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Philadelphia Day Trip Ideas from Lancaster County

5 minutes read May 21,2020
Philadelphia Day Trip Ideas from Lancaster County

Philly, The City of Brotherly Love, The Birthplace of America… The nicknames for Philadelphia are endless. And so are the things to do. But when you only have one day in the city, you need to know what's best. To help, we've gathered 10 essential attractions for a day trip to Philadelphia.

You may not see them all in a day, but any of them are well worth your time. And keep an eye out for our upcoming post on the best historic attractions in Philly!

Philadelphia Museum Of Art

10 Activities for a Day Trip to Philadelphia

1. Philadelphia Museum of Art

At first glance, the entrance to the Philadelphia Museum of Art may look familiar. The famous Rocky Steps in front of it have become iconic thanks to the boxing movie. Just a little way away is the city's statue of the boxer himself.

Inside, there's plenty to see. More than 240,000 pieces reside here, coming from Europe, Asia, America, and beyond. Plus, the special exhibitions ensure that there's always something new. And don't forget to step out into Fairmount Park. The museum maintains two colonial-era houses on the grounds.

2. Reading Terminal market

One of the oldest public markets in the U.S., Reading Terminal Market has all the cuisine you could crave. From eclectic fusion carts to fresh produce stalls, the range of choices is staggering. Additionally, there are vendors offering kitchenware, flowers, linens, and more.

3. One Liberty Observation Deck

From 57 stories above the city, One Liberty Observation Deck has incredible views. The observatory is indoors and features glass on all sides, allowing you to see every corner of Philly. Plus, you can choose to visit before or after the sun sets for a changed perspective.

4. Barnes Foundation

During your day trip to Philadelphia, don't miss the Barnes Foundation. This institution promotes art and horticulture and is situated along Benjamin Franklin Parkway. It's best known for its collection of modern European art, but many more pieces are included too.

You can also head to Saint Joseph's University to experience the Barnes Arboretum. The 12-acre gardens offer a quiet respite away from the bustle of Center City.

Philadelphia Zoo

5. Philadelphia Zoo

Across the river in the Centennial District is the Philadelphia Zoo. Regarded as the first zoo in the U.S., this attraction is home to more than 1,300 animals. From sloth bears to white rhinos to hippos, there's plenty to see. Additionally, the zoo is very kid-friendly!

6. The Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute is a unique stop for a day trip to Philadelphia. It's dedicated to the life and works of Benjamin Franklin and is a fascinating science museum. You'll find a planetarium, IMAX® theater, flight simulator, the Giant Heart, and much more.

7. Rittenhouse Square

When William Penn planned Philadelphia, he included five open-space parks. Those remain today and Rittenhouse Square is one of the finest. The park is filled with trees and surrounded by top-notch retail shops and restaurants. Take some time and browse the area.

Wissahickon Valley Park

8. Wissahickon Valley Park

The City of Brotherly Love has always been known for its parks. And during your day trip to Philadelphia, you should make visiting parks a priority.

If you're a nature-lover, Wissahickon Valley Park is the place to be. The reserve has more than 50 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. There's also a creek stocked with trout. Take a couple hours, explore the forest, and enjoy the abundant wildlife.

9. National Museum of American Jewish History

Judaism is one of the most important religions in U.S. history. Many Jewish immigrants came to America, and their story is told at the National Museum of American Jewish History. The tales date to the 1600s and are divided in three sections, Foundations, Dreams, and Choices and Challenges of Freedom.

Additionally, the museum has rotating exhibitions. Many of these will focus on a prominent American Jewish person who has had a significant societal impact.

10. Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

Ready for a trip to the funky side? Visit Philadelphia's Magic Gardens! This folk art venue is known for all things colorful and mosaic. Stroll through the fascinating galleries and check out the incredible work, which comes from Mexico, Indonesia, Peru, Morocco, and beyond. Then, step out into the sculpture garden maze for the full experience. This is an attraction unlike any other!

Camp Outside of Philly at Sun Retreats Lancaster County

So where's the perfect place to stay for a day trip to Philadelphia? It's Sun Retreats Lancaster County! Located 60 miles west of the city, Lake in Wood is a family-friendly resort. Many amenities await, including miniature golf, a swimming pool complex, paddle boats, a recreation hall, and more.

When it comes to your stay, there are plenty of options. You can choose from traditional options like RV and tent sites. But numerous vacation rentals are also available. Some designs are classic cabins and cottages. Consider trying a unique rental though. From a covered caboose to a tipi or lakeside yurt, these quirky options ensure a trip for the memory books.  

Pull out the calendar and start planning the dates for your day trip to Philadelphia. And don't forget to share this post and tag your friends who should join!  

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