Creative Things To Do In and Around Philadelphia


Creative Things To Do In and Around Philadelphia

Many things do to in Philadelphia will always have to do with Revolutionary War history, but there are even more creative and fun activities and experiences that call this Pennsylvania city home. 

Liberty Bell

Take in Historic Philadelphia
No city comes close to Philly when it comes to Revolution-era history. See Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were hotly debated and signed. The Liberty Bell is here, too, along with its famous crack. The bell rang in 1776 to signal the first public reading of the Declaration.

American Revolution Museum

Dive deeper into the fight for independence at the Museum of the American Revolution. It is home to George Washington’s actual army tent (the first Oval Office). Exhibits include many original artifacts and tell the story of the American Revolution, warts and all. Then learn about the Constitution at the National Constitution Center, and get a feel for Philadelphia’s history by visiting Benjamin Franklin’s grave at Christ Church Burial Ground, where visitors toss pennies onto his grave.

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Betsy Ross House

Experience Betsy Ross House
America’s most famous flag maker’s 18th-century upholstery shop is part of a tiny dwelling where visitors learn about Betsy Ross’ life and legend. Enjoy interactive programs, storytelling and activities. The Betsy Ross House is also one of 13 places throughout Philadelphia’s Historic District to find Once Upon A Nation benches that feature professional storytellers offering free, live, short tales from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Elfreths Alley

Walk down Elfreth’s Alley
Elfreth’s Alley, in the city’s historic district close to the Delaware River, is the oldest continuously used residential street in Philadelphia. Named after silversmith Jeremiah Elfreth, the street was not a part of the original blueprint for Philadelphia. But as business flourished, especially around the river, the city center grew, creating a need for more homes. The Federal and Georgian-style residences in the narrow cobblestone alleyway served a dual purpose. Many tradespeople used the first floors of their homes to run their businesses.

Today, many artists and entrepreneurs make Elfreth’s Alley their home. The charming flower boxes, colorful doors and windows and elegant brickwork have endured thanks to conservationists who have preserved the alley as a model colonial street. Two adjacent houses, built in 1755, now house a museum open to the public so you can get a peek at inside the historic buildings.

Christ Church in Philadelphia

Pay your respects at Christ Church
George Washington, Betsy Ross and Benjamin Franklin were among the early Americans who sat in the pews of Christ Church, known as the “Nation’s Church”. Members of the Continental Congress, as well as other luminaries of the time, worshipped here. Founded in 1695, the building, still in use today as an active Episcopal parish, was built in 1744 and is one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture. For 56 years, its 1754- built steeple was the tallest structure in North America. Absalom Jones, the nation’s first Black priest, was ordained here.

Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Take a ride on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Newly renovated in 2019, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is the city’s most picturesque boulevard. Modeled after Paris’ Champs-Élysées, it stretches grandly from City Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA). You’ll find green space, stately fountains and some of the city’s best museums. The Franklin Institute satisfies science nerds with tons of hands-on gadgetry—and a giant, walk-through heart. The Academy of Natural Sciences puts you face to face with massive replicas of dinosaurs and other prehistoric wonders.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Gawk at the Philadelphia Museum of Art 
One of the nation’s largest art museums, Philadelphia Museum of Art rises majestically at the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Rocky fans can bound up the stairs and pump their fists in triumph for photo ops. The bronze Rocky statue that first made its appearance in Rocky III resides at the bottom of the steps. Cast in bronze and weighing three tons, sculptor A. Thomas Schomberg created the statue as a commission for the film from Stallone himself. Inside the vast collections include Renaissance, American and Impressionist art. The one-acre Sculpture Garden extends the museum’s galleries to the outdoors. Just down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is the Rodin Museum with one of the largest public collections of Auguste Rodin’s works outside of Paris, including bronze casts of The Thinker and The Gates of Hell.

