- One must be a fox in order to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves. Machiavelli Niccolo
Travel to Philadelphia
Philadelphia has history in spades, but it’s also a leader in the arts and home to gorgeous green spaces, pop-up beer gardens and terrific dining.
Philadelphia is one of the USA’s most historical cities: it’s where the American War of Independence began and ended, with the creation and signing of the Constitution. You can delve into that history at Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, but Philly is so much more than just a beacon of American liberty.
You can gaze at fine art in The Barnes Foundation’s ultra-modern gallery or feast your eyes on an extraordinary collection of street murals. You can stroll among Old City’s cobblestone streets or coast along a river-top boardwalk on two wheels. You can feast on Maine lobster at Lacroix or tuck into pale ale and pretzels at Frankford Hall.
Philadelphia’s eclectic mix of cuisine is visible in over 100 multi-ethnic neighbourhoods, encompassing everything from the bustling Italian market to African-American festivals and the traditional Amish community, who sell produce in Reading Terminal Market, a purveyor of fresh farm food since 1892.
Tourist Attractions in Philadelphia
Independence National Historical Park
Independence National Historical Park is quite possibly America's most historic square mile. Famous sites such as Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and Congress Hall, along with many other important attractions line the cobbled streets of this old area.
Independence Hall has seen some of America's most important historical moments and hosted some of its most famous fathers. It stood witness to the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and the creation of the United States Constitution in 1787. It is flanked by Congress Hall, in which the first Congress of the United States met from 1790 to 1800 and George Washington and John Adams were elected President, and Old City Hall, which was never in fact the town hall but was the seat of the Supreme Court from 1791 to 1800.
Visitors' first stop should be the Visitor Center off Dock Street near 3rd Street, for information and walking tour maps. For a truncated tour, visit Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Pavilion first. However, budget at least one full day to tour the park.
Liberty Bell Pavilion
The liberty bell has long been a symbol of freedom and independence in the United States. It went on tour around the country in the late 19th C in an effort to inspire a sense of freedom and conquer divisions left by the Civil War. The bell completed its journey in Philadelphia in 1915, where it has remained.
Independence Hall originally served as the State House of the Colony of Pennsylvania and is best known as the place where the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. It was also where the Continental Congress met again 11 years later and wrote the United States Constitution. The highlight is Assembly Hall, where the Second Continental Congress met behind closed doors to discuss their desire for independence from the British. This is where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where George Washington was chosen as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. Across from Independence Hall is the Liberty Bell.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art contains one of the United States' largest collections of art. It is housed in a neoclassical building fronted by a broad set of stairs which became famous after they were used the classic American "Rocky" films.
Among the finest sections of the museum are the medieval galleries, which include pictures by Rogier van der Weyden and the van Eyck brothers. In other rooms are Renaissance and Baroque works and art of the 18th and 19th centuries, including pictures by Van Gogh, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Manet, Cezanne, Monet, and Degas. 20th century European art is represented by Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, Miro, Paul Klee, and other artists. There is also American art by the Philadelphia artists Thomas Eakins, Charles Wilson Peale ("The Staircase Group", 1795) and many others. In addition, there are fine collections of Asian art, with porcelain, jade and Oriental carpets.
### Eastern State Penitentiary
The Eastern State Penitentiary was built in 1829 with the aim of rehabilitating criminals through solitary confinement. At the time of its opening, it was considered the world's most expensive and high-tech prison. Willie Sutton and Al Capone were some of the prison's notable "guests". It closed in 1971. Today it is open to the public as a museum with tours of the facility showing some sections which remain much the same as they were during its operational years.