Top Things To Do In Philadelphia PA

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What To See In Philadelphia

Last year, we booked a concert for the entire family to attend this past fall in Philadelphia  We didn’t realize that we’d love exploring the city just as much as the concert itself. I wish that we could have built in a few more days to see the sights and enjoy the delicious food.  We will definitely sneak back to the city of brotherly love for another visit soon.  If you’re thinking of traveling to Philadelphia soon, be sure to check out our favorite spots so far.

What to see in Philadelphia PA

Where To Stay

We stayed at the The Notary Hotel Autograph Collection Downtown Philadelphia . Our room was very spacious and with the pull out couch fit our family just perfectly.

What to see in Philadelphia PA Hotel Room in Downtown

Everyone enjoyed watching the busy city below from the gorgeous windows. You can check out details on other downtown properties around Philadelphia here.

What to see in Philadelphia PA Residence Inn Hotel

The property was very well kept and convenient to shopping, restaurants and the SEPTA Transit (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority). The SEPTA transit system is Philadelphia’s bus, subway and commuter-rail systems.   You can check out a transit map here and here.  In addition, Philadelphia is an extremely walkable city.  Pack your walking shoes so you can enjoy all of the sights along the way.

Sporting Venues in Philadelphia PA

If you’re in town attending a sporting event or concert, South Philadelphia Sports Entertainment Complex Wells Fargo Center ( home of the Philadelphia Flyers NHL team and the Philadelphia 76ers NBA team), the Citizens Bank Park (home of the Philadelphia Phillies MLB team) and Lincoln Financial Field (home of the Philadelphia Eagles NFL Team)

We were attending a concert at the Lincoln Financial Field.  Before attending an event make sure that you check out the venue’s bag policy.  They have restrictions on the size of bags and items that can be brought into the stadiums.  A lot of them will allow clear plastic stadium bags like this one.

What to see in Philadelphia PA Lincoln Financial Field

The rain rolled in a little bit but we had ponchos with us and stayed perfectly dry.

The next day we set out on foot to explore the city.

Museums in Philadelphia

We only had a day to venture around the city, but we will definitely be going back to visit some of the amazing museums that Philadelphia has to offer.  The Franklin Institute is definitely at the top of our must see list.  It’s a science and technology museum with hands on exhibits on everything from electricity to the human heart.

The Please Touch Museum is not your regular children’s museum.  Geared toward the preschool and early elementary crowd, this museum has plenty of hands on experience to keep your little ones entertained.

We highly suggest stopping by Independence Hall to soak in some of the history of Philadelphia. You’re able to tour this building where both the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed.  Tickets for Independence Hall are distributed the same day are free.  You’ll need to stop by the Independence Visitor Center on the day of your visit to pick up tickets with an assigned time. You are able to make ticket reservations in advance, but there is a $1.00 fee per ticket charged when making reservations ahead of time.

What to see in Philadelphia PA

Inside of the Independence Visitors Center are a bunch of free hands on exhibits that the kids really enjoyed.

What to see in Philadelphia PA Visitors Center Free Activities

What to see in Philadelphia PA

The President’s House Site is an outdoor free exhibit that doesn’t require tickets to enter.  It’s located next to Independence Hall.  Videos accompany the traditional descriptions that give you a glimpse into the lives of the enslaved individuals who worked in the house and their road to freedom.

What to see in Philadelphia PA Presidents House

What to see in Philadelphia PA

In the nearby Washington Square Park you can find The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

What to see in Philadelphia PA

Where To Eat

Like any trip, especially a city location, we really suggest doing some research before you get there with the family.  If there is a restaurant that you want to hit for lunch or dinner, try to make a reservation.  Have a few different options for breakfast, coffee or lunch near the museums or places you plan on visiting.

If you are looking for an EGGGcellent breakfast or brunch place, you need to check out Sabrina’s Cafe. They have a few different locations and they have a virtual wait list that you can add your name to before arriving to hopefully cut any wait time shorter.

McGillin’s Old Ale House is the oldest pub in Philadelphia.  We stopped in before our concert for some delicious burgers, but they have a bunch of different yummy options on their menu.

