Heading to Philly for a solo trip? There are plenty of great spots in Philadelphia for the independent traveler to enjoy—and here are our top attractions.
One of the best places to get lost in Philly is in the world-famous Philadelphia Museum of Art. There are over 200 galleries to explore, and a plethora of paintings, sculptures, photography, drawings, and textiles span continents and millenial. Check out some of the special exhibitions that are occurring, and for more to do you can meander the immaculately-manicured museum grounds.
Get a birds-eye view (literally) of the City of Brotherly Love at the second tallest building in town. The One Liberty Place observation deck offers a 360° vantage point from the 57th floor; 883 feet about street level, spectacular, panoramic views of the city unfold down below. After you snap some pics, stop by the interactive listening stations and Ben Franklin art sculpture. Read more here.
3. Historic Philly
Philly isn’t called the Cradle of Liberty for nothing. Stop by Independence Hall to see where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and check out the nearby Liberty Bell while you’re there. If you have the time, wander the cobblestone side streets around Independence Mall where charming residential rows like Elfreth Alley are lined with understated, Georgian-style, brick row homes. Read more here.
Whether you’re looking for something to eat or just somewhere to explore, Reading Terminal is a perfect destination. Stalls and sections feature an impressively eclectic variety of goods and food all in one place. Try a roast pork sandwich from DiNic’s, pick up some Philly memorabilia, or people watch in the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmer’s market. Read more here.
Grab some coffee at the nearby La Colombe (which is the original outpost of the now national roaster) and meander to Rittenhouse Square Park. Among the towering trees and open grass is one of the best places in Philly to sit and enjoy some people watching. Take a seat on one of the park’s benches, and soak it all in.
This non-profit art museum and gallery space houses the innovative art of Isaiah Zagar. An outdoor art installation and indoor galleries feature art made from recycled materials like colorful handmade tiles, bicycle wheels, glass bottles, colorful handmade tiles, and glittering mirrors. There’s something to discover around every corner of this kaleidoscopic museum, and it’s the perfect space to spend some time solo.
This British-inspired tavern is all about comfort, and is the perfect place to enjoy a quiet meal. Craft beers and modern iterations of British comfort cuisine (think shepherd’s pie, risotto, and macaroni and cheese) make it a solid dining option, and the pubby setting and decor of the stately old Victorian house make for an all-around cozy visit.
Escape to the Wissahickon Valley Park, which is only ten miles from Center City and offers more than 50 miles of scenic marked trails for all experience levels. For challenging terrain and steep inclines, head to the White, Orange, and Yellow trails (which run between 4 and 8 miles). If you’re looking for a more leisurely wilderness adventure, take the gravel path on Forbidden Drive and enjoy views of bridges, trees, and the creek.
Federal donuts is one of our favorite spots for donuts in Philly, and it’s a good spot to duck into for a snack. The “old-fashioned,” heavy, cake-style dough makes every donut a delicious delight. Try options like a glazed with coffee powder, an apple cake with streusel crumbles, and the local favorite—strawberry lavender. Or get the only other menu item, fried chicken.
This traditional 17th century-style Japanese house and garden is in Philly’s West Fairmount Park. For a couple hours of serenity, take a tour of the house, feed the koi fish swirling in the pond under the weeping cherry tree, or stroll the tranquil garden landscape.