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11 Great Places to Visit in Philadelphia

Until I visited Philadelphia I had never registered that this is really where the United States of America happened.

The founding fathers met here, the Declaration of Independence was signed here, the first US Presidential Residence was here, and the first American Flag was created here (more of that to come)—there are firsts everywhere in Philadelphia.

And with those firsts come photo opportunities! Not only does Philadelphia supply a large number of did you-know-interesting-quirky stories for a good Instagram caption, but it also serves up art, food, views, and more to create a highly photogenic city.

1. Mural Arts Program

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Philadelphia has over 4,000 murals! That means it has more than anywhere else in the world. One of the highlights of my sightseeing in Philadelphia was the Mural Arts Program.

The Mural Arts program has been running for over 30 years and over 15,000 residents and visitors see this outdoor art gallery via their fantastic tours each year. The works in the Mural Arts Program are stunning.

2. All things Isaiah Zagar and his Magic Garden

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South Philadelphia is home to a different type of street art. Isaiah Zagar is a local award-winning mosaic artist who has works on over 200 public walls in Philadelphia. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Zagar started working on applying his art to public spaces in 1991.

What makes Isaiah Zagar’s work quite unique is its often three-dimensional format and the heavy use of mirrors and glass to throw light in interesting ways depending on the time of day.

3. The Skyline from Loews

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I shouldn’t really be writing about this one of the Philadelphia tourist attractions is meant only for paying guests. But once I went and saw it I couldn’t not mention it in a Philadelphia sightseeing post.

Loews Philadelphia Hotel is an upmarket property in the heart of Philadelphia. The 33rd floor at Loews Philadelphia Hotel offers a fantastic view of the city skyline and is best visited at sunset. There are several function rooms on the 33rd floor and a more general area.

4. Reading Terminal Market Philadelphia

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Established in 1893, Reading Terminal Market is America’s oldest continuously operated Farmers Market. It is one of the top tourist attractions in Philadelphia. From a pure photography point of view, there are quite a few great opportunities at Reading Terminal Market.

5. The Italian Market

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The Italian Market is an area rather than a classic covered market. The Italian Market area is 9th street between Christian Street and Washington Avenue. The area is filled with foodie businesses that have been passed down through the generations.

6. Penn Museum

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Penn is one of the best-known museums in Philadelphia. There are nearly a million archaeological artifacts on display at the Penn Museum.

The museum includes everything from the Bull-headed Lyre from 2450 BC Iraq, one of the earliest musical instruments in the world, to a crystal sphere from 19th century China.

7. The Rocky Stairs and Rocky Statue

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When it comes to things to do in West Philly you can’t miss paying homage to the Rocky movies. The infamous steps that Rocky runs up in the movie are the 72 steps outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a lovely building – but needs good light to be interesting enough for a good Instagram post. If you are travelling with someone or can find a trustworthy looking stranger the quintessential shot is to be running up the actual stairs.

8. Philadelphia Sculptures

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Philadelphia spends a lot on art – or it has a lot spent on art through required expenditure levels by developers. This means that quirky sculptures like a giant clothespin to figures of national historical significance. They do appear to be on most corners!

9. The Bourse

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The Bourse was the first commodities exchange market in America. It is now the home of a number of very tasty food outlets who serve at all times of the day. There are some cute insta friendly food stalls at The Bourse.

But for me, the highlight of this lesser-known of the tourist attractions Philadelphia is when you look up and see the brilliant use of glass and natural light.

10. The Oldest Street in America

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Elfreth’s Alley claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited residential street in America. Elfreth’s Alley is extremely cute and photogenic with its red brick buildings and colorful doors. It must drive the people who live here mad but I imagine that is offset by the improvement to their property prices!

Try to get to this well-known attraction in Philadelphia early to get the right light. A great way to see Elfreth’s Alley and find out more about the fascinating history of Philadelphia is by taking a tour.

11. The Liberty Bell

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The world-renowned symbol of American freedom, The Liberty Bell, is in the middle of Independence Square and free to visit. Try to go for some late afternoon light and catch Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence was signed) behind it.

Read More – Historical Landmarks in Philadelphia

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Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania. It has deep roots in US history. It’s where the most prominent early American leaders gathered to discuss important topics that would shape the nation. Here are 28 historical landmarks in Philadelphia

28 Historical Landmarks in Philadelphia

Top Attractions in Baltimore

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Baltimore Attractions: There are loads of fantastic things to do in Baltimore! From the Sherwood Gardens to Pierces Park to the Paper Moon Diner and much more in my post

10 Top Baltimore Attractions

Historical Places in New York

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One of the world’s most exciting cities, New York is known for its iconic skyscrapers, exclusive stores, and Broadway bonanzas. Here are 19 historical places in New York you’ll love

19 Historical Places in New York

Most Beautiful Places in NYC

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New York is a diverse city with culture, history and beauty to boot. But where are the most beautiful places in New York City? Here are 21

21 Most Beautiful Places in NYC

New York Off the Beaten Path

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Nearly 70 million people visit the Big Apple every year, and those who are here as tourists often visit the iconic landmarks. But what about the New York off the beaten path attractions? Here are 39 of the best

39 New York Off the Beaten Path

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