of the bell, its lack of historical context, the long lines to see the bell, and the inability to get close to the bell were the main reasons why many people who visited it felt underwhelmed.
Alas, times have changed. Go during the week and the lines are not as long and lastly, historical context is available. Regardless of what many may think, the Liberty Bell is a marvelous symbol of American Independence and deserves a visit if only once.
🔔 Where: 526 Market St.
Of course, a cheesesteak is a way of life in Philadelphia! Natives know where to go and how to order it and tourist stick out like a red flag trying to find the perfect one. Chances are if you walk up to five different Philadelphians and ask where to go for the best cheesesteak in Philly, you’ll get five different answers. However, if you asked the same five Philadelphians were not to go to get a cheesesteak, you’ll probably get the same one or two answers.
Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best places to get a cheesesteak in Philadelphia. It’s one of those necessary things to do while in Philly.
🥩 Where: see list here
Just like our Cheesesteak, Philly loves its sports! Some people may give Philadelphia fans the bad reputation of being rowdy or aggressive, when in all actuality we are just quite passionate. Sports is a part of the city’s culture from our beloved Philadelphia Eagles, to our Flying Phils, to our Sixers, Union, and Flyers.
To truly understand what it means to be a Philadelphian, one would undoubtedly have to experience a home sports game. Can’t score tickets to the stadium? The second best option would be to watch the game a local sports bar (see list below).
Lastly, after a victory, don’t be surprised to see a person climbing a pole in the middle of downtown.
🏀 Where: list of sports bar to watch the game
While in the City of Brotherly Love, see the iconic LOVE sculpture in JFK Plaza (or Love Park as it is affectionately called). For Philly natives, many pass by this sculpture all the time but it’s worth taking a pause and remembering what it is you love about the city. For tourists, it should indeed be an essential stop on your list of things to do. Indeed, it is one of the most popular photo ops in the city.
❤️ Where: Arch St.
Philadelphia is the birthplace of our nation! Any day of exploration in the city is not complete without a trip to Independence Hall. Take a ghost tour or visit the home of alleged U.S. Flag maker, Betsy Ross. Furthermore, see where the Declaration of Independence was signed and the U.S. Constitution was created. With historical attractions being so plentiful, there’s much to do in Independence Hall.
🪶 Where: 520 Chestnut St
Philly is home to many museums with thought-provoking exhibits and unforgettable immersive experiences. From the Philadelphia Museum of Art to the family-friendly Franklin Institute and the enlightening African American Museum. Surely, you would not run out of things to explore and learn with Philadelphia’s thriving cultural and arts scene. See below for a list of museums to visit in Philly.
🏛️ Where: see list here