The UNEXPECTED Philadelphia Trip

Philadelphia is known for its history and American tradition, but it’s also home to many sites and attractions that are anything but traditional.

Go off the beaten cobblestone to find hidden gems: some fascinating, some bizarre and all unique.

MORNING

National Liberty Museum photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

The National Liberty Museum, in Philadelphia’s historic district, reminds visitors that liberty is the factor that makes everything possible. The centerpiece of the museum is the Flame Gallery which features a 21-ft Flame of Liberty by renowned glass sculptor Dale Chihuly.

Photo courtesy of Bartram’s Garden.

Tucked away in a corner of Southwest Philadelphia, BARTRAM’S GARDEN is one of Philadelphia’s outdoor delights. The country’s oldest surviving botanical garden is home to a variety of species of native trees and flowers, and the beautiful grounds are the perfect place for a sunny morning  stroll. Adventurous visitors can satisfy their inner-Indiana Jones, unearthing a collection of nearly a million archaeological artifacts on display at the PENN MUSEUM. Highlights include the Queen Puabi’s Headdress, Taisong Horses, mummies and more. 

LUNCH

Photo courtesy of Distrito
Photo courtesy of Distrito.

Infused with the lively culture of Mexico City, DISTRITO is a hip cantina serving fresh takes on the country’s celebrated street fare. For a quick bite, grab a taco from the first-floor stand, or indulge in small plates in the second-floor dining space that’s decked out with more than 600 hanging Lucha Libre wrestling masks. Lucky diners can sit in a four-seat booth fashioned from an authentic VW Beetle. Take full advantage of Philadelphia’s vibrant beer culture by heading directly to the source at fantastic breweries like YARDS and LOVE CITY. In the summer months, outdoor pop-up beer gardens about across Philadelphia.

AFTERNOON

Edgar Allan Poe Mural photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

Admirers of mystical and haunting writing can see where one of America’s greatest horror writers penned his most iconic works at the EDGAR ALLAN POE HOUSE. Not for the squeamish, the MÜTTER MUSEUM displays some of science’s most fascinating discoveries about the human body. Skulls, the skeleton of the world’s tallest man next to that of the world’s shortest, and a set of drawers containing artifacts that human beings have actually swallowed, are just a few of the jaw-dropping items on display. Rumored to be haunted, and host to a frightening haunted house around Halloween, the now-defunct EASTERN STATE PENITENTIARY is a captivating experience. Visitors learn the storied history behind the penitentiary and its former inhabitants with an audio tour voiced by actor Steve Buscemi, getting an up-close look into the former cells of prisoners like Al Capone.

DINNER

Photo courtesy of the Moshulu.

Dine in style on the MOSHULU, a Tall Ship tethered to the shore at the Delaware River waterfront. It is the largest and oldest square-rigged sailing vessel still afloat, and the only restaurant venue of its kind in the world, offering a menu of innovative seafood dishes, prime cuts of steak and perfect wine pairings. TALULA’S GARDEN puts forth a wonderful menu of dishes prepared with farm-to-table ingredients, including artisanal cheeses, local honey and savory meat, fish and poultry entrees.

NIGHTLIFE

XFINITY LIVE! photo by R. Bloom for PHLCVB.

The innovative OPERA PHILADELPHIA performs onstage at the Academy of Music, the oldest opera house in America. It is a spectacular way to end any evening on a high note. Read more: Performing Arts in Philadelphia

Or, head to XFINITY LIVE!, the massive sports bar located in the Philadelphia Sports Complex, just steps from the three main stadiums in South Philadelphia. The perfect place to gather with fellow sports fans and enjoy an impressive selection of beers on tap and food from five different restaurants. Read More: Philadelphia’s Top Sports Bars

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