The 10 Most Essential Things to Do on Your (Second) Visit to Philly — Visit Philadelphia

2022-09-10 00:41:11 By : Mr. Mike Xu

Note: Greater Philadelphia is open for business and welcoming visitors. Safety guidelines regarding COVID-19 continue to evolve. While proof of vaccination and mask-wearing are no longer required in Philadelphia, individual businesses in Philadelphia and the Countryside may require them, and the City of Philadelphia strongly recommends mask-wearing in indoor public spaces. Advance tickets or reservations remain recommended or necessary at many spots. Your best bet: Check online or call ahead.

Philly is a repeat city.

One visit is definitely not enough to experience, explore and taste all of the awesomeness that makes Philly, well, Philly.

If you’ve been to all the major sites — the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the Rocky steps, the LOVE sculpture, a cheesesteak shop — and you want to expand your knowledge of all things Philadelphia, you’ve got some work to do. (Don’t worry, it’s work of the fun, tasty and inspiring variety.)

Your charge on visit two or three or four? Broaden your local culinary palate to include hoagies and roast pork sandwiches. Hop on a Mural Arts tour to admire the city’s colorful, larger-than-life creations. And up your selfie game at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens — which isn’t actually a garden at all.

Without further ado, read on for the top 10 things to do on a repeat visit to Philadelphia that’s anything but a repeat.

Instead of hoisting your arms above your head in a triumphant mimic of the Rocky statue, take your best selfie game to Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens on South Street. Created by local artist Isaiah Zagar, this half-block indoor-outdoor space is covered with mosaics made from handmade tiles, bottles, bicycle wheels, mirrors and international folk items. The artistic wonderspace is open for guided and self-guided tours, plus complementary on-site events ranging from date nights to family art activities.

Where: Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, 1020 South Street

Sure, a cheesesteak is a rite of passage during a visit to Philly — but this isn’t your first rodeo. Level up and try the other hall-of-fame sandwiches that locals just can’t get enough of. First is the hoagie (not a sub, thank you very much), a sandwich housed on a long Italian roll packed with deli meats and cheeses, lettuce, tomato, onion, oregano, oil and vinegar. Among our favorite hoagie purveyors: Angelo’s Pizzeria South Philly and Libert Kitchen PHL. If you want your sammie hot, try a roast pork sandwich, where slow-roasted pork is slathered with melted sharp provolone cheese. John’s Roast Pork and DiNic’s Roast Pork are two of the many great places to get one.

Where: Angelo's Pizzeria South Philly, 736 S. 9th Street

Liberty Kitchen PHL, 1244 N. Front Street

DiNic’s, 51 N. 12th Street

John's Roast Pork, 14 Snyder Avenue

You’ve toured Independence Hall. Now dive deeper into American history at the National Constitution Center, where you’ll leave a near-expert on the four most powerful pages in America’s history thanks to loads of interactive exhibits and artifacts. (Make sure you also leave with a selfie with Ben Franklin.) Then make the 10-minute walk to the Museum of the American Revolution, where you’ll see what else was going on during the American Revolution beyond Founding Fathers doing the founding, with a special emphasis on the experiences of enslaved and free Africans, Native Americans and women. Buy a joint ticket for discounted admission.

Where: Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd Street

National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street

Home to more than 4,000 murals, Philly is a city bursting with public art. The organization that made these murals happen: Mural Arts Philadelphia, the country’s largest public art program. Mural Arts leads educational walking tours of its creations in neighborhoods like Bella Vista, Spring Arts, Germantown and West Philly. If you’d prefer a more intimate affair, book a private tour to see the works by foot, wheels or by train.

Where: Tours depart from various locations including Uncle Bobbie's Coffee and Books, 5445 Germantown Avenue

Reading Terminal Market is a can’t-miss for food-loving first-timers. But you’re ready for more ground to cover (and eat your way through). The Italian Market encompasses 10 blocks of South 9th Street in South Philadelphia and is full of Italian butcher shops, Mexican taquerias (including the lauded South Philly Barbacoa), bakeries, specialty cheese shops, and fruit and produce vendors. While all of this deliciousness can seem daunting, there are a handful of tours available where expert guides offer the best eats and insights on the neighborhood.

