Our trip started as a New York adventure. The last time we were in New York, I was pregnant with our first and had horrible “morning” sickness. I was miserable. Since then, Darcy had always said that we needed to have a re-do. I’m not huge on going somewhere more than once (with the exception being anything Disney, obviously), since there are so many other places to explore in this world, but I eventually agreed– with one rule — we also had to go somewhere we had not been.
Looking at the options, it seemed like Philly was a good fit, with our limited time frame and the short train ride that took off steps from our New York hotel. A couple years ago I fell in love with boxing and swear by it to keep me in top shape when we are not on an adventure, so we were excited to be able to go to the Rocky Steps and to be among all of the US history that is Philadelphia, the city of firsts. Philly was definitely a great choice.
The first thing we noticed about Philly was how friendly everyone was. I was wearing Jacob IN his baby carrier and it seemed that there was still always someone there to open the door for me, even though I was hands free. I was amazed; I do not remember the last time people went out of their way to help so much!
The architecture in Philadelphia is gorgeous. Since we have already started posting photos on Instagram, the most common comment we have received is about how you do not see architecture quite like this in the United States anymore; it definitely has a Europe feel and we loved that. Our breath was taken away again and again.
The Rocky Steps
It was so fun running up the Rocky Steps and posing for the photos at the top. The view from the top is also gorgeous and was more impressive than I thought it would be. Beware for people trying to make a quick buck by offering to take your photo though; it can get super frustrating. Run up the steps like Rocky and feel the rush!
Big Bus Tour
A hop on hop off tour can be a great way to find your way around a city and figure out where you want to go back to if you didn’t get to “hop off” enough times on the tour. The tour guides were very informative and there was no question that they really knew their history. Philadelphia is the city of “firsts” and even when we were planning our Philadelphia stop, we were not quite aware of the extent of amazing history that was really there. We also loved how seriously everyone took their history and how passionate they were about it.
The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of American independence, located in the Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historic Park. No tickets are required to see the Liberty Bell, but there can be some big crowds. We went back a second time to see if we could have less chaos to be able to listen to the history and get a better view. Our second attempt, just after opening, found us learning with just a few other people.
Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated and signed. Tickets can go fast, so make sure you pick yours up or reserve early. The tickets are free, but you you will need timed entry tickets between the peak months of March-December. Same day tickets are available at 8:30 a.m, but the distribution is first come, first served, so plan on getting there no later than 8:45 a.m. for the most available tour times. The guided tours of Independence Hall are led by National Park Rangers.
One Liberty Observation Deck
When we visit a city we love to see it from up high. The view from the Observation Deck was fantastic; we only wished there was an outdoor viewing platform to take in the view. We loved how they had tables set up with card and board games though, so you were able to sit back and relax with friends while taking in the sights.
Natural Sciences Museum
We are always up for learning more about natural history, especially when we see that there are dinosaurs involved. The museum was a smaller one, but we loved learning more about dinosaurs and have butterflies flutter around us. It is a great museum for little kids as they can dig for dinosaur bones and get some hands-on learning.
Benjamin Franklin Museum
This was the most interactive museum we have ever been to. There was so much to see and do and it was full-on playtime the entire time we were there. The Benjamin Franklin Museum explores the life and legacy of Philadelphia’s most famous citizen. Visitors learn about the various roles Franklin filled during his lifetime, including his work as a printer, a scientist, a diplomat and a founder of civic institutions. Individual rooms in the museum reflect different aspects of Franklin’s personality and character traits. It was fascinating to feel full of wonder as we wandered and played.
Eastern State Penitentiary
When we were looking up what to do in Philly, this was one of the top places on the list we wanted to see. We were so fascinated by Alcatraz in San Francisco, and the fascination here was huge, too. It had that abandoned vibe and the stories were fascinating. We could have wandered these walls again and again.
If you’re in Philly, you have got to try one. We were told Sonny’s was one of the popular places and it seemed to be, with the bus loads of tourists that showed up as we were eating our meal. This was one of the most enjoyable meals we had in a long time. We had a few empty seats at our table and there was a family looking for somewhere to sit, so we said they could join us if they wanted. They were some of the sweetest people you will ever meet and we ended up having great conversation over Cheesesteaks. We walked away from that lunch with full hearts!
Keep checking back for more detail about each of the attractions we visited!
We were thrilled with our CityPASS in Philadelphia, with so many great options to show us Philly! Keep checking back to find out more about these great attraction options in the city of Brotherly Love.
Our visit to all of the Philadelphia attractions was sponsored by CityPASS, but as always, our opinions are our own.