Top Philadelphia Tourist Attractions

September 22, 2010 1:51 AM

Ben Franklin Parkway (credit: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

One of the best things about Philadelphia is that it has a little bit of everything. Art from around the world, delicious food, shopping, sports, history, and even stuff to do for the kids. So why not pay a visit to the City of Brotherly love? Here’s our roundup of what to do in our favorite city. – Melissa Watts

Reading Terminal Market

51 North 12th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 922-2317

Ice cream, crepes, Chinese, produce, fresh meats, seafood and poultry…even hand-made pottery, flowers, books and jewelry. Reading Terminal Market has it all. There are about 80 merchants in this attraction, which draws in locals and visitors alike. Here, it’s not uncommon to see local Philadelphians stocking up on produce on Saturday morning next to a group of tourists trying Bassetts Ice Cream or an Amish soft pretzel for the fist time. Rich in history, the market opened in 1892. In fact, two of the merchants in the terminal are descendants of their original owners from nearly a century before!

Photo: Reading Terminal Market has been a part of Philadelphia since 1892. Image from

the philadelphia museum of art Top Philadelphia Tourist Attractions


Philadelphia Museum of Art

26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 763-8100

Paintings, sculptures, architecture, and furniture are just some of the things you’ll see when you visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In addition to the famed Rocky steps, the museum claims to be one of the largest art museums in the U.S. In fact, there are more than 2,000 pieces of artwork to see. Each year, the museum brings about 25 exhibitions for tourists and local residents. The museum even offers fun events like “Art After 5” on Friday nights to help get your weekend started, and “pay what you wish” access to the museum the first Sunday of the month.

South Street

PO Box 63675
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 413-3713

The South Street area is one of the most unique areas in Philadelphia. From tattoos and piercing shops to places where you’ll find cute summertime dresses and accessories, South Street has it all. And don’t forget about local cheese steak shop, Jim’s, with its never-ending line out the door, for one of the city’s best sandwiches (tip: It’s worth the wait in the line!). You’ll also notice beautiful mosaics on some of the buildings on the strip, and just a few blocks up on 10th and South, you’ll find the Philadelphia Magic Gardens, which showcases the work of mosaicist Isaiah Zagar.

Please Touch Museum

4231 Avenue of the Republic
Philadelphia, PA 19131
(215) 963-0667

The Please Touch Museum was the first museum in the country to target kids seven and younger. Located in Fairmont Park, this kid-friendly museum is housed in Memorial Hall, the site of the 1876 Centennial Exposition and the only original building left from the event. And the Please Touch Museum is fun for parents, too. There’s the huge collection of post-World War II toys, including a Lite Brite, the robot-like Furby toy and Cabbage Patch dolls. You can’t miss the main hall’s 40-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty’s arm and torch, created out of used toys and games from artist Leo Sewell. There’s also the fully restored and colorful Woodside Park Carousel, which was originally housed at a Philadelphia amusement park less than 10 blocks away, and the Alice in Wonderland exhibit.

franklininst Top Philadelphia Tourist Attractions


Franklin Institute

222 North 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 448-1200

In honor of Ben Franklin, The Franklin Institute was opened in Philadelphia in 1934 as one of the first interactive science museums in the United States. Kids usually find fun in the Giant Heart exhibit, the Franklin air show and the train factory. In addition to the science exhibits, there is also a planetarium and an IMAX theater.

Photo: The Franklin Institute honors Ben Franklin and his contributions to the world of science. Image from

citizens bank park832049271 Top Philadelphia Tourist Attractions

credit: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Citizens Bank Park

One Citizens Bank Way
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(215) 463-6000

Citizens Bank Park is where the 2008 World Series Champions Philadelphia Phillies play. Besides watching one of Philadelphia’s favorite sports team, there’s a ton to do at the park. In fact, in 2007, the Food Network named it “Best Pallpark Eats.” It was also rated the number one vegetarian ballpark by PETA from 2007 to 2009. When you’re not watching the game or eating, take a stroll through Ashburn Alley behind Center Field. There, you’ll find restaurants, games, and shops. The alley pays tribute to former Phillie Richie Ashburn.

Old City Arts

The First Friday of each month, the Old City district of Philadelphia hosts First Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. First Friday and the Old City Arts Association offer visitors the chance to stop in to their favorite boutiques to check out art, and enjoy tasty food and beverages. The Old City area, with its lofts and warehouses, has been populated with galleries, boutiques and performance groups since the early 80s.

Eastern State Penitentiary

2124 Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 236-5111

In 1829, Eastern State Penitentiary opened its prison doors. With that came hundreds of the country’s most infamous criminals…until it closed its doors for good in 1971. Figures like Al Capone were housed in the cellblocks in this famous building. After its closure as a prison, no restorations were done to the building until it opened for tours in 1994. The penitentiary considers itself in a state of semi-ruin. There are no plans to completely renovate the old prison, but there are projects underway to make the building safe for visitors and to stop any further deterioration. The prison is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for tours, with special exhibits at night and during the Halloween season.

Melissa Watts is a health care copy writer by day and a self-proclaimed foodie and fashionista by night. She’s a contributing writer for local blog, Phillyist, and a bookworm and social media nerd at heart.

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