What to see in Philadelphia PA

The Great Cheesesteak Challenge

We couldn’t come all the way to Philly and not try the cheesesteaks.  A little off the beaten path you’ll find two dueling cheesesteak restaurants right across the street from each other.  Keep in mind that both of these iconic places only accept cash.  Luckily, we had enough on hand to try them both 😉

First up was Pat’s King of Steaks. Pat’s advertises that they are the originator and creator of the cheesesteak.  I can’t confirm that, but I do know that with after almost 90 years of business, there was still quite a line waiting to order.

What to see in Philadelphia PA

The cheesesteaks are ginormous but oh so delicious.

What to see in Philadelphia PA Where to Eat Pats Steaks

We had a few that were big fans of both their fries and sandwiches.  First timer tip… you will need to know your order before you get up to the counter.  You order it “with” or “without” (onions), then specify if you want it plain or what type of cheese.  Then you order any drinks and fries at the next window down.  We failed at the ordering test on every level other than paying in cash 🙂 But they walked us through it and everything was delicious.

What to see in Philadelphia PA Where to Eat Pats Steaks

Next up and right across the street is Geno’s Steaks. Geno’s opened a little over 3o years after Pat’s, but claims to be the best cheesesteak in Philly.

What to see in Philadelphia PA

Geno’s had similar ordering to Pat’s and also only accepted cash.  We decided that Geno’s won our vote, but it was a tough competition. It was a fun taste test with the kids. We all enjoyed splitting a couple sandwiches at each.

What to see in Philadelphia PA

What to see in Philadelphia PA Geno's Steaks

Indoor Market

One our favorite places to fill our bellies was the Reading Terminal Market. It got a little crowded around lunch time on Friday, but we came back during an off peak time of day and there weren’t very many lines at all.

What to see in Philadelphia PA Reading Terminal Market

The kids loved the Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe.

We tested a bunch of different flavors of fudge and purchased our favorites.

There were all sorts of candy to choose from.  Since we visited in September, there were seasonal candies galore.

The flower market had gorgeous flowers for sale and reminded me of our time at Pike’s Peak in Seattle. I wish these could have made the journey home!

I don’t know if ya’ll have noticed a theme here, but we basically ate our way around the city.  Beiler’s Doughnuts is a must see on the belly tour around Philly.

What to see in Philadelphia PA Reading Terminal Market Beilers Bakery

These hand made doughnuts were melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

What to see in Philadelphia PA Beilers Bakery

We all enjoyed watching them make the doughnuts right there in the market.

What to see in Philadelphia PA

Then it came time to make some decisions.  I have seriously bought cars in less time than it took us to decide which ones were coming with us. They all looked insanely good.

What to see in Philadelphia PA Reading Terminal Market Beilers Bakery

We settled on a dozen of apple fritters.  Look at that steamy goodness.  These are great to bring home for friends and family at home too.

What to see in Philadelphia PA

I’m not kidding ya’ll, next time we head up to Philadelphia I’m only packing stretchy pants.  I almost forgot about these pretzels and made my hubby run back in to purchase some for the ride home.  They were hands down the best hot pretzels we’ve ever had.

What to see in Philadelphia PA

There are sooo many other restaurants and venues to grab a bite to eat that we would love to try on our next trip up there.

Sightseeing Around Philadelphia

In between our many meals and museum trips, we really enjoyed just walking around the city and taking in the sights.  We walked by this shop and were intrigued by all of the masks for the famous New Year’s Day Mummer’s Parade.  It would be quite an experience to be in the city to experience that.

The city at night was just lovely.  I would have loved to spend another night strolling at taking pictures.

This exhibit we happened to catch at the exact right moment at Dilworth Park next to City Hall.  If you are in Philadelphia, you should definitely plan on experiencing it.  Pulse is an interactive artwork by Janet Echelman.  When the train passes underneath, an illuminated wall of steam shoots into the sky.  We loved walking through it and seeing all of the different colors.

During the winter months there is an ice rink located at Dilworth Park and fountains to run through during the warmer months.

We are already looking forward to our next trip to Philadelphia!

Check out some highlights from some of our other favorite destinations like Chicago, IL, Boston, MA, Santa Cruz, CA, and Seattle, WA.

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