Where: Italian Market, 919 S. 9th Street

You’ve stretched your legs and smelled the flowers at Longwood Gardens. Now get a load of the 2,050 acres of urban park space that is Fairmount Park. Regardless of your interests, there’s plenty to do here in both East and West Fairmount Park (intersected by the Schuylkill River). If you’re more of a picnicker, Belmont Plateau and Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center offer idyllic pastures to plant yourself for a few hours. If you’re the active type, go for a run or hike on Boxers’ Trail or the Trolley Trail — or climb a tree and zipline at Treetop Adventures. If you’ve got kids in tow, take them to the Philadelphia Zoo and Please Touch Museum — both spots your little ones will not want to leave. (Consider yourself warned.)

Where: Various locations including Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center, Horticultural & Lansdowne drives

Speaking of the Schuylkill, Philly’s western waterfront offers plenty to do. The Schuylkill River Trail covers 75 miles along the river extending from South Philadelphia to Pottsville. The Philadelphia portion of the trail will take you from Manayunk down to Kelly Drive and the Philadelphia Museum of Art to the Schuylkill Banks, easily traversable via foot or bike (rentals at Boathouse Row are available in the spring, summer and fall). It’s around here where you’ll find the 2,000-foot-long boardwalk that extends over the river. Get up close and personal with the river itself when you join a kayak tour during warmer months. Or, if you prefer to stay on dry land, summertime outdoor movie nights make for perfect riverside entertainment.

Where: Various locations including Schuylkill Banks, 2501 Walnut Street

From one bell to another, the Justice Bell is a close replica of the iconic Philly version, but cast without a crack and made to promote women’s suffrage in the United States in 1915. That same year, the gong went on a road trip across Pennsylvania in the back of a pickup truck, but now it lives at Valley Forge National Historical Park, a mere 20 miles west of Philadelphia. While you’re there, check out the park’s other historical features, like replicated huts that George Washington’s Continental Army lodged in during the Revolutionary War, rows of cannons, and the recently renovated visitor center, complete with an exhibition that tells the history of the 1777-1778 winter encampment of the Continental Army.

Where: Valley Forge National Historical Park, 1400 N. Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia

Spoiler alert: Doylestown, about 35 miles north of Philly, has some excellent museums. While the Benjamin Franklin Parkway gets all the glory within city limits, the ‘burbs know how to throw down in the art department. And their museums are housed in castles — actual castles. The Mercer Museum features a permanent collection of more than 50,000 pre-Industrial tools, while the Fonthill Castle, designed by archaeologist, collector and artisan tile maker Henry Mercer, is decorated with handcrafted tiles from Mercer’s own kilns. Speaking of tiles, Moravian Pottery and Tile Works showcases the art of tile production, and tiles are still made here today. The James A. Michener Art Museum’s permanent collection is full of a huge assortment of Pennsylvania Impressionism and more. The museum is right off of Doylestown’s Main Street — which is packed with dining options for later.

Where: Mercer Museum, 84 S. Pine Street, Doylestown

Fonthill Castle, 525 E. Court Street, Doylestown

Moravian Pottery & Tile Works Museum, 130 E. Swamp Road, Doylestown

James A. Michener Art Museum, 138 S. Pine Street, Doylestown

Philly’s acclaimed breweries pair nicely after dinner at an acclaimed restaurant. Try out the huge Victory Brewing Company taproom on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, hit up another spacious outpost at Yards Brewing Company on Spring Garden and support a women-owned brewery at one of two Dock Street Brewery locations. Outside city limits, highlights include West Chester’s Levante Brewing, Bristol’s Odd Logic and Conshohocken Brewing Company, with five locations around the region.

Where: Various locations including Victory Brewing Company Philadelphia, 1776 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Are you ready to celebrate magic in Philadelphia?

This spring and summer, treat yourself — and your fellow Wizarding World fans — to the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, which includes free hotel parking, two untimed tickets to the world premiere of Harry Potter: The Exhibition and overnight hotel accommodations (while supplies last).

Explore some of the can't-miss things to do in Philadelphia and the Countryside...