When you think of Philadelphia there are many things that come to mind, the Liberty Bell, Benjamin Franklin, Independence Hall, the Fresh Prince etc.
Yes, Philly isn’t without its history both old and new, and with that comes many places to visit. Here are our top 5 historic landmarks, without any obvious Rocky mentions.
- Magic Gardens
If you want to get a true insight into the modern history of Philly, then head over to South Street. Back in the 60s and 70s this was their equivalent of New York’s East Village, and today its previous life as a bohemian refuge is showcased by the sparkling mosaics of Isaiah Zagar. But it’s the Magic Gardens which truly encapsulate this areas unique former life; an old lot that was converted by Zagar into a multi-level expression of art, completely covered in his dazzling trademark ceramics.
- Mutter Museum
An eclectic history all under one roof, this is a museum of its own calibre and certainly showcases many items you definitely won’t see in your run-of-the-mill museum. This trip into history may not showcase typical Philly history, but it has history in abundance nonetheless. Marvel as you observe pieces of Einstein’s brain, a nine-foot colon, the Hyrtl skull collection and the shared liver of the original conjoined twins Chang and Eng, amongst many other unusual artefacts.
- East State Penitentiary
Sitting in an otherwise quiet neighbourhood is the hulking estate/castle hybrid that once housed many, many criminals back in the day. Yes, the eerie presence of the Eastern State Penitentiary is a stark reminder of how Benjamin Franklin wanted to reform criminals through isolation following the revolution. Built in 1829, you can now wander the creepy hallways of this spooky prison on an audio tour narrated by Steve Buscemi. Such is its spine-chilling presence; the site becomes an enormous haunted house attraction every autumn.
- Christ Church & Christ Church Burial Ground
Founded way back in 1695, this is a fantastic place to explore Colonial and Revolution era history. Across the centuries many of America’s leaders have come here to worship, just imagine the feet that have walked through this place. Alongside this many leaders have also been buried here. In the burial grounds you’ll find the tomb of Benjamin Franklin, and four other signers of the Declaration of Independence are buried here. You can also take tours of the graveyard and receive talks on the church’s history most days.
- Elfreth’s Alley
This one’s a little bit different to the others on our list, but in Philadelphia you’ll find America’s oldest residential street, and that’s Elfreth’s Alley. Here you’ll find a museum and several historic houses; many of which are still used as private homes. Every year the street hosts its annual Fete Day, which dates back to the 1930s, giving you the opportunity to glimpse inside 13 18th century homes, whilst enjoying music, food, crafts and colonial games.
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