Read about the city

Philadelphia is one of the historically important cities of the United States, and it was even the capital of the country in the years 1790-1800. In the town of the Delaware River, there are countless sights and lots of early American history that give intriguing impressions from the time around the American Revolution.

It was in Philadelphia that the American Declaration of Independence of Great Britain was adopted, and in that way the city has a special status in the history of the United States. This can be looked at in more detail in Independence Hall, which formed the setting for both the declaration and for the adoption of the US Constitution.

Philadelphia is also much more than early American history. In the modern city center there are some of the country's tallest buildings outside New York and Chicago, and here are several interesting museums with everything from French Impressionists to exciting natural history.

With the city's location on the east coast, there are many excursion options from Philadelphia. You can, for example, go to New York to the northeast and Washington DC to the southwest and reach both in a short time by train or car. The entertainment in Atlantic City is also close by and you can also experience parts of the British colonial history around Philadelphia.

Other attractions

Philadelphia City Hall

  • City Hall: This is Philadelphia City Hall and thus the seat of the city government and administration. The impressive building was erected in the years 1871-1901 in a stately Napoleon III style. The town hall tower is 167 meters/548 feet high, and at the top is a statue of the city's founder, William Penn. The building was the tallest in Pennsylvania until 1932.
  • Philadelphia History Museum: This institution was founded in 1938 as the Philadelphia city history museum. However, the museum building was already built in 1824-1826 as the home of the Franklin Institute, which today is located at a different address. The collection depicts the history of the city and the region in an interesting way and with many exciting themes in the exhibition.
  • Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site: The famous author, Edgar Allan Poe, lived in several places in Philadelphia in the years 1837-1844. At this address a museum has been opened for the author; it is the only one of his residences in the city that is preserved to this day. At the museum you can learn about Poe's life, contemporaries and works.

First Bank of the United States, Philadelphia

  • First Bank of the United States: In 1791, the US Congress decided to establish a US National Bank, and its headquarters opened in this classicist building, completed in 1797. In the years before, the Bank of North America had functioned as the National Bank, but formally the institution was not established until the decision in 1791.
  • Second Bank of the United States: In 1816, President James Madison created the Second National Bank of the United States, and the building result was the construction of this bank building, which was completed in 1824. The architect was William Strickland, who designed several buildings inspired by classical Greece. The bank ceased its original function in 1841, and today it is used as a gallery of portraits of significant figures in the early United States.

Benjamin Franklin Bridge, Philadelphia

  • Benjamin Franklin Bridge: This large suspension bridge opened in 1926 and connects Philadelphia with Camden in the state of New Jersey. The bridge is a total of 2,917 meters/9,573 feet and crosses the Delaware River with a longest span of 533 meters/1,750 feet.
  • Parkway Central Library: This beautiful library building, designed by Julian Abele in beaux-arts, opened in 1927. It is Philadelphia's main library, and there are many interesting and valuable books and manuscripts in the collection that contain the so-called Rare Book Department.
  • The Bourse Food Hall: In Philadelphia's old center, the city's stock exchange was built in 1895. The beautiful building no longer functions as a stock exchange, but instead as a vibrant urban space with restaurants and bars.
  • National Constitution Center: This is a center whose focus is the U.S. Constitution. The center was opened in the year 2000 and since then various themes and exhibitions have described the constitution and created dialogue around it.

One Liberty Observation Deck, Philadelphia

  • One Liberty Observation Deck: In the One Liberty Plaza building, you can ascend the heights to the 57th floor to enjoy stunning views of Philadelphia and the surrounding area. The entire city is at your feet, and you can follow the Delaware River and look to New Jersey.
  • Gloria Dei Church: This church is also called Old Swedes, which comes from the fact that the church was built as a Swedish church in the years 1698-1700. It is thus the oldest church in the state of Pennsylvania. There is a cemetery around the church, and Sven Gunnarsson is one of the buried. Gunnarsson was one of the founders of New Sweden along the Delaware River in the mid-17th century.
  • Elfreth’s Alley: This narrow cobbled street is arguably America's oldest residential street. The old urban environment is maintained in the middle of the modern city, and here are two houses from 1755, which today are open as a museum.

