In 1790, Philadelphia was even declared the first capital of the United States. But the City of Brotherly Love offers a whole lot more than historical landmarks: it’s a vibrant metropolis teeming with sites to see, places to be, and areas to wine, dine and shop. It takes approximately seven hours to fly direct from Shannon Airport to Philadelphia. From there, the Airport Line rail service ($7) brings you downtown in around 25 minutes.
The endless array of
things to see and do in Pennsylvania’s largest city can be daunting for
the first-time tourist. So make the Independence Visitors’ Centre your
first stop – it’s full of knowledgeable staff who can help you plan your
The Philadelphia Museum of Art ($20), one of the largest
and most respected art museums in the States, is a firm favourite with
visitors. Though it houses works by Dali, Monet and Turner, it’s also
well known for the 72 stone steps leading up to its entrance, which were
immortalised in the movie Rocky.
For something a little bit
different, check out the Eastern State Penitentiary, one of America’s
oldest and most intimidating former prisons. The prison, which is said
to be haunted, hosts a ‘Terror behind the Walls’ tour during autumn.
Experience it if you’re brave enough!
Unlike most of the US, Philadelphia has no sales tax on clothing, so what better excuse to replenish your wardrobe? Bellevue, Broad and Walnut Street all offer a great variety of shopping options from high street to high-end. If you get peckish, you’ve got to try Philadelphia’s local delicacy, the Philly Cheesesteak – a long crusty roll packed with thinly sliced sautéed beef and topped with melted cheese. For the real deal, head to Pat’s – King of Steaks in the Italian Quarter. Its founder, Pat Olivieri, reportedly invented the steak sandwich in 1930.
Philadelphia is rated as one of the best walking cities in America, so many visitors choose to stroll from one attraction to the next. But if you forget to pack your walking shoes, never fear: Philly has an excellent transit system called SEPTA. For roughly $11 you can get a One-Day Independence Pass which gives you 24 hours of unlimited use.
If you’ve packed your itinerary with sites and attractions, then purchasing a Philadelphia Pass is probably a smart move. A three-day adult pass costs around $85, grants you free admission to over 30 attractions and comes with a guidebook and a detailed map.