One of Philadelphia’s most prominent claims to fame is its place in the earliest parts of American history. Today, visitors of Philly can experience the birthplace of the nation, walk cobblestone streets in the original heart of the city, and check out the rooms where the Founding Fathers adopted the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Guests to the Historic District get more than just history lessons, as the area is also home to premier restaurants, beer gardens, boutiques, and art galleries.
Here’s what to check out around the district:
THE HISTORY IN HISTORIC
These iconic sites are must-visits when in the area, where the faded red brick and quaint cobblestone streets evoke a different time. Here are some of our favorite history-related spots to head to:
One of the most recognized pieces of American history, the Liberty Bell is housed in a small museum that details its story. Floor-to-ceiling glass panes behind the instrument reveal nearby Independence Hall.
Take a tour of this UNESCO World Heritage site, and see the inkstand used to sign the Declaration and George Washington’s “rising sun” chair.
Learn about the origins of the American flag as an actress re-enacting Betsy Ross greets guests in her interactive 18th Century upholstery shop.
The three main attractions at this museum take an educational look at the nation’s most-famous document. Check out a multimedia theatrical production, an interactive exhibit full of photos, films, and artifacts, and Singer’s Hall, where 42 life-size bronze statues of the Founding Fathers reside.
Guests can dine as Benjamin Franklin and George Washington did at this restaurant that recreates the food, drink, and ambiance of the late 18th Century. The haute cuisine, costumed waitstaff, and Colonial-era decor create an authentic and entertaining atmosphere.
WHERE TO EAT
Spanning Society Hill and the Old City neighborhoods of Philly, the historic area of the city is also home to dozens of top-notch eateries. Whether you’re looking for a spot to grab lunch before hitting the sites, or you need a good place for dinner after a day of sightseeing, these are some of our top picks:
Enjoy creative comfort food any time of the at this rustic, casual New American neighborhood favorite. Egg sandwiches and sweet and savory pastries highlight breakfast, sandwiches on artisan bread make lunch a treat, and an elegant but casual dinner featuring pastas dishes and a variety of family-style plates is always a good choice.
For a more sophisticated evening, head to the French brasserie in the FringeArts building. The Industrial chic vibe of the aged warehouse, paired with waterfront views, make for relaxed atmosphere. Be sure to indulge in the macaroni gratin, braised lamb shank, and expertly crafted cocktails.
If you’re in the mood for a slice, head to Capofitto for Neapolitan-style pizza baked in a wood-fired oven. Head in on weekend for a brunch with pasta, eggs, and pizza.
Amada is Chef Jose Garces’ inaugural restaurant in Philly and was one of the first to start serving tapas in town. Try the large Spanish-style plates like roasted pig and lobster paella.
MORE THAN THE TOURIST STOPS
When you’ve had your fill of the more touristy locales, there’s still plenty to do around historic Philly. Hit these spots for beer gardens, shopping, and other activities.
Head to the waterfront for eats, drinks, hammocks, and thousands of colorful lights at this relaxing and cool beer garden on the Delaware River. Check out our guide to the waterfront here.
This park offers a Philly-themed miniature golf course, a historic carousel, and burgers and shakes.
Over 40 beers on tap, a menu with a variety of dishes and snacks, and board and lawn games make for a relaxed and entertaining atmosphere at this Philly favorite that’s just steps from Independence Mall and the Liberty Bell Center.
Image via Flickr