Though perhaps less heralded than its larger counterpart to the north, NYC, Philadelphia is no slouch as a summertime vacation destination. Chock full of history, boasting a great dining scene, and offering plenty of options for travelers with children, Philadelphia really should be atop your list of must-visit cities.
Of course, no trip to Philadelphia would be complete without a visit to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. But for the more intrepid traveler, your foray into this region of the city should also include a trip down South Street. This may not be the best option for those accompanied by kids, but if you’re in adult-only company, you’re sure to enjoy the streets’ vast array of shops, bars, and one of Philly’s best cheesesteaks at Jimmy’s.
For a more kid-friendly outing, one phenomenal option is to veer slightly off the beaten path, by heading out to Chestnut Hill’s ominously named Forbidden Drive. It’s a five-mile long carriage path in Wissahickon Valley Park, which runs parallel to the beautiful Wissahickon Creek, a pastoral and serene stream that feeds into Philly’s famous Schuylkill River. The park is shaded, closed to vehicular traffic, and surrounds the Valley Green Inn, a fantastic restaurant tucked into one of Philly’s most beautiful outdoor escapes.
Philadelphia’s museum scene has been forever immortalized by the training montage from Rocky II, in which Sylvester Stallone caps off a training run by sprinting up the steps of the gorgeous Philadelphia Museum of Art. That museum is certainly worth visiting for reasons having nothing to do with the fictional boxer. But in the summer, the museum takes its art to the streets — celebrating the city’s great history of mural art — through its “Inside Out” initiative. Large-scale replicas of some of the Museum’s most famous holdings are placed throughout the city, incorporated into the cityscape. You can make a day out of walking about town, sampling local restaurants, and tracking down the displays.
If you’re willing to venture a little outside Philadelphia’s city limits, the Brandywine Valley region is about an hour’s drive from Center City, but feels worlds removed from the bustling nearby urban environs. Longwood Gardens is a beautifully cultivated botanic garden, that hosts a wide variety of performances on top of offering some of the most spectacular displays of horticulture in the country. Definitely stick around after dark, as illuminated fountain shows are a mainstay here!
And for unbeatable sunset views, accompanied by a combination of great food (and cold drinks, age permitting), the seasonal Spruce Street Harbor Park city beach comes alive every summer. Featuring a boardwalk, colorful mood lighting, and –assuming you get there early enough– highly coveted hammocks, there’s a reason this warm weather hotspot has become a staple for Philly locals and visitors alike.
Indoor, outdoor; with kids or without; Philadelphia’s status as an under-the-radar vacation slam-drunk is surely not destined to be the case forever. If you want to take in all that the City of Brotherly Love has to offer, check out our Philadelphia programs and if you need us to tailor the perfect trip for you, don’t hesitate to contact us.