Cherry Street Pier

Experience Cherry Street Pier
The Delaware River waterfront is transforming itself with fun attractions popping up along the riverbanks. The long-abandoned Cherry Street Pier has become an artsy, mixed-use space outfitted with food stalls and a bar. Visitors enjoy drinks and listen to live music while taking in the river view. Weekends bustle with a bazaar-like atmosphere with food trucks lined up out front and local farmers, artists and antique dealers selling their goods. Next door, Race Street Pier is a slick urban green space beckoning visitors with its expansive lawn, ample seating areas, dozens of shade trees and spectacular views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

Schuylkill River Trail

Run or walk along the Schuylkill River Trail
Lace up your sneaks or rent a bike for a journey along the Schuylkill River Trail. The 26.5-mile urban park extends from Center City all the way to Phoenixville, meandering along the Schuylkill River. You’ll pass various works of public art and a slew of historic stone bridges that tower over the water. During warmer months, enjoy outdoor movies, kayaking tours and even free yoga along the path. There’s also a skatepark, where you can watch local boarders perform tricks throughout the year. If you like to board yourself, bring your own wheels to try some stunts of your own.

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

Bask in art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
The oldest art museum and school in the country, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, designed by architect Frank Furness, is as compelling as the American art displayed inside. The Historic Landmark Building is one of the finest surviving examples of Victorian Gothic architecture in the Americas. Artist Charles Willson Peale founded the academy, and Thomas Eakins taught here. One of Gilbert Stuart’s portraits of George Washington is is here, as are many other works by both classic and contemporary artists such as Winslow Homer, Kehinde Wiley, John Singer Sargent, Jacob Lawrence, Edward Hopper and Cecilia Beaux.

Fashion District in Philadelphia

Step out in the Fashion District
Occupying three Center City blocks, Fashion District Philadelphia transformed the old Gallery mall into a retail destination. Find fast-fashion favorites, established brands and stores helmed by local Philly makers. Then enjoy dinner and a movie, explore an edible candy museum (Candytopia) and wander through an immersive art gallery (Wonderspaces). With 800,000 square feet, the complex has lots to explore!

Academy of Natural Sciences

Visit the dinosaurs at the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University
The mother of all natural history museums, this is America’s first! Wander through a tropical garden filled with live butterflies, meet live animals, see three continents of wildlife in recreated natural habitats and get face to face with towering (sorry, not live) dinosaurs. A fully constructed Tyrannosaurus rex, one of the largest meat-eaters to roam the earth, will greet you in Dinosaur Hall. See more than 30 dinosaur and Mesozoic reptile species, including casts of Hadrosaurus foulkii fossils discovered in New Jersey in 1856. If you feel adventurous, you can climb inside a T-rex skull, try on horns and claws and dig for fossils.

Love Park in Philadelphia

Take a picture at Love Park
Just to the northwest of City Hall, LOVE Park is home to Robert Indiana’s vibrant LOVE sculpture. You’ve seen the iconic artwork in movies, on television – even on a postage stamp! Snap a selfie in front of the sculpture and then enjoy the park. It’s a great place to enter the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Recent renovations include more green space, comfortable seating and a water fountain for a peaceful pause in a busy city. 

Rittenhouse Square

People watch at Rittenhouse Square
Rittenhouse Square is heaven for people watchers. The rich history of this square began as one of the five open-space parks throughout the city originally planned by William Penn and built in 1683. With a tasty bite from one of the nearby cafés, park yourself on a wooden bench in the beautifully maintained square and watch the people bustling by. You’ll see chic mommies and daddies playing with kids by the goat statue, busy professionals striding along to their offices and tattooed bike messengers hanging out on the 18th Street corner. Rittenhouse Square is festive year-round with evening summer concerts, holiday celebrations, art fairs and farmers’ markets. After you’ve relaxed, head east along Walnut Street and shop the thoroughfare’s high-end boutiques. Broad Street marks the end of “Rittenhouse Row.”

The African American Museum

Learn more at The African American Museum in Philadelphia
The African American Museum in Philadelphia, founded during America’s bicentennial in 1976, is the first institution built by a major U.S. city dedicated to the heritage and culture of African Americans.

The museum shines a light on African Americans and their role in the founding of the nation. Octavius Catto, Richard Allen and other trailblazers tell their stories through the core permanent exhibit Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776 – 1876. Special rotating exhibits in the upper galleries explore African American history, social issues and the African Diaspora through fine art, multimedia displays, historic artifacts and informative panels.

