Philadelphia is a city where you could easily spend several weeks enjoying all the history, art, parks and amusements that the city has to offer. One day in Philadelphia is only going to be enough to whet your appetite. Depending on the weather, you may only be able to be outside for a limited amounts of time. These tips will give you some idea of things that might be of interest to you.
Let’s assume that you arrived last night and spent the night in the city. Good choices with this itinerary would be the Hilton Garden Inn or the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown both of which are near the Reading Terminal Market.
First, to maximize your one day in Philly, you should choose a Friday. There are certain things that are only available on that day. Plan to enjoy breakfast at the Reading Terminal Market where you can enjoy a sit down breakfast or just grab coffee and pastry and walk around.
City Hall has an elevator that takes you to the top of the building, right underneath William Penn’s feet. The views are amazing. Try to book this ahead of time to guarantee that you will get to go. Book a tour for 1pm.
If you are up for a good brisk walk after your breakfast, head down to the Independence Park Visitor Center. Try to get there early because if you do, you can get on one of the House tours, the Visitor Center opens at 8:30am. There are two tours daily one at 11am and one at 2pm and only 10 people are allowed per tour. What you will visit are the Todd House and the Bishop White House. The Todd house is of particular interest since Dolly Madison was Dolly Todd in her first marriage to lawyer John Todd. This is their house.
Independence Hall is also visited on a timed ticket. If you wait for the day you want to visit and get them from the Visitor Center they are free. However, if you want to guarantee your time and tickets you can pay $1.50 each and order them on-line. It is so worth it. Let assume you have 9:30am tickets to Independence Hall. Walk over and get in the line after you sign up for the House Tour.
If you are not alone, while you are waiting for your tour to begin go in and visit the Philosophical Hall. The others in your party can hold your place in line. This is a very interesting building with some very unusual displays and well worth taking a few minutes to breeze through. Former members include Thomas Edison and Madam Curie.
After your tour go to the Todd House and wait for your guide to come and show you around. If you have any time in between you may want to take a quick spin through the Portrait Gallery of the Second National Bank. This is a who’s who of the Revolutionary War Period.
Head toward City Hall and get ready for your trip up to the top of the world. Follow the red lines on the floor to your destination. Enjoy stunning views all the way from the Seaport to the Art Museum.
Head back down to Old City, stop for a quick lunch, one place that is really interesting, historic and has lots of good food choices in the Bourse, Another historic option is City Tavern.
After lunch a good choice would be a visit to the The National Constitution Center. Buy your ticket to the show “We the People” which runs twice every hour and then go to the Hall of Signers. You can meet all the people who signed the Constitution while you are waiting. After you watch the show you can visit the exhibit area which is packed with interesting information. They have a cafe so if you haven’t eaten yet you can grab a bite here.
When you are finished go out to Market St. and visit the Liberty Bell Pavilion. When you are finished catch the Phlash bus to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The reason Friday is the best day is the Museum is open until 8:45pm. Not only can you tour the museum but they have an excellent restaurant where you can have dinner.
It is now 8:45pm and time to head back to your hotel or to your car. You have had a full day of experiences and enough memories to last a life time. It is hoped that this visit would just whet your appetite for many more such excursions. Just imagine what you could do if you had two, three or even four days.
One Day Super Schedule:
8:00am-Breakfast at Reading Terminal Market
9:00am-Be at the Visitor Center to get tickets
9:30am-Tour Independence Hall with the tickets you ordered before you arrived
11:00am-Tour the Todd and Bishop White Homes
12:30am-Arrive at City Hall and begin your ascent
1:30-Take a lunch break – The Bourse or City Tavern
2:30pm-Visit the National Constitution Center
4:00pm-Walk back toward Independence Mall and visit the Liberty Bell
5:00pm-Hop on the Phlash and head for the Museum of Art
5:45pm Dinner at the Museum
7:00pm-tour the museum through closing at 8:45 Grab a cab back to your hotel or your car.
If this is just too much for you to do in a day skip the house tour and just go to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Pavilion. If you want to linger over lunch skip the National Constitution Center. Other options include the Betsy Ross House, The Franklin Institute and Penn’s Landing. Do a little research and find the things that you would love to do in your one day in Philadelphia. Chances are, you will want to return and spend a lot more time.