You can ask any Philadelphia citizen – they won’t waste a moment telling you how fantastic of a city it is to visit and live in. Not only is it vibrant and full of life, our city has played a pivotal role in the history of our country, and reminders take the form of the abundant historical sites that you can hardly miss as you journey throughout Philly. Of course, we know every one of the plethora of high-quality museums that the city has to offer, but with all of these amazing attractions, it is easy to overlook some of the characteristically unique Philly destinations. After you have made your rounds to The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Franklin Institute, and taken a good long look at The Liberty Bell, be sure to follow this guide in order to find some fascinating hidden gems to explore!
Fairmount Park is a gorgeous, expansive park with eye-catching attractions around every corner. The Charms of Fairmount Park are an all too often overlooked by visitors taking in this beautiful setting, but you can’t miss these perfectly preserved representations of Philadelphia history. These historic 18th century homes act as museums that depict the architecture and lifestyles of the time period that they were built. The six homes are referred to as Cedar Grove, Laurel Hill, Lemon Hill, Mount Pleasant, Historic Strawberry Mansion, and Woodford, each possessing their own individual personality and rich history. The Charms host frequent events, tours, and educational programs throughout the year, and together all of these sites offer a true glimpse into domestic life of early Philadelphia. Though this attraction may be a bit off the beaten path as far as Philadelphia sightseeing opportunities go, it is well worth the journey!
The Schuylkill River Trail is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful areas in Philadelphia. The trail extends 130 miles through Pennsylvania, and the section that winds through Philadelphia is breathtakingly beautiful, with scenic foliage, cityscapes, views of the majestic Schuylkill river, and endless sights along the way. The trail intersects with an amazing number of Philly attractions including The Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, The Schuylkill River Park, Franklin Paine’s Skatepark, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Fairmount Waterworks, and Boathouse Row, not to mention the numerous parks and picnic areas. Whether you want to bike, walk, or run, The Schuylkill River Trail is the perfect way to experience the endless beauty of Philadelphia. Traveling along this path provides a miniature tour of Philadelphia, exposing hidden gems and major attractions as you journey on.
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is the masterpiece of Isaiah Zagar, acclaimed Philadelphia Mosaicist. The artist has been working since 1994 building 3,000 square feet of handmade tunnels, staircases, and enormous walls, all pieced together from tiles, sculptures, and random odds and ends. This majestic, one-of-a-kind art project has a phenomenal, dedicated staff and even offers tours, events, and workshops. This awe-inspiring beauty of this site must experienced firsthand in order to understand the pure ingenuity and aesthetic creativity behind it. Do not miss out on the opportunity to explore Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens and learn about the fascinating history of this establishment and its creator.
The Mütter Museum is, without a doubt, one of the most understated attractions in Philadelphia. This unique museum showcases medical history by displaying a range of bizarre and fascinating treasures, including a collection of human skulls, the liver of a pair of conjoined twins, the skeleton of an actual giant, organs in jars, pieces of Einstein’s brain, and much, much more. Their exhibits promise to delight, fascinate, and befuddle, moving from tales of medicine and injuries during the Civil War to medical oddities relating to fairy tales, as well as famous figures in the medical field and a huge collection of objects that have been removed from human bodies! The history of this museum as well as the stories behind the items displayed within makes for an unforgettable visit. The Mütter Museum is definitely a Philly destination that you won’t want to miss!
Our favorite attraction in Philly by far is Eastern State Penitentiary – we can’t get enough of this strange and alluring Philadelphia institution! Located in the middle of the Fairmount neighborhood, this mammoth prison is an influential architectural monument with amazing historical significance. Eastern State Penitentiary is practically bursting with amazing facts and stories that are easily discovered during a free exploration of its grounds, and even more depths are unearthed during its various tours, events, and special programs as well as the recent additions of some extremely interesting modern exhibits. Of course, the popular “Terror Behind The Walls” haunted house is an unbeatable and uniquely terrifying Halloween experience. If you have the opportunity to visit Eastern State Penitentiary, it should be your top priority!
Whether you are a longtime resident of Philly or just visiting, we highly recommend visiting these outstanding destinations!