Italian Market in Philadelphia

Shop and eat at the Italian Market 
Lovers of open markets won’t want to miss Philadelphia’s Italian Market. and is one of the oldest and largest open-air markets in America. Italian immigrants established this open-air spot in the late 19th century. It covers ten city blocks of Ninth Street in South Philadelphia. Vendors offer fresh vegetables, fish, meats, spices and produce from their stalls, while gourmet shops and restaurants present their wares in storefronts in between. These butcher shops, bakeries and other specialty shops are throwbacks to another time, long before supermarkets became a part of everyday life. Seeing the amazing array of products is quite the experience. It’s still called the Italian Market, but the historic strip in South Philadelphia now reflects the neighborhood’s multicultural makeup, with tastes of Mexico, Vietnam, Korea and more. And you can leave your passport at home!

Institute of Contemporary Art

Find a new favorite artist at the Institute of Contemporary Art 
Founded in 1963 on the University of Pennsylvania campus, the ICA spotlights underrepresented artists, earning it an international reputation among contemporary art museums. According to New York Times art critic Roberta Smith, the ICA was “among the most adventuresome showcases in the country where art since 1970 is concerned.” The Institute of Contemporary Art hosted the first-ever museum shows of Andy Warhol, Laurie Anderson, Agnes Martin and Robert Indiana. The wide-open spaces and ultra-high ceilings of its building, opened in 1991, allow plenty of room for large-scale multimedia installations that climb, hang or scatter through the galleries to engage viewers.

Penn Museum

Visit the past at the Penn Museum
The Penn Museum is packed with art and artifacts from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Greco-Roman World, Asia, Africa and the Americas. See how the ancients communicated and adorned themselves with Sumerian cuneiform clay tablets (some of the world’s oldest writing), 4,500-year-old jewelry of a Mesopotamian queen and the massive, 3,000-year-old Sphinx of Ramses II. Gardens, fountains and a koi pond invite you to relax outdoors. Since its founding in 1887, the Penn Museum has sponsored worldwide scientific explorations. Many of the art and artifacts on display come from those early expeditions.

Mutter Museum

Freak out at the Mutter Museum
Morbidly curious and looking for something out of the ordinary? The Mutter Museum, located within the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, contains a wide range of curious medical displays, including the skeleton of the tallest known man ever to have lived in North America and the fused bones of Harry Eastlack, who died of an extremely rare disorder that painfully freezes the body in an immobile state. These and many other exhibitions are displayed in Victorian cabinets from 1858. Among the extensive collection is a set of brain slides that contain slivers from the brain of Albert Einstein.

You will be amazed at the things people choke on when you see the collection of 2,000 objects removed from people’s throats. Peruse them in wooden pullout display drawers from the Chevalier Jackson Foreign Body Collection. Conjoined twin skeletons are delicately displayed along with plaster death casts, exhumed corpses and detailed wax models.

Magic Gardens

Stand in awe at the Magic Gardens
The Magic Gardens is a folk art center and gallery space showcasing mosaics by Isaiah Zagar. Zagar and his wife Julia began beautifying the South Street neighborhood in the late 1960s when they first moved to the area. They purchased and renovated derelict buildings, often adding colorful mosaics to the walls. Julia’s still-thriving folk art store, the Eyes Gallery, was their first project. The vacant lot near Isaiah’s studio beckoned Zagar to begin working on the Magic Gardens in 1994. For the the next fourteen years he excavated tunnels and grottos, sculpted multi-layered walls, and tiled and grouted the 3,000 square foot space.

The installation reveals Zagar’s many artistic influences, as well as the events and experiences of his life. Consisting mostly of found objects and contributions from the community, it covers half a city block with a variety of tile, texture and color. In 2002 Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens became incorporated as a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and promoting Zagar’s works.

Shofuso Japanese House

Feel the zen at the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden
Near the banks of the Schuylkill River, Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Fairmount Park are excellent examples of centuries-old Japanese design, along with a recent modern addition. Architect Junzō Yoshimura designed the house that was built in Nagoya in 1953 and reassembled in New York in 1954 as a gift to the United States from the people of Japan to celebrate postwar relations and foster cultural exchange. After a 2-year MoMA exhibition, the house found a new home in Philadelphia.

The transplanted Shofuso is modeled on an early 17th-century temple guest house and features key details and classical proportions of shoin-zukuri architecture. The building includes a tea room, bath, kitchen, and hinoki bark roof, while the gardens feature traditional elements such as a koi pond, tea garden, island, and walled courtyard garden. In 2007, renowned Nihonga painter Hiroshi Senju donated 20 murals to replace originals that were destroyed by vandalism. The modern murals, inspired by Shofuso’s waterfall. are the only examples of this unique decorative style that combines the modern and the traditional outside of Japan.

