Historic Philadelphia: More Than Tourist Sites



The history in Philadelphia is one of my favorite things about living in the city. If you don’t live in the city, you may know Old City Philadelphia as the place where the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are (plus tons of other places like Elfreth’s Alley, the Betsy Ross House, Christ Church, and more), but there’s a lot more to that area, especially in the nearby neighborhoods. You should definitely go to the historic sites when you visit (they are instrumental in the formation of America, after all!), but you should also take the opportunity to get off the beaten path and visit other parts of historic Philadelphia!

Historic Philadelphia: More Than Tourist Sites

Many areas in Old City Philadelphia (and nearby neighborhoods like Society Hill and Washington Square West) are residential and a lot less busy than areas around Independence Hall, so it’s a great area to take a quiet stroll. You can see tons of beautiful old homes and buildings and get a feel for Philadelphia life at the same time. You should especially check out all the small side streets because some of them still have cobblestones, like Elfreth’s Alley! If you’re interested in the history of the area, you should check out Enchanted Serendipity’s post on Elfreth’s Alley, which also features one of the resident of the street’s home bakery. I love Old City and Society Hill so much that I used to walk Annika around there almost every day when I lived nearby. 

Old City Philadelphia

This historic market on 2nd and Pine Streets dates back to 1745 and is still in use today on the weekends!

Society Hill market
Old City Philadelphia

Society Hill Philadelphia

Society Hill Philadelphia

Old City Philadelphia

Old City Philadelphia houses

Seeing the historic homes is one of my favorite things about this area!

Old City Philadelphia cemetery

Philadelphia cemetery

There are quite a few old cemeteries in the area

Old City Philadelphia cemetery

Philadelphia colonial houses

If you wander around Society Hill and Washington Square West, you’ll see lots of cellar doors

Philadelphia cemetery

Philadelphia cemetery

Philadelphia cemetery

Philadelphia cemetery

Philadelphia cemetery

Philadelphia Third Presbyterian Church

Old Pine Street Church was built in 1768 and John Adams attended services there

Philadelphia Third Presbyterian Church

When I moved to Philadelphia, this was an old, dying tree, and they recently carved it into a statue

Philadelphia Third Presbyterian Church

Philadelphia church

Old City Philadelphia home

Windowbox flowers

Old City Philadelphia lamppost

Even the lampposts still look old!

Philadelphia synagogue

Old City Philadelphia homes

Old City Philadelphia lamppost

Old City Philadelphia flag

It’s pretty neat to see the locals embracing the colonial history of Philadelphia

Roses in Philadelphia

Roses in Philadelphia

I love how so many people keep gardens and window-boxes since backyards are scarce

Roses in Philadelphia

Roses in Philadelphia

Roses in Philadelphia

Historic Penn Hospital

Pennsylvania Hospital is the nation’s first hospital, and it was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1751

Historic Penn Hospital

Many other areas in Philadelphia like Rittenhouse Square and Fairmount aren’t as old as the neighborhoods around Old City, but they are historic and beautiful! (If you like Victorian houses, you should definitely wander around Rittenhouse Square and Fitler Square, and even places outside center city like Chestnut Hill). There is always somewhere new to explore in Philadelphia! What’s your favorite area in Philadelphia? Comment below! 🙂 

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Blog, Historical Philadelphia, North America, Philadelphia, Photography

  1. I love travel guides to the off beaten path near the beaten path. I get overwhelmed with touristy destinations, so this is perfect!! Sign me up for the historic homes and all that brick. The brick buildings are absolutely one of my favorite things about east coast architecture!

  2. Bee says:

    Firstly, I love your photos! They really create a great feel for the city! the old houses are beautiful and so nice there are so much places to visit that have affected the present day USA!

  3. Edith says:

    I love all your pictures! The windows, the doors, the gardens, everything about it is so perfect. This is one part of the country that I would really love to visit one day. Glad that you got to enjoy such beauty!

  4. amit says:

    ‘Philly’ is on my list of places to visit when I do my USA trip, I know a few of the tourist spots but reading through this post seems to have such a charm to it. Walking down the streets admiring the the historic houses would be a great day to let the day drift by 😀

  5. Anisa says:

    You know I have really been impressed learning about all there is to see in Philadelphia. I would love to spend more time there and do more than just the touristy stuff. I love the sculpture from a tree and it is interesting to see the countries first hospital. Ben Franklin was just an amazing man. I visited his grave last time I was in town.

  6. Kristen says:

    This is an awesome post! I love seeing cities away from the most common tourist sites. Thanks so much for sharing! I hope to make it here some day.

  7. Monique says:

    Every time I visit Philly I think I’m going to see some gorgeous areas like this ? Definitely saving this for next time

  8. Ana Ro says:

    Beautiful photos! It actually looks so European to me.

  9. Tonya says:

    I love seeing all of you Old City Philadelphia pictures! I am excited to check out some new areas in Philly next time I go to hang out.

  10. shayan says:

    Nice photo essay. Philly looks beautiful. A friend of mine went there for college. Hopefully I’ll go there and use this as a starter.

  11. Kristen says:

    Nicely done! I agree with these choices for people who want to see the real city!

  12. Lena says:

    Your photos are always so beautiful! I want to go anywhere that you shoot! This looks like the perfect spot for fall!

  13. I’ve never been to America (live in the U.K.) but Philly looks amazing! It sounds like an underrated place as it’s so pretty. I love the photos and editing too… would love to see more like this 🙂

  14. Mari says:

    Beautifully captured! The photos all make the city look so peaceful.

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