More than brotherly love in Philadelphia

Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, or simply Philly, was once the second largest city in the British Empire, which is something of an anomally given that Philly was first settled by the Dutch, who ousted the original inhabitants and then taken over by the Swedish before the British finally took control in 1664.

That potted story just means that Philadelphia has quite a deep and rich history, making Philadelphia one of the most interesting American cities to visit.

July 4, 1776 is one of the most important dates for Americans, and it was in Philadelphia that the Declaration of Independence was signed on that date.  The Independence National Historical Park is a 45 acre (18 hectare) park which is in the historic area of Philadelphia.

Located within the Park is Independence Hall on Chestnut Street where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were both debated and adopted.  Two smaller buildings, Old City Hall and Congress Hall adjoin the building on Independence Square and the Liberty Bell, which is the symbol of American Independence, which cracked the first time it was rung after its arrival in Pennsylvania, is located in a glass pavilion directly opposite.  

Most of the Independence National Historic Parks’ buildings and land are contained within a broad plaza called Independence Mall.  At one end of this mall is the National Constitution Center which seeks to expand knowledge about the importance of the American Constitution.

Also located within this area is Franklin Court the site of the home of Benjamin Franklin, and the house where Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag.

Another building which pays homage to Benjamin Franklin is the Franklin Institute and Science Museum.  The Franklin Institute’s original purpose was to honor Ben Franklin and advance the usefulness of his inventions. It has long since expanded to become one of the nation’s premier science museums. The Museum’s hands-on approach to science and technology, combined with the Fels Planetarium, make the Institute a popular spot. The Mandell Center, Tuttleman IMAX Theater, and Musser Theater have added greatly to the size and appeal of The Franklin Institute.

The theme of American patriotism is further enhanced by Philly’s tenth most popular attraction – the Rocky Statue which is located at the bottom of the stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Originally created for Rocky III, the sculpture is now a real-life monument to a celluloid hero. The fictional Rocky Balboa of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky movies was immortalised in bronze in 1980. After filming for the movie completed, Stallone donated the statue to the City of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is a modern city with its roots firmly set in America’s historical past, and as such it has much appeal for visitors.  As a destination for tourists it is easy to reach, and has a range of accommodation to suit any budget.  Getting around Philadelphia is easy.  The city was designed in colonial times, in a grid pattern, with 5 main squares or parks of open space.  Philly is considered one of the best walking cities in the US.  To make things even easier, colourful “Walk! Philadelphia” signs have been added throughout Center City for easier navigation.  For a quicker way of getting around try the Phlash which is a great alternative for sightseeing.  This purple hop-on, hop-off bus, makes 19 stops in a Center City loop – all for just $5 for a day pass or $2 per boarding, your choice.

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