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia

  • Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: The Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts is the oldest of its kind in the United States, and its museum is the oldest art museum in the country. In the halls of the beautiful museum building you can enjoy many works by e.g. Edward Hopper, Winslow Homer and Kehinde Wiley. You can also see one of Gilbert Stuart's portraits of George Washington.
  • Comcast Technology Center: This 342-foot/1,121-foot-tall office building opened in 2018 as the tallest building in the United States outside of New York and Chicago. There are 60 floors in the skyscraper that has a hotel and a restaurant located at the top with a beautiful view.
  • Wells Fargo Building: This is one of Pennsylvania's classic skyscrapers from the first half of the 20th century. It was built in 1928 under the name Fidelity-Philadelphia Trust Company Building with a height of 29 floors and 123 meters/405 feet.

30th Street Station, Philadelphia

  • 30th Street Station: This large railroad station opened in 1933 and serves as Philadelphia's main train station. There are many beautiful details in the architecture, such as the passenger hall in art deco and Walker Hancock's sculpture, Angel of the Resurrection, which was produced in 1952. You can also see the artwork Spirit of Transportation, which dates from 1895.
  • The Franklin Institute: This is a scientific institution and a museum with exciting exhibitions in various sciences and technology. There are both permanent exhibits and changing themes, and you can also see the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial with a 6 meter/20 foot marble statue of Franklin.

Penn Museum, Philadelphia

  • Penn Museum: This is an archeological and anthropological museum belonging to The University of Pennsylvania. The university has over time led several expeditions across large parts of the world, and today its collection has expanded significantly through various acquisitions. You can see finds from i.a. East Asia, America and the Near East.
  • Boelson Cottage: This cottage was built around 1680, and it stands as Philadelphia's oldest surviving building. The cottage is located in Fairmont Park, and it was built in Swedish-Dutch style. The name comes from John Boelson, who got this plot of land in 1677.
Find cheap flights and hotels
View on map

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Top attractions

Independence Hall, Philadelphia

  • Independence Hall: The Independence Hall building is one of the most important buildings in the United States in relation to the country's independence. It was here that the American Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution were both debated and adopted. The building was erected as the Pennsylvania State House in 1753, and is today part of the Independence National Historical Park and inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  • Liberty Bell: The bell of freedom is one of the symbols of American independence and thus of the United States. The bell was cast in London in 1752 for a location at Pennsylvania State House. Today, it has been relocated to the Liberty Bell Center, part of Independence National Historical Park. The bell is believed to have rung in the days following American independence, and from the 1830s it was used as a symbol of the abolition of slavery in the United States; hence the name Liberty Bell.
  • Museum of the American Revolution: At this museum you can experience the exciting story of the American Revolution that took place in the years 1765-1783. The revolution was a revolt in the 13 British colonies that ended up forming the United States as a new nation. There are lots of interesting things and stories in the fine collection.

Christ Church, Philadelphia

  • Christ Church: Christ Church was founded in Philadelphia as part of the Church of England. The present church was built 1727-1744 with completion of the tower 10 years later. From 1754 to 1810, the 60-meter/196-foot-tall tower was the tallest building in today's United States. The interior of the church is beautiful, and it was here that William Penn was baptized; the baptismal font came from London and is still used. The congregation also consisted of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and others from the American Revolution.
  • Carpenters' Hall: Carpenters' Hall is a building that was built 1770-1774. The building went down in history as the site of the first Continental Congress of American colonies after the British blockade of Boston Harbor. It was also here that the state proclaimed its independence as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

  • The Philadelphia Museum of Art: The beginning of this art museum came with the celebration of the first century of the United States in 1876, and in the wake of the Centennial Exhibition, a museum was formed. The museum's current main building was built 1919-1928, and at the museum you can see art from all over the world and everything from antique works to recent art by famous artists. In the area in front of the building you can walk along Rocky Steps and see the city's famous statue of Rocky from the movie Rocky III.
  • Barnes Foundation: This art museum is home to one of the world's largest collections of French Impressionism, and here are also post-Impressionist and other works. The collection consists of i.a. of 181 works by Renoir, 69 by Cézanne, 59 by Matisse, 46 by Picasso and 7 by Van Gogh.
Trips in the area

