Considering a move to downtown Philadelphia? Just a few minutes from the Philadelphia International Airport is the charming and historic Center City. It attracts millions of tourists annually, with its special blend of rich American history, vibrant culture, and urban delight. Whether you want to soak in the sites of the nation’s founding or simply enjoy some much-needed rest and relaxation, downtown has a little something for everyone.
But what are the most fun things to do in downtown Philadelphia?
Here are five must-try experiences for first-time visitors to The City of Brotherly Love.
#1 Walk the Historic District’s Freedom Trail
Philadelphia is known as the ‘Birthplace of America,” and the historic district lies at the heart of Center City. Every year millions of tourists pilgrim to the cobbled streets of the Freedom Trail—once home to the likes of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison—tracing their footsteps in the shaping of American history.
Historic “must-sees” along the route include:
- Soak in Independence Hall – The historic building where the Second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.
- “Ring” the Liberty Bell – The iconic, cracked bell that was ringing from the Independence Hall during the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.
- Wander down Elderth’s Alley – The oldest continuously inhabited residential street in the country.
- Visit The President’s House – The home to Washington and Adams during their presidencies.
- Take in a service at Christ Church – An active parish since 1695, the “Nation’s church” was the home church of Benjamin Franklin, Absalom Jones, Robert Morris, Betsy Ross, Benjamin Rush, and George Washington. Franklin is also buried in its cemetery.
#2 Enjoy Philly’s parks
Philly is home to more than 300 parks and gardens—lovely spots where you can picnic, stroll, or simply soak in the sun. Some of the top spots include:
- Rittenhouse Square – Originally planned by the city’s founder, William Penn, Rittenhouse Square lies at the heart of the city center’s wealthiest neighborhood, and is the city’s most popular town square. The family-friendly park is filled with trees, ponds, and reflection pools, and is surrounded by shopping centers and residential neighborhoods.
- Love Park – If you want to take a fun and iconic picture, John F. Kennedy Plaza —more popularly known as LOVE Park— is the now Instagram-famous home of Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE statue. The urban plaza is right next to City Hall.
- Franklin Square – Another one of the original parks created by William Penn, the centerpiece of this iconic plaza is the 180-year old fountain.
Other honorable mentions are the Independence National Historical Park and Dilworth Park.
#3 Tour the Magic Gardens
About one mile from the center city, in the South Street neighborhood lies Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens.
This indoor and outdoor, immersive, mixed media, art environment created by local artist Isaiah Zagar, features walls adorned with colorful mosaics, sculptures, and two indoor galleries. According to the nonprofit’s website:
“In 2008, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens opened to the public and visitors now have the opportunity to participate in tours, art activities, hands-on interpretive experiences, workshops, concerts, exhibitions, and much more.”
Before you visit, be sure to check online to see whether tickets are available.
#4 Grab some food and drinks
Looking to fill your stomach and wet your whistle or maybe looking for some romantic date ideas in Philly? There are dozens of high-quality bars and restaurants in downtown Philadelphia. Whether you’re craving a Philly Cheesesteak or an IPA, some of the high-quality Philadelphia breweries and restaurant spots, include:
- Good Dog Bar – Home to a legendary Roquefort cheeseburger and an expansive tap of local beers, Good Dog Bar has become a mainstay in downtown Philadelphia.
- Iron Hill Brewery – Fashioning itself as the best local brewery in the world, Iron Hill is the most award-winning brewer east of the Mississippi with 152 awards under its belt. Craft beers and handcrafted foods are their calling card.
- Love City Brewing – For the fan of hops, Love City Brewing is located in the center of historic Callowhill, boasting a massive selection of IPAs and a huge indoor and outdoor seating area, making it great for big groups.
#5 Visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is widely considered to be one of the country’s most magnificent art museums, with the world’s greatest collection of impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern works.
The museum is also home to the iconic Rocky steps and bronze statue. Tourists can run the steps, snap a photo by the statue, then stroll the incredible art gallery.
A flawless move to Philly with Common
Philly is a big city that seamlessly blends rich American history and vibrant urban living. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder why you might want to make the move. Ready for your big move?
Common can help you find the best space for coliving in Philadelphia. From Center City to the outskirts, we have move-in ready coliving and private apartments located in Spring Garden, Fairmount, and Fishtown.
- Visit Philadelphia. The Official Trail of Philadelphia’s Historic District. https://www.visitphilly.com/articles/philadelphia/official-historic-philadelphia-trail/
- City of Philadelphia. Parks & Recreation. https://www.phila.gov/departments/philadelphia-parks-recreation/
- Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. About Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. https://www.phillymagicgardens.org/about-philadelphias-magic-gardens/