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The Best of Philadelphia USA | Free 3-Day Itinerary

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Philadelphia ranked No. 1 among the cities on the 2020 "Best Trips" list, topping Telc, Czechia; Fort Kochi, India; Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Parma, Italy; and Puebla, Mexico, according to a release published on Visit Philadelphia's website. Philadelphia and the Grand Canyon in Arizona were the only locations in the United States to make the list.

One of the most interesting cities to visit, in the USA, is Philadelphia in the eastern part of Pennsylvania. From art to haunted houses, Legoland fun, and more.

Philly is full of surprises, and more… Our 3-day free itinerary is only a touch of what this vibrant city has to offer. Be sure to read to the end as we feature plenty of additional attractions, tours, and also day trips from Philly.

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Know before you go

Did You Know?

There is another Philadelphia. In South Africa's Swartland lies a beautiful little village, bearing the same name.

Suggested Read: Philadelphia SA – A Beautiful Little Village

America's firsts

 

Besides the mentions in our feature of Philly, the city is the birthplace of many of America’s firsts.

  • The first piano in America was built by Johann Behrent in Philly in 1775.
  • Philly has the highest densities of haunted houses. No wonder it’s also considered one of the most haunted cities in the United States!
  • Benjamin Franklin founded the first public library in 1731 in this historic city.
  • Another one of Benjamin Franklin’s accolades is the Philadelphia Zoo,  the United States’ first public zoo. It opened on July 1, 1874. With more than 1,300 different animals, the zoo is still operational. In fact, it’s home to many rare and endangered animals. They are known for breeding animals that usually are difficult to breed in captivity.
  • Speaking of “oldest” things, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange is now owned by Nasdaq Inc. and is the oldest stock exchange in America. It was built in 1911.
    • 1409–11 Walnut Street.

Best food experiences in Philadelphia

  • Zahav restaurant serves mouth-watering Israeli cuisine. They weren’t the winner at the 2019 James-Beard awards for nothing. Their hummus is out of this world and it comes in three varieties. Also, try their grilled specialties like the Romanian beef kebabs. They also serve vegetarian-friendly dishes.
    • 237 St. James Place; telephone +1 215-625-8800
  • Jim’s Steaks Plenty celebrities enjoyed their super tasty cheesesteaks, which is their specialty.
    • 400 South Street
  • Reading (pronounced Red-ding) Terminal Market This famous indoor farmer’s market offers diverse fare, housewares, and area specialties since 1892. That said, it’s a great stop for a lunch on Day 1. With more than 70 vendors, there is no shortage of food experiences. By the way, America’s oldest ice cream company, Bassetts Ice Cream, is also at the market, and worth a cone!
    • 51 N 12th Street
  • Parc Brasserie If you plan to dine here, which I recommend, then you need to reserve a table well in advance. They specialize in French cuisine and offer vegetarian-friendly meals and vegan options.
    • 227 S 18th Street, Rittenhouse Square
  • Charlie Was A Sinner Lovers of vegan tapas food should not miss this kosher cafe/bar. The cherry on top is their craft cocktails. One is never enough!
    • 131 S 13th Street

How many days in Philadelphia?

Ideally, stay two to three days in Philadelphia. Meander through the historic old city. Alternatively, explore Philadelphia with your hop-on hop-off family-friendly bus tickets or on a horse-drawn carriage. Do a Segway adventure tour, or …

Philadelphia is known for...

Philadelphia is known for having the world’s oldest and largest outdoor market, the Italian Market, cheesesteaks, Goldenberg Peanut Chews, soft pretzels, and Tastykakes. The best time to visit Philadelphia is Spring (March to May), just before the peak season rates kick in, and when the streets are filled with cherry blossoms.

Go Philadelphia!

Philly is one of five key cities in the state of Pennsylvania. The other key cities are Harrisburg (capital city of Pennsylvania), Lancaster, Pittsburgh, and Erie.

If you’re a serious traveler and want to see and experience as much of historic Philadelphia as possible, get the Philadelphia Go City pass. You have two choices:

The best dining experiences in Philadelphia

Philly's iconic foods

  • It’s pretzel country – from the time you open your eyes until you close them. There is a reason for having a soft pretzel all day long.
  • Tastykakes are synonyms for being a Philadelphian. You’ll get them in almost all the convenience and grocery stores. From donuts to patriotic cookies – they have a wide range of super yummy treats.
  • On hot days Italian ice is a must-have, or water ice as it’s called here.
  • Go to Termii Brothers bakery on South 8th Street, and buy Cannoli with either vanilla or chocolate Italian filling. They also have gift boxes – which make for a perfect gift to say thank you to a special friend or loved one.
  • Besides cheesesteaks, also try their roast pork sandwich. A  Philly favorite.
  • If you’re into seafood, go to Amada for the best garlic shrimps you’ll ever taste.
  • A Schmitter sandwich is an ideal go-for for lunchtime between sightseeing. McNally’s Tavern in Chestnut Hill makes the most delicious Schmitter.
  • Tomato Pie is another specialty in Philadelphia. You’ll get the tastiest tomato pies from Sarcone’s Bakery and award-winning Cacia’s Bakery.
  • And then of course there is Federal Donuts. You can not leave Philly without having had at least two or three of their specialties!
Tastykake Philadelphia
Photo from Baking Business
Valley Forge National Historic Park Philadlephia
Morris Arboretum Rocky statue free things to do in Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Cemetry Laurel Hill