Strasburg, Pennsylvania USA

  • Strasburg: The town of Strasburg is a cozy provincial town with several interesting sights and a lovely atmosphere with many old houses. Here you can, for example, see railroad history at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, and the area is also known as a stronghold for the Amish people in the so-called Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Here you can see the Amish farms in the countryside and visit the cultural heritage museum The Amish Village.
  • Valley Forge: The Valley Forge National Historical Park area is a place where U.S. soldiers stayed over the winter of 1777-1778 under severe conditions. British troops had destroyed vital supply lines for George Washington's army, which suffered losses of about 2,000 soldiers through the winter. On site you can e.g. see Washington's headquarters.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania USA

  • Gettysburg: The name Gettysburg in Pennsylvania went down in American history during the Civil War of the 1860s. In the National Park and Visitor Center Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center you can see the battlefield where more than 50,000 lost their lives during three days of fighting in 1863.
  • New York: The metropolis of New York, also called the Big Apple, is the epitome of the United States and much of what the United States stands for in terms of diversity, skyscrapers, freedom and more. It is an international city with top attractions such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge.

Atlantic City, New Jersey USA

  • Atlantic City: The city of Atlantic City is the east coast version of famous Las Vegas in the state of Nevada. There is entertainment around the clock and also a lot of other recreation with its location by the Atlantic Ocean. You can enjoy some nice beaches, the oldest boardwalk in the USA, lovely piers etc.
  • Wilmington: Wilmington is the largest city in the state of Delaware, and its history dates back to the Swedish settlement of Kristinehamn and the castle of Fort Christina from 1638. The Swedish rule lasted until 1655, and since then many sights have been added. You can e.g. see a replica of the Swedish ship Kalmar Nyckel, which brought settlers here in 1638, the area of Fort Christina State Park and the beautiful mansion Nemours Estate.

Baltimore Maryland USA

  • Baltimore: The city of Baltimore is the state of Maryland's largest city, and it is closely connected to the Washington area. In the city you can see the oldest Catholic cathedral in the United States and The Flag House, where the first American flag was sewn.
  • Washington: Washington is the capital of the United States, and it is a city with many world-famous sights, known from news and countless movies. Highlights include the National Mall, the White House, Congress and the Smithsonian Institution's amazing museums.
Sign up for our newsletter
Shopping
  • Fashion District, 901 Market Street, fashiondistrictphiladelphia.com
  • King of Prussia, 160 N Gulph Road, simon.com
  • Philadelphia Mills, 1455 Franklin Mills Cir, simon.com
  • The Shops at Liberty Place, 16th & Chestnut, shopsatliberty.com
  • Shopping streets: Second Street, Third Street, Chestnut Street
  • Markets: Reading Terminal Market, Italian Market
With kids
  • Natural Science: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, ansp.org
  • Maritime Museum: Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S Columbus Blvd, phillyseaport.org
  • Aquarium: Adventure Aquarium, 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, adventureaquarium.com
  • Battleship: Battleship New Jersey, 100 Clinton Street, Camden, battleshipnewjersey.org
  • Zoological Garden: Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 W Girard Avenue, philadelphiazoo.org
  • Play and activities: Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, pleasetouchmuseum.org
  • Theme Park: Sesame Place, 100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, sesameplace.com
  • Ziplines: TreeTop Quest Philly, 51 Chamounix Drive, treetopquest.com
  • Creativity: LEGOLAND Discovery Center, 500 West Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, legolanddiscoverycenter.com
  • Animal Park: Elmwood Park Zoo, 1661 Harding Blvd, Norristown, elmwoodparkzoo.org
  • Playgrounds: Camden Children’s Garden, 3 Riverside Drive, Camden
Practical info