1. Tour Independence Hall
520 Chestnut Street, , 19106
See the room where the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were signed at Philly's top tourist attraction. Entry is via timed tour only - tickets can be booked online up to 4 months in advance. There is no charge.
This is a pretty cool experience for history buffs as you will get to see the inkstand used to sign the Declaration of Independence and the original draft of the Constitution. The National Park Rangers who run the tour are informative, entertaining, and personable. This tour is quite enjoyable even for those not super enthused about visiting historical sites.
If you visit during the slow winter season (Jan and Feb), you may get to also view the second floor.
2. Take your pic at Love Park
Arch Street, , 19102
John F. Kennedy Plaza, more famously known as "Love Park," has long been one of the most popular sites in Philly. Robert Indiana's famous pop art statue has been located in this park on and off since 1976.
Not only can you take a really cool photo of this iconic pop art piece, but you can also take in the gorgeous views of City Hall across the street. During Christmas time, there is a festive German Village, plus lots of fun photo opps.
On a side note, Love Park is a popular wedding destination. Ceremonies take place on Wednesdays from March through November.
3. Visit the Liberty Bell
526 Market Street, , 19106
The Liberty Bell is one of the most prominent symbols of freedom in America. The timeless message inscribed on the bell still rings true "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof."
It's free to visit and no tickets are required. If only for a quick picture, the Liberty Bell is well worth a place on your itinerary. This attraction will not take up much of your time and is located within walking distance of pretty much all other attractions in "America's most historic square mile."
If you have extra time, there are a number of exhibits to browse through plus a short video to watch. Learn about the bell's history including theories on why it is is cracked and much more during your visit.
4. Explore the Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, , 19130
While you are exploring the city, you will want to plan for some time at one of the country's top art museums. The Philadelphia Museum of Art's impressive collection includes over 240,000 works including modern art as well as collections form the Renaissance, Impressionist movement, and the ancient days.
Even more famous is the exterior of the building where you can recreate the run up the stairs made famous in the Rocky III movie. The view from the top of the steps is quite mesmerizing. Also, you cannot miss the Rocky statue which always has a long tourist line. A pretty cool photo opp if you are a fan of the movies!
Note - admission includes entry to the fabulous Rodin museum, a must-see as it is home to one of the largest collection of Auguste Rodin's sculptures outside of Paris. The famous Thinker statue is viewable via strolling around the Garden grounds (free anytime).
Other notable museums on The Parkway include The Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Science at of Drexel University, and The Barnes.
5. Take a ride along the Schullykill River Trail
Various, , 19130
A ride or walk along this multi-use mostly paved path (now 75 miles, with plans to eventually expand to include 120 miles), is a must for any fitness buff visiting the city. The path has a historic, well worn vibe, yet is well-maintained with easy access to numerous city attractions. Great views of the skyline. This trail is especially gorgeous when the cherry blossoms are blooming, typically sometime near the beginning of April.
6. Get your skate on at Winterfest
101 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd., , 19106
The premier winter event in Philadelphia is Winterfest, a festive annual celebration featuring an outdoor ice rink along the Delaware riverfront, cozy warming cabins, fire pit stations for roasting s'mores, hot cocoa, and a dazzling Christmas tree.
A night out skating under the stars, surrounded by the festive winter lights and music, is the best way to get into the holiday spirit. Reasonably cheap, especially considering the nice setting, at just $5 for admission and $10 for skate rentals.
Also, if your visit falls during summer, be sure to check out Summerfest featuring boardwalk games, a Ferris Wheel, and a popular roller skating rink.
7. Take a stroll down America's oldest street
126 Elfreth's Alley, , 19106
Take a walk down this historic street which dates back to 1703. Today, it is a National Historic Landmark. The 32 houses were built between 1703 and 1836. It is reported to be the oldest residential street in America, so really a cool piece of living history worth checking out. Take a quick self-guided walk or sign up for a guided tour.
After a quick stroll, you are within walking distance of many great restaurants and attractions in the historic Old City.
8. Explore the Museum of the American Revolution
101 South Third Street, , 19106
History buffs will definitely want to place a visit to The Museum of the American Revolution on their bucket list. There are so many interactive exhibits, art pieces, and manuscripts from the Revolutionary Period to explore here that you really need at least a few hours to see it all.
Highlights include George Washington's Headquarters Tent, a replica of the Liberty Tree, a number of informative movies, and gorgeous artwork.
9. Visit the Portrait Gallery at Second Bank
420 Chestnut Street, , 19106
A little known under visited gem in Philly's Old City neighborhood is the Portrait Gallery. Here you can explore over 150 portraits of founders of the US, as well as other influential figures of the 18th and 19th century. It's free admission and will not take up much your day. The perfect attraction for anyone interested in both American history and art!
The building itself, a Greek revival style built from 1819 to 1824, is quite mesmerizing. Architect William Strickland designed the building with influence from the Parthenon in Greece.
10. See the Wannamaker Organ show at Macy's
1300 Market Street, , 19107
There is nothing quite like walking through a historic department store in a classic bustling city. Macy's in Center City Philadelphia is a gorgeous store located in the historic Wannamaker Building (built in 1876). On an interesting historical note, this was the first department store to use electric lighting.
The central focal point here is the 7 story Grand court organ. The Wannamaker is the largest pipe organ in the world. The organ is played twice a day, Monday through Saturday.
During the holiday season, you will definitely want to swing by to watch the ever popular light show. As one of Philly's most beloved holiday traditions, this one draws a large crowd each season. The best views are from the 2nd floor. It's also one of the oldest Christmas traditions, dating back to 1956. Also on-site is a wonderful animatronic recreation of the classic Dicken's A Christmas Carol.