Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

August / September 2008 : Philadelphia

Philadelphia lies roughly midway between New York City and Washington, DC - both cities that I have visited on multiple occasions. Yet it somehow managed to evade my attention as a destination for over twenty years, despite numerous transatlantic jaunts. (I lost count when the tally reached somewhere around the 20 mark! ) Philadelphia occupies the stretch of land between the Delaware River, across which it faces New Jersey, and the much smaller Schuylkill River. Although not the capital of Pennsylvania, it is the state's greatest city and was once capital of the United States. In fact, this is where the USA was born, as both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed here. In modern times, Philadelphia has featured in the Rocky films, and of course in the Tom Hanks movie that bears its name. The city is also well known as a centre of the arts.

As you can probably guess, I found it a fabulous destination and I can hardly believe that it's taken me all these years to finally get to know it.

Independence National Historical Park & District

The most historic section of the city centre, near the Delaware River, is very well preserved, much of it under the auspices of the excellent US National Parks Service. Modern additions to the National Park include the Liberty Bell Center, the Independence Visitor Center and the National Constitution Center. The most important building is Independence Hall, where both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed. Exploring the whole district can easily take the best part of a day, to do it properly.

City Hall to the Museum of Art : the Parkway

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is a majestic urban boulevard, running from the spectacular City Hall to the equally impressive Philadelphia Museum of Art. The route is lined with many imposing buildings and, in the grandeur of its design, it wouldn't look out of place in Paris or Madrid. The excellent Philadelphia Museum of Art has a 'pay what you want' day on Sundays and allows photography without flash.


Broad Street - Avenue of the Arts

I enjoyed a stroll along Broad Street in the morning sunshine of Labor Day. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to see inside the Kimmel Center, home of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Other Downtown sights

Other parts of the Downtown area offer some typical, but attractive, North American cityscape.


Philadelphia's flagship Macy's store is housed in one of the city's grandest old buildings, the Wanamaker Building. Containing the world's largest operational pipe organ, which was being played on Labor Day, it is a real cathedral of commerce!

Based at : Embassy Suites, Logan Square

Linked reports from this trip :-

Flight Log LH426