Brohammas’s Comprehensive guide to Philadelphia: only the cool stuff. Click on the headings to be taken directly to the applicable sites.
United State’s oldest residential street
Betsy Ross house
Self guided tour $4
Ben Franklin’s house
Price= $free. print shop, view into excavated basement, occasional impersonator sightings.
Price= $12 admission to museum includes U.S.S. Olympia, Navy flagship 1895-1922. kayak or swan boats, $5.
“suggested donation”=$3 for adults. George Washington and the crew went to church here. They buried people in the aisles.
adults=$6 I highly recommend going on “pirate day.”
Clubhouses for rowing teams. Catch the Dad Vail regatta or just look at the houses from I-76, MLK Drive, or Kelly Drive.
the “Rocky” steps
Not the art museum, just the steps in front of it. See the staue, run up the steps, shout “Yo Adriaaan!”. In the summer they screen the original Rocky movie outdoors, using the steps as an amphitheater. Free admission.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Adults=$16 to see Van Goh, Picasso, Matisse, Eakins, etc. “Art After 5″ every Friday evening features live music and dining while you view the galleries.
Please Touch Museum
Admission=$15, I recommend a membership if you live here. Children’s museum housed in Memorial Hall from the 1876 World’s Fair. Your children will NEVER get tired of it.
Adults=$10. Built in 1763, was the sight and focus of the battle of Germantown (Revolution). Best historic house tour I have ever been on, hands down.
K-12 boarding school for disadvantaged children, built in 1833, site of famous civil rights protest finally being integrated in 1968 (Stephen Girard’s will stipulated no Black children and no clergy allowed). Lots of artifacts housed in the building. Admission=$free, but you have to plan ahead.
Italian Market on 9th
Outdoor market open year round. DiBruno Bros. is my all time favorite, followed by that one guy that makes tortillas and tortilla chips on the spot.
Reading Terminal Market
Huge indoor food market with no chain restaurants. Chocolate covered onions, Amish vendors, and a pastrami sandwich the size of my face!
Founded in 1690, buildings dating to 1707. Fantastic location.
Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Adults=$10 My favorite building in the entire city. Mummies, Greek helmets, a sphinx… A SPHINX!
Museum housing medical oddities, including Einstein’s brain. Founded in 1858.
PAFA Art Museum
Adults=$15, but the alley outside is free. Founded in 1805, oldest art museum and art school in U.S.
Soda fountain where you can get custom sodas or ice cream flavors, be served by someone with a handlebar mustache, or get my all time favorite Blenheim ginger Ale.
Built in 1772 was the unofficial meeting place of the first continental congress. You can still dine on colonial era cuisine, and it tastes fantastic. Great dining experience in a historic setting.
Built in 1873. $8 tours. Museum features George Washington’s Masonic Apron, Ben Franklin’s Masonic sash, and an original copy of the Book of Mormon.
Belmont Mansion Underground Railroad Museum
Adults=$6 Built in 1742 this home had as guests, George Washington, John Adams, and a number of escaped slaves.
Laurel Hill Cemetary
Free. Begun in 1835, and holds the remains of lots of famous dead people, including the fictional “Adrian” from the Rocky movies.
Smith Play House
Free, but no adults allowed without a child. Old mansion turned into a giant play house for kids. I recommend the giant slide.
Eastern State Penitentiary
Draconian prison opened in 1829 and housed the likes of Al Capone. Now a tourist attraction with a nationally renowned haunted house in October. For Bastille Day the prison is stormed and when Marie Antoinette shouts “let them eat cake!” over the ramparts, the crowd is showered with hundreds of Tastykakes.
Academy of Natural Sciences
Founded in 1812, full of dinosaur bones and Capt. cook’s cannons. $12 for adults
In the Italian Market, ask for Hunter Fike, $100 total and you and ten friends can have the store to yourself for two hours as two professional cheese mongers assist you in sampling THE ENTIRE STORE! Cheese, balsamic, olive oils, and prosciutto… man swoon.
Launched in 1904, this ship, now a restaurant, is the world’s largest four masted sailing ship still afloat. the desserts and the view is fantastic.
University of Pennsylvania
Founded in 1740 this institution predates our constitution. Tuition is expensive but the tours are free. Lots of cool places to visit… or you can just follow the blog.
30th Street Station
The building is free to visit, but is the central hub of the regions regional rail lines. Completed in 1934 it is Philly’s art deco answer to NYC’s Grand Central. Good spot to people watch.
I suppose you could go to check out a book, but this building, completed in 1927 is fun to explore and the library hosts lots of events. Almost all, as the name would suggest, free.
Suggested $5, but the Thinker is outside on the curb. Great sculptures, serene setting, worth the money.
City water supply pump since waaay back, tourist attraction since the 1870s. Free museum downstairs, gazebos and views on the cliff side, and possibly my favorite picnic spot in the city.
$Free navy graveyard. Destroyers, two eras of aircraft carriers, and the Urban Outfitters headquarters.
A place where chocolate is treated as food. Need I continue?
$Free, the first Friday of every month “Old City” hosts open art galleries from 4-9pm, along with street vendors and performers=fun.
Bobby’s Burger Palace
Bobby as in “Bobby Flay”, from TV. Burger with goat cheese, sweet potato fries, and a dark chocolate shake.
“Urban Bean” burger with bacon and peanut butter sauce. No joking, this is fantastic.
Super Scooper, all you can eat ice cream, July 4th
Every 4th of July weekend at Penn’s Landing. You pay $7, they hand you a spoon and let you into the giant tent, aka heaven.
approximately 2 miles of shops. Some great, some sketchy, but always lots of people of all sorts. This is where Purple hair, tattoos, and ties come to coexist.
Officially JFK Plaza, this world famous statue and fountain are a great photo op, and one of the hearts of Philly public gatherings.
Mother Beth El A.M.E. Church
Church founded by freed slave Richard Allen (who is laid to rest here) in 1787. This plot of land is the oldest parcel continuously owned by Black people in the Unites States.
Old Pine St, Presbyterian
Founded in 1768 Graveyard has signers of the Constitution resting in it.
For $3.50 you can uncover the strange mystery of the Mummers, a Philadelphia tradition of marching bands that include banjos, accordions, clarinets, upright bass, lots and lots of sequins. Unfortunately the museum reveals some truly racist roots as well. But no matter what it is, it remains very, VERY, entertaining.
The Academy of Music
Built in 1857 it is the USA’s oldest continually operating opera house and concert hall. It is the home of the Pennsylvania ballet and Opera Company of Philadelphia.
My wife’s favorite restaurant in the city. Get the mole’.
Popular brunch and breakfast spot, be prepared to wait for a seat if it is warm outside, cash only… and completely worth it. They make their own spicy ketchup that is great on “morning potatoes”..
Another great breakfast/brunch place. I have never heard of anyone having a bad meal here… EVER!