This past memorial day weekend, I surprised my boyfriend with tickets to see Hall & Oates and Tears for Fears at Philadelphia’s first annual Hoagie Nation Festival at the Festival Pier! While we were there, we explored a lot… so I decided to put together a list of things to do in Philadelphia! Philly is the perfect city for a weekend getaway.
So, here are my top 6 things to do in Philadelphia!
Before you read on, I just want to mention that this was not the first time I’ve traveled to Philly, so some things like visiting the Liberty Bell and other museums are not on this list. I whole heartedly recommend checking out what we did below, and also researching other things in the area if this is your first time traveling to the city.
1. See if there are any festivals, or concerts taking place at Festival Pier in Penn’s Landing
Our trip was planned around the Hoagie Nation Festival at Festival Pier. Festival Pier is a fun venue right on the water. Every ticket purchased is a general admission ticket which gives you the opportunity to sit pretty much any where you want in relation to the stage. We got great seats for Tears for Fears. These seats at any other venue would have cost hundreds of dollars, if not more – but we got them for a very reasonable price. This surprise was a huge success, my boyfriend was ecstatic!
For this festival specifically, the venue had 3 stages. Tears for Fears and Hall & Oates preformed at two separate stages one after the other. Unfortunately this made it difficult to get as great seats for Hall & Oates as we did with Tears for Fears. But Festival Pier did have a screen up for Hall & Oates broadcasting the performance in another area of the venue for people to watch and get a better view.
Oh…I almost forgot, the food!!! The venue was filled with incredible food trucks and booths where you can purchase all the food and drinks your heart desires. The food truck prices were reasonable, and the drinks… well they were pretty pricey, but that’s expected at any venue. So, come prepared to spend money.
2. Go for a free tour at the historic Public Library
Philadelphia itself has a lot of historic sites, museums, and figures throughout. One of the very first things we did when we arrived was walk through the city center where we made our way to the Public Library. Since I was too mesmerized by the history and architecture of the building, I forgot to snap a picture of it to share with you all… sorry!!
When we came across the library we saw a sign advertising for a free tour, and thought… why not?! It seemed that they run these tours daily so if you’re in the area, be sure to check out what time the tour will be running so you can tag along.
The tour itself was about an hour long. Our guide took us through each room in the Library and explained the historical significance behind it, along with the history of the architects and founder of the public library system itself. I don’t want to give all the information away, but if you’re a book or history lover, this tour is perfect for you.
3. Visit JFK Plaza… aka Love Park
JFK Plaza, also known as Love Park is a HUGE tourist site/park in the city. It’s where the famous “LOVE” sculpture is where people from all over go to take pictures. Unfortunately, the park was under construction when we went this time around which was a huge disappointment. I have vivid memories of visiting it a few times in the past and it being beautiful and relaxing.
I am not sure why they are redesigning the park since I thought it was beautiful the way it was. For a while, they had moved the sign to another park for visitors to see, however this past year they took it down to be refurbished. But if you’re in town after the construction is complete and the sculpture is back up, you should definitely plan to visit.
Lucky for us, as we were exploring the area we came across the “Amor” sculpture and took a picture there. So, if you travel to Philly while Love Park is under construction, keep an eye out for it’s alternative.
4. See the Chinese Lanterns in Franklin Square
If you happen to be in town from May 9th – June 11th this year, be sure to stop by the historical district and take a stroll through Franklin Square! During this time, the Chinese Lantern Festival illuminates the park with nearly 30 hand crafted Chinese lanterns! We went during the day time, however we could only imagine how beautiful the park must look all lit up at night. Here are some pictures… although they don’t really do the park justice!
5. Learn about the Constitution at the National Constitution Center
As written on their site, the National Constitution Center is “The first and only institution in America established by Congress to ‘disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a non-partisan basis in order to increase the awareness and understanding of the Constitution among the American people.'”
If you are not familiar with the US constitution, want to freshen up your knowledge, or you’re simply a history buff; this interactive and informative museum is perfect for you. I know they offer tours for those that are interested, however, we decided to walk through the museum on our own. It took about an hour and a half total to go through the exhibits. What better way to celebrate memorial day weekend than with a trip to the National Constitution Center?
6. Eat your body weight at the Redding Terminal Market
Okay so I was not able to snap any pics of the market but trust me on this, if you’re in Philly… you must must must visit the Redding Terminal Market. If you’re a foodie like me, love to eat, or really just a human being, you need to go here! We stopped by the market for lunch on both days of our trip. It is energetic, loud, and filled with incredibly delicious cuisines. I’ve been to Philly 3 times before, and this was my first time at the market… why? I couldn’t tell ya. But trust me on this, visit the market.
I hope you enjoyed my ‘things to do in Philadelphia’ list! Have you traveled to Philly before? Comment below with your favorite memories!