There's a famous Bruce Springsteen song about the streets of this city, which doesn't sprawl as much as many other American cities, but is nevertheless full of interesting different neighborhoods and types of people. Starting from the Museum of Art, you can see a wide avenue decorated with the flags of many different countries and cross the Parkway Museum District to the heart of the city. This is where you'll find the skyscrapers. Heading south-east you can go to the oldest part of Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was ratified in 1776. In the south, you can explore the African-American neighborhoods; black people make up a large percentage of the city's residents, and have played an important role in Philadelphia's history.
"Proclaim liberty throughout all parts of the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." This is a fragment of the inscription on what is perhaps one of the most famous bells in the world, which wasn't known about it initially. The Liberty Bell is in Philadelphia, and was initially created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Charter of Privileges by William Penn. But it was his special touch on July 8, 1776 by calling on citizens to hear the Declaration of Independence of the United States, which became a symbol of independence, freedom and the end of slavery. It is said that this later came to be what is now the United States, where all those men who wanted to create a democracy met. There was Benjamin Franklin, one of the drafters of the U.S. Constitution and Governor of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia is in Pennsylvania). Since 2006 there has been a pavilion located in Independence National Park, but throughout its history it has been leaning from side to side and has undergone several accidents, including the punishment of a U.S. citizen who wanted to protest this and was sentenced to prison. The crack has is the memory of all those war wounds. Today you can visit free-after passing a comprehensive and personal control of any type of bag you carry. It is in a small pavilion where different panels tell their story and give details of all the famous people who have passed through it, as the Dalai Lama. And, if it's closed, on one of the sides there's a panel with a ton of buttons that you can press to hear stories in different languages. And because everything is glass you can see the bell from where you are.
It's appeared in stamps, on the half dollar and its has replicas in Germany, Belgium and Japan, for example.
It has a "sister" which is which is the one that was made to put back into the tower in Independence Center, but finally after many years there and after being destroyed in one of the buildings, it was restored in the museum.
The bell's made up of 70% copper, 25% pewter, 2% lead, 1% zinc and other minor minerals. It weighs 932 kilos, even though when it was created it weighed 943 kilos, but the missing parts have caused it to become a little lighter.
The truth is that it's worth it to see the bell because it's one of the most well-known symbols of independence of the United States and its origins.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the best you can visit in the city, if not the best. There are authentic gems in every corner and hallways of the museum, so it warrants a guided tour so that you don't miss a single detail.
Side note, the steps to the outer door of the museum were in the movie Rocky, so it's pretty normal to see at whatever time of day imitating the boxer climbing the stairs as fast as they can and air-punching once they reach the top.
At the foot of the steps there's a statue of Rocky Balboa that draws something of a crowd.
It's because in its day, as thanks to Stallone for having shot the movie there they placed the statue in the entrance of the museum, but later on it was decided that such a statue didn't warrant being put near works by Van Gogh, Picasso and the like, so they moved it away.
Later, for the filming of Rocky V, Stallone put it as a condition that the statue be moved back to its original location, or he would take the filming to another. Since then you can see "Rocky" at the foot of the museum.
Those who have seen the "Rocky" films will soon recognize the place ... the 72 steps of the Museum of Art which the hero runs up during the film. The image of Rocky raising his arms to the sky in triumph at the top of the stairs has been reproduced as a statue, a popular spot for tourists who know where it is (down the stairs to the right). Many tourists like to replicate the pose for photos!
It was three years (since its construction in 1929) that the longest suspension bridge in the world, an honor it took from Ambassador Bridge in Detroit. Construction on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia began in 1922, it was opened to the public on July 1, 1926 and was designed by architect Paul Philippe Cret. Philadelphia is in the easy of Pennsylvania, near New Jersey and the city of Camden.
The bridge is about 550 meters long and sits over the Delaware river. It can be crossed on foot by one of the two pedestrian crossings it has on either side, which were closed to the public as a security precaution after the London bombings in 2005, and because of the leftover fear from 9/11.
To get here take 676 and highway 30 and if you go in the direction of Pennsylvania there's a toll. In total, there are 7 lanes and you can also get to it by train. During the early years the railways weren't used, but since 1936 it has become a part of the line because of its proximity to the location.
The truth is that it's impressive to see it, overall, from afar because of the strange curvature it has. But from up close its size is also impressive.
