Philadelphia is one of the best places to visit not only for its colorful history, but for its vibrant culture and arts scene. The city, famous for its numerous “landmark firsts” just about covers every aspect of the city’s 300-year history. Among them include:
- The first daily newspaper (1784)
- The first bank in the U.S. (1791)
- The first capital of the U.S. as a nation
- The first nation’s zoo
- The first fire department
- More importantly, Philadelphia was where the Founding Fathers met in 1776 to declare their independence from the rule of England, thus signing the Declaration of Independence Day.
These distinctions make the city unique in its own right – and worth exploring. A good place to visit is Downtown Philadelphia, also known as Downtown Philly or Center City. Downtown Philly is the home of the central neighborhoods and business district of Philadelphia. It has the third biggest population in the United States (next to New York and Chicago), with a population of around 57,000 (and can go as high as 235,000 during working hours).
Downtown Philly is one of the best places to go to for anyone looking for a different experience that’s rich in rich and history. Here are some of the best places to go to for a Sunday (or any other day) getaway:
Please Touch Museum
Planning to spend the weekend with your children? Then the best place to go to is The Please Touch Museum. Despite its whimsical and humorous name, The Please Touch Museum is serious when it comes to sharing knowledge and entertainment to Philadelphia’s children. The museum focuses on teaching children (ages seven below) through the use of special events and interactive exhibits, and some of its most famous attractions include: the Walking Piano, the Alice in Wonderland play areas, the Woodside Park carousel, Please Taste Cafe, and the Statue of Liberty’s arm replica made from discarded toys. Children can also feed baby chicks, dress up as a scarecrow, and become a captain of a sailboat or a driver in a SEPTA bus. They can also join the museum’s available programs, such as the Playhouse Theater, Program Room, and Story Castle.
One Liberty Place
One Liberty Place does not cause a spectacle; neither does it offer any kind of thrill or entertainment compared to Please Touch Museum. However, there are two things about this building that make it stand out on its own: 1) it was once the tallest building in Philadelphia, and the 16th tallest building in the U.S. 2) One Liberty Place was the first building to exceed the height of the Billy Penn Statue in City Hall. This has made quite the controversy, because during that time, One Liberty Place broke the gentleman’s agreement not to exceed the height of William Penn’s statue on top of City Hall. When it was completed, no major-league sports team had ever won a world championship title for the next twenty years, giving rise to the superstitious belief called the “Curse of Billy Penn.” In an effort to end the curse, the Comcast Center, which outdid One Liberty Place as the tallest building in the city, erected a small William Penn statue alongside the traditional American flag and a small evergreen tree. Interestingly, the curse was ended when the Philadelphia Phillies won the 2008 World Series in five games, a year after Comcast Center was completed.
Avenue of the Arts
The Avenue of the Arts includes many of Philadelphia’s cultural institutions. It is the hub of many large theatres, such as Wilma Theater, the Academy of Music, Merriam Theatre, Kimmel Center, the Clef Club and Freedom Theatre, and Suzanne Roberts Theatre. It is where everyone gathers to celebrate art and culture at its finest, from beautiful symphonies, dance, and art expression. The Avenue of the Arts is actually a long street in the region, which operates both on street and underground level. It is also home to more than 50 of the most prominent arts and culture institutions today.