Our favourite ways to spend summer in Philadelphia, PA

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Philadelphia, a historic and important centre throughout America’s history, including many firsts and national landmarks. The list of names native to Philadelphia is formidable, including Noam Chomsky, Buckminster Fuller, Charles Wilson Peale, Solomon R. Guggenheim, Lisa ‘ Left Eye ‘ Lopes, M.Night Shyamalan, Isaac Asimov, Alexander Haig and Rocky. With so many contributions in so many different fields, it prompts, what is it that inspires so many to go on? Read on for our selection of ways to pass the summertime in The City of Brotherly Love, and tour the same paths as these countless Philadelphians. 

Independence National Historical Park

The Independence National Historic Park is a contiguous collection of buildings over several blocks in Philadelphia’s Old City neighbourhood. Here, you can quite literally step into a younger America and stroll through these streets as the Founding fathers once did. See Liberty Bell, the former residences of George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and the old city tavern where the Second Continental Congress frequented. In addition to these sites, there is also Independence Hall, and an 18th Century Garden curated in the manner of said century.

Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute is a centre of scientific research and learning, named after founding father Benjamin Franklin. Opportunities for interactive and observational learning are abundant, including a foot race against the professional athlete of your choice, an up-close journey through the life cycle of Jellyfish, rooftop stargazing through powerful telescopes, a flight simulator, a breakdown of the Strasbourg Cathedral Clock, touching a meteorite and a walk-in Planetarium giving a clear, immersive view of the night sky above. Aside from the many activities, there are also daily demonstrations of scientific principles and a twenty-foot marble statue of Benjamin Franklin himself. Also coming to the Franklin Institute in 2022 is the much-anticipated addition of Harry Potter: The Exhibition. 

Independence Dragon Boat Regatta

Every June, the Independence Dragon Boat Regatta is a stunning display of craftsmanship and athleticism on the Schuylkill river, a Philadelphia summer pastime inherited from Cantonese immigrants. Teams of twenty train and race with national dragon boat team members in multiple events down the Schuylkill, in a challenge of grit and talent. The race is open to newcomers for the more adventurous visitors, so for those who can coordinate or find an eligible team of twenty, you too can race for gold in your very own dragon boat team. 

Odunde Festival

The Odunde Festival pays homage to the city’s African American community, primarily the Yoruba residents of Philadelphia, as it takes place during the Yoruba New Year. On the Second Sunday of June, immerse yourself in Yoruba and African/Black diaspora culture, with delicious food, live music and plenty of clothing, crafts and souvenirs to browse through. Lively African dance troupes and aromatic Caribbean corn dishes surround visitors, as they spend the one day of the year in celebration of this long-standing Philadelphia tradition. 

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