One Day in Philadelphia

I recently came back to the US and will spend a little over a month here. One of my aunts from California visited my family in PA, and of course, we had to take her to Philadelphia. From my experience in Philly on multiple day trips, it has a lot to offer and much more to discover every time I go there.
Since my aunt had never been here before, I thought I would show her the essentials. We didn’t get to do ALL of this, but here is my very ambition plan for a day in Philly, our nation’s former capital!
1. Art Museum and Rocky
We began our trip with a stop at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rocky Statue. Let’s not lie to ourselves, everyone wants to run up the ”Rocky Stairs” to inspiring music by Bill Conti and punch at the air in victory once you reach the top. This is what I feel like every time I see the museum.

…Oh, and the museum is awesome too. My favorite piece is Dali’s Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War), 1936. 
Although we didn’t get our culture fix here this time because of time, I recommend visiting it if you’re in town. The Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center and the Schuylkill River is to the back of the museum.

2. South Street

Lunch called for the famous Philly Cheesesteaks at Jim’s Steaks. I had originally planned to hit up Pat’s or Geno’s, but they were out of my way, and Jim’s never disappoints. Pay attention to how they want you to order your cheesesteak, and try the cheese whiz!

South St. has tons of original shops that could take a whole afternoon to explore. When I moved to PA, I was told it was like the Telegraph Ave. or Haight St. of Philly. Different vibe, similar spirit; you be the judge.

3. Independence Mall

Like a mini National Mall, Philly has the three-block Independence Mall showcasing part of our nations history.

  • Liberty Bell, not to be mistaken with the Taco Bell (people have asked me this!) 
  • Independence Hall and City Hall (recommend to print tour tickets prior to visit, there is a daily limit)

 Both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted here.

  • National Constitution Center – America’s first and only museum devoted to the U.S. Constitution, its ideals and its legacy.
  • The President’s House (Philly was our nation’s capital for 10 years until 1800)
  • Christ Church Burial Ground and Benjamin Franklin’s Grave
  • Philadelphia Mint – One of six of its kind, producing US coins.
A short walk from here, you can also see:

  • The Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier in Washington Square Park
  • Penn’s Landing, where the founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn, docked near here in 1682. It is past the Korean War Memorial Park, and you can take the RiverLink Ferry for a 12-minute scenic river tour of the Delaware River.
  • Elfreth’s Alley and Betsy Ross’ House – Betsy Ross, creator of the first American flag. 
4. Chinatown & Things Along the Way
We walked down Arch St. from Independence Mall for a 15 min. walk to Chinatown.

A little further down the street, we saw the impressive Masonic Temple and the iconic LOVE Statue is a block away in the John F. Kennedy Plaza.


On our day trip, we unfortunately were not able to fit in the following, but they are also recommended if you are in the area.

  • Rittenhouse Square
  • Reading Terminal Market
  • Eastern State Penitentiary (will require a chunck of an afternoon)
  • Shofuso Japanese House and Garden
  • The Penn Museum 
  • Franklin Institute Science Museum
  • Mütter Museum
  • The Italian Market

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