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Three Unforgettable Things To Do In Philadelphia

Philadelphia attracted over 40 million visitors in 2015, but it might not be top of your bucket list of American cities. It’s been 13 years since I last visited Philadelphia, but it’s a place I remember fondly. Some special memories have even withstood the test of time. As I walk down memory lane, I’ve picked out some of my favourite places to visit. You can also find more great tips and IHG hotels in Center City, Philadelphia here.

Image via Flickr by PMillera4
Image via Flickr by PMillera4

Art and movies

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a culture vulture’s paradise, but you may be more familiar with this impressive building from the “Rocky” films. Grab your sneakers and recreate Rocky’s training regime by racing up the stairs for a triumphant celebration at the top.  This iconic movie location attracts hoards of old and young alike on a mission to follow in Rocky’s footsteps. After burning some calories and posing for the obligatory celebratory photo at the top, you can retrace your steps to pose with a bronze statue of Rocky Balboa himself.

You can also visit the museum, which houses over 220,000 works of art. I prefer to head over to the Rodin Museum for a tantalizing glimpse of “The Thinker”, a sculpture that captured my imagination as a child. While I don’t have a particular affinity for art or sculpture, I certainly have a penchant for daydreaming, usually about my next travel destination. Maybe the sculptor’s subject and I are kindred spirits.

Image via Flickr by PMillera4
Image via Flickr by PMillera4


The Liberty Bell got its name from a group who used the bell as a symbol for their attempts to outlaw slavery. Constructed in Whitechapel, London, the bell was hung in the Pennyslvania State House (now Independence Hall) in 1753. Mysteriously, it cracked on its first use. After repairs, it was rung to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. Strangely, it cracked again and it hasn’t been rung since. Spooky!

Independence Hall is a pretty fascinating place for other reasons too. This is where the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776, the design of the American flag was determined, and the U. S. Constitution drafted in 1787. If you want to see where the first American flag was made, you can head over to the Betsy Ross House to see where Betsy herself made the first version of the stars and stripes.

Image via Flickr by wallyg
Image via Flickr by wallyg

Sumptuous food

No trip to Philadelphia would be complete without trying a Phillie cheesesteak, a long crusty roll oozing sizzling onions, fried beefsteak and generous portions of melted cheese. It may not sound spectacular but it’s a carb lover’s dream and comes with a selection of cheeses, sauces, and toppings to suit your tastes.

If a cheesesteak isn’t your culinary thing, head to the Reading Terminal Market to drink in the hustle and bustle of merchants selling homegrown produce, Amish specialities, and handmade confections. The only problem is that you may want to pack your suitcase full of the delicious produce.

I’m finding myself enjoying the nostalgia so much, I want to book my very own flight to Philadelphia. If you’re wondering where to head for a weekend break, Philadelphia could be a good option.

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of Frommilestosmiles. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money-saving travel tips


  1. Never been to the US. But your article inspired me! Philadelphia stole my heart.

  2. Reading this makes me so wanna go there now! Definitely on my bucket list 🙂

  3. I have not been to Philly . This list would certainly seem to be a great start. I really would to see the Liberty Bell, that cracked mysteriously. I have also heard lot about Philly Steak and how one of the Presidents had to stand n the Queue to get one!

  4. Hey! Philadelphia was my first destination ever outside of Europe around 8 years ago! I flew there from Spain because I found an amazing deal and I stayed there for one night before going to NYC. I enjoyed a lot visiting the Independence Hall and all the historical sites. Even though I’m from Europe, we all know the history. I still remember trying the Philly Steak. Delicious. And I can still remember also that it was the only place in the USA where I saw people smoking in bars. Is that still possible?

    • I don’t know as it is even longer since I was there. I would be surprised if that was still the case though. Maybe someone else out there knows the answer????

  5. Art history and food is my prefect combination! I love that you can recreate Rocky’s training regime … you can bet I would be forcing my husband to film me lol!

    • Ha ha yes I mig have to stop half way up to catch my breath at the moment seems as I am coming back from injury. Just film the last few steps lol!

  6. Well you’ve hit my top 3 reasons to visit any city: food, history and art. The art museum does have the most stunning spot there over the water.

  7. We drove from Washington DC to Philidelphia a few years ago and did a quick stop in Philadelphia to see the Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. We knew we missed a lot as our stop was only a few hours. When I looked at your photos I stopped and stared at the Art Museum trying to remember when I had been there, as it looked so familiar. I had to laugh that it is from Rocky.

  8. Rocky did make this place stand out. Also the bell story does sound a bit spooky.

  9. Perfect 3 reasons to visit Philadelphia I will say! I love knowing history of places and the info here on Liberty bell cracking up is new to me.
    I also read somewhere that a portion of Einstein’s brain is preserved here in one of the museums. Is that true?

  10. I love Philly! My family is from South Jersey so we used to go into Philly for parades, culture and of course CheeseSteaks! After living overseas for ten years I would KILL for a south Philly cheesesteak OH Yum! Thanks for reminding me about Philly. We will be in the USA for 5 months this summer, we might just need to make a stop back in Philly, and of course stop by the rocky statue.

  11. Great post! I’ve never considered a visit here but next time I’m in the states I may have to look into it. My sister lives not far so it could be a fun trip!

  12. Anne, thanks for highlighting my great city! For museum go-ers, may I also recommend the Barnes (huge collection of impressionist paintings), the Mutter (human anatomy museum), the Franklin (science; great for children), the National Constitution Center, the National Museum of American Jewish History, and the Museum of the American Revolution (centers on that epic war- opens in April 2017). For those with Chase UR points, a great deal can be had at the Hyatt Bellevue; for 15k per night, you’ll be in the center of town in one of the most historic hotel buldings in the UnitedStates. And, fear not the cheesesteak- we have some of the best vegetarian and vegan earing in all the land (along with anything else one could want to eat!).

    • Brandon, thanks for those incredible tips. That sounds like a fab deal on the hotel. I think from memory I stayed at the Hilton but it is a while so I can’t be certain. I think it’s an under-rated city, at least for us Brits. I loved it.

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