The city of Philadelphia is one of the most interesting and fascinating cities in America. It was once the country’s political, cultural and geographical center. Now, as the 49th largest city in the world, Philadelphia offers entertainment choices to history buffs, art lovers, sports fans and those just hungry for a cheese steak.
Independence National Historic Park is a 45-acre area in the eastern part of Philadelphia that contains some of America’s most important landmarks. Within the park you’ll find Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence was signed), the Liberty Bell, Franklin Square and the First Bank of the United States.
While not within the 45 acre park but still falling under the park’s care are the historic homes of Edgar Allan Poe, Betsy Ross and Thaddeus Kosciuszko. All of which are open for tours.
As one would expect from a city as old as Philadelphia it contains several firsts for its country.
The city is home to the United States’ first zoo, penitentiary, and hospital.
The Philadelphia Zoo is still open; you’ll find it in Fairmount Park just two miles from downtown. Also in Fairmount is the Eastern State Penitentiary. No longer holding prisoners, the penitentiary is now a museum and historic site.
Pennsylvania Hospital is still in service but of all the attractions listed in this article, hopefully this is the only one you won’t have to visit.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located at the west end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Fairmount Park. Despite being one of the largest art museums in the country, its claim to fame is having its steps immortalized in the film Rocky.
Other notable venues for art fans include the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Rodin Museum, which houses the largest collection of works by Auguste Rodin outside of France.
You’ll find the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Broad Street, in a part of town known as the “Avenue of the Arts.” The Kimmel Center is home to the Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Ballet.
Sports fans have an embarrassment of riches. The city of Philadelphia not only has a franchise in each of the four major North American professional sports leagues, they also have a plethora of other pro teams as well.
The Phillies play their Major League Baseball games at Citizens Bank Park. The Eagles, an NFL franchise, play at Lincoln Financial Field. The NBA’s 76’ers and the NHL’s Flyers both play at the Wachovia Center.
In addition to those teams, Philadelphia has an Arena Football League team called the Soul (co-owned by Jon Bon Jovi) and an indoor lacrosse team called the Wings. They too play at the Wachovia Center.
Playing at the soon to be demolished Wachovia Spectrum are the Phantoms, a minor league hockey team, and the KiXX, an indoor soccer team.If you’re looking for something different, check out Alhambra Arena, or simply the Arena, located in South Philly. There you’ll find boxing and wrestling events. The Arena was once the home of the legendary professional wrestling promotion, ECW.
Most of the aforementioned venues double as concert venues. Additionally, the Mann Music Center, the Theater of the Living Arts, the Electric Factory and Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing are other great places to catch the best live music in town. Philadelphia is famous for a lot of things, but perhaps it’s most famous for its cheese steaks.
To get the best cheesesteak in town you only need to go to one intersection, 9th and Passyunk in South Philadelphia. That’s where you’ll find Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks.
For a sit down dinner, you might want to try Le Bec-Fin located on Walnut Street. This French restaurant once had a five-star rating but owner and founder Georges Perrier gave it up in favor of a more relaxed atmosphere and à la carte dining.
The Royal Tavern located in South Philly, is one of the towns best gastro-pubs. Go there for an authentic Philadelphia experience.
Tria offers its customers fine wine, great beer and some of the country’s finest cheeses. They have two locations, one in Rittenhouse Square and another in Washington Square West. As you can see, the problem with entertaining yourself in Philadelphia isn’t finding something to do, but actually choosing exactly what to do among all the possibilities.