What is Philadelphia Known For? – Things to Do in Philadelphia (PA)

What is Philadelphia known for? Philadelphia is famed for many incredible things.

The city is the fifth largest city in America and is located in the state of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia was originally referred to as Quaker City.

The city was originally occupied by the Native American Tribes, especially the Lenape group around 8000 B.C.

In the early 1600s, the Swedish, English and Dutch merchants identified it as a vital trading center and established trading posts in the valley area of Delaware.

In 1681, Charles II of England granted a charter to William Penn for what would become the Pennsylvania colony.

Subsequently, William Penn named it Philadelphia in tribute to the Quaker’s belief of love and patience.

What is Philadelphia known for?

This post will offer a detailed description of the famous landmarks, people and products the city is famed for.

The city of Philadelphia is considered by the Americans as the most prominent historical city in America.

The city boasts greatest historical events such as the place where the American Constitution was written and the city where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Willian Penn is at the heart of this history.

The city’s history dates back to 1682 when he arrived on a boat on the Delaware River and named the city Philadelphia.

Today, Philadelphia is an ultra-modern city filled with modern conveniences and one of the most amazing cities in the world with some of the best street art you will ever come across around the world.

Despite all these modern conveniences, the city has preserved its history.

The city is known for its numerous museums and art galleries.

Colonial architecture has been preserved over the centuries and they lay scattered across the city.

Below are some of the things Philadelphia is known for.

Things Philadelphia Known For

The City’s Name and its Construction Height Restrictions

What is Philadelphia Known For?

The word Philadelphia was coined from two Greek words namely Phileo and Adelphos.

Phileo means love and Adelphos means brother.

This name led to its nickname the City of Brotherly Love.

William Penn’s statue, who is referred to as the city’s founding father, stands distinctively upon the city hall.

Since its construction and years that followed, no building was allowed to tower over his hat.

However, this changed recently in 1986 when the authorities allowed the construction of the Liberty Place Skyscraper.

Now you can have a 360 degrees bird’s eye view of the whole Philadelphia from the 57th floor of the One Liberty Observation Building.

If you are planning to visit the city, do not miss making a stopover at this observation point.

Each floor of this skyscraper has displays themed differently and uniquely.

What is Philadelphia Known for Historically?

Historically, Philadelphia is famed for its nation building events and activities that took place there in the past.

These activities have made the city to be honored as a UNESCO World Heritage city, making it the only city in America with such honor.

Located in the heart of Philadelphia, the Independence National Park is famed for being the place where all these historical events took place.

It is at this park that the American Constitution was developed and independence declared and signed.

The park hosts the Carpenter’s Hall, the Liberty Bell Center, the Independence Hall and the Benjamin Franklin Museum.

Independence Hall

What is Philadelphia Known For?

The Declaration of Independence of America was signed at the Independence Hall in 1776.

Additionally, the constitution of the United States of America was written, discussed and signed in 1787.

The Liberty Bell was first situated at the Independence Hall before being moved to its current location across the street.

Originally, the building was known as the Philadelphia State Building and the Independence House had interactive museum displays.

These displays narrate the story on how the nation grew from a mere British colony to the current Mighty United States of America.

Liberty Bell

What is Philadelphia Known For?

The Liberty Bell, which was cast by the French, is an iconic symbol of American liberty.

It was once regarded as a valuable symbol of the civil rights movement, supporters of the Declaration of Independence, women’s suffrage, and anti-slavery activists.

The bell has an inscription on it. “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land to All the Inhabitants Thereof,” it says.

It chimed on January 8, 1776, to summon Philadelphia residents to hear the first recital of the Declaration of Independence.

The bell is never rung nowadays because it developed a crack when it was first rung.

A second crack developed, and the crack now runs down the majority of one side of the bell.

Iconic Places that Philadelphia is Known For? 

There are numerous places to visit and things to do in this great city. Here are a few.

Philadelphia Parklands

What is Philadelphia Known For?

The design of Philadelphia by William Penn ensured that the inhabitants of the city have enough green spaces.

The design had five squares that were to be designated as parks.

Rittenhouse Square

What is Philadelphia Known For?

Of all the five squares, Rittenhouse square is by far the most beautiful.

The square has a summer fountain, manicured gardens and plenty of sitting spaces for families and visitors to enjoy the surrounding environment.

The park is located in one of the best restaurant districts in the city, and the streets that surround it are lined with high-end shops.

Fairmount Park

The Fairmount Park located at the heart of the city covers an area of approximately 2000 acres.

It has biking and hiking trails in addition to ancient mansions, a Japanese garden, a Boathouse Row and the oldest zoo in America.

Apart from hiking and biking through the park, you can take a guided trail run or outdoor yoga classes for a small fee.

