Whether you are a patron of the arts, a history buff, a foodie or a vacationing tourist, the City of Brotherly Love has something for everyone. But if your schedule is tight and you only have 24 hours to experience Philadelphia, there are several destinations that need to be on your list for a well-rounded visit. From getting around to seeing the sights, sampling local fare or simply resting your head at the end of a long day of exploring, these five venues are sure to please. And if you have already visited these spots, enjoy a day in Chestnut Hill instead.
National Constitution Center
525 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
The National Constitution Center, where 56 courageous men came together to sign the Declaration of Independence, is one of the most popular attractions in Philadelphia. The Liberty Bell, located just across the square, is also a top destination for visitors. While both of these attractions are free of charge, their popularity means that visitors and residents alike will wait in line to see them, so if your time is limited you’ll want to go first thing in the morning or make reservations online to ensure that you’ll be able to work the visit into your schedule. If time permits, you’ll want to fit in a few more historic attractions that are within easy walking distance of the National Constitution Center, such as the Betsy Ross House, The United States Mint and a number of other historic venues, memorials and monuments.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is synonymous with the City of Brotherly Love. The iconic stairs made world-famous by the movie “Rocky” make Philadelphia’s popular art museum a must-see for scores of visitors each day. The grounds themselves, nestled on the banks of the scenic Schuylkill River, and the famous stairs attract thousands who want to see — or perhaps run up — those famous stairs or take a picture with the “Rocky Statue” just outside the museum. Many first-timers and returning visitors, however, make it a point to tour the world-renowned museum. Even for those with very limited time, there are tours and special exhibits that simply can’t be missed. And with the museum’s free audio podcasts, even a brief visit can be quite informative.
Philadelphia Trolley Works and 76 Carriage Company
1350 Schuylkill Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
Rather than explore on foot, enjoy the convenience of a transportation package offered by the Philadelphia Trolley Works and 76 Carriage Company. From an enchanting tour in a horse-drawn carriage through the historic neighborhoods of Society Hill and Old City, or a trip to visit Independence National Historic Park to double-decker bus tours, there is something for everyone and every budget. Enjoy stories of days gone by and the history behind the attractions as your drivers regale passengers with their knowledge of the City of Brotherly Love. Tours can be packaged in a variety of ways, tailoring each experience to the visitor’s needs to include multiple modes of transportation or perhaps discounted admission to area venues and attractions.
Reading Terminal Market
51 N. 12th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
No trip to Philadelphia is complete without a visit to the Reading Terminal Market. The popular indoor marketplace is a cornucopia of shopping and dining experiences, many of them unique to Philadelphia and the surrounding area. Enjoy shopping for Amish handcrafted home goods and gifts, many of them made from natural and organic materials. Lose yourself in the delicious aromas that waft throughout the marketplace, and be sure to sample the food, which ranges from quintessential Philadelphia fare like cheesesteaks to the farm-fresh dishes of the Amish. Bustling year-round with activities and entertainment options, the market is a must-see experience for the first-time visitor to Philadelphia.
The Rittenhouse Hotel
210 W. Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Well known for its impeccable service and luxurious, five-star accommodations, a night at the Rittenhouse Hotel would make any visit to the City of Brotherly Love – even a brief one – an experience to remember. The posh accommodations include marble bathrooms with whirlpool tubs, plush bathrobes and slippers, and state-of-the-art amenities, including a state-of-the-art fitness center and spa with indoor swimming pool and all-season atrium. Guests and visitors to this iconic hotel can enjoy a variety of on-site fine dining options, including partaking in the age-old practice of high tea, which is served daily in the whimsical Mary Cassatt Tea Room, a Philadelphia-area favorite and tradition for many families. One of the best features of the Rittenhouse for any visitor to Philadelphia is, of course, its location. Situated in the heart of Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square, the hotel is conveniently located within easy walking distance of many of the city’s historic venues and museums.
Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.