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Often, it's the people who live in a city that make it tick. In this part of Southeast Pennsylvania, you'll find 1,500,000 of them.
If you head 150 kilometres west of Philadelphia, you'll reach Harrisburg, the state capital. Travel 5 kilometres east and you'll come across Camden.
If you know of Philadelphia, you've heard of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center. Why not make the most of this opportunity to experience them for yourself?
A few hours at Sesame Place or the Please Touch Museum is a great opportunity for some quality time with the family. If you're up for even more excitement, Francisville Playground and the Linvilla Orchards are some other options.
Take the plunge into a world that's overflowing with marine life at Adventure Aquarium. Come to think of it, it might be better to stay on dry land. Some of these slippery critters aren't to be messed with!
A few animal snaps will certainly add some colour to your holiday album! Take the whole family to see, learn about and photograph the variety of interesting wildlife at the Philadelphia Zoo and the Elmwood Park Zoo. The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum is another top attraction which teaches visitors about animal care and conservation.
If you consider yourself a wine enthusiast, you'll want to check out one of the area's wineries. You can try a few regional varieties at the Grace Winery.
There's nothing like a few hours at a casino to kick start your festive spirit! Take on the roulette dealer and watch the high-stakes punters or simply walk around and absorb the sights at the Parx Casino and Racetrack and the Harrah's Casino and Racetrack. The Valley Forge Casino and the SugarHouse Casino are also top options.
Places like the Bartram's Garden play an important role in both local and international plant protection efforts. The wide-ranging flora collection found here is both fascinating and exquisitely presented.
When you want some time out from the commotion of the city, take off to a green space like Morris Arboretum or Washington Square Park. You can also get outdoors and get active at Fairmount Waterworks Drive or Reyburn Park.
Ensure you drop in to Independence Visitor Center and Valley Forge National Park Visitors Center. The helpful staff can provide you with advice, tips and inspiration to make the most of your stay.
Slip on some comfy shoes and prepare to go adventuring. There are plenty of nature reserves around this area that are just waiting to be enjoyed. The fresh, crisp air and natural surroundings at Fairmount Park and Neshaminy State Park are as invigorating as they come. Valley Forge National Historic Park and Ridley Creek State Park are two more that are worth visiting.
Wander the tranquil halls, study the engaging displays and chat to the friendly staff. The Mutter Museum and the National Constitution Center are top places to think and maybe even discover something new. If you have extra time, also check out the Mummers Museum and the Fireman's Hall.
From the design and construction of different boats to the instruments found inside the hull, the salt-encrusted displays at the Independence Seaport Museum and the USS Becuna will appeal to anyone who's interested in Philadelphia's maritime history.
The marvellous world of science never ceases to impress. Expand your mind with the latest and greatest in innovation and technology at the Franklin Institute Science Museum and the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum. For even more eye-opening displays, add the Franklin Institute and the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Education Center to your schedule of discovery.
Planet Earth is filled with all sorts of mysterious objects and creatures. Discover things that'll put your imagination to shame at the Academy of Natural Sciences and the Wagner Free Institute of Science. For more from the natural world, stop in at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
Art connoisseurs come from around the world to see Philadelphia's impressive collections, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum are often at the top of their lists. If you've still got an itch to scratch, continue onwards to the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Museum of American Art.
Step back in time and uncover the characters and events that have helped shape this region at the African American Museum and the National Museum of American Jewish History. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the Rosenbach Museum and Library are also worth dropping by for an even greater insight into the past.
To completely appreciate the history of Philadelphia, take a few hours to discover the Ben Franklin National Memorial and the Villanova University. If that doesn't satisfy the history geek in you, also swing by the St. Joseph's University and Eastern State Penitentiary.
A piece of architecture that has united Philadelphia for years and years, Benjamin Franklin Bridge is a crucial part of the city's history that no visitor should skip.
Whether you're spiritual or not, holy places like St. Peter's Episcopal Church and Old Pine Street Presbyterian Church are sure to be among the most peaceful sights you'll experience in your travels. Christ Church and Saint Katharine Drexel Mission Center and National Shrine will also interest travellers looking for some quiet self-reflection.
They might not be at the top of your sightseeing list, but City Hall and Rittenhouse Square are still worth a browse. You shouldn't skip the Speed Raceway and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts either.
With such a decent range, you shouldn't have too many problems reserving your hotel in Philadelphia (in fact, we reckon it'll be a breeze!) lastminute.com.au currently lists more than 95 places to hit the hay.
Shoestring travellers can rest easy. Budget rooms await at the Sleep Inn Center City and the Society Hill Hotel at Independence Park. These digs are proof that good service doesn't need to cost you an arm and a leg. Two more you may want to consider include The Rittenhouse Philadelphia and The Logan Philadelphia, Curio Collection by Hilton. These high-end hotels are for those who want to live like royalty while they're here.
1 Dec. - 2 Dec.
This is a two star hotel with five star price. Our room was dark with low ceilings and air con that was so loud we were living in an aircraft hanger for 5 days. Moved across the road to The Rittenhouse hotel for our last night wow same money different experience.
1 Dec. - 2 Dec.
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