3-Day Philadelphia Itinerary

Day 1

By foot: 22 minutes | 1.7 km (1 mile)  |  about 2,252 steps
Itinerary Philadelphia Pennsylvania USA visit Philidelphia sightseeing attractions museums day
  • Liberty Bell Center

    The bell was commissioned from London in 1751 and was rung at the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. | 1 hour | Free entrance. Avoid the crowds and go early morning. | 526 Market Street

  • Independence Hall

    Both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed in this historic building. Admission is free and by tour only. However, you must pre-book your tickets. | 45 minutes (arrive 20 minutes early to allow for security screening) | 520 Chestnut Street

  • National Constitution

    America's most hands-on history museum. | 1 - 2 hours | 525 Arch Street

  • United States (Philadelphia) Mint

    Construction of the first federal building erected under the Constitution began in 1792. At the time  Philadelphia was the nation’s capital. It is the oldest coin producer in the United States. | 45 minutes | 151 N Independence Mall E

  • Betsy Ross House

    The first American flag was sewn in 1777 by Betsy Ross. Meet "Betsy Ross" at the home she lived in. | 45 minutes | 239 Arch Street  (Next: Go left from Betsy's house, left again on 2nd and then you have Elfreth's Alley on your right.)

  • Elfreth's Alley

    The oldest residential street in the United States. Some of the houses are over 300 years old and are still occupied. 45 minutes | Free activity | 126 Elfreth's Alley (Near Betsy's House)

Day 2

By foot: 30 minutes | 2.3 km (1.4 miles)  |  about 3,153 steps
Itinerary Philadelphia Pennsylvania USA visit Philidelphia sightseeing attractions museums day
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art

    One of the best art museums in the world and well worth a visit. Even if you are not a lover of art. | 1 - 2 hours | 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy,

  • Eastern State Penitentiary

    The audio guide is an excellent way to get a feel for the prison, complete with creaking doors and a prison riot. | 1 - 2 hours | 2124 Fairmount Ave

  • The Franklin Institute

    This is an activity for all ages with loads of fascinating displays. | 1- 2 hours | 222 N 20th Street

Day 3

By foot: 52 minutes | 3.9 km (2.4 miles)  |  about 5,405 steps
Itinerary Philadelphia Pennsylvania USA visit Philidelphia sightseeing attractions museums day
  • Independence Seaport Museum

    Another family fun outing! Wander around an old ship and submarine. If you have children, then try to go on a Saturday between 11h00 and 13h00. Known as Seafarin' Saturdays they present fun and hands-on activities for the young ones. They're closed on Sundays. | 1 - 2 hours | 211 S Columbus Boulevard

  • South Street

    This is where you can easily spend a morning meandering through galleries and shops. There are plenty of good restaurants, so come hungry! | 1 - 2 hours | 301 South Street

  • Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

    The beautiful attraction is quite magical indeed. | 45 minutes  | 1020 South Street

  • Love Park

    Here you need to have your camera ready as this is a popular park amongst photographers. You'll also find the iconic "LOVE' statue here. | 45 minutes | John F Kennedy Boulevard and North 15th Street

Daytrip

Full-Day Amish Country Tour from Philly to Lancaster County

  • Learn about Amish culture through a guided visit to America's oldest Amish settlement
  • Visit a bakery, a quilt shop, and a homestead
  • View the Amish Experience F/X Theater Presentation “Jacob’s Choice"
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off in Center City Philadelphia

Full Details >>

Daytrip, with private driver

Full-Day Brandywine Valley Tour

  • Visit the Brandywine Valley on a day trip from Philadelphia
  • Choose from a 6-, 8- or 10-hour tour
  • Travel to Chester County, Pennsylvania
  • See various points of interest throughout the region

Full Details >>

Private 4 or 6 Hour Tour

Philadelphia to Valley Forge Park

  • Choose from a 4- or 6-hour tour
  • Travel approximately to King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
  • Learn about the history and stories of the Revolutionary War
  • See important points of interest throughout the park

Full Details >>

Private daytrip

Philadelphia to New York City

  • Round-trip transportation from Philly.
  • Private tour is operated with just your party and a guide/driver. thus dedicated attention.
  • Informative, friendly, and professional guide.
  • Flexibility to customize your itinerary to your own preferences.

Full Details >>

MORE THINGS TO DO IN PHILADELPHIA

EASILY EXTEND YOUR TRIP

Explore the rest of Pennsylvania

William Penn has left an amazing legacy. Namely, Pennsylvania.

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