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Review of Philadelphia with Kids


I was born and raised in the Philadelphia area and I find it to be one of the most wonderful cities in the United States.  Philadelphia  is home to top sports teams,  the sympathy orchestra, live theater, celebrated architecture, wonderful restaurants, beautiful parks, luxury shopping, outstanding museums, Independence National Historical Park which includes the Liberty Bell Pavilion (home of the Liberty Bell), Independence Hall, (Where the Declaration of Independence was signed) and the Constitution Center (The worlds only museum devoted to the US Constitution). 

Philadelphia located in southeastern Pennsylvania, on the southern fringe of the mid-Atlantic region.  Philadelphia's neighborhoods are divided into large sections all of which surround Center City. Some interesting areas include Manayunk, Old City, Society Hill, South Philly, and Society Hill. There are four counties that made up the suburbs of Philadelphia: Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery and Chester.

Philadelphia is 1 1/2 hours from New York, 2 1/2 hours from Washington.  In addition, it is strategically located so that you are a short distance from Atlantic City, Baltimore, Washington D.C., New York City, Harrisburg, Hershey, Lancaster and  New Hope.   Philadelphia is a great destination for vacations especially with children; there is so much to experience that it is a "must" on your vacation wish list.  

Some Interesting Philadelphia Neighborhoods

City Center is the business, and financial sector of Philadelphia. It is also a prime location for entertainment, shopping, dining, cultural activities, historical sites, museums and residential living.  

Manayunk, located west of Center City, is a neighborhood that has over 70 restaurants, cafes, galleries, and unique boutiques. 

The Old City neighborhood is located in the center of Philadelphia's historic district.  This is where Benjamin Franklin once lived and the Declaration of Independence and our country's Constitution were written. Old City  is a short walk from downtown hotels has many galleries, shops, restaurants, and historical sites to visit. 

Society Hill is mostly a residential neighborhood where you will find the largest number of 18th century homes in the United States. 

South Philly is Philadelphia's "Little Italy".  It is a great place to find wonderful Italian foods; especially authentic Philadelphia cheese steaks from Pat's or

South Street is a unique area any time of day or night. It is an eclectic mix of businesses including fine restaurants, unique boutiques, bookstores, tattoo parlors, and fortune tellers.

Philadelphia Tours

There are many tours designed  to provide you with the best possible views of Philadelphia's attractions, neighborhoods and places of interest.

The Duck tours are terrific and are one of my favorite tours.  You will go on a guided historic tour around the city and then proceed up a ramp splash into the Delaware River at Penn's Landing for a short boat ride.   Lots of fun for kids of all ages!

Philadelphia Trolley Works offers daily sightseeing tours of Philadelphia on Victorian Trolleys, Double Decker Buses and Horse Drawn Carriages. Trained staff will enlighten and entertain you with historical tales, cultural highlights and entertaining stories.


Are you looking for shopping? The King of Prussia shopping center located about 35 minutes from center city, features more than 300 famous department stores, and specialty shops. This is often a favorite destination for out of town guests. In addition, in center city Philadelphia you will find The Gallery at Market East, The Shops at Liberty Place, Jewelers' Row, South Street, and Rittenhouse Row where you will find all types of stores from chain stores to high end boutiques.

Enjoy the arts? 

For Art lovers the Philadelphia Museum of Art with its renowned collections, and  acclaimed special exhibitions, is the city's major at museum.  Little boys will love the Arms & Armor gallery, filled with shiny medieval armor, swords, firearms, shields, and equestrian equipment. In addition, it features those famous steps made popular by the Rocky movies where Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) ran up during training. 

In addition, Philadelphia is home to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Rodin Museum, which contains the largest collection of work by Auguste Rodin outside of France.

Avenue of the Arts in section of Center City that contains many of the city's esteemed concert halls and theaters including the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, home to the Philadelphia Orchestra,  the Academy of Music, home to the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Merriam Theatre and the Wilma Theatre.  Interspersed amongst the theaters you will find some wonderful restaurants, galleries and museums such as the Fabric Workshop Museum and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Animal Lover Sites

Philadelphia Zoo, which is the oldest zoo in America, is a great place for kids of all ages with over 1300 animals to visit.  You will enjoy seeing Giraffes, penguins, Asiatic Black Bear, Cheetahs, Otters, Polar Bears, African Lions, Gorillas, assorted reptiles and more. It is located in Fairmont Park which is about a 20 -25 minute ride from center city Philadelphia. The Amazon Rainforest Carousel, Camel Rides, ZooBalloon, Pony Rides, PZExpress Train Ride, and the Swan Boats are sure to be a hit with your children as well. The zoo is quite large so the entire day can be spent here if desired.


The New Jersey Aquarium is located just 5 miles from Philadelphia, at the Camden waterfront.  It is accessible by ferry at Penn's Landing, Philadelphia waterfront. This terrific aquarium offers exhibits like Penguin Island, The West African River Rainforest Rendezvous , Creature Feature, Touch-a-Shark and more. Some of the features have extra charges in addition to the admission price.

