Nicknamed the "City of Brotherly Love", Philadelphia is overflowing with American history. Located in southeastern Pennsylvania, it's the largest city in the state. It's also home to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the American Constitution and Declaration of Independence were adopted. Philly's large metropolitan environment provides a melting pot of cultural diversity. Where else can you admire original American architecture while chowing down on an authentic cheesesteak?
The entire city is one big history lesson. Independence Mall is a three-block section filled with attractions centered around the Liberty Bell. As you stroll through Society Hill, you'll be transported back in time to when streets were constructed from cobblestones. Most historical sites are grouped together in easy-to-navigate streets. In a short while, you'll be visiting Betsy Ross' house, Independence Hall and much more.
This city has more murals and outdoor art than any other place in America. Fairmount Park is the largest urban park in the world. It's a great place to take a walk or have a picnic with the family. It's also home to the Philadelphia Zoo, which includes 42 acres of Victorian gardens and over 1,300 animals.
Boathouse Row is another wonderful place to walk, bike or picnic while enjoying a regatta. It's located on the east bank of the Schuylkill River, close to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It includes 15 boathouses that host numerous regattas throughout the year.
Philadelphia is one of only 12 American cities represented by the four major US sports. Football fans have the Eagles, hockey lovers root for the Flyers, baseball fans embrace the Phillies and basketball enthusiasts follow the 76ers.
In Center City, Rittenhouse Square should not be missed. It's filled with high-end boutiques, famous retailers and lively cafes. The Shops at Liberty Place also provide unique gift opportunities. Arguably the best part of shopping in the city is the lack of sales tax on clothing items.
For a more traditional mall atmosphere, visit the King of Prussia Mall. It's a true shopper's paradise, and considered by many to be the top shopping destination on the East Coast, with over 400 stores.
Philadelphia is most famous for its cheesesteak, a long sandwich roll filled with beef, melted cheese and onions. Don't pass up Pat's King of Steaks on Ninth Street. This is the original home of the cheesesteak. For a more elegant take on this Philly staple, head to Barclay Prime, a steakhouse that offers a $100 cheesesteak. Different city neighborhoods offer a wide selection of fast food or fine dining options.
This city offers great entertainment for people of all ages. There are various museums and performing arts centers around the city. During the summer months, Penn's Landing is the site for outdoor events. It's situated on the waterfront area of Center City, and outdoor concerts are always a treat.
Most Philadelphia hotels are scattered throughout the city and near to many attractions. One of the newest hotels in the historic area is the Hotel Monaco. This boutique hotel offers rates usually between $200 and $300 a night. Less expensive Philadelphia hotels are located around the airport (PHL). For example, Marriott and Holiday Inn are two chains with affordable accommodations, but at a distance from most attractions. However, they're a convenient option if you're in the city on business or for a sporting event.
There are numerous seasonal and annual events in Philadelphia. One of the most popular is the Flower Show, held each March. It's a fabulous blend of art and horticulture. Independence Day involves wonderful celebrations filled with fireworks, and Christmas is big in town too. To get into the holiday spirit, visit Macy's Christmas Light Show or the Electrical Spectacle at Franklin Square.
The best time to explore the city is March through May. The weather is warmer and hotel rates are moderately priced. The cheapest rates are found in autumn and winter when temperatures are in the 30s and 40s. Despite the warm and humid weather, summer is quite popular and busy as crowds flock to the popular attractions.