Philadelphia Tourist Activities
Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is located approximately 7 miles from downtown Philadelphia, and is a large airport handling over thirty million passengers per annum. The airport has convenient ground transportation options for arriving passengers, and a large variety of facilities. Many tourists arrive here on a daily basis, as the Philadelphia attractions, as well as those in the nearby areas, are very appealing. They range from the historic Liberty Bell to the Philadelphia Zoo, which is an outing that is always enjoyed by adults and children alike. The city also boasts a number of museums, a few interesting landmarks and several beautiful parks and gardens.
Philadelphia is an American city in the state of Pennsylvania. It covers an area of approximately 135 square miles, or 350 square kilometres and has a population of around 1.6 million. The people of the city generally speak American English. The city is fondly known as ‘Philly’, and although a modern and bustling city, it is still full of historic attractions. Certain areas still have cobblestone streets, and there are a number of historic buildings and colonial houses which are enjoyed by tourists. The modern districts feature sleek shopping centres, five-star restaurants and many other venues for entertainment. Throughout the city, there are hotels offering accommodation at varying prices. A number can be found along Market Street, Roosevelt Boulevard, Walnut Street, Dock Street and Sansom Street, as well as nearby the airport of Philadelphia, to the southwest of the city.
The city of Philadelphia is divided into various districts, which include the Centre City District, Penn’s Landing District, Rittenhouse Square, Manayunk District, South Street and the Italian Market District, which is America’s largest outdoor market. It is found nearby the city centre, and is filled with a remarkable number of wonderful things to eat, as well as museums. Several attractions are found in the Penn’s Landing District, such as the Independence Seaport Museum and the four-masted Moshulu sailing ship, while the Manayunk District is a popular shopping and dining destination with dozens of fashionable boutiques and high-quality restaurants of all cuisine.
Liberty Bell is perhaps one of Philadelphia’s most popular and historic of attractions. It is located in a massive glass pavilion and is the bell that used to be found in the Independence Hall. Previously, it was referred to as the State House Bell, and was used to call the local people when it was time for the hearing of the Declaration outside the State House. In 1830 it was renamed the Liberty Bell. The bell also features a large crack, which makes it quite famous, as there are many speculations as to how it came to happen. The bell is free to visit between 09:00 and 17:00. The Independence Hall is just opposite the Liberty Bell, and is considered as the birthplace of the United States. It features a clock tower and the important Assembly Room, which was where George Washington became commander in chief of the Continental Army. Many other significant events have taken place here as well. Outside the hall there is a statue of George Washington, as well as plaques in honour of John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln.
Elfreth’s Valley is another popular historical attraction in Philadelphia. It is a street dating back to the 1700’s, and is America’s oldest continuously occupied residential street. The streets in the area are narrow and cobbled, and the buildings give visitors an idea of what Colonial Philadelphia was like in the years past. Two restored homes are part of the Elfreth’s Alley Museum, and are very interesting to browse. One of these homes belonged to a dressmaker, while the other was the property of a chair maker. Other homes in the area are open for visitors on a weekend in June, referred to as Fete Days. Elfreth’s Alley is found on 2nd Street, between Arch Street and Race Street.
The Philadelphia Zoo is another major attraction in the city. It is located at 34th Street and Girard Avenue in West Fairmount, Philadelphia, and covers a large area for its residents, which are creatures of all varieties. There is the Amphibian and Reptile House, the Bird House, the Carnivore Kingdom and a special Children’s Zoo, filled with more friendly animals. The zoo opened in 1874 and boasts over 2,000 animals, as well as many other attractions. Visitors can even enjoy spectacular views of the city in the Zooballon, which goes up about 120 metres, or 400 feet. The Philadelphia Zoo is open every day of the week from 09:30.
Philadelphia’s most famous landmarks and monuments include the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the City Hall, Powell House and Carpenter’s Hall. The bridge can be found at 5th and Vine Streets and was designed by Paul Cret. It has been in existence since 1926, and provides a way over the Delaware River. The bridge is used by cars, trains and pedestrians, and also offers a fantastic, free light show, which is well worth a look. The lights illuminate the bridge’s cables, and are on every night from 18:00. The City Hall used to be Philadelphia’s tallest building, as well as the World’s tallest masonry-bearing structure, and Powell House is one of the loveliest Georgian homes in the city, dating back to 1765.
Museums of note in Philadelphia include Franklin Court, the Franklin Institute Science Museum, the Independence Seaport Museum, Mummers Museum, Mutters Museum, the Brandywine River Museum and the National Constitution Centre. Mutters Museum is a ‘must-see’ attraction for families with children, as it features many wonderful and spooky exhibits such as the ‘Secret Tumor of Grover Cleveland’, brains in vintage glasses and casts of the conjoined twins Chang and Eng. The Franklin Institute Science Museum has many hands-on activities as well, and is another family favourite. To relax outdoors, locals and tourists go to the Fairmount Park, the Historic Bartram’s Garden, the Morris Arboretum or the Laurel Hill Cemetery, which offer some lovely green spaces in the city.
Nearby Philadelphia, attractions which are popular include the recently renovated Adventure Aquarium with over 4000 sea creatures, and Longwood Gardens. For more information, there are visitor welcome centres in Philadelphia International, as well as tourist centres in the city.