It's style is almost identical to many bridges in the US, even though its blue color is even more characteristic. When you're below it, just on the river bank, you can get an idea of its enormous size and the enormous rocks that support it.
In each entry there are a couple of bronze statues. This can make it seem a little sad because it can't compete with the grandeur of this bridge, for example like the surroundings of the Brooklyn Bridge can compete.
It begins practically in the intersection of Race Street with 5th (Franklin Square) and to the east, not far of a walk away from the station on 30th street, you pass right in front of an old town pier.
You can see this bridge from the majority of the city, especially on Market Street, between the little streets you can see big chunks of blue bridge.
It's worth it to see the bridge, even though you'll finish feeling beat, especially if you go there for an entire day walking around and you go up on the little ledge it has. The walk is pretty nice, though and the views aren't bad.
Congress Hall was constructed in 1787 with the idea of being the Philadelphia County Court. Finally, the United States Congress met for the first time there between 1790 and 1800, while Philadelphia was the nation's capital, and the Old City Hall housed the City Council from 1791 until 1800.
The historic Independence Hall and the Pennsylvania State House is the building in Philadelphia where the Declaration of American Independence and the Constitution were both signed and adopted. The Independence Hall is a red brick building, which was built between the years 1732 and 1753.
The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed in this building in the years 1776 and 1787. The universal principles of freedom and democracy are fundamental ideas in American history, and have an important influence on policy-makers from around the world. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is a fascinating city that is a mixture of history and modernity.
Washington Park is found somewhat off the tourist area of Philadelphia. It's broad, familiar, comfortable, with multiple banks. The place seems almost European in atmosphere, perhaps because of the building's lines, or the French-style restaurant in the corner. It's a pleasant neighborhood with a park to enjoy an area dedicated to American independence.
For the Amish community time has stood still since the seventeenth century. This museum is a good place to learn about their customs and their way of life, both at home and in their daily work on their farms. The farm is run by some old ladies who show you simple furniture and equipment commonly found in Amish houses. It is striking to find clothing laid out in the bedrooms belonging to the spouses and to the children. The 'appliance' usually found in the Amish homes are curious. You can rent the typical horse-drawn carriage used by the Amish to take a tour around the farm, and a bus tour throughout the Amish County
It's certainly the most important street in the city of Philadelphia, one of the longest and, above all, the one with the most monuments and attractions throughout your journey of about 10 kilometers. However, the most important section falls between 30th Street Station and the Delaware River. The other part, from its origin in the west to the station is more residential. In short, it's a street full of diversity where you will find all different kinds of buildings and people. From the station, walking east, we find, among many others:-The financial and business district, with its towering skyscrapers and luxury hotels
-The Center Independence
-The Liberty Bell
-The Constitution Center
-The Hard Rock Café
-Benjamin Franklin Bridge (where it ends)
And much more, such as shopping malls, branded stores or small temples or churches such as the Freemasons, across from City Hall or Love Park, in the heart of the financial district ... It's worth it to stroll the street from the river, where a sign announces where this road begins and where the houses are older to the 30th Street station. Here you'll pass the typical residential neighborhood to the modern skyscrapers once arriving to the station. One area where there are also many tourist buses going around the city. To go shopping I recommend the area closest to the river, where the stores are less crowded and the stores are less expensive. One of the perfect places to enjoy a drink and relax outdoors is the terrace at the Independence Memorial. If the weather is good, you can spread out on the lawn and spend hours there. This stretch of road, really costs nothing to walk down and one can go all the way looking from side to side, stopping here and there and suddenly you realize you've arrived at the end. It is also completely flat.
Painted to commemorate the most important battle of the American Civil War. There is a memorial museum called Gettysburg National Military Park near the battlefields. The Cyclorama is the main attraction. It's a 360 degree circular painting where you can see the battle scenes. There is also a film where you can see how the battle developed. In Gettysburg you can also visit the historic Cyclorama battlefields.
This is the museum dedicatd to the U.S. Constitution in which you can even see a theatrical play about what happened during it's writing and signing.
There's a very interesting room in which they make little figurines in bronze of all the famous people who worked on the Constitution.
The exhibit, called "Freedom is Calling" is a whole array of different models, lights and colors to make the citizens conscious of the importance of the constitution.
Opposite that, there tends to be little set ups in the part below it. As I write this (March 2012), the set up is dedicated to Bruce Springsteen.
