A Quaker first founded Philadelphia in 1677, and for a brief time after the American Civil War, it served as the nation’s capital. Here a charter of liberties was drafted promising free trial by jury, freedom of faith, freedom for unjust imprisonment and free elections. Many Americans consider Philadelphia to be the birthplace of their democracy and for this reason it makes an excellent educational and yet fun destination for all the family.
Things to do in Philadelphia
One of the great things about Philadelphia is that it is full of inspirational museums and attractions, most of which are within a five block radius of each other, making it an ideal city to discover on foot. Visitors can almost feel like they have stepped back in time in Philadelphia’s Old City where they can walk on cobbled streets and journey down narrow lanes with historic houses towering over their heads. Those interested in the beginnings of American democracy must visit Independence Hall where the Founding Fathers gathered to sign the Declaration of Independence, as well as Liberty 360 for an exploration of America’s history in a state-of-the-art 3D theatre. The famous cracked Liberty Bell and the National Constitution Center are only a few steps away.
For those interested in the Arts, the James A Michener Art Museum is worth a visit for its world-famous collection of Pennsylvania Impressionist paintings and artwork, while for a broader canvas, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts houses more than two centuries worth of works by renowned American artists.
Families who appreciate active vacations should make a trip to Fairmont Park, the largest municipal park in the world. It encompasses more than 9,200 acres of natural land, with gentle walking trails and shaded woodlands. Here families can take horseback rides, go hiking in the woods and cycle in safety away from busy roads, or simply enjoy picnics and Japanese tea ceremonies.
Families who enjoy live music should find plenty of opportunities in Philadelphia. There are many restaurants that have live bands playing to accompany their diner’s meals, such as the World Café Live with its bistro-style concert room, music store and radio stations, or Morgan’s Pier with its alfresco dining area serving classic Philadelphia fare and live music on the Delaware waterfront.
Philadelphia attracts plenty of music’s biggest names, such as Bruce Springsteen, and hosts many live musical events throughout the year, such as the Center City Jazz Festival, now in its third year, which is a daylong festival of jazz music with artists performing at four different locations within the Center City.
A special favorite amongst children is the Philadelphia Zoo, the first in America, which is home to many rare breeds and endangered animals, such as the Amur leopard, the Chinese alligator and the Western lowland gorilla. An interactive attraction for children is the Please Touch Museum where they can explore the topsy-turvy world of Alice’s Wonderland, make music with whatever comes to hand in the Rainforest Rhythm exhibit, and race sailboats in River Adventures.