Edgar Allan Poe Home

Relive Edgar Allan Poe at his home
He lived here for just a year, but Edgar Allan Poe’s former home on North 7th Street in Philadelphia is alive with his memory. Poe, with his wife and mother-in-law, lived in the little house from 1843 to 1844. Poe wrote at his desk here for twelve months, creating “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Gold Bug”. Nearly a century after Poe and his family moved out, one of Poe’s many fans bought the house and opened it as a museum. Left to the city of Philadelphia upon his death, the National Historic Site was born. Tours include a descent into the basement that may have inspired his story, “The Black Cat,” in which a man murders his wife and seals her up inside the walls of their cellar, with his cat, accidently sealed in the wall as well, wailing to alert the police. The museum features permanent and rotating exhibits, and a wide array of displays that bring Poe to life through the pages of his work.

Philadelphia Free Library

For more Poe, find the Raven at the Philadelphia Free Library
True Poephiles (is that a word?) will find Charles Dickens’ taxidermied pet raven preserved in the Rare Books department of the Philadelphia Free Library. Dead since 1841, but preserved with arsenic, and frozen inside a shadow box, this bird’s legacy is longer than most people’s. His name is Grip. Grip the Clever, Grip the Wicked, Grip the Knowing. Grip inspired Poe’s breakout work, “The Raven.” It was a resounding success and Poe enjoyed performing readings with great dramatic effect. Grip the Raven, who inspired both Dickens and Poe, now resides alongside a great collection of both Poe and Dickens originals and other rare books.

Dream Garden

Snap a picture at the Dream Garden
The one of a kind mural and gazing pool called “The Dream Garden”, is the only known collaboration of Maxfield Parrish and Louis Comfort Tiffany. Parrish’s landscape took 6 months to install in 1916, is 15 feet by 49 feet and made up of hundreds of thousands of glass pieces in over 260 colors. It is perhaps the largest Tiffany piece in the world. Four Philadelphia cultural institutions jointly share ownership of this Philadelphia-designated “historic object”.

Love Letter Murals
Philly Rising by Nile Livingston

View the roof top murals: Love Letter
Love Letter is a series of 50 rooftop murals that you can see from the elevated train platform of the Market-Frankford line in West Philadelphia. This project was a collaboration of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and the artist, Stephen Powers. These murals collectively express a love letter from a guy to a girl, from an artist to his hometown, and from local residents to their neighborhood of West Philadelphia. A tour conducted mostly on board the train stops on the platform only a couple of times, so most of the murals are experienced on the walls of decrepit buildings as you whiz by.

Laurel Hill Cemetary

Take in a little more history at the Laurel Hill Cemetery
Laurel Hill Cemetery is one of Philadelphia’s most historic burial grounds. Opened in 1836, the cemetery hugs the banks of the Schuylkill River in what is now Northern Philadelphia. The sculpture garden, park and a Historic National Landmark cover 78 acres.

Many Philadelphians, eager to garden but short on growing space, enroll in a program to care for a cemetery plot. They use historically accurate plants that were common in the Victorian era. Tens of thousands of graves hold statesmen, civil war veterans, local celebrities and even the fictional grave of Rocky Balboa’s wife, Adrian Balboa.

The Barnes

Visit the best of Europe without leaving home at the Barnes
The Barnes Foundation was founded by Albert C. Barnes in 1922. From humble beginnings, Barnes used his chemistry knowledge and business smarts to earn a sizable fortune. He started an “experiment in education” and devoted himself full-time to the foundation and collecting art. He chose and arranged the works in “wall ensembles” to illustrate for the foundation’s students the visual elements and aesthetic traditions he felt were evident in all art forms across periods and cultures. Students were encouraged to look at the arrangements in terms of light, line, color, and space. The collection boasts hundreds of works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Matisse, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, as well as African sculpture, Pennsylvania German decorative arts, Native American ceramics, and old master paintings. 

Bartrams Garden

Walk through Bartram’s Garden
Bartram’s Garden, founded by John Bartram in 1728, is the oldest surviving botanic garden in the United States and is now a National Historic Landmark. John, and later his son William, collected and studied the native flora of North America. In 1765, King George III appointed Bartram the “Royal Botanist” of the colonies. He fostered a trans-Atlantic horticulture trade that transformed European gardens. The Bartrams also supplied plants to Monticello, Independence Hall and Mount Vernon. Bartram’s original house and several outbuildings still stand. The garden is home to the oldest ginkgo tree on the continent (c. 1785). Visit the lily pond and the Schuylkill River via several wooded paths.

