Travel Notebook

Things to do in Philadephia

Top 7 Things to Do in Philly

It’s always exciting to arrive in a new city and discover what makes it special – the sights, the sounds, the smells. Yet it can just as easily turn overwhelming when we’re faced with a short time frame and a multitude of options. Where to go first? Where to eat? Where to shop?

One of our favorite east coast metropolises, with its history, walkability and top-notch cuisine, is Philadelphia, so when faced with three days to spend in the City of Brotherly Love, we turned to the experts at Beyond Times Square. They’re incredibly adept at narrowing in on the things you won’t want to miss – from the big-name sights to the off-the-beaten-path gems – in this and several other east coast cities. Keep this post handy during your visit and rest assured that you’re seeing the best the city has to offer.

Here, Beyond Times Square’s “Top 7 Things to Do in Philadelphia”: 

 1. Go back in time
  • Brush up on your American history at the Museum of the American Revolution, including the opening shots of the War of Independence, the creation of the American Republic and legacies of America’s beginnings.
  • Don’t miss Independence Hall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
  • Of course, every trip will include a stop at the Liberty Bell.
Liberty Bell
Liberty Bell
2. Feed Your Appetite
  • BTSQ’s savvy gourmets have chosen their top restaurant recommendations to share with us: Talula’s Garden, a farm-to-table favorite masterminded by renowned restaurateur Aimee Olexy; Vetri Cucina, an intimate dining space in a historic townhome; and The Hungry Pigeon, home of decadent comfort food. Make it a point to experience all three, if you can.

  • Tuck into a roast pork sandwich at DiNic’s at the Reading Terminal Market, America’s largest and oldest public market. Follow it up with award-winning whoopie pies at Flying Monkey. Coffee, donut and fried chicken? Yes, please, to all of it, found at Federal Donuts.
  • What’s a visit to Philly without a juicy cheese steak – we are partial to those that have been served at Campos since 1947.
  • Foodies must include a trip to the 9th Street Italian Market, where one can take a tour of the market, connecting with the merchants, sampling tasty treats and filling a shopping bag with cheeses, baked goods, chocolates, deli items and more.
Taula's Garden
Photo via
3. Explore the World of Art
  • Visit Magic Gardens, indoor/outdoor mosaic gardens curated by local artist Isaiah Zagar in the 1960s, who also created over 100 pieces in the South Street corridor. Ask about tours to lead you through the city’s impressive array of murals and graffiti art, and pop-in to the Rodin Museum, with the largest collection of Rodin outside Paris, including the Thinker and Gates of Hell.
Magic gardens Philly
Magic Gardens. Photo credit :  Kevin Burkett
4. Wander the Old Streets
  • In a city this historic, it pays to take the time to get lost a bit. Find your way to Elfreth’s Alley, tree-lined Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill and Delancey Street in Society Hill.
Elphreth's Alley in Philly. Photo via
Elphreth’s Alley in Philly.
 5. Eastern State Penitentiary
  • Observe a more sinister side of history at this renowned prison, preserved from 1829 and famous for holding such criminals as “Slick Willie” Sutton and “Scarface” Al Capone.
 6. Visit a Museum
Inside the Edgar Allan Poe house. Photo via
7. Day Trips in the Area
  • Venture outside the city for a rural day in the Brandywine Valley, a pastoral region of southern Chester County rich with history, art, antiques, mansions and gardens. Visit Valley Forge, a 3,500-acre monument dedicated to the intrepid winter encampment of the Continental Army. Experience a simpler way of life in Amish Country in Lancaster County, a land replete with rolling green hills covered in lush crops, farms and windmills and horse and buggies sharing the road.
Log cabins at Valley Forge Historic Park
Log cabins at Valley Forge Historic Park. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Whether you have a day, a long weekend or a week, having a well-curated, expert list of go-to places makes any stay in an otherwise overwhelming urban destination more worthwhile – and fun. Should you find Philadelphia (or New York, Boston, Washington, DC) on your radar, please be in touch and I’ll happily introduce you to the team at Beyond Times Square.