There are bikes for hire in case you do not have one.

Rocky Balboa and the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Rocky Balboa is a Philadelphia hero. On the grounds of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a statue of the film character stands proudly.

Visitors to the city make a point of running up the “Rocky Steps” in the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to celebrate their victory.

The Museum of Arts is a place you do not want to miss visiting.

The place has a large collection of impressionist art that includes works by Picasso, Renoir, Monet and Van Gogh.

In addition, the museum has a collection of photos, sculptures and textiles.

Structural exhibitions include a Chinese Palace Hall, a 16th century Indian Temple and a Japanese teahouse.

The building itself is a work of art and was built in 1876.

Things to Do in Philadelphia (PA) – Unusual Museums in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is known for its fair share of museums due to the fact that many historical events took place here.

Other museums in the city include Rodin Museum, Barnes Museum, the Franklin Institute, Penn Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art among others.

Additionally, other unusual museums located within the city include:

Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia

The Mutter Museum was established in 1958 with a handful of donated specimens as its first collection and is housed in the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

Over the years, its collection has grown immensely to about 25,000 specimens that are housed within the two stories of the museum.

The collection of this unique museum includes wax models, medical instruments and specimens.

The faint-hearted and those that do not have an adventurous spirit will find it unusual visiting this museum.

Interestingly, part of the collection are human organs and the displays have unique amputation instruments dating back to the Civil War.

Al Capone’s Cell in the Eastern State Penitentiary

Al Capone was first incarcerated in the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia city.

It is in this facility that he spent seven months after being arrested in May 1929.

Over the years, the cell has been incorporated as part of the Eastern Penitentiary Museum and visitors are allowed to visit.

The cell is small and very comfortable.

The National Museum of American Jewish History

The National Museum of American Jewish History was established in 1976 as a small museum and underwent expansion in 2010.

Currently, the museum boasts three floors filled with Jewish memorabilia.

This unique museum has a collection of over 30,000 artifacts that narrate the story of the Jewish people since they first arrived in America in 1654.

A trip around the museum takes you through the past events and concludes with the famous Hall of Fame.

Things to Do in Philadelphia (PA)

Visit the Delaware River Waterfront

The Delaware River Waterfront has a number of piers and parks.

The design allows you to cycle your bike along the river or take a walk along the paths, take a bite of your favorite snack or food or stop by the beer shop and order your favorite drink.

Over the years, the city has undergone massive development to include beer gardens, outdoor areas and an outdoor ice skating and roller facility.

The Home of the Love Sculpture

The Love Sculpture is located in the John F. Kennedy Park which is popularly referred to as the Love Park.

The Iconic Love Sculpture was created by Robert Indiana in 1976.

In 2018, the sculpture was repainted injecting a new life into it.

During the same period, the garden was redesigned and a new water feature added to the city.

Other statues in the city are the Spanish Amor statue located at the Sister Cities Park that is a short walking distance away and one allocated on the University of Pennsylvania campus.

Head Over to the Reading Terminal Market

The Reading Terminal Market was established in 1982 and is America’s oldest market that is in operation up to now.

Located inside the National Historic Landmark Building, the market has a huge selection of meats, produce, confectionery, cheeses and seafood.

The original market underwent an expansion exercise leading to the birth of a number of restaurants from all corners of the world.

You won’t miss something to eat that has an amazing discount.

The Mummers’ Parade Ringing in the New Year

Every New Year in Philadelphia is marked with a glamorous activity.

For over a century, the New Year’s Day has had a Mummer’s Parade taking place on the streets of the city of brotherly love.

This day is marked by a number of activities.

Musicians and dancers dress in unique costumes and march down Broad Street while performing to the delight of viewers.

Each division of the Mummers plays a special assigned role.

The Wench and Comics Brigades satirize people, institutions and issues, the Fancies dress in amazing outfits, the String Bands systematically play different music instruments while the Fancy Brigades perform choreographed theatrical antics.

Every Mummer wants to win and clubs that belong to the New Year’s Association compete in different categories as listed above.

The parade traces its roots back to the Irish and UK Mummers’ Plays in the 17th century.

Amazing Street Art Displays

Philadelphia is a vibrant city with a vibrant art scene. Some call it the world’s mural capital.

Mural Arts Philadelphia has encouraged and promoted the growth of street art for many years.

The city also keeps more than 1% of its annual budget for street art on building structures financially backed by the local authority.

As a result, over 4,000 colorful artworks adorn the city’s walls.

Given the number of murals, there is always some artwork that is worth viewing.

Regular trolley buses provide street art tours throughout the city for art enthusiasts.

There really are areas such as the Magical Gardens, which have awesome artistic facades, and Plane in the Art District.

