The birthplace of the United States and home to a staggering array of museums, galleries and green spaces, Philadelphia is one of America’s most vibrant destinations. City breaks in Philadelphia are a fantastic choice if you’re looking for world-class galleries and beautiful public parks.
Philadelphia played a vital role in the American Revolutionary War. Under British colonial rule it was one of the largest cities in the British Empire, and after independence it became the new country’s capital until 1790 when Washington DC took over. Independence National Historic Park is both a lovely place to spend a few hours on a sunny day, and an area of rich national heritage, within easy reach of the majority of Philadelphia’s historical buildings. One of the most popular attractions in this area of the city is the Liberty Bell Center, home to the iconic Liberty Bell. The bell was made in 1751, in London, with an inscription that reads 'Proclaim liberty through all the land, to all the inhabitants thereof'. The bell was positioned in Independence Hall and rung on important occasions, but was damaged in the 19th century, resulting in the famous crack. Another key historical location in Philadelphia is the National Constitution Center, home to a fascinating exhibition on the creation of the US constitution.
One of America’s greatest art galleries, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a real treat for culture lovers. Amongst the vast collection of art on display here are works by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Perhaps just as famous are the steps outside, famously conquered by Sylvester Stallone in the film Rocky. Another great place for art in Philadelphia is the Barnes Foundation, which boasts a fantastic collection of impressionist and post-impressionist French painting by the likes of Cézanne, Degas and Monet. For science, there is the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Franklin Institute Science Museum and the Wagner Free Institute of Science, which features over 100,000 different natural specimens on display.
Philadelphia is a beautiful city to walk around, whether you’re poking around the outdoor Italian Market or unwinding in one of the city’s many parks. The biggest and most famous of these is Fairmount Park, encompassing 63 different parks as well as Philadelphia Zoo. If you’re travelling with kids in tow make sure you check out the hands-on Please Touch Museum, whereas couples will enjoy the romantic setting of the Shofuso Japanese House and Gardens. There are a number of public art works scattered throughout Fairmount Park, including the bold Iroquois by Mark di Suvero and the Florentine Lions, which were installed in 1887. Another pleasant space near the historical centre of the city is the art-filled Philadelphia's Magic Garden, where the walls are covered in bright mosaics.