9 reasons why a trip to Philadelphia is a must

From its iconic historical sites to its diverse culinary scene, thriving arts community, and tax-free shopping, the city has something for every traveller
Embark on an unforgettable journey to Philadelphia
Embark on an unforgettable journey to Philadelphia

Philadelphia, often referred to as the ‘City of Brotherly Love’, is a captivating destination with a rich history and a vibrant contemporary culture. Nestled in the heart of the US’ East Coast, this city offers a multitude of compelling reasons to visit. From its iconic historical sites to its diverse culinary scene, thriving arts community, and tax-free shopping, the city has something for every traveller. Explore the top reasons to pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable journey to Philadelphia.

A Gateway to the East Coast

Philadelphia is considered one of the premier entry points for those travelling to the East Coast because of its accessibility. As a transatlantic gateway, Philadelphia International Airport offers numerous direct and connecting flights to international destinations, including India. Once you land, Center City is a quick 20-minute drive or 25-minute train ride. Major US cities such as New York and Washington DC are a short drive or train ride away for those on a multi-destination trip.

Home to History

Philadelphia is known for attractions that tell America’s story. For visitors curious about American history, there is no better place than “America’s most historic square mile.” In the Old City historical district, walk the same streets and enter the same buildings as America’s Founding Fathers. At Carpenters’ Hall, visitors can enter the First Continental Congress site, where the Founding Fathers met to discuss independence. Nearby is Independence Hall -- a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- where the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed. And, of course, see the iconic Liberty Bell, an international symbol of freedom.

Iconic Art

Art surrounds you in Philadelphia. The city is known for its iconic LOVE and Rocky statues, but visitors can discover much more. Philadelphia’s affection for art is visible on the streets, where visitors can find an incredible outdoor art gallery and over 4,400 murals. For a breathtaking experience, lose yourself in a maze of mosaics at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens along South Street. Mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar crafted the mixed media art environment. He uses handmade tiles, bottles, bicycle wheels, mirrors, and international folk-art techniques to chronicle his life and influences in the space.

World-class Museums

Philadelphia is home to incredible museums where visitors can learn, play, and connect with the arts and sciences. Modeled after the Champs-Elysees in Paris, Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway is home to some of the city’s iconic art museums. The Philadelphia Museum of Art‘s collection spans over 2,000 years, from the Renaissance to contemporary pieces. Just blocks away, the Rodin Museum stores one of the largest collections of famed sculptor Auguste Rodin’s work outside of Paris. Next door, the Barnes Foundation houses one of the world’s finest private collections of early French-Modern, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist paintings. Philadelphia is also home to world-class science and history museums. Founded in honour of America’s famed scientist, Benjamin Franklin, The Franklin Institute promotes science education with interactive exhibits. Kids and adults alike can marvel at the stars in the Fels Planetarium or explore the iconic Giant Heart. For those interested in history, the Penn Museum invites visitors to explore 10,000 years of human existence through artefacts, such as the largest Sphinx in the Western hemisphere.

An Acclaimed Culinary Scene

Thanks to its roster of renowned chefs and restaurateurs, Philadelphia boasts an exceptional dining scene. Critics from The New York Times to Bon Appetit have showered praise on Philadelphia's chef-driven culinary scene, hailing it as one of the finest in the world. With restaurants helmed by James Beard Award winners such as Michael Solomonov, Greg Vernick, Marc Vetri, and Ellen Yin, among others, you can savour unforgettable meals. Alternatively, immerse yourself in the taste of Philadelphia at the historic Reading Terminal Market, which hosts over 80 local vendors.

Performing Arts

Considered a top theatre city in the US, Philadelphia boasts a rich community of esteemed performing arts organizations. The Kimmel Cultural Campus is home to many legendary ensembles, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Philadelphia Ballet, and Opera Philadelphia. The historic Walnut Street Theater is the oldest operating theatre in America. The city is also full of new artists premiering ground-breaking works. Visitors can see these performances at centres for emerging artists like FringeArts and Penn Live Arts.

The Great Outdoors

As the most walkable city in the US Philadelphia is the perfect destination for travellers looking to spend time outdoors. Philadelphia’s park system spans over 10,000 acres and has over 270 miles of recreational trails, offering numerous outdoor adventures. Nature lovers can hike through Fairmount Park or Wissahickon Valley Park. For those who prefer a water view, the Delaware River Trail offers access to several piers and pop-up parks. On the other side of the city, admire more spectacular waterfront views on the Schuylkill River Trail.

Tax-free Shopping

Clothing and shoe purchases are tax-free in Philadelphia, making it a prime place to go shopping. Visitors will find international brands and locally owned boutiques in neighbourhoods. For one-stop shopping, head to the Fashion District Philadelphia in Center City. For more shopping, make your way to the countryside, where over 400 retailers await at the King of Prussia Mall.

One-of-a-kind Communities

Philadelphia is a city of neighbourhoods. Each one has a unique set of restaurants, shops, and experiences inspired by cultures from around the globe. In South Philadelphia, visitors can seamlessly transition from the restaurants to the locally owned boutiques that line East Passyunk Avenue. Head north for the chic cafes, bars, and colourful street art that fill trendy neighbourhoods Fishtown and Northern Liberties. Enjoy luxury shops and restaurants in picturesque Rittenhouse Square or Washington Square West - home to the city’s Gayborhood. And over in West Philadelphia, the campuses of prestigious universities quickly give way to a close-knit community tucked along tree-lined streets. Every neighbourhood has its own culture and atmosphere, and visiting them feels like an adventure in a new place.

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