While living on the East Coast, I knew that all the big cities were close to each other, so I took advantage of trying to get in the car and drive to another great location to explore. From where I was in New Jersey to Philadelphia, it was only an hour and some change! With such new found freedom, it was great and off to Philadelphia I went on a cold winter day. I decided to make my Philadelphia getaway a day trip due to lack of reserving an Airbnb and planning. But even in a day, this Philadelphia getaway was eventful and a great cultural experience in the United States’s birthplace!
Without visiting this historical park would definitely a tragedy. The home of the Independence Hall where the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and the Liberty Bell, Independence National Historical Park oozes with facts. If you have not taken United States History in over a decade (*cough cough me cough cough*), the museum does give you a good refresher about what you should have learned in elementary school.
First, visit the visitor center. You can get a map of the area and then you can explore the inside where there are a series of exhibits that go over United States history and fundamental concepts of freedom and liberty. Next, walk over the Liberty Bell. Similar to the visitor center, there is a lot of exhibits and museum facts about the Liberty Bell and its importance in not only United States history, but also in world history and its symbol for liberty.
Finally after visiting the Liberty Bell, walk on over to Independence Hall. If you come not in the winter time, you will have to get a timed entrance into Independence Hall at the Visitor Center. If you come during the winter (like me!), you will not have to do that and you can immediately head on over. Tours are given by the ranger about the history of each of the rooms of Independence Hall. Quite surreal to think that you are standing in the same room as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin who drafted the Declaration of Independence.
Once you are done with the tour, you are given some time to wander the building to soak in the history and the cultural importance of this building. If the weather is nice, walking around the surrounding Historical Park can give you access to other assortment of buildings and museums.
TIP: Go early! By traveling off season (no need to queue or get a ticket to visit Independence Hall or a ton of people at Liberty Bell) and getting there early, you can experience the whole historical park with few people walking around.
Philadelphia Museum of Art (2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130)
Your Philadelphia getaway may also include a historic Rocky pose at the top of the 72 steps. You can even take a picture with a metal state of Rocky at the bottom of the steps to the museum. Unfortunately, no pose for me (maybe next time), but walking up the steps was great. The view at the top is a great look at Philadelphia. Stunning!
Once you finish your momentous Rocky pose, you can go into the Philadelphia Museum of Art to enjoy the gallery. One could get lost here for hours inspired by many famous paintings from Van Gogh to many new modern artists.
Pro Tip: Do not visit on a Monday because the museum is closed, but if you visit on the first Sunday of the month, it is pay-as-you-wish. This policy also applies for Wednesdays after 5:00 PM.
Rodin Museum (2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway)
The Rodin Museum in Philadelphia has a few sculptures available to visit and can even inspire you to travel to Paris to the Rodin Museum there. With your ticket that you bought at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, it also gives you admission to the Rodin Museum.
The museum goes through the process that Rodin used to make these beautiful sculptures. A fairly small museum that could take somebody less than an hour to explore, but with the included admission with the Art Museum, the Rodin Museum is also a nice place to visit as well.
Philly Cheesesteak is the primary thing to eat on any Philadelphia Getaway, but remember that the city does offer a lot of food options. Unfortunately on this trip, I was unable to eat as much as I would have liked to due to the time restriction, but I was able to get over to the Reading Terminal Market in the heart of Philadelphia to grab a bite at the famous Tommy DiNic’s.
A definite to order is the great sandwich, but a twist is adding things like broccoli rabe and sharp provolone with roast pork. Not your traditional Philly Cheesesteak, but man does this sandwich pack a punch!
This Philadelphia getaway could be done in a weekend, but this city has too much to offer! Leave a comment below if you have any other comments about Philadelphia.