Graduation week is here, finally! With family and friends flocking from all corners of the globe to celebrate this momentous occasion, here is your guide to make the most of their trip to Philly. Whether your biggest cheerleaders are native to the city or it is their first time visiting, there is so much to do, see and eat when in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia is the birthplace of the United States of America. It is where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where notable people of history gathered and lived. There is no better place to start than from the beginning, so it is no surprise that I recommend making visiting the historic district of Old City a priority. Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are must-sees, and fans of National Treasure will quickly recognize the iconic red brick buildings that surround the area. Be sure to visit the Betsy Ross House and learn all about the making of the first American flag through interactive storytelling and skits. The National Constitution Center is fun for all ages, with many activities explaining the history of the U.S Constitution and all signers. There is even a room with life-size bronze statues of every person who signed the Constitution in 1787!
The Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the cultural hub of the city, is filled with tons of museums and attractions, and is the perfect way to beat the heat on a hot afternoon! Check out the Philadelphia Art Museum, The Franklin Institute, The Mutter Museum, The Barnes Foundation or Drexel University’s Academy of Natural Sciences. With rotating exhibits and hands-on activities, there is something for everyone in the family. For lovers of the Rocky movies in your group, definitely make a point to stop by the Rocky statue outside the Philadelphia Art Museum. The Parkway Central location of the Free Library of Philadelphia houses the rare book collection, and hosts various author readings and events throughout the week.
Moving a bit outside the downtown area of Philly, there are beautiful parks and ways to enjoy nature with your family and friends while they are in town. Starting off in Fairmount Park, Belmont Plateau is the best place to have a picnic with gorgeous views of the skyline. Visit an authentic Japanese house and garden at the Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center and take a stroll to the waterfall and koi fish pond for a more serene activity. For anyone in your group looking to work up a sweat, Boxer’s Trail and Trolley Trail, located in East and West Fairmount Park, respectively, are the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The food in Philly is unbeatable, and you have to start off with a local staple: Wawa. It is way more than just a gas station convenience store. Philly cheesesteaks are obviously a fan favorite along with soft pretzels, so be sure to check out Reading Terminal Market to grab a little bit of everything from the 80+ vendors! Chinatown is a crowd favorite for everyone, and whether you have the time for a full sit-down meal or want to grab some takeout, the restaurant options are truly endless.
For us graduates, it is time to show our families and friends everything Philly has to offer and welcome them to our home-away-from-home these last several years. I hope this guide helps you plan the perfect itinerary for your out of town friends and family, and make your final week in Philly a memorable one!