Port of Philadelphia
Cruising and Travel

The City of Philadelphia, nicknamed the "City of Brotherly Love," is a popular tourist destination for travelers from the United States and the world. The Port of Philadelphia was the location for the signing of the United States' Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It was home to one of the Nation's Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, and it contains a museum dedicated to the icon's life and work. It is also home to the ever-popular Philly cheese-steak sandwich.

The Port of Philadelphia offers an almost overwhelming variety of interesting activities for visitors. Museums covering a range of experiences and historic interests are plentiful, and the Port of Philadelphia offers many theaters and music events for cultural adventures. Visitors can tour the city by trolley to visit the Port of Philadelphia's vast collection of historic sites from early American history, sites where movies have been made, and the city's green spaces and natural sights. For complete information on the many things to see and do in the Port of Philadelphia, please visit the city's tourism website.

The Port of Philadelphia has a humid subtropical climate with hot muggy summers and cold snowy winters. Spring and fall are glorious seasons. Rain is fairly evenly spread across the year, although the driest months come in early fall and late winter, particularly in February. The Port of Philadelphia averages about 534 millimeters of snow per year. Temperatures range from an average high of 30 °C (86 °F) in July to an average low of -4 °C (25 °F) in January.

Visitors to the Port of Philadelphia will want to see Independence National Historic Park, home of the Liberty Bell, Constitution Hall, and Independence Hall. The park contains some 20 historic buildings from the era of the American Revolution that are open to the public. This is the place where the United States was born. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed in Constitution Hall. Independence Park is the scene of holiday celebrations, particularly the huge fireworks displays on the Fourth of July. It has also been the site of large protests and demonstrations, especially during the Vietnam War. In addition to being a place of reverence for the Nation's history, the Port of Philadelphia's Independence National Historic Park is an urban oasis in the center of a big busy city. It offers gardens, sidewalk vendors, and a large grassy mall for fun and relaxation.

The Port of Philadelphia's Pennypack Park is a large city park in the northeast of the city with waterfalls, creeks, hiking and biking trails, and dedicated dog-walking trails. It is also home to the annual Pennypack Park Music Festival that began in the 1970s. In that decade, a grassroots effort started to build a bandshell in the park. During the first summer, it hosted free concerts by well-known big bands like the Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey Orchestras. From the 1970s until the early 1990s, Pennypack Park offered entertainment to large crowds. By the early 1990s, however, the festivals had grown beyond the park's ability to plan and execute them, and the music events were dropped. In the 21st Century, a new group of citizens and city managers formed resurrected the non-profit corporation, and the city restored the now abandoned bandshell. Today, the annual concerts are attended by residents and visitors each summer. Pennypack Park covers more than 647 hectares of woodlands, meadows, and wetlands. Pennypack Creek runs through the park's playgrounds, bike trails, and bridle paths. This Port of Philadelphia park supports over 150 species of nesting, migrating, and seabirds birds as well as a variety of mammals and reptiles. The park contains the 1697 King's Highway Bridge, the oldest stone bridge in the country that is still in use. The 1688 Pennepack Baptist Church is preserved on park grounds. The Verree House on the Park grounds was raided by British troops during the American Revolution. Other historic remnants include abandoned railroads and mills.

Located at Penn's Landing, the Port of Philadelphia's Independence Seaport Museum is dedicated to the maritime history of the city. It covers colonial times, the days of the slave trade, and the Industrial Revolution. Visitors can watch woodworkers hand-crafting rowboats in the recreated navigation room. They can also enjoy wonderful views of the Delaware River. Home Port Philadelphia is one of the permanent exhibits. Focusing on Delaware Valley maritime history of the late 1800s and early 1900s, the exhibit features oral histories of men and women who worked and lived along the waterways of the region. The Coming to America exhibit tells the story of immigrants traveling in steerage compartments to arrive at the country's fourth largest immigration port at the Port of Philadelphia's Washington Avenue. Philadelphia and the China Trade describes the seaport's role in trade with China during the late 18th Century. Ship Via Philadelphia portrays maritime commerce from the early 19th Century through today. A miniature crane unloads cargo from a container ship, and oral presentations of merchants and longshoremen describe changes in ship and cargo-handling technology over the years.

The Port of Philadelphia is home to "America's Most Historic Prison," Eastern State Penitentiary. The prison opened in 1829 as part of the "confinement in solitude with labor" movement, and it was soon a model for as many as 300 other prisons around the world. Its radial floor plan made it easy to monitor many prisoners at the same time. Eastern State confined some of the country's most infamous criminals including Al Capone and Willie Sutton. The prison was closed and abandoned in 1971, and it now stands empty and deteriorating. Despite being abandoned, Eastern State Penitentiary in the Port of Philadelphia is still home to annual Bastille Day events. In October, it becomes one of the Port of Philadelphia's most popular attractions, the "Terror Behind the Walls" haunted house. Guided tours are available. In the show's first season, Eastern State Penitentiary was featured on "Ghost Hunters" which captured a reported ghostly figure on video.

Visitor will also enjoy the Port of Philadelphia's markets. The Italian Market offers high-quality products, but it is also both a famous national and local attraction. The Reading Terminal Market hosts Pennsylvania Amish merchants who offer fresh baked goods and organic produce among other restaurants and shops. Chinatown is located at Market East near the Reading Terminal Market.

Travelers who want to visit the Port of Philadelphia by sea can find a list of scheduled cruises on the Cruise Compete website.

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