Boathouse Row

See Boathouse Row
Boathouse Row, a National Historic Landmark, includes 10 charming boathouses moored on the banks of the Schuylkill River. At night, the glittering lights that frame the buildings reflect off of the river’s surface. Boathouse Row’s location on scenic Kelly Drive is a prime spot for outdoor recreation, running along the east side of the Schuylkill River from the Philadelphia Museum of Art to Lincoln Drive.

Washington Square Park

Explore Washington Square Park
In Washington Square Park, a block south of the Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, is the home of the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier. Only a few yards away is the replanted clone of a Moon Tree, sprouted from seeds that traveled in space on Apollo 14 and planted during the 1976 Bicentennial celebration. NASA and the US Forest Service planted the first of the Bicentennial Moon Trees in Washington Park. The park has a long history, beginning in the early 18th century, It was everything from a cattle market and grazing site, to the city’s Potter’s Field (burial for paupers and the unknown), and cemetery for the city’s African American population. Also buried here are victims of the Yellow Fever epidemic of the late 18th century.

Wanamaker Building

Step into an earlier era and imagine shopping in the Wanamaker Building
Inspired by two great central markets, London’s Royal Exchange and Paris’ Les Halles, John Wanamaker decided it was time to bring what would become one of the first department stores to America. He envisioned a grand shopping hall which would sell his already established menswear and would expand to sell women’s clothing and dry goods. Wanamaker pioneered a new shopping experience as the first to use and enforce the phrase, “The customer is always right.”

Wanamaker ran his store by the golden rule. Employees were to be treated with respect by their superiors, and all were offered free medical care, recreational facilities, profit sharing plans, and pensions, revolutionary labor practices at the time. Another fun fact: quite the innovator, Wanamaker invented the price tag.

The new building featured the incredible Wanamaker Organ, formerly the St. Louis World’s Fair pipe organ. Despite the organ’s imposing size, it was still not large enough to fill the Grand Court, so Wanamaker’s own staff of organ builders expanded it.

Wanamaker’s was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978, and is now a Macy’s store. Visitors can still marvel at one of the first department stores in America and the largest operating musical instrument in the world, the famous Wanamaker organ, played every day except Sunday.

Mummer's Museum

Experience the Mummers Museum
The term “mummer” means a “disguised person” and dates to medieval times, referencing performers in costume. In the late 1600s, as European settlers, most notably Swedes, settled in Philadelphia, they brought their mummery traditions with them. Known as the New Year’s Shooters and Mummers Association, the group would travel around town at Christmas time, sing and be rewarded with food and drink. Mummery was essentially the drunker, rowdier, firearm carrying, masked, and pagan ritual-infused precursor to Christmas carolers.

Today the Mummers Parade is an event on par with Mardi Gras with over 10,000 marchers. Each displays a different tradition of dress and performance. Many of the mummers are working class Philadelphians who dress in elaborate sequined body suits or other outfits that would put Cher and Madonna to shame.

Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion

Walk with the butterflies at the Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion
Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion was founded in 1992 in an exterminator’s storefront. Its three floors of insect exhibits include mounted displays, a chrysalis chamber, live specimens of insects, amphibians, and reptiles, and a functioning honey-bee hive. The 7,000-square-foot tropical butterfly pavilion is filled with many species of butterflies and moths fluttering around tropical plants under a glass ceiling and is quite the experience to walk through.

Spruce Hill Bird Sanctuary

Hike in the Spruce Hill Bird Sanctuary
The Spruce Hill Bird Sanctuary, surrounded on all sides by backyards, consists of paths, birdfeeders, benches, and squirrels, as well as an ever-changing collection of local migratory bird species.

It’s home to 16 regularly-observed bird species including mourning doves, starlings, juncos, cardinals, goldfinches, gray catbirds, and purple finches. Other bird species occasionally drop by, too, as do the ever-present squirrels and butterflies. The area was once a vacant lot, but is now covered in native plants, benches carved from fallen trees, well-maintained paths, bird feeders and a bird bath. A mister sprays water for the resident Hummingbird population. The lending library and bird list housed there will help you identify the residents. Find the two narrow alleys that border residential homes to enter.