Sporting Events

If you are looking for a sporting event to attend you have a variety to pick from depending on the season. Philadelphia is home of the pro football team the Philadelphia Eagles, The pro ice hockey team the Philadelphia Flyers; the pro Basketball team the 76ers and the 2008 World Champion pro baseball team the Philadelphia Phillies.   In addition, you will find Kixx Arena Soccer games; The Wings Lacrosse team and Arena football games featuring Jon Bon Jovi's Philly Soul; Coming in 2010 Philadelphia Independence Women's soccer and Philadelphia Union soccer

Philadelphia with Families

Philadelphia is a fantastic vacation destination for families. There are many attractions, sites and historical landmarks throughout Philadelphia that are great for children.  Some of the more popular ones include the Liberty Bell, Constitution Center, Independence Hall, Elfreth's Alley and Ben Franklin's home. In addition, animal lovers will enjoy the Philadelphia Zoo, and New Jersey Aquarium. Museums which will provide wonder and amazement for children of all ages include: Please Touch Museum, Franklin Institute, and Academy of Natural Sciences

Some Historical Sites to See:

  • A trip to Philadelphia must include Independence National Historic Park.  This is located in center city Philadelphia and is the home of the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the US Constitution Center.  Things are close together so you can park at the US Constitution Center and walk around to the other sites. While you are walking around the historic area, you may encounter Philadelphia's most famous citizen, Benjamin Franklin. Many of Philadelphia's historical attractions are free including Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Christ Church, Elfreth's Alley, Franklin Court, and the Edgar Allen Poe House.


  • Franklin Court is a short walk from the Independence National park and is the site where Benjamin Franklin's home once stood.  A wonderful museum featuring many of his inventions and his printing shop reside at this site.  Franklin Court is located at 316-322 Market Street between 3rd and 4th Street.

  • Christ Church is one of America's most historic churches. The church was built between 1727 and 1754 and its burial ground is the resting place of many famous individuals including Benjamin Franklin, and five signers of the Declaration of Independence. It is located on 2nd Street above Market Street in center city Philadelphia.

  • Betsy Ross House is where Betsy Ross and her husband John lived from 1773-1786. They rented it and ran their upholstery business out of the house. It was at this site that Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag. Betsy Ross House is located at 239 Arch Street (between Second and Third Streets) in center city Philadelphia.

  • Elfreth's Alley is a National Historic Landmark. It is the oldest continually inhabited street in the United with some of the 33 houses dating back to 1702. Guided tours are available and it is located between Arch and Race Streets just off Second Street in center city Philadelphia.

  • Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site- This is the only surviving residence in Philadelphia of the popular poet, writer and editor Edgar Allan Poe. On-site activities for children include exploring a traveling trunk containing 19th century clothing, solving puzzles and finding hidden clues throughout the exhibits and Poe's home. Be sure to ask for a Junior Ranger Activity booklet or download it prior to your visit at

  • Please Touch Museum is designed for children 7 and under.  It is filled with wonderful interactive, intellectually stimulating exhibits, workshops, and activities designed to encourage children to learn and to keep them amused for hours.  It is located at 210 N. 21st St. Philadelphia.

  • The Franklin Institute is an awesome museum that has something for everyone and is fun for the entire family. There is so much to see that you can spend the entire day at the museum. The Imax theater always has great features that the kids will enjoy. The Fels' Planetarium is the oldest in the country, but it has the most up to date equipment available. The world's largest  thumping artificial heart, that you walk through, was always a hit with my kids. In addition, there is an interactive sports area that is quite enjoyable. The main exhibits change all of the time so you will need to check to see what is offered when you plan your trip. This museum is also located in center city Philadelphia at 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

  • Academy of Natural Sciences was always a favorite for my son.  Children will love the Egyptian Mummies, Dinosaur Hall, Live Butterflies, Captain Cook's Cannon,  Science at the Academy, What Eats What and more. This museum  is located at 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway Philadelphia.
  • Blue Cross River Rink. If you are visiting in the winter then you should consider ice skating at Philadelphia's outdoor skating rink. The Blue Cross River Rink is located at Penn's Landing, Columbus Boulevard at Market Street.  It is sure to be fun for the whole family.

Enjoy Your Trip


Directions to Philadelphia

From the South

  • Take I-95 North. Follow the signs for "Central Phila./I-676" (Exit 22).

  • Follow signs for Philadelphia/Independence Hall/Callowhill Streets. Keep right at the fork in the ramp.

  • Stay straight to Callowhill St. Turn left onto N. 6th Street.

  • The Visitor Center parking facility is directly beneath the building on your left on 6th Street.

From the North

There are two options: NJ Turnpike or I-95:

Via the NJ Turnpike:

  • Take the NJ Turnpike to Exit 4.

  • Take Rt. 73 north to Rt. 38 west to US 30.

  • Take US 30 west over the Ben Franklin Bridge to I-676. Follow the signs for local traffic (this is Vine Street).

  • Turn right onto 7th Street. Turn slight right. Turn slight right onto 6th Street. Turn left onto Market Street.

Via I-95:

  • Take I-95 South. Follow the signs for "Central Phila./I-676" (Exit 22).

  • Follow signs for Philadelphia/Independence Hall/Callowhill Streets. Keep right at the fork in the ramp.

  • Stay straight to Callowhill St. Turn left onto N. 6th Street.

  • The Visitor Center parking facility is directly beneath the building on your left on 6th Street.

From the West

  • Take I-76 ( Pennsylvania Turnpike) to the Valley Forge Exit (Exit 326).

  • Follow signs to Philadelphia I-76 East (Schuylkill Expressway).

  • Remain on I-76 East (Schuylkill Expressway) for about 25 miles until you see signs for Central Philadelphia (Exit 344)

  • Continue on 676 East ( Vine Street Expressway) to the 8th Street Exit. Make a right onto 8th Street.

  • Then make a left onto Race Street and a right on 6th Street.

  • The Visitor Center parking facility is directly beneath the building on your left on 6th Street.

From the East

  • Take Atlantic City Expressway to 42 North.

  • Follow 42 North to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge (Rt. 676), crossing into Philadelphia.

  • Follow the signs for local traffic (this is Vine Street).

  • Turn right onto 7th Street. Turn slight right. Turn slight right onto 6th Street.

  • The parking Visitor Center facility is directly beneath the building on your left on 6th Street.


Franklin Court Museum

Franklin Court Museum Print Shop


Constitution Center