A few weeks ago I went to Philadelphia to visit some friends I met when I studied in Chile. I spent five days in The City of Brotherly Love and I did a lot of exploring. Before you go experience Philly for yourself, be sure to check out these six things you need to add to your Philadelphia Bucket List!
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Although I did not have time to go inside and wait in big lines I did go see Independence Hall. I also saw the Liberty Bell. I didn’t wait in line to see it up close but I got some photos through a window and for me that was good enough. With only five days to spend in Philly I wanted to do as much as possible. Next time, though, I would really love to wait in the line and see the Bell up close. From the window you can’t see the historic crack through the centre.
One of the creepier things to do in Philadelphia is visiting the Mütter Museum. The museum is a section of bizarre and strange scientific discoveries found in hospital patients. It was founded in 1787 and is part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. You can explore and view everything from shrunken heads to brain tumours to an enlarged colon.
Another eerie sight to see is the world’s first penitentiary. I took part in an audio guided tour here alone and it was truly a one of a kind experience. The solitary confinement was created to instil real regret in the hearts of inmates. Here you get to see and hear how inmates lived and went mad in their small cells. The audio tour provides you with tales from real prisoners. You can even check out Al Capone’s cell. Or, if you’re up for it, you can go check out the Penitentiary on Halloween. Each year it gets turned into a giant haunted house for the occasion. Talk about creepy.
Philly’s Magic Gardens are not to be missed! They are a collection of intricate mosaic murals, walls, stairs and tunnels built into a maze like garden. The work, created by Isaiah Zagar, was made during the late 60s when he started trying to beautify his neighbourhood. You can go visit the beautiful gardens to take a look around, attend a workshop or see a concert. It’s a very lively venue.
A lot of the friends I was visiting are from Philly and only one of them knew that you can kayak the Schuylkill.
The Schuylkill is a river that cuts right through the heart of the city. You can often view the river from any of the large bridges that connect the city overhead as you walk or drive about.
Kayaking the river, however, offers a completely different and beautiful perspective of the city. To start off on your kayaking adventure just head down to Bartram’s Community Garden Boathouse any summer Saturday for FREE kayaking between 11am and 3pm.
I was able to do this in November because a friend of a friend of mine volunteers at the Boathouse. If you’re from Philly and want to be able to kayak whenever you please go volunteer there!
I did a lot of really fun things in Philly. However I was only there for a few days and missed out on some things that I really need to go back for. My top three choices for the next time I visit are The Anthropology Museum, The Modern Art Museum and Love Park. Have you been to any of these places? Do you have any other recommendations? Leave a comment below!
April is the founder and main author for Just Leaving Footprints. She has written for numerous blogs and publications such as Explore Magazine and Snow Pak. April loves writing about sustainable tourism, and promoting other sustainable travelers on her Facebook Group and Instagram Community, Ladies Leaving Footprints. Currently, April is living and teaching English in Mexico City with her husband Arturo and they don’t plan on stopping their travels anytime soon.