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Sightseeing in Philadelphia: Must See Places To Visit
May 18, 2022 By CityPASS
There are many things Philadelphia is known for, including the best cheesesteaks in the world, the strangely enjoyable band of misfits on the TV show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and, of course, the Liberty Bell.
The City of Brotherly Love is home to some of America's most important historical attractions because its history stretches back all the way to 1682, when it was the capital of the English Crown Province of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia has witnessed many significant historical events during its long history.
Not only was the city the site of the first two Continental Congresses in 1774 and 1775, but the latter produced the Declaration of Independence and started the American Revolution. Philadelphia has been called home by the likes of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and many contemporary celebrities.
So if you're looking for things to do in Philadelphia, there's no shortage of options.
What Are Notable Attractions for Sightseeing in Philadelphia?
Sightseeing in Philadelphia is easy: All you have to do is step outside, and historical attractions surround you. But if you don't know what you're looking at, how can you fully enjoy it? That's why we suggest beginning at some of these well-known stops.
Tour Through Historical Exhibits at a World-Class Museum
Philadelphia is home to numerous world-class museums. In fact, Condé Nast Traveler notes 14 museums that will amaze and astonish you while sightseeing. But, when visiting such a historical city, getting the best one-two punch of history means going to the National Museum of the American Revolution and the National Constitution Center and Independence Hall.
Museum of the American Revolution
This isn't your high school history class, nor is it the first half of Hamilton. Near Franklin Court lies the Museum of the American Revolution. It combines entertainment and historical information by immersing you in the unfolding of America's earliest days of freedom.
The experience begins with a short film encompassing the days of the American Revolution in a way that will inspire you to want more. And more is what you'll get.
You'll begin exploring the American Revolution via the grand staircase and be ushered through the experience by exhibits like The Road to Independence and The Darkest Hour. You and your group will even have the opportunity to design a custom soldier's uniform from the era that birthed American freedom.
National Constitution Center and Independence Hall
Visiting the National Constitution Center and Independence Hall is as close as you can get to reading over Thomas Jefferson's shoulder.
Located just a stone's throw from the Philadelphia City Hall building, Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence was debated and signed by the Founding Fathers. Visiting Independence Hall is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should not be missed. However, space is limited and a reservation is required with the National Park Service, so plan accordingly.
The National Constitution Center is an interactive museum that offers you a multimedia theatrical production with 360-degree projections and state-of-the-art sound and lighting design to take you into the heart of America's journey to freedom. After experiencing Freedom Rising, you can head over to Signers' Hall and catch a picture with 42 life-sized bronze statues of the Founding Fathers.
Bring Out Your Inner Scientist at The Franklin Institute
Founded in 1824, The Franklin Institute — named after Benjamin Franklin — was built to inspire the same curiosity that led Franklin to become a famous scientist and inventor.
When you visit the Franklin Institute, you'll be treated to a captivating journey through the night sky and into the universe beyond at the Fels Planetarium — the nation's second-oldest planetarium. Afterward, you can head to the Musser Demonstration Theater to experience any number of the fascinating live science experiments presented daily.
If you're still inspired to see more, you can take a journey through a two-story artificial heart or a towering Baldwin 60,000 steam locomotive. Visiting the Franklin Institute is also great for kids, as the Your Brain, KidsScience, and SportsZone exhibits allow children to discover how they can play in science.
This is a great stop for families looking to find things to do in Philadelphia.
Visit the Barnes Foundation for a Refined Experience
If you enjoy finely curated art collections, then the Barnes Foundation is for you. Located only minutes away from Philadelphia's famous South Street, the Barnes Foundation displays just shy of 200 Renoir paintings, over 50 Matisses, and a multitude of outstanding works by Cézanne, Picasso, and other art legends.
The art at the Barnes Foundation is one of the most refined things to see in Philadelphia.
See Exotic Animals at the Philadelphia Zoo and Adventure Aquarium
No matter your age, seeing majestic and exotic animals from all over the world never gets old. Once again, Philadelphia was early to the party in America, creating the first official zoo in the country.
The Philadelphia Zoo is home to nearly 1,300 animals, including majestic birds of prey, sloth bears, and rare Amur leopards. The Philadelphia Zoo also has a display unlike any other with its Zoo360. This campus-wide network of trails allows animals to roam more freely through the park, offering a unique experience to remember.
Just over the Delaware River, you can travel underwater to cross the world's largest shark bridge and commune with hippos at Adventure Aquarium.
The zoo and aquarium are fantastic spots to visit in Philadelphia with the whole family.
Buy Tickets in Advance Next Time You Explore the City's Historic Buildings
With so much to do in Philadelphia, it can be challenging to make decisions and be sure you're getting the best prices. Booking tickets for Philadelphia sightseeing tours is the best way to ensure you’ll see the most that Philadelphia has to offer.
CityPASS tickets take the hassle out of shopping around for discounts by offering you the best sightseeing packages in Philadelphia.
With one simple purchase, you can enjoy three, four, or five Philadelphia sightseeing attractions at up to a discount. Don't know where to stay? CityPASS also offers terrific hotel deals, so you can spend more time preparing for your Philadelphia adventure and less time worrying about finding a hotel.
Plan your visit with CityPASS today and see Philadelphia how it's meant to be seen.