Things to do in Philadelphia, PA

Wrapping up my America content, here is a final travel post from when we went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania back in February.

Visiting Philly was never on my list of places to go, but with it only being a 2 hour bus ride from New York, myself and my friends thought one weekend ‘why not?’

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It turned out there was loads to do and we managed to fit a lot in, in such a short space of time. Firstly on the agenda, after getting off the bus we got a taxi to the Rocky Steps. There was running groups going up and down the steps and tourists like ourselves posing at the top. You got a great view of the city and there was also a dedicated place to stand to get the perfect replica photo from the movie.

We then made the short walk into the city and stopped by the Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. We took part in a guided tour around the hall, learning all about the building where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution was signed. Just a little further from here, you can also visit Benjamin Franklin’s grave, where people throw pennies on the headstone from behind the gate. I wasn’t clued in all that much on America’s history and didn’t realise how rich in historical moments and monuments Philadelphia has.

Next on our list was Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. My friend who had planned the itinerary for our trip, had come across this place during her research and it looked like something a little bit different and quirky to do. Located a little bit outside of the main tourists spots, the Magic Gardens is an artistic and gallery space of mosaics and paintings. Climbing narrow staircases and finding our way around mazes of different coloured glass walls, it was definitely a unique way to see a creative side of the city.

Afterwards we headed to Betsy Ross House and we took a tour around the home of the woman who sewed the American flag. There’s a lot of pride in the flag and the below picture of the flag on the ground was accompanied by a sign stating that during Betsy Ross’ time there would have been no United States Flag Code. It said the flag was being demonstrated with an accurate representation of what it would have been like to stitch the heavy material. Below that it read, ‘in compliance with the modern Flag Code, there is a cloth underneath the flag keeping it off the floor.’

For lunch we naturally got a Philly Cheesesteak. We went to Jim’s on South Street who are known for the signature sandwich. The queue was long but moved along quickly, with a no fuss ordering system- ‘can I have a whizz?’ (i.e meat and cheese)IMG_1055.

The next day before we headed back to New York, we were booked in for a tour of the Eastern State Penitentiary Jail. In operation until 1971, former inmates include Al Capone and Willie Sutton and during it’s time was a revolutionary system of incarceration. We spent about 2 and half hours there, exploring the grounds with our audio tour, though you definitely could end up spending longer there. You learn a lot and the older parts of the prison are definitely creepy!

I hope you enjoyed reading all I got up to in Philadelphia, and let me know if you’ve been and if there’s anything you would recommend doing!

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