Top 17 Things Philadelphia Is Famous For

things philadelphia is famous for
Nicole
Nicole 
Contributing Writer
Updated
| 7 min read

Philadelphia, known affectionately as Philly by the locals, is the largest and most popular city in the state of Pennslyvania. It is most well known for its rich American history; it is the site of many iconic American historic moments. It is home to the Liberty Bell, a historic icon of America’s freedom and independence. It is also home to Independence Hall, where the U.S. Constitution was written and where the Declaration of Independence was signed. The front steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art are also an iconic photo-taking spot, especially after it was featured in the film “Rocky”. If you’re planning to visit, some of the best places to stay in the city are Airbnbs as well as hotels. There is much to do and see around the city of Philly. Not sure where to begin? Scroll down to find the top things Philadelphia is famous for.

1. Mummers Parade

2010 Mummers New Year's Day Parade
Source: Photo by Flickr user Kevin Burkett used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Philly makes its New Year’s Day celebrations by introducing the flamboyant Mummers Parade. There is a New Years Associations, consisting of local clubs, that compete in one of the following categories: String Bands, Fancies, Comics, Fancy Brigades, and Wench Brigades. Larger-than-life costumes are worn, in addition to performances of elaborate group routines and movable sceneries. This parade dates back to the 17th century and is associated with the Mummers Play tradition in the UK and Ireland. Clubhouses on 2nd Street in South Philadelphia’s Pennsport district serve as the venue for the sceneries and members.

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2. Murals

Mural, Philly - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jan Hazevoet used under CC BY 3.0

Philadelphia is perhaps one of the US cities with the most vibrant arts and culture scenes. There are thousands of murals in Philly, and this particular display of public art is ignited and strengthened by Mural Arts Philadelphia, an art center promoting mural-making to transform spaces to reflect and honor all human identities and experiences. The group was established in the 1980s as an anti-graffiti initiative and has since been an advocate of public art that serves the community for the better. The murals, one of the main attractions in Philadelphia, are scattered all over the city, and there are plenty of guided walking tours that visitors can join.

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3. Comcast Center

Comcast Philly
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Smallbones used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

One of the mighty structures that make up the beautiful skyline of Philadelphia is Comcast Center in the central business district. Formerly known as the Comcast Tower, the building has 58 levels and comes second to Comcast Technology Center as the tallest building in Philly. The structure was named after the lead tenant, cable company Comcast, making it the headquarters. Comcast occupies almost 90% of the building, with the rest taken up by various retail shops, restaurants, and a connection to a nearby rail station. Comcast Center is made to be environmentally friendly and is a certified building by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

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4. Valley Forge National Historical Park

War Memorial At Valley Forge PA
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Avsnarayan used under CC BY-SA 4.0

One of the most historic sites in Philadelphia is Valley Forge National Historic Park. From December 1777 until June 1778, it was the site of a Continental Army encampment during the Revolutionary War. Valley Forge, which sprawls to about 3,500 acres (1,400 hectares), became a U.S. National Historical Park in 1976. Displayed at the park are monuments, a visitor center, a museum with original artifacts, and restored and reconstructed structures like log huts. There are ranger programs at the site, as well as walking and trolley tours and activities.

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Philadelphia Tour Guide

Annie Leguennec

Annie Leguennec

My name is Annie. I am a local Tour guide based in Philadelphia enjoying fully what the city has to offer with its deep history, street arts, murals, architecture, traditional food, black history, Farmer Markets, green space, a melting pot of neighborhoods and its great locals. I am looking for to welcome you and show you this incredible city where you will gain a better understanding of the ci... Read more

Tours by Annie

Philadelphia Tour Guide

Stephanie Eley

Stephanie Eley

I'm a graduate of ITMI, International Tour Management Institute and 17 years as a licensed Tour Director and Program Director. My expertise began in NYC and Washington, DC where I'm a licensed guide and has expanded to Europe, South America, Cuba and the Western / Southwestern National Parks of the US. I'd love to introduce you for a day or a week to Denver, Colorado and the 4 corners region of... Read more

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Philadelphia Tour Guide

Vance Lehmkuhl

Vance Lehmkuhl

Tour operator and tour guide for American Vegan Center in historic Old City Philadelphia, administering walking tours focusing on Philadelphia's "veg history" - the vegans and vegetarians through history that started the US vegetarian and vegan movements in this city. Author of "Eating Vegan in Philly" (2016) and also "V for Veg: The Best of Philly's Vegan Food Column," a collection of my colum... Read more

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5. Peddler's Village

Peddler's Village Christmas Lights
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jim, the Photogra... used under CC BY 2.0

Shopping has never been this cozy. Try out a new environment when you want to splurge and make your way to Peddler’s Village, a 42-acre (17-hectare) old village-type shopping mall about an hour from Philadelphia’s city center. This unique place with a small-town colonial vibe was established in 1962 and is home to over 70 independent stores, restaurants, and specialty shops. If you feel like staying and exploring more of this charming attraction, Peddler’s Village also has Golden Plough Inn, a 3-star hotel ready to welcome you at any time.

