We are a little biased toward Boston, as our hometown has an amazing amount of American history around every corner. However, Philadelphia is also a top contender for being one of the best historic cities on the east coast. There’s significant landmarks, attractions, classic Philadelphia hotels, and an old-world feel resonating through the destination unlike any other. Even if the kids think history is a snore, there’s plenty for everyone to see and do to make for a fantastic family vacation.
When You’re Looking to Learn
Although free, seeing the Liberty Bell and waiting in line for a couple hours will be a process. You could try very early in the morning, or simply walk to the side of the building, go past the line of people, and take a peek at the bell by a small glass window! In the same area is the Independence Hall, boasting a large clock and an iconic steeple. This is where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.
Next, visit the Betsy Ross House for a step back in history to Philadelphia’s colonial past. Kids can play a fun scavenger hunt at the home to keep them occupied. Some other options include the 3-D film called “Liberty 360” that takes you through fun facts about the city’s best landmarks and the Philadelphia Zoo, where budding zoologists can peer at some lions, jaguars, and zebras, to name a few.
When the Kiddos Get Antsy
You can only squeeze in so much educational and historical stuff before your little ones are going to start rolling their eyes. Luckily, there’s other things in Philadelphia that are purely for fun. If you still want to do traditional touring, try the Please Touch Museum. It is full of interactive exhibits for the younger crowd and offers live shows on-site. At the Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, the whole family can stroll through a botanical plot full of found objects and installations, which is free to visit for kids under 6 years old. Also, don’t forget to swing into the Comcast Center to check out their massive LED screen that plays fun, little shows and movie-clips throughout the day in the lobby.
When It’s Time to Eat
To grab a bite quick, head for the Reading Terminal Market. This bustling and fun hub is full of food vendors from all over the state — even several Amish and Mennonite sellers. Have the kids sample pretzels, shoofly pie, or homemade hotdogs. If your crew is jonesing for a cheesesteak, arguably one of the best places to go is Pat’s King of Steaks. Enjoy a funky dessert at the Lil’ Pop Shop, featuring fun stick-desserts in flavors like apple pie and mango sriracha. Families into something a little tamer cannot go wrong with Philly Flavors and its wide assortment of ice cream or the Capogiro Gelato Artisans.
Make your Philly trip unforgettable with a perfect mix of a little history, a little food, and a lot of old-fashioned fun.
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