The Reading Terminal Market is a traditional market, in fact it's the only place where you will be able to come cross the famous Amish and take a photo. you can find absolutely anyhting just like in any market, but here everything looks great because they care a lot about the appearance of their displays and their merchandise. There are beautiful flowers or candy stalls, and even butchers are nice in this market. The best thing is that at noon, most stalls sell food to enjoy in the same market. There are all kinds of cuisine, from Thai to the famous cheese steak sandwiches, all really cheap.
This station, the center of virtually all ground transportation in the city of Philadelphia, is simply stunning. The imposing classical building is reminiscent of the famous Grand Central Station in New York and although it is not quite as big, it is one of the most-used stations in the country. It was opened in about 1930, and is decorated in the Renaissance style, with an art-deco lobby that shows a trend typical of the times.
There's more to the station than just the architecture, though. It is still used widely with AMTRAK and SEPTA trains, a tram stop, the subway, and several local bus lines. It's a great place to start any inter-city trips you might be planning. Furthermore, the view of the city skyline from the east exit of the station is incredible.
There is also an area dedicated to restaurants, with options to suit everyone: healthy fruits and vegetables, greasy burgers or, for those in a hurry, a simple cup of coffee or a beer. In addition, it has a car rental office, some souvenir shops and a police area for your security. The monuments inside include the War Memorial of Pennsylvania Railroad, a statue dedicated to all the workers who died in World War II. It is the Archangel Michael with the body of a fallen soldier, depicted in bronze.
These are definitely the two most imposing skyscrapers in Philadelphia. While there are attractions such as the Empire State Building in New York or the Sears Tower in Chicago, these skyscrapers are a symbol of the city and throughout its history its been a record-breaker. Let's start with One Liberty Place: Until just two years ago it was the tallest building in Philadelphia, but completion of the Comcast Centre (296 meters) has placed One Liberty Place in second place. It, with antenna included, 288 meters, is a total of 61 floors and is the second highest in the state of Pennsylvania and is among the 20 highest across the United States. It was completed in 1987 and is fully glazed with a kind of blue mirror that give a special touch, although it is true that The Chrysler Building in New York has a certain air, especially in shape. Designed by Helmut Jahn, they say they'll become the first building in the city somehow skipped over zoning codes that prevented building buildings taller than the statue that's on top of the City. It is located in the financial and business center of the city and is part of a complex, Liberty Place. In it there is absolutely everything from the most luxurious hotels and the finest restaurants, past the fashionable shops. Now Two: It was built about three years after the building One and is practically a twin skyscraper, with minor differences, for example the antenna. It is 258 meters tall and has 5 floors. It is the third tallest skyscraper in the city and is among the highest of about 30 different countries. They really are spectacular and can be seen from any part of the city. The truth is that when I went it was a holiday and there wasn't anyone there and it looked like you couldn't even visit. So, if anyone is in Philadelphia they won't lose much time in getting close to it because it's just next to the town hall. Each one is on the corner of the block between Market and Chestnut streets.
NOTE: The Philadelphia Skyline from the 30th Street station is impressive, with the two towers taking over.
Since 2008 it holds the title of the tallest building in the city of Philadelphia, breaking the record of One Liberty Place. It has 58 floors measuring 297 meters high, which also makes it one of the 15 highest buildings in the United States. The truth is that the Comcast Center is pretty interesting and worth seeing. A mass of glass that rises and whose top seems like a hole (which it is) but it gives a special touch. Construction began in 2004 and at first was named One Pennsylvania Plaza, but finally, after several changes in direction, it's called Comcast, in honor of a television company which has its headquarters there. Really it's just used as an office building but has the random restaurant, television sets and some little shops. There's nothing touristic about it except the fact that its the highest part of the city and shares the skyline with the Towers at Liberty Place. It isn't very hard to find, especially if you walk down Market Street just between the station and the town hall. It's just parallel but hey, it's easy to see from anywhere. The day that I saw it there were some guys cleaning the facade and it gave a lot of respect to that job. Yes, they were there a good amount of time because there were still there several hours later.
In Lancaster County, there are shops where you can find many handicraft items made by Amish and Mennonite community. The most common craft in this community is furniture, but there are also very common various textiles such as craft products, toys, clothing and pottery. In the town Bird In Hand there is a small shopping area with little shops dedicated to Amish handicrafts.