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6. Fairmount Park

Gazebo in Fairmount Park West
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Frederikto used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Fairmount Park is to Philadelphia what Central Park is to New York City. The park is not only a popular tourist attraction, but also a common place for visitors and locals alike to take a walk, exercise, or have a picnic. In such a huge park, one of the biggest urban green spaces in the U.S, there is much to see and do. You can walk around Concourse Lake, visit the small organic farm, Carousel House Farm, and look at many art sculptures.

Fairmount Park

Address: Reservoir Dr, Philadelphia, PA 19119, USA

Website: Fairmount Park

Opening hours: 7am - 10pm (daily)

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7. Philadelphia Orchestra

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Experience the captivating melodies and harmonies of the Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the most esteemed musical institutions in the world. Founded over a century ago, this world-renowned symphony orchestra has garnered international acclaim for its exceptional musicianship and captivating performances.

Immerse yourself in the exquisite sounds as the orchestra brings to life a repertoire that spans classical masterpieces, contemporary compositions, and innovative collaborations. From beautiful symphonies to stirring concertos, each performance is a testament to the orchestra’s unrivaled talent and artistry. Situated in the culturally vibrant city of Philadelphia, the orchestra performs at prestigious venues such as the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, captivating audiences with its unmatched precision, passion, and ability to stir emotions.

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8. Elfreth's Alley Museum

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Looking to meet new people? Give back to your community? Spend time with fuzzy friends? We got you....

Posted by Elfreth's Alley Museum on Friday, August 5, 2022

Among the many fun and engaging things to do in Philadelphia, a visit to Elfreth’s Alley Museum features at the top of the list. Here, you can immerse yourself in the rich history of the place. Located in the heart of the city, Elfreth’s Alley is renowned as the oldest continuously inhabited residential street in America.

Step back in time as you explore this living museum, which showcases the preserved homes and artifacts of the 18th and 19th centuries. Wander along the charming cobblestone street and admire the well-preserved Georgian and Federal-style houses, each telling a unique story of Philadelphia’s past. Inside the museum, you’ll find exhibits that provide a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the early residents, their traditions, and their contributions to the city’s development. Learn about the craftsmanship of the era, the challenges they faced, and the cultural heritage that shaped Philadelphia.

Elfreth's Alley Museum

Address: 126 Elfreth’s Alley, Philadelphia, PA 19106, United States

Website: Elfreth’s Alley Museum

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9. h Street Italian Market (from USD 36.0)

Like most of Philadelphia, this market is historic for being the oldest outdoor market in America. Open all year round, the market spans about 10 blocks of food vendors and stores selling mouthwatering delicacies and treats. From baked goods to fresh produce, meat and cheeses, as well as fish and poultry, there is so much to buy and taste at this market. This tour brings you on a two-hour walking tour with a local guide who can give you the inside scoop on the ins and outs of this historic market.

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Philadelphia 9th Street Italian Market Tasting Walking Tour

Duration: 2 hours

205 reviews

10. Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art Pennsylvania USA
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user su1droot used under CC BY 2.0

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the iconic places in Philadelphia. Not only is this a great place for that Instagram-worthy shot, but it is also known as “the Rocky Steps” for its feature in the famous Hollywood film. The 72 stone steps leading up to the museum entrance became famous after the scene in the film where Rocky triumphantly climbs up the stairs. Many tourists and Rocky fans love to recreate this scene by the steps. Besides the steps, another great place to take a photo would be with the bronze Rocky statue at a grassy patch near the bottom of the stairs.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Address: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130, USA

Website: Philadelphia Museum of Art

Opening hours: Tue, Thu, Sat - Sun: 10am - 5pm; Wed, Fri: 10am - 8.45pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 14 - 20 USD

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Annie

Annie
Philadelphia

Rocky Steps

The 72 steps leading up to the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to in Pennsylvania, have become known as the ( The Rocky Steps) as a result of a scene from the 1976 film Rocky. Tourists in often mimic Rocky's famous climb, a metaphor for an underdog or an everyman rising to a challenge. The top of the stairs offers a great view of ty Benjamin Franklin Parkways and Philadelphia City Hall. 

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11. Independence Hall

Independence Hall
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Rdsmith4 used under CC BY-SA 2.5

What is Philadelphia known for when it comes to US History? The Independence Hall! It is the centerpiece and the most iconic building in the Independence National Historical Park in the city. It was in this iconic red-bricked building that the Declaration of Independence was signed and the United States Constitution was adopted. Many regard it as the birthplace of the United States as we know it today! Besides being a place that is so rich in history, the beautiful design and architecture make it a great place for a photo.

