The Idealist

Idealist City Guide: PHILADELPHIA

Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and the second largest in the whole of the East Coast. One of the most ethnically diverse cities in the United States, Philadelphia is a mishmash of cultures and rich symbolism. The city is where the American Revolution started, where the declaration of independence was signed and is also home to the Liberty Bell.

Like all American cities, Philadelphia is very much a modern city, but the evidence of its great history can still be found throughout the city. There’s a vast array of shopping streets, accommodation and dining options for guests from simple budget hotels to high-end hotels and restaurants in the city.

Must-See Attractions

There are plenty of attractions you can’t afford to skip on your visit to Philadelphia. Take a look at:

The Liberty Bell: On 6th St & Market St, Philadelphia, PA. This is a highly admired attraction. Visit the historical attraction and get to know the story of how it came to be.

Independence Visitor Centre: At the corner of 6th St & Market St, Philadelphia, PA. This is one of the best places to learn about America’s political history. Get to watch the independence film and explore the orientation exhibits of the country’s rich history.

Philadelphia Art Museum: On 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Art Museum is the oldest art museum in America. You can easily spend a full day on the facility’s vast collection of local and international art.

Philadelphia Zoo: On 3400 W Girard Ave Philadelphia, PA. The Philadelphia Zoo is one of the best family spots in the city. Get a glimpse of the local and exotic species as your little ones enjoy themselves riding the Victorian style train, swan boats or a balloon ride.

Design Shopping

Philadelphia offers a variety of style shopping options for visitors; it has whatever you are in the mood for: from antique furniture and interiors to sophisticated, funky objects. Find unique wares and souvenirs in one of the city’s dozens of indie stores or take a shopping trip to any of the following locations.

Peddler’s VillageThe Peddler’s Village offers a variety of wares for both visitors and locals. Here, you’ll find everything from eye-catching home décor to locally made goods and top brands alike. Browse through Peddler’s Village’s dozens of specialty shops and find something nice for yourself.

Address: Routes 202 & 263 Lahaska, Bucks County, PA

Ten Thousand Villages: At Ten Thousand Villages, you will find a variety of handcrafted items and accessories made by people from developing countries around the world. These people are fairly compensated and have an income they can count on. Every handcrafted accessory you buy at Ten Thousand Villages will make a difference in someone else’s life.

Address: 704 Main Street, PO Box 307, Akron, PA

South Street: South Street is the place to be if you want to buy something to give you a hip Philadelphia look. The place is always buzzing with cultures and diverse forms of art. The restaurants, bars, and entertainment hubs are vibrant with business people from Society Hill and Washington Square West.

Address: 301 South Street (Between Front and 10th Streets) Philadelphia, PA

King of Prussia Mall: Make sure you put on your walking shoes as you grace the city’s top shopping destination. Here, you’ll find different specialty shops selling everything from trendy wear to handcrafted accessories from Ten Thousand Villages.

Address: 160 N Gulph Rd, King of Prussia, PA

Historic Antique Row Business Association (HARBA): Hit the Historic Antique Row Business Association (HARBA) within the city centre and shop for anything antique. It’s a distinctively organized tourist destination where you can find furniture, interiors, and other vintage items.

Address: 19107 Philadelphia, PA

Staying Over

You have lots of options when it comes to accommodation in Philadelphia. If you are taking your family with you, check out the Windsor Suites on 1700 Benjamin Franklin Parkway downtown Philadelphia to enjoy suites with Wi-Fi, pool, restaurant, a rooftop view of the city and spacious balconies, bedrooms and kitchens.

If you are in the city for business, you can check out the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel on 201 North 17th Street or the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown on 1201 Market Street and experience some world class personalized service.

Food

Philadelphia offers a great variety of restaurants to make sure visitors and locals don’t go hungry during their daily activities. Like anywhere, Philly has a bunch of Starbucks. Our favourite branch to start your day would be at Starbucks Coffee House on 1301 Chestnut Street Downtown Philadelphia. But we have to say we prefer the Juice Merchant on 4330 Main Street. There’s something so refreshing about fresh juices and smoothies in the morning.

For lunch, check out the award-winning City Tavern Restaurant on 138 South 2nd Street and tantalize you palate with one of their amazing delicacies. There are hundreds of hotels in the city from sushi, Chinese, fast food and seafood all offering different kinds of cuisines and a great view of the city.

Museums & Art Galleries

Philadelphia is considered one of America’s hotspots for contemporary art due to the various pioneering art spaces in the city.

Check out the Wexler Gallery on 201 North 3rd Street, Pentimenti Gallery on 143 North 2nd Street, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts Space on North 2nd Street and catch a glimpse of the American art scene.

How to Visit from London

Getting to Philadelphia from London is an 8-hour flight that will cost you around £500.

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All photos courtesy of respective locations.

  • Joan is an interior design project planner and freelance writer from Boston Massachusetts who lives with her husband and two bulldog terriers outside Wellfleet on Cape Cod.

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