Don’t miss these offbeat attractions when you visit Philadelphia

Philadelphia is a city rich in history, culture, and art, but there’s more to it than the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Rocky’s steps. If you’re looking for some unique and memorable experiences in the City of Brotherly Love, check out these 10 hidden gems that will surprise and delight you.

Experience Japanese culture at Shofuso

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in a tranquil oasis of Japanese beauty at Shofuso, a 17th-century-style house and garden located in Fairmount Park. You can admire the traditional architecture, murals, and furnishings of the house, as well as the pond, waterfall, and stone lanterns of the garden. Shofuso also hosts cultural events such as tea ceremonies, festivals, and workshops throughout the year.

Discover Jewish history at NMAJH

Learn about the diverse and inspiring stories of Jewish people in America at this museum, which spans four floors and covers more than 350 years of history. You’ll discover how Jewish immigrants contributed to various aspects of American society, culture, politics, and economy, as well as how they faced challenges such as discrimination, assimilation, and persecution. The museum also features interactive exhibits, personal artifacts, and films that bring the past to life.

Explore mural arts on a guided tour

Philadelphia is home to more than 4,000 murals that brighten up its streets and neighborhoods with vibrant colors and messages. Many of these were created by Mural Arts Philadelphia, an organization that works with artists and communities to produce public art projects that reflect social issues, local identities, and cultural diversity. You can explore these stunning works of art on a guided tour by trolley, train, or foot, or take a self-guided tour with a map.

See rare books and manuscripts at The Rosenbach

If you love literature, you’ll love The Rosenbach, a museum and library that houses rare books and manuscripts from some of the world’s most famous authors. You can see James Joyce’s Ulysses manuscript, Bram Stoker’s Dracula notes, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland drawings, and much more. You can also browse through the 19th-century townhouse where the museum is located, which is filled with antique furniture and decorative arts.

Taste old-fashioned candies at Shane Confectionery

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Shane Confectionery, the oldest continuously operating candy shop in America. Founded in 1863, this shop still makes its chocolates, caramels, hard candies, and other treats using old-fashioned recipes and equipment. You can watch the candy makers at work in the open kitchen, sample some of their delicious creations, or join a guided tour to learn about the history of candy making in Philadelphia.

Enter a whimsical wonderland at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

Step into a whimsical wonderland of mosaic art at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, a nonprofit organization that showcases the work of local artist Isaiah Zagar. The gardens span half a block and feature indoor and outdoor spaces covered with colorful tiles, mirrors, glass bottles, bicycle wheels and other recycled materials. You can wander through the labyrinthine paths and discover hidden sculptures, messages, and symbols along the way.

Visit a medical museum at Mütter Museum

If you’re fascinated by anatomy, medicine, and oddities, you’ll enjoy visiting the Mütter Museum, a medical museum that displays an array of human specimens, instruments, and models. Some of the most notable exhibits include a collection of skulls, a slice of Einstein’s brain, a plaster cast of Siamese twins, and a 9-foot-long human colon. The museum also offers educational programs, lectures, and events that explore the history and science of medicine.

Explore Philadelphia’s maritime heritage at Independence Seaport Museum

Discover Philadelphia’s maritime heritage at the Independence Seaport Museum, which features exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays that tell the stories of the city’s naval and shipbuilding history. You can also board and tour two historic vessels: the Olympia, a cruiser that served in the Spanish-American War, and the Becuna, a submarine that served in World War II and the Cold War. The museum also offers boat rentals, workshops, and seasonal events.

Tour a former prison at Eastern State Penitentiary

Explore the eerie ruins of Eastern State Penitentiary, a former prison that once housed some of America’s most notorious criminals, such as Al Capone and Willie Sutton. You can take an audio tour narrated by actor Steve Buscemi, who guides you through the cell blocks, solitary confinement cells, and guard towers of the prison. You can also learn about the history, architecture, and social impact of Eastern State Penitentiary, which was the world’s first true penitentiary when it opened in 1829.

Unleash your inner scientist at The Franklin Institute

Unleash your inner scientist at The Franklin Institute, one of the oldest and most popular science museums in the country. You can experience a range of exhibits that cover topics such as astronomy, biology, physics, engineering, and more. You can also enjoy fun activities such as walking through a giant heart, flying a plane simulator, or watching a show at the planetarium or IMAX theater. The museum also hosts special exhibitions, events, and programs throughout the year.

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