Visit Philbert the Pig at the Reading Terminal
At 225 pounds and 3 feet tall, Philbert the Pig (named after an adjacent street) is the unofficial mascot of the Reading Terminal Market and the Philly Food Trust, an organization that fights hunger in Philadelphia. This life-size piggy bank was designed by Eric Berg. You may hear “meet me at the pig,” as Philbert is a well-known local landmark. The pig statue is a coin funnel: plop a donation in Philbert’s mouth, and the money will pass through his system and into a glass box. Donations benefit a different charity each month. But Philbert’s good for more than just passing money. His raised, smiling snout is widely believed to be a good luck charm in local lore. So his schnozz is rubbed often for good luck, giving it a well-loved glow!

Wood Street in Philadelphia

Take a walk on a portion of Wooden Street
The bustling streets of Philadelphia circa the 1830s were a noisy place. Chief among the cacophony was the sound of horse’s hooves loudly clopping across the cobblestones, and a solution had to be devised. Installed as a noise abatement experiment, local businesses and city government paved the streets with sound-absorbing wooden blocks instead of resonating cobbles.

Wooden paving muffled sound quite well, but sound was not the only thing the wooden streets absorbed. The blocks quickly began to soak up every bit of liquid that fell on them from rain to copious amounts of horse urine. The trend of wooden roads quickly fell out of favor, and were all but gone by the time automobiles hit the scene. But on the 200 block of Camac Street, the wooden avenue stayed. The area developed into an artsy area during the 20th century and the wooden road was a quaint oddity. Conservationists had the road redone with treated wooden blocks that will hopefully last longer than their predecessors. And smell better too.

Longwood Gardens

Get out in the country at Longwood Gardens
This Chester County botanical garden attracts visitors from around the globe to its 1,100 acres filled with outdoor and indoor gardens, 11,000 different types of plants, spectacular fountains, and picturesque meadows and woodlands. It hosts many events each year, including flower shows, gardening demonstrations, educational programs, children’s activities and concerts. Originally founded by Pierre du Pont in 1906, it has since become world renowned for its dedication to botany, design, education and art.

Valley Forge

Visit Valley Forge
No battles were fought in Valley Forge, but the Continental Army weathered challenging times here. A national park on this site now honors those who helped secure freedom for the emerging United States. Exhibits and artifacts, replicated huts and General Washington’s original headquarters tell the story of the pivotal winter that the troops endured. Monuments, statues and buildings evoke more than 240 years of American history to give Valley Forge a palpable sense of the past, making it a favorite destination for families. The 3,500-acre park also includes recreational trails and picnic areas. The vast expanse of open space links the Schuylkill River Trail to the Horse Shoe Trail, turning the park into a major hub in a 75-mile trail system that links Philadelphia with the Appalachian Trail.

Brandywine Museum of Art

Enjoy the Brandywine River Museum of Art
The grounds are as breathtaking as the art at the bucolic Brandywine River Museum of Art. Housed in a renovated 1864 gristmill and surrounded by wildflower gardens and the meandering Brandywine River, works by Andrew Wyeth sit beside other beautifully detailed illustrations, paintings and installations. The museum has become synonymous with Andrew Wyeth, whose work appears here in abundance, alongside illustrations by his father, N.C., and the realistic paintings by his son, Jamie, as well as that of their contemporaries.

Fonthill Castle

Marvel at Fonthill Castle
Built between 1908 and 1912, Fonthill Castle is modeled after a unique 13th-century Rhenish castle. Pass through Gothic doorways, 32 stairways, dead ends and 44 rooms, each in a different shape. Winding staircases, turrets and balconies epitomize the eclectic Fonthill Castle, which boasts 200 windows of different shapes and sizes. Without using blueprints, Harvard-educated Henry Chapman Mercer built this storybook stone mansion, with its turrets and balconies, from the inside out. Handcrafted tiles from Mercer’s kilns at the adjacent Moravian Pottery and Tile Works decorate the ceilings and walls, along with ancient tiles from around the world. Many of the 200 windows are studded with Mercer’s colorful tiles.

Take the time to browse through some fabric shops in and around Philadelphia.

Beads are small and easy to take home as souvenirs. Check out these bead shops in and around Philadelphia.

Pick up some great yarns at these yarn shops in and around Philadelphia.

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