The Best Philadelphia Hidden Gems for the Adventurous Tourist
Philadelphia is rich in hidden gems that are lost among the high-rises of the metropolis. Even though the city is one of the five largest and most populous metropolitan areas in the country, it may seem to you a quiet and cozy town. Although it is worth noting, this aristocratic modesty suits it. President Benjamin Franklin loved this city and did a lot for it: he opened a university, a library, and built many buildings. Since then, Philadelphia has developed as an industrial and financial center without losing its status as the cultural pearl of America.
In Philadelphia, nothing can prevent you from enjoying the unique atmosphere of spiritual comfort, because the frantic pace of life in megacities is unfamiliar to this city. Here you can walk along the alleys of amazing parks, visit many museums, and get acquainted with the main city attractions that would tell you about the history of America. Today we are going to tell you about cool things to do in Philadelphia and which places are worth your attention.
Cool Things to See in Philadelphia
Old City Hall
Among the historical sights in Philly, the building of the Old City Hall is a particularly important architectural monument of the city, which was built at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Since its construction, the City Hall building has been one of the tallest in the city. At the top of this tower is a statue of William Penn, which is 37 ft (ca. 11 m) high. Today this magnificent historical building is a monument of national importance and is considered one of the best sights in Philadelphia.
Eastern State Penitentiary
If you are looking for unusual things to do in Philadelphia, then take a closer look at this place. Fans of unusual excursions would be interested in visiting the building of this prison. It was founded in 1829 and worked until 1969, where many world-famous criminals were kept. After the closure of the prison, its buildings were in disrepair for a long time, and in 1994 it was converted into a tourist attraction. Visitors are presented with a huge collection of interesting artifacts and even have the opportunity to visit the cell where Al Capone was serving his sentence in 1929.
Another world-famous tourist attraction in Philadelphia is the extraordinary house called “Magic Gardens”. The author of this unusual building is the famous avant-garde artist Isaiah Zagar. The building is a complex labyrinth of numerous terraces, stairs, and grottoes, all walls in Magic Gardens have a unique finish. They are completely covered with a wide variety of finishing elements: old dishes, tiles, old toys, wooden accessories, and other household items. Walking along the corridors, it may seem to you that you are in a fairy tale.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Art Museum is popular with art lovers. Its opening took place back in 1876. The museum opened its doors on the occasion of the World Exhibition in the city and today a collection of more than 200,000 exhibits is presented to visitors. There are many works of art brought here from different continents. Recently, a small research center has been operating within the walls of the museum.
An equally impressive hidden gem in Philadelphia is Elfreth’s Alley. It is considered the oldest street in Philly. Walking along this cobbled alley, you may feel like a resident of Philadelphia in the 18th century, because most of the picturesque buildings appeared on this oldest street in the 1730s. Someone may even get the feeling that Elfreth’s Alley is a doll country: the houses on this street, if you compare them with modern residential areas, are very tiny and a little fabulous. Happy holidays are often held on Elfreth’s Alley, and two days a year, residents of the famous street open the doors of their cozy houses for tourists and tell incredible stories about their hometown and the exploits of their ancestors.
This true Philadelphia hidden gem is located south of Walnut Street and east of Washington Square. The area contains a unique mix of 18th-century buildings, restored warehouses, new homes, colonial houses, and apartments. Some of them are occupied by galleries and other tourist shops. Attractions in and around the area include Washington Square, the Polish American Cultural Center, and Old Saint Mary’s Church, as well as Old Pine Presbyterian Church, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Talking about Philadelphia tourist destinations, we could not fail to mention the famous Independence Hall, which is a symbol of US freedom and the most important attraction of the city. It was in this building in the hall the most important documents in the history of the country were signed: the United States Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution of the United States (1787). In addition to the Congress Hall, the Supreme Court Room, as well as the Governor’s Council Chamber and Committee of Assembly Chamber are open to the public.
Scarecrow Festival at Peddler’s Village
If you have already examined the above attractions and are looking for unique things to do in Philadelphia, then go to the scarecrow festival! For such an extraordinary family experience, you can travel to Peddler’s Village for their annual festival, which includes a stuffed animal workshop, music, pumpkin painting, and more. Visit the website for details on pre-registering for making a scarecrow (note: the Scarecrow workshop requires a fee that can be paid online).
James G. Kaskey Memorial Park
Another secret place in Philadelphia that would not leave you indifferent is the Memorial Park of James G. Kaskey. A real ecological oasis, which is located on the territory of the University of Pennsylvania. You may not find large crowds of tourists here, as not everyone knows where to find this place. The sweet singing of birds and the pacifying noise of a waterfall are excellent opportunities to escape from the hectic bustle of the metropolis and enjoy the time with the picturesque surrounding nature. In this Philadelphia hidden gem, you can meet incredible koi and turtles.
Shofuso Japanese House and Garden
An incredibly beautiful secret place in Philadelphia that takes you to little Japan in a huge metropolis. Shofuso, also known as the Pine Breeze Villa, looks like a traditional 17th-century Japanese-style house located in West Fairmount Park. Built-in 1953, Pine Breeze Villa was Japan’s gift to America as a symbol of post-war peace and friendship between the two countries. The building was constructed using traditional Japanese materials and technologies and was originally exhibited in the courtyard of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. But a couple of years later, it was moved to Philadelphia and rebuilt in 1958.To get around all the best spots in Philly, you need a lot of patience and plenty of free days, weeks, or even months. Indeed, in addition to the main tourist spots, there are libraries, theaters, cinemas, beautiful bridges, cultural and entertainment centers, many shops and restaurants. All of them deserve the proud status of city attractions, without them Philadelphia would not be the Philadelphia that Americans are so proud of and which impresses sophisticated tourists from all over the world.
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