Founded by William Penn in 1682, Philadelphia is well-known for its rich history. The City of Brotherly Love has not only played host to some of the most pivotal moments in American history, but it has also continuously reinvented itself as a bastion of culture and vibrant nightlife.
1. Independence Hall Independence Hall is one of Philadelphia’s most iconic landmarks, and for good reason, as it’s the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the state of Pennsylvania. The building’s interior has been restored to much the same way it looked when Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, and when George Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention there in 1787. A one-minute walk across the street is the Liberty Bell, a timeless American icon oftentimes regarded as a symbol of Philadelphia. Visitors are advised that they may look at the bell, but are not allowed to touch it.
2. Franklin Institute
Just over a half-hour walk or a twenty-minute bus ride northwest of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell is the Franklin Institute, one of America’s premier science museums. Curious minds will find a diverse array of exhibits where they can delve into the secrets of the world. One of the museum’s current exhibitions focuses on the behind-the-scenes aspects of Pixar’s computer-animated films. The museum also features a planetarium and an IMAX theater, with new shows introduced periodically.
3. Reading Terminal Market
A twenty-two minute walk or a fourteen-minute bus ride southeast of the Franklin Institute is another beloved Philadelphia icon. The Reading Terminal was originally a transportation hub in Center City but is now exclusively the home of the Reading Terminal Market, a plethora of shops hawking wares from books to linens to Middle Eastern groceries as well as restaurants serving many types of cuisines, including Cajun, Italian, Mexican/Southwestern, Chinese, and Thai. The signature sandwich at DiNic’s Roast Pork and Beef — slow-roasted pork, broccoli rabe and provolone cheese on an Italian-style roll — is an iconic culinary creation. For those who desire a sweet ending to their meal, visitors can stop at Bassett’s Ice Cream for a quick cup or cone. Bassett’s is the oldest ice cream shop in America and has been at the Market since 1892.
4. Walnut Street Theatre
For those who cannot have dinner without a show, a ten-minute walk southeast of the Reading Terminal Market is America’s oldest operating performing arts venue, the Walnut Street Theatre. Originally constructed as an equestrian arena in 1809, the facility was quickly converted into a theater in 1812. The inaugural production, a performance of The Rivals, attracted such notables as Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette. Even today, there are a variety of performances for all ages during a season that begins every September. Walnut Street Theatre’s current production of the hit Broadway musical Sister Act runs through July 17.
This venue located in Rittenhouse Square, a 23-minute walk or 15-minute PATCO Rail ride from Walnut Street Theatre, plays host to Philadelphia’s longest-running and definitely most innovative nighttime comedy show. This unique performance features a comedy troupe with an emphasis on sports. Each night, two teams of comedians improvise material to win over the “referee” and to ensure roars of laughter from the audience. Regardless of who “wins”, ComedySportz is all for fun and fun for all, the perfect way to end a day in Philadelphia.