Even if you’ve never visited Philadelphia, you probably know these three things about the “City of Brotherly Love”:
1) that it played a pivotal role in the birth of America, 2) that Elton John sang a chart-topping song — "Philadelphia Freedom" — about it, and 3) that this is where Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa ran up the 72 stone steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum in what has since become one of the film industry’s greatest cinematic moments.
Heritage and History
Philadelphia is rich with U.S. history, but you don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy these top attractions. The Museum of the American Revolution brings to life the events, people and ideals of the USA’s founding. Through Revolutionary-era artifacts, immersive environments, theater experiences and recreated historical moments, visitors can experience the dynamic story of the American Revolution from its origins to ultimate victory and its continuing relevance.
From revolution to nationhood, take a look at the documents that created the USA’s foundation at the National Constitution Center. See the founding documents up close, immerse yourself in interactive exhibits and be inspired by the live theatrical production of Freedom Rising.
Get a dose of military history at Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial. Tour the USA’s most decorated and largest battleship where you can check out the ship's systems and learn how the crew lived aboard this floating city. Continue on to see one of the USA’s most historic prisons, Eastern State Penitentiary, where you can walk the halls, see the cell of famous mobster and bootlegger Al Capone, and learn about prison life.
Philadelphia is full of activities for all age levels and CityPASS has deep discounts on some of the best. Even the zoo here is historical (it was the first one in the USA). The Philadelphia Zoo was founded in 1874 and its 17-hectare Victorian garden is packed with diverse award-winning animal habitats, primates, reptiles, spectacular bird species, bears, animals of the African plains and more.
Marvel at life in the ocean at Adventure Aquarium, and journey into a world of hippos, penguins and sea turtles. If fierce hunters are more your speed, see the largest collection of sharks on the East Coast, including the only great hammerhead shark on exhibit in the USA.
Learn something new at The Franklin Institute where kids and parents laugh and learn together through interactive science exhibitions. Spark curiosity and creativity with virtual reality, escape rooms, a train factory and more.
Then, visit a museum where you’re really encouraged to touch the exhibits! Please Touch Museum offers innovative exhibits, including Flight Fantasy, which lets kids imagine what it’s like to blast into space, and River Adventures, where they can experiment with river currents, build and race boats, or just splash around. There’s even a beautifully restored carousel.
A father and son watch the marine life swim around in the Ocean Realm exhibit at the Adventure Aquarium
So Much to See
One way to squeeze more of the city is a ride from Big Bus Company and Philadelphia Trolley Works. The tour lets riders hop on and off the bus at any of the 27 stops along the tour route, including Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the Constitution of the United States was signed; the National Constitution Center ; the Liberty Bell; and historic Reading Terminal Market. It’s a great way to get around and sight-see all at once.
Another great way to see Philadelphia is from One Liberty Observation Deck, the city’s tallest observation deck, featuring 360-degree panoramic views. Enjoy a top-down look at iconic sights, breathtaking views and free guided tours. You can also learn about the music, sports and culture that makes the City of Brotherly Love unlike any other.
Round out your time with a little art and science. At the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, visitors can get face-to-face with towering dinosaur skeletons, explore a tropical garden filled with live butterflies, meet live animals and see three continents of wildlife in their natural habitats. And at the Barnes Foundation, see one of the world's finest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist and early modern paintings, with especially deep collections of Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse and Picasso.
Viewing the Philadelphia skyline from the One Liberty Observation Deck
Start your adventure in Philadelphia by flying into Philadelphia International Airport. Philadelphia has a lot to explore, and CityPASS offers the ideal way to see famous attractions at significant savings.