The Nostalgic Old City

Every city, including Philadelphia, has a historic district.

The Old City, located near the Delaware River, does indeed have a variety of cafeterias, boutique shops, and eateries, in addition to a number of historic buildings.

The country’s oldest residential street can be found here.

Elfreth’s Alley was established in 1702.

While you’re there, take a trip to the museum of the same name.

Christ’s Church, also in the neighborhood, has been in operation since 1695.

Its hallowed aisles have been graced by historical figures such as George Washington and Ben Franklin.

The Ninth Street Italian Market

The Italian market, America’s oldest outdoor market, is open throughout the year and is accessible for free.

The massive market has over 200 businesses and covers the entire twenty blocks.

It is teeming with vendors creating the most mouthwatering fragrances and flavors.

Baked goods, meat, cheese, fish, and fresh produce are available here.

Because Philadelphia does have a strong Italian heritage, Italian food is always available.

Remember that Philadelphia folks refer to pasta sauce as gravy.

Although this market remains active throughout the year, the month of May is the busiest of all.

Every weekend, the market transforms into Philadelphia’s largest block party.

The festival features music and dance performances. Local arts, crafts and other exhibitions are also available for purchase.

What is Philadelphia known for? Food

Yes, you read it right. Food. The city of brotherly love is famed for its incredible delicacies.

Rated among the best dining destinations, the city has a number of fine dining eateries.

The cuisine has greatly been influenced by the many immigrants who call Philadelphia home.

Italians, Germans, Dutch, Irish and South East Asian immigrants have all left an indelible mark on the city’s food culture and played a role that greatly influences the city’s cuisines.

Still, some foods are distinctively Philadelphian.

The Cheese Steak

Cheesesteak is one of the most famous foods in Philadelphia city.

Pat’s Steaks, owned by Pat Olivieri, invented cheesesteak in 1930.

This amazing sandwich is prepared using a long crispy bread roll filled with a thinly sliced porterhouse steak.

It is then finished with sweet pepper, fried onion and mushrooms.

The cheese loading is still a point of contention.

The decision between Cheez Whiz, American, and Provolone is still up in the air. Pat’s King of Steaks still serves Pat’s famous 1930s sandwich.

Geno’s Steaks, a little further down the street, provides stiff competition.

Every year, thousands of hungry people visit both establishments to have a bite of their favorite sandwich.


This breakfast delicacy is prepared through a combination of spices, cornmeal and pork.

This breakfast meal originated with the Philadelphia Dutch.

It’s available in cafes and on breakfast menus throughout the city.

The pork roll is another breakfast favorite. Thick slices of processed pork meat pair well with eggs for breakfast.

The Hoagie

Hoagie is one of the signature dishes in Philadelphia.

It consists of a crisp roll filled with piles of salad veggies, cheese and meat.

This dish is among the most delicious bites you can have in the city.

Philly Pretzels

The Philly Pretzel tastes differently from the Germany one.

The Germany one has a typical loop shape but the Philadelphia one is wound onto a figure of 8.

They are buttery and soft and initially originated from German tradition.

The Pork Roll

The steak roll is another popular food in Philadelphia and if you happen to visit Philadelphia, do not miss out tasting this delicious bite.

The roll mainly consists of an Italian hoagie filled with thinly sliced pieces of roasted or grilled pork.

It is then finished with a topping of provolone and broccoli rabe to make it more sumptuous.


This delicacy was invented in Philadelphia but has its origin in Italy.

The delicacy is in the form of a pizza or wrap that has its base topped up with cheeses like mozzarella or salami and Italian meats.

It is then rolled up with the filling lining up the interior.

Frequently Asked Questions on What is Philadelphia Known For?

What Dessert is Philadelphia Famed For?

Philadelphians have an eye for tasty desserts.

There are many amazing desserts that can leave you amazed and most trace their roots to the city.

I have listed a few of the best desserts in Philadelphia

Cannoli – These tasty tube-shaped shells pastries with a filling of sweet cream that contains ricotta are of Italian origin

Irish Potato Cake – These tasty morsels have a potato shape hence their name.

They are associated with Saint Patrick’s Day.

The outer layer of the cake is covered with ground cinnamon forming a potato-like skin.

The cake is finished by pine nuts that are pressed onto the outside to represent the eyes.

Salted Caramel Budino – This sweet, bit salty and savory signature dish is too tasty to be real.

This award-winning dessert comprises vanilla bean caramel, a dark chocolate crust and sea salt. It has its origin in Italy.

Mt. Vesuvius Sundae – This amazing dessert includes brownies, ice cream, malted powder, whipped cream and hot fudge. The premium sundae makes the pricey menu.

