Philadelphia was founded by William Penn in 1682 as the capital of the United States, becoming known as the City of Brotherly Love, where people from all faiths could come together and worship at will under a tolerant government. It is a city of firsts, being the location of the country’s first capital, first hospital, first fire company, and first insurance company. Perhaps most important of all, it was where the Declaration of Independence was drafted in 1776, and also where the Founding Fathers of the USA drew up their new constitution in 1787.

Today, the largest city in the state of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia stands proudly as the home of historical sites such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, attractive 18th century architecture, outstanding museums and performing arts centres, a melting pot of immigrant communities, and the home of the famous Philly Cheesesteak. It is an extremely easy city to navigate, with streets running from East to West given names, and streets running North to South being numbered, save two exceptions, Broad and Front streets.


Independence Hall is an imposing Georgian building that offers a truly American historical experience, being the “birthplace” of the US government, where delegates from the 13 colonies approved the Declaration of Independence on 4th July 1776. Close by, housed in a glass pavilion, the Liberty Bell is the city’s top tourist attraction and perhaps the most famous bell in the world, which tolled at the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.

Society Hill is Philadelphia’s prettiest neighbourhood, containing a lot of 18th century architecture amongst its residential areas, as well as cobbled alleyways and hidden courtyards. Nearby, Penn’s Landing is a display of the city’s regenerated waterfront on the Delaware River, which separates the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The marina shows off a collection of historical ships, and just across the river, the New Jersey State Aquarium is well worth a visit.

Stretching from the Schuylkill River to the Delaware River, South Street is an impressive river-to-river stretch, with the strip from the waterfront to 6th Street housing an array of shops, restaurants, and music outlets.

City Hall is the largest municipal building in the country, and is probably the architectural highlight of Philadelphia, standing at 548 feet high with a bronze statue of William Penn at the top. There are fantastic views of the city from the observation tower.

The city is home to world-class museums and arts centres. The Philadelphia Museum of Art stands imposingly at the top of Fairmount Park, and is perhaps best known for its front steps, which were featured in the film Rocky. Inside there is an extensive collection of European and Asian art. The Rodin Museum houses the largest collection of Rodin’s work outside France. Finally, the Kimmel Centre is home to the Philadelphia Orchestra and hosts concerts throughout the year.


The King of Prussia Shopping Mall is the largest shopping centre on the East Coast, and the second largest in the United States. It is situated in the northwest of the city, and is easily got to by bus, and it houses more than 400 stores, offering a multitude of designer goods. For alternative shopping, South Street has an eclectic range of stores selling music, art, and clothes, with possibly the most intriguing shop being Condom Kingdom, which perhaps unsurprisingly specialises in adult novelty goods.

The Italian Market is located in south Philadelphia and offers fresh produce from bakers, butchers, and pasta makers, as well as discount stalls offering all sorts of goods, from DVDs to clothes.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Philadelphia offers a rich culinary experience to visitors. It is renowned for its hoagies, which can be considered as big sandwiches, but without doubt its number one food attraction is the Philly Cheesesteak, consisting of layers of beef, fried onions, and melted cheese all fitting into a warm white bread roll. The two most famous vendors are Geno’s and Pat’s King of Steaks, and many locals still argue over which one is the best maker of cheesesteaks.

Old City, near the waterfront, has a variety of international cuisine on offer, including the Dark Horse for Irish pub fare, Sahara for Middle Eastern food, Penang for Oriental fusion cuisine, and Shivnanda for Indian food. For the well off, Le Bec-Fin is a 5-star rated French restaurant that is touted by many as one of the best in the United States; the fixed-price lunch at around $40 can be considered a bargain.

Philadelphia has a wealth of bars and nightclubs, though be aware that ID must be carried in order to gain entry. Some of the more popular dance venues include Shampoo, Egypt, and The Warehouse.

Tourist Information

Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation30 South 17th StreetPhiladelphia PA 19103

Telephone: +1 215 599 0776Website:


Situated in the south of the city, Philadelphia International Airport has direct flights to Europe, and offers domestic flights to more than 100 US cities. The Greyhound bus terminal in Center City and the Amtrak train station in University City offer easy access to the rest of the East Coast.

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