Things to Do and See on a Day Trip To Philadelphia
My parents are from Pennsylvania, yet I have never been. I always asked if we could attend the family reunions that happened, but it just wasn't in the cards. I figured now that I live in New York and it was just a state over, I should go finally, even if it meant on my own. This past weekend, I spontaneously bought a bus ticket to head to Philadelphia for the day to check out the city (and head out to the King of Prussia mall to check out the one of two Primarks in America), and I'm glad I got a chance to see this place that is so rich in history.
While I didn't wait in the long line to get in (or reserve tickets online in advance, which would've been nice, but I'll do that next time), Independence Hall is free to enter and you can see the Liberty Bell. If you have an entire day, you don't have to make a reservation and can just wait in line to get in. All I could think when I was there was about National Treasure and how they found one of the clues for the map on the roof of the building, which shows how nerdy I am.
If you like stepping into history, Elfreth's Alley is the oldest continuously inhabited street in America and it's a great place to walk through. It's a short street and doesn't take much time to explore, so it's definitely something to do if you have limited time. The museum wasn't open yet when I was there, but I'm sure there's some great history on the inside if you go when it's accepting visitors.
This building is basically right in the middle of the downtown area and is a monstrous building that seems like such an impending figure in the architecture of the city. It's definitely worth a look, and you can even walk into the courtyard that is in the center. There are tours available on weekdays.
This was the only thing I actually paid money to see while I was in town. After having seen multiple documentaries about odd body disorders and them always showing the Mutter Museum as a place where some of the bodies were preserved, I've always been quite intrigued and interested in going. This is definitely a place to go if you like the macabre and seeing real life bodies inflicted with diseases and ailments. My only issue with it was that when I went, the place was packed and since it's a small space, it felt very claustrophobic with trying to get through it all and see stuff without being pushed or made to feel like you can only look for a second before being moved along. If you're going to go, try to go when it's not rush hour.
Christ Church Cemetery & Church
Even though it was only $2 to enter, I was really trying to conserve money, so I only looked at the cemetery from the outside. Benjamin Franklin's grave is viewable from the outside, and I think that's probably the most famous person laid to rest there. Nearby the graveyard is the church, which is free to enter.
The Old City District is the oldest part of the city and a treat to walk around. There's lots of old buildings, art galleries, cute shops and eateries. It also holds Elfreth's Alley, and the Betsy Ross house (which I skipped on this trip) as well as most of the historical locations that you can find in the city. Even if you can't afford to visit all of the museums, it's nice to at least walk around and see what the city has to offer so on another visit, you can pick and choose what you want.
Reading Terminal Market
As someone who loved trips to Seattle's Pike Place Market, this place reminded me so much of it. Reading Terminal Market is full of food shops and stores and kind of like a maze of beautiful neon lights and exciting sights. I didn't spend too much time here since I had already ate and it was a bit crowded since it was a Saturday, but in the future it would be good to go throughout the entire thing and see if I can find any places that have an eclectic dish I'd like to try.