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USATourist News Magazine

February 2008 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In this issue:

Welcome to the February 2008 edition of USATourist News Magazine. This month we are visiting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "Philly" is a town of history, cheesesteaks, and Rocky Balboa; today we're going to tell you where to find it all. Philadelphia is within driving distance of New York City, Washington DC, and Atlantic City. Visit our Northeastern Driving Tour page if you are looking for a suggestion on how to "see it all" in that region.

Famous historic spots

Independence Hall

Independence Hall Photo by Paul Bencivengo

Philadelphia is one of the nation's oldest cities and is therefore overflowing with historic attractions. Most entry fees are free or very inexpensive and are in close proximity to each other. Some of the historic district highlights include:

The Betsy Ross House, where legend has it that the first American Flag was sewn by Betsy Ross, is located at 239 Arch Street. Visitors learn about the 250 years old house as well as the tragedy-filled life of Betsy Ross. ($3 adults/$2 children)

Independence Hall, built between 1732 and 1756, was used as the State House of the Province of Pennsylvania. The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed here. Access to Independence Hall is free with timed and dated tickets (March 1 to December 31) picked up the day of entry. If you prefer to reserve tickets you may at $1.50 each.

The Liberty Bell Center is one of the most visited attractions in the area. The 2000 pound (907 kg) bell has not been rung since it cracked at an 1846 George Washington birthday celebration. There is no entry fee.

The Christ Church Burial Ground is a colonial and revolutionary burial ground located across from the Independence Visitor Center. Many historical figures are buried here including inventor-scientist-statesman Benjamin Franklin. Twenty minute walking tours are offered through out the day. ($2/adults)

Philly's attractions don't stop with these few. Here is a list of many other historic sites and attractions.

Philly Cheesesteak

Philly Cheesesteak Photo by Edward Savaria, Jr.

The Philly Cheesesteak

A trip to Philadelphia is not complete without a genuine Philly cheesesteak. The original cheesesteak was created in 1930 by Pat Olivieri. Today Pat's King of Steaks shop is located in the original location, the intersection of Ninth Street and Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia. Across the street is Geno's, another popular and equally delicious, cheesesteak emporium. Both shops are open 24 hours a day and don't be surprised if you see a line out the door in the wee hours of the morning after the bars close.


One of Philadelphia's unique features is the popularity of bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) at local restaurants. Most BYOB locations do not have a liquor license, meaning they do not serve alcohol. Some restaurants do serve alcohol, but they still designate certain days of the week to allow patrons to bring in their own alcoholic beverage.

The option of BYOB saves a big portion on your bill if you are a drinker. The Official Visitor Site for Greater Philadelphia has an Interactive BYOB Restaurant Map.

Rocky Balboa

Some visitors arrive in Philadelphia with one mission in mind: to reenact Rocky's run up the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the popular 1976 movie Rocky. If seeing some of Rocky's favorite Philly locations throughout the six Rocky films interests you, has a two-day Rocky's Legendary Philadelphia Weekend itinerary for Rocky Fans. Don't forget to pack your camera to snap a shot with the Rocky Statue at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art Photo by Edward Savaria, Jr.

Where to stay

Many hotels are within walking distance of the historic district which is only seven to eight miles from the Philadelphia International Airport. The Best Western Independence Park Hotel is only two blocks from Penn's Landing, Philadelphia's Waterfront, and has a complimentary breakfast, free weekday newspapers, and complimentary afternoon tea and cookies.

If you prefer to avoid the chain hotels the Penns View Hotel is family owned and located only a short jaunt from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

Best Western Philadelphia has 17 hotels in and around the city starting at $75/night.

More lodging options:

U.S. Travel Tip: Now that the holidays are over the lines at airport security are back to normal. Some airports have much longer security lines than others. Before traveling check the airport wait time on the Transportation Security Administration website.

Philadephia Tours and Travel Deals

Double Decker Bus Tour - Now you can experience the unique history and beauty of Philadelphia from the top of an authentic London double-decker bus. Open-top tours of the city offer the most spectacular views and entertaining live commentaries from fully-trained and friendly guides. See Philly at your own pace by hopping on and off at any of over 20 stops, or just sit back and soak in the history and the sunshine!

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell Photo by Anthony Sinagoga

Segway Tours - The latest craze to hit the world of tourism is Segway Human Transporters! You can effortlessly glide your way around the sights of Philadelphia, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Boathouse Row and Fairmount Park. The 2.5 - 3 hour escorted tour begins with a hands-on training session, ample time to become comfortable riding the Segway® HT. Tours of up to 9 gliders will launch from Eakin's Oval, just across the street from the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

MP3 Walking Tour - Listen to the AudioSteps MP3 commentary on your own player as you follow in the footsteps of Ben Franklin and his friends and explore the country's most historic streets. You'll visit Independence Hall, the world famous Liberty Bell, the Constitution Center, Betsy Ross's house, Society Hill, Penn's Landing, and much, much more. Taste candy from the country's oldest candy store and throw a penny on Mr. Franklin's grave for good luck.

Philadelphia Pass - Save money on the best attractions in Philadelphia! Full Admission to Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Penn's Landing, South Philly, Market Street and more. One price! One card! Free admission to over 25 top attractions in Philadelphia with the Philadelphia Card.

Visit our Philadelphia Tours page for even more options!

What's New at USATourist

We have a new page dedicated to Tijuana, Mexico, the border town located just south of San Diego. Be sure to stop by and read about this fun tourist destination.

We would like to welcome all of our new forum members. If you haven't visited the USATourist Forums please do so. We love hearing about your USA travels.

News Magazine Poll

Be sure to stop by the USATourist News Magazine Forum to answer this month's question: Do you rent a car when you travel?

New Contest

It's time for another contest. We have another Postcards from North America board game to give away to one lucky winner! This game will take you on a wild adventure across the United States. Visit top attractions from the National Parks to big cities with over 60 beautiful postcards included with the game. For more details, visit our Contest Entry Page.

Next month we are going to Tucson, Arizona. See you then!

Happy and Safe Travels!

Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair

All photos courtesy of Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau

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