Destinations

Come for Philadelphia. Stay for Philly.

From the expected to the unexpected, how well do you know the city where America was born?

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Big things are in store for Philadelphia over the next few years. 

In 2025, the Calder Gardens will open on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the downtown home to many of the historic city’s museums. This architecturally significant museum is dedicated to Alexander Calder, a Philadelphian considered to be one of the most innovative and influential artists of the 20th century. 

In 2026, Philadelphia will be at the center of the U.S. Semiquincentennial, when the country will be celebrating the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Also in 2026, Philadelphia will be the host city for six FIFA World Cup matches, including one on the 4th of July, and the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. These events mean Philadelphia will be the only city to host both the world’s game and America’s game that summer. 

It is perfect timing, then, that the American Bus Association is heading to Philadelphia on February 1–4, 2025, for Marketplace, the premier event for the motorcoach and group travel industry. Marketplace attendees will have an opportunity to experience all  the city has to offer and then return with their groups later to participate in the city’s upcoming world-renowned events. 

“We are thrilled to welcome the American Bus Association to Philadelphia in 2025,” says Gregg Caren, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau. “This city is a walkable and easy-to-navigate destination for groups and well worth an overnight stay or two. We can’t wait to roll out the red carpet for ABA Marketplace attendees and show everything our great city has to offer them and their groups.” 

As the home venue for Marketplace, the Pennsylvania Convention Center is centrally located in the heart of Philadelphia, making it easily accessible on foot to hotels, restaurants, the historic district, and museums and cultural institutions throughout the city. Get a jumpstart on your Marketplace itinerary with some of these can’t-miss Philadelphia experiences—as well as special insider tips created by the Philadelphia CVB just for Destinations—below. 

Philly’s Historic Attractions 

Independence National Historical Park, known as “America’s most historic square mile,” is the birthplace of America. It is home to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were written and signed. 

liberty bell
The Liberty Bell is on display at 526 Market Street in Independence National Historical Park and is free to view.

TIP: No tickets are needed for individuals visiting the Liberty Bell. Admission is free. During busy times of year, timed tickets are needed for Independence Hall. Get tickets in advance online for a $1 processing fee. Arrive a few minutes before your tour to go through security. 

Delve into the nation’s history at nearby museums, including the National Constitution Center, which explores  the U.S. Constitution and how it’s still relevant today.

TIP: Get selfies with life-size statues of the nation’s Founders in Signers’ Hall.

The Museum of the American Revolution explains why and how the war was fought and features storytelling through the eyes of women, Native Americans, and people of African descent. 

TIP: Start with the brief orientation film, Revolution, for a refresher course on the American Revolution, and then cap your visit with the immersive, tissue-worthy experience of “Washington’s War Tent.”

Also in the historic district, the Betsy Ross House commemorates the life and accomplishments of Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia patriot believed to have made the first American flag.

TIP: Historic Philadelphia Inc., the nonprofit organization that manages the historic site, is a member of ABA and offers special pricing to tour operators. 

Philly’s Art Museums 

The Barnes Foundation, located along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, houses one of the world’s finest collections of impressionist and post-impressionist art in its light-filled galleries.

Rocky footprints on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Follow in the steps of Rocky Balboa with a jog up the “Rocky Steps” to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

TIP: The paintings are grouped together with sculptures in an unusual manner envisioned by the original collector, Dr. Albert C. Barnes. Guests can look for themes, colors, shapes, and more that can be found throughout the assorted works of art. 

From there, it’s an easy jaunt to the Rodin Museum—which houses one of the largest collections of sculptor Auguste Rodin’s work outside of Paris—and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, known for its outstanding collection of Renaissance, American, Asian, and modern art throughout its 200 galleries. While you’re there, take a selfie with the Rocky Balboa statue in front of the museum, then run up what are affectionately called the “Rocky Steps” to reenact the iconic movie scene.

TIP: Your admission ticket gets you two consecutive days at both the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Rodin Museum. 

Philadelphia’s art is not limited to museums. The city has a flourishing public art collection including more than 4,000 murals created by Mural Arts Philadelphia, making the city the “Mural capital of the world.”

TIP: Guided Mural Arts tours are available by trolley and walking. Self-guided walking tours are also available through downloadable maps. 

More Philly Museums 

Celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, The Franklin Institute is a hands-on science museum located on the Parkway with exhibits for students and adults alike, including a STEM-focused exhibit on the brain and a new future-focused exhibit on space.

TIP: Check the museum’s schedule for when the Holt & Miller Observatory is open. Safely view the sun through the observatory’s Carl Zeiss Refracting Telescope, one of the largest historical artifacts in the collection. 

Nearby is Eastern State Penitentiary, a former prison and national historic landmark turned museum, which looks at the legacy of criminal justice reform from the nation’s founding to the present.

TIP: Get a discount when you book the self-guided audio, tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi, online in advance.

The Penn Museum is across the Schuylkill River near the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University in the aptly named University City neighborhood. It houses more than one million artifacts from around the world and features recently renovated Middle Eastern, African, and Mexican/Central American galleries and the largest sphinx in the Western Hemisphere.

TIP: Look for QR codes near major artifacts to get additional information.

Philly Dining

a crowd of people at Reading Terminal Market
Conveniently located near the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the Reading Terminal Market dates back to 1893 and is housed in a National Historic Landmark building.

With so many intriguing restaurant options, from gourmet to global cuisine to tiny BYOBs, it might be hard to decide where to eat. The good news is, between award-winning chefs and family-owned establishments, there is no shortage of dining choices and reasons to come back to Philadelphia. 

No one goes hungry in Philadelphia, especially at Reading Terminal Market, the historic market located just steps away from the Pennsylvania Convention Center. More than 80 merchants—many owned by the same family for generations—offer local delights like Philadelphia soft pretzels and global dishes like Khachapuri, Georgian cheese bread. And of course, no one can leave the city without trying one of Philadelphia’s famous cheesesteaks.

TIP: To eat like a local, order cheesesteaks “Whiz wit” for thinly sliced steak on a roll topped with Cheez Whiz and caramelized onions. 

Philly Nightlife 

Wrap up your evening with a theatrical production, jazz performance, or Broadway show. Ensemble Arts Philly’s Kimmel Center, Academy of Music, and other venues line the Avenue of the Arts section of Broad Street. There are also several jazz clubs such as Time, and live music venues such as Milkboy, located downtown, making it easy to explore the city’s nightlife.

TIP: Ensemble Arts Philly offers discounted tickets, called community rush tickets, to select performances online the day before the first performance of a concert weekend or in-person at the box office two hours prior to the start time. 

McGillin’s Old Ale House, opened in 1860, is the oldest continuously operating tavern in the city and one of the oldest in the nation. It’s located a short walk from the Pennsylvania Convention Center and many downtown hotels.

TIP: McGillin’s serves a variety of beers on tap, including those from regional and local breweries, such as Philadelphia Brewing and Love City Brewing. 

the Pennsylvania Convention Center and city hall in Philadelphia
The site of ABA’s 2025 Marketplace, the Pennsylvania Convention Center is conveniently located within walking distance of many of Philadelphia’s historic attractions and restaurants.

Come to historic Philadelphia for ABA’s 2025 Marketplace, catch the Philly vibe, and return when the spotlight shines bright on some of the most notable years in the city’s modern history. 

TIP: Getting to Philadelphia is easy. The airport is just a 25-minute car or train ride from downtown, and the main Amtrak station is easily located in the city.

For more information about Philadelphia, visit discoverphl.com or contact the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau at (215) 636-3300. 

 

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