Independence Hall

Address: 520 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA

Website: Independence Hall

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12. Rodin Museum

Philly042107-009-RodinMuseum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bobak Ha'Eri used under CC BY 3.0

Rodin Museum, not to be confused with the museum of the same name in Paris, is named after the famous sculptor Auguste Rodin. The museum has the most number of works by said sculptor outside of Paris. Right before you enter the museum, you can view arguably the most well-known of Rodin’s works, The Thinker, which sits right outside of the museum in the courtyard. Entry to the museum is ‘pay as you wish’, however, suggested admission is 10 USD for adults.

Rodin Museum

Address: 2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Website: Rodin Museum

Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 10am - 5pm (closed on Tue)

Price: 10 USD

Tip from tour guide

Annie

Annie
Philadelphia

Rodin Museum is a magnificent gem-like museum. Its Beaux-Arts-style building and formal French garden provide a refined, elegant environment for 150 of Rodin's marble, bronze, and plaster sculptures. When you book a tour in Philadelphia with me, a visit to this museum is a must.

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13. Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell
Source: John Read

The Liberty Bell is a monumental sign of America’s independence and located right in Philadelphia. It used to be housed within the Pennsylvania State House. While this thing Philadelphia is known for was used for making announcements or calling lawmakers in the past, today it is a tourist attraction, found right in Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historical Park, the same park as Independence Hall. Here, not only can you get a close-up look at the bell, but also learn about its significance in history through videos and exhibits.

Liberty Bell Center

Address: Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA

Website: Liberty Bell Center

Opening hours: 9am - 7pm (daily)

Tip from Trip101 local expert

John

John
Philadelphia

A must-see historic piece of American history is the Liberty Bell, a national symbol of freedom. Any visit to Philadelphia would not be complete without going to see one of the original bells that rang above Independence hall. Now located across the street from Independence Hall, the Park Service maintains the bell. Make sure to get the perfect photo of the bell with Independence Hall in the background!

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14. Reading Terminal Market

Fresh Produce, Reading Terminal Market
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user elPadawan used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Besides the 9th Street Italian Market, another great market that you have to visit is the Reading Terminal Market. This huge market offers a wide array of the best locally grown produce and locally sourced meats. They also sell the freshest fish and other seafood, cheeses, baked goods, and so much more. You can also find the widest variety of restaurants, with all sorts of different cuisines and styles. Located right in the commercial centre of the city and just a block away from City Hall, the market is extremely accessible.

Reading Terminal Market

Address: 51 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA

Website: Reading Terminal Market

Opening hours: 8am - 6pm (daily)

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15. City Hall

Philadelphia-CityHall-2006
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Versatile Aure used under CC BY 2.0

City Hall is located right in the heart of the city and is the largest municipal building in the city. The building is certainly a sight to behold, with its Second Empire style. One of the tallest buildings in the city, the entire exterior is decorated with sculptures of iconic figures, with the statue of William Penn at the very top. You can go on a guided tour of the building, which brings you to the observation deck at the very top of the building. Here you can get a beautiful birds-eye view of the city.

City Hall

Address: 1400 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA

Website: City Hall

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

Price: Free entry

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16. Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins (36343389523)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Keith Allison used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Philadelphia Eagles are the home American football team of the city, with their home stadium being the Lincoln Financial Field. The pride and glory of the city, be sure to catch them in action if you happen to be in the city during the football season. Make sure to get your tickets early, they have a history of selling out every game since 1999. Pre-season starts in August, and the actual season starts around September. There are also a few post-season games, which happen in January.

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17. Philly cheesesteak

cheesesteak heaven
Source: Photo by Flickr user Phil Denton used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The classic Philly cheesesteak consists of beef slices and melted cheese in a long hoagie roll. This popular fast food can be found all over America, but where else to try the best cheesesteaks than the city where it was founded? In fact, the original diner where the cheesesteak was invented is still standing! Head on down to Pat’s King of Steaks, which is one of the best places to eat aand try this Philly favourite for yourself.

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Enjoy Philadelphia

The iconic Philadelphia is home to some of the most beautiful and amazing historical places, especially those of U.S. history. This one is an amazing city to visit with so much to see, do and also shop for!

Tip from Content Creator

Philadelphia Philadelphia Philadelphia
Philadelphia boasts a rich history. Aside from the iconic Independence Hall, you can check out the National Constitution Center and Philadelphia City Hall. Did you know that Philadelphia City Hall was the tallest building in the world from 1901 to 1908? After exploring the streets surrounding City Hall, you can stop by the Misconduct Tavern sports bar for some refreshments.

Frequently asked questions about things Philadelphia is famous for


Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Nicole, a university student with a passion for both bustling metropolises and charming, undiscovered treasures, finds great delight in her travels. Her exploration of new places is enhanced by her...Read more

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