The Two-Day Best of Philadelphia
While a week’s vacation would allow you to take in all the major sights in Philadelphia, you can experience many of the highlights and get a feel for the city in just two days. Stay in or near City Center or Old City. From here it’s easy to get around on foot, bike, or public transportation or take advantage of the hop-on hop-off tour buses that make key stops around the city.
You can easily spend an entire afternoon or even a day at the best sights. Keep moving if you want to hit multiple sights in a short time.
Spend the day in Independence National Historical Park, where Philly’s most famous historic sights are conveniently located within a few square blocks. Have breakfast at Metro Café and then head to Independence Visitor Center—your first stop. Get information and maps, watch the short introductory film, and reserve your free timed ticket for Independence Hall. Spend the rest of the morning at the National Constitution Center or take a Mural Tour in an open-air trolley.
Eat lunch at the Bourse Food Court, then visit the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. If time allows, you can choose from nearby attractions such as Carpenters’ Hall, Franklin Court, and the Betsy Ross House.
Old City is the place to be for an evening out. Try Amada for exquisite tapas or Philadelphia Fish & Co. for excellent seafood. Or immerse yourself in history on the Independence After Hours Tour where actors reenact events from the American Revolution during a meal at City Tavern. The tour ends with a Lights of Liberty laser lights show in Independence Park. If you’re ready to return to the present, hit the many bars in Old City.
Today tour the rest of Center City and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Try an egg-and-cheese sandwich from a food truck or more refined breakfast offerings at LeBus. Take a stroll through Rittenhouse Square and the ritzy surrounding shopping district. Stop at City Hall and ride the elevator to the base of the William Penn statue (weekdays only) for a spectacular view of the city. If you have time, tour the majestic Masonic Temple across the street.
Have lunch at Reading Terminal Market and burn it off with a walk on the picturesque Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where you can take your pick of museums. The Philadelphia Museum of Art—complete with Rocky statue and the famous steps—is top-notch, or if you prefer science to art, visit the Franklin Institute Science Museum. If time allows, check out the Fairmount Water Works and Boathouse Row.
Head back into Center City for endless dining and nightlife options. Oh—and if you somehow haven’t yet, have a cheesesteak already! Tony Jr.’s is a nearby favorite.
© Karrie Gavin from Moon Philadelphia, 1st Edition