Chocolate Pizza – This dessert is one you don’t want to miss. It comprises hazelnut bits, chocolate chunks, peanut butter and marshmallows.

Apees Cookies – These butter cookies are spicy and trace their origin to Germany.

Ice cream Float – This Philadelphia dessert was first introduced to the public by Robert Green. Rob owned a soda shop in the city and gave his customers a cold treat in the 1800s.

Brownie ‘wich – This delicious dessert is made up of a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich and a brownie

What Candy is Philadelphia Known For?

Philadelphians are a creative bunch when it comes to sweet treats.

Not only deserts have their origins in the city.

There are also a number of fantastic candies invented here. Here are a few examples:

Good and plenty – Good and Plenty licorice candies, thought to be one of the country’s oldest branded candies, first appeared in Philadelphia in 1893.

These well-known treats were created by the Quaker City Chocolate and Confectionery Company.

Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews – David Goldenberg, a Romanian immigrant, founded the Goldenberg Candy Company in 1890.

The legendary peanut chews were invented in 1917 as a delicious treat for troops.

They consist of molasses and peanuts engulfed in chocolate coatings that are either dark or milky in flavor.

Wilbur Buds – The candies were invented by Henry Oscar in 1984, a Philadelphian and are still popular in present times.

Candy Corn – These traditional Halloween candies were originally marketed as “Chicken Feed.”

They were invented by George Renninger of Philadelphia’s Wunderle Candy Company.

They are pyramid-shaped with a waxy outer layer and are divided into three sections each with a unique color.

Their flavor is based on four key ingredients that are vanilla, sugar, honey and butter.

They are very popular during the Halloween period and the fall season.

What Drink is Philadelphia Known For?

Philadelphia has a long history of beer consumption.

British colonialists brewed beer here for the first time in the 17th century.

Germans continued the tradition.

By the time War on drugs came around, Philadelphia had more than 90 breweries in operation.

Another 100 breweries were situated at the outskirts of town.

Yuengling Lager is most commonly associated with Philadelphia, but the locals simply refer to it as lager.

Microbreweries have grown in popularity in recent years.

Philadelphia, in keeping with the trend, has a thriving microbrewery industry.

Before Prohibition, Philadelphia had a thriving whiskey distilling industry.

This industry has recently been revitalized, and many tourists now sip their way around the city while taking a distilling tour from still to still.

What Industry is Philadelphia Known For?

Philadelphia is vital to the economy of Pennsylvania.

As a result, it is not surprising that the city has more than one important industry.

Philadelphia has significant information technology and biotechnology industries.

Food processing and pharmaceuticals thrive here, as does the financial sector.

The University of Pennsylvania is the city’s largest private employer.

Other companies in Philadelphia are IBM that employs over 533,000 individuals, Comcast that employs over 190,000 individuals, Lockhead Martin that has over 108,000 employees and Day & Zimmerman that employs over 41,000 individuals among others.

What Music is Philadelphia Known For?

The music scene in Philadelphia is thriving.

In fact, Philadelphia was recently named the continent’s number one music city.

The decision was based on a number of concerts, ticket prices, and upcoming shows.

In Philadelphia, you can find almost any type of music on the go.

The Philadelphia music scene has it all, from live jazz bars to orchestral music, ballets, and live outdoor concerts.

What are fun things to do in Philadelphia, PA?

Some of the must-do activities for travelers include riding along the Schuykill River, seeing the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, visiting amazing museums like the Franklin Institute and Museum of Art, and trying the cheesesteaks (whether Pat’s, Geno’s, Jim’s, or Tony Luke’s).

However, beneath Philly’s surface of cheesesteaks is a surprisingly rich cuisine culture featuring Iron Chef Jose Garces, Marc Vetri, and restaurateur Stephen Starr—try one of these restaurants if you get the chance.

Visit the Amish at Reading Terminal Market and eat DiNic’s Roast Pork Sandwich, which Adam Richman of the Travel Channel rates as the best sandwich in America.

Philadelphia is also ranked as the second-best burger city in the country, so try some while you’re here, whether at Bobby’s Burger Palace, Jose Garces’ Village Whiskey, or Hickory Lane.

On Sundays, you may get a sense of the Society Hill neighborhood by visiting the beautiful Headhouse Farmers’ Market at 2nd and Lombard.

In the summer, you must obtain gelato from Capigiro, which National Geographic considers as the best “place to eat ice cream.”

Final Thoughts on What is Philadelphia Known For?

So, what is Philadelphia known for?

I sincerely hope that this detailed article has answered your question “What is Philadelphia known for?”

The city of brotherly love is home to iconic sights, sounds, museums and is also a popular food destination for food lovers.

So, grab your suitcases and take your trip and try out some of the best things Philadelphia has to offer.

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