Philadelphia: Underwhelmed by American History

When my flight to Philadelphia was cancelled, I figured the benefit was that my schedule change allowed me to explore Philadelphia for a day. But now, every time I sit down to try to write this post I realize I have almost nothing to say: hence why the post that should have come before all the Belgium and Prague ones is actually last. I felt very neutral about Philadelphia, which could have been due to the dreary weather, or being sick, or having to lug my backpack around, or….maybe the city just didn’t speak to me. I love big cities, and I’ve fallen in love with Chicago and New York City, and Philadelphia just couldn’t compare with its more impressive and more vibrant counterparts. Perhaps if I had more of an interest in American history I would have explored the sites with more excitement, but in my eyes US history just pales in comparison to the much richer past in Europe, Asia and Africa. Despite my lack of enthusiasm, I tried to explore the downtown core, admiring the gorgeous architecture on buildings like City Hall and moving on to more specific attractions.


I grabbed brunch at a cafe in the Reading Market after wandering past the vast selection of ethnic foods. I could see this being an awesome spot for locals to wander on the weekends: I’m obsessed with markets and this was a pretty good one!


I walked rather quickly through the Independence National Historical Park; by this point I was kind of over Philadelphia and ready to head back to the airport. I could see the Liberty Bell through a glass window, which is good enough for me, and the architecture on this historic mile was stunning! I’m beginning to realize that I’m obsessed with architecture by how many times I use that word in every post I write.



Have  you ever been totally underwhelmed by a destination? Have you visited Philadelphia? Did you like it? 


  1. Michelle @ Mishfish13 says

    I feel like National Treasure set up Philadelphia as this totally rockin’ place and all visit will now fall short of Nick Cage’s experience. I haven’t been yet… I think? But I think I would still give it a go… on the way to somewhere else haha.

    • bethanydickey says

      Hahahah you are totally right, that could be it!! Yes I’m glad I went to check it off – maybe make it a trip in transit 😉

  2. Suzanne (PhilaTravelGirl) says

    I feel like I need to stand up for Philly and say next time you come back even if just on a layover, I will show you around my city – away from the history. I rarely tell international folks to start at the history, in fact, I much prefer to see the Liberty Bell at night through the glass all lit up without tourists around. As an architecture fan, there are walking tours by the Institute of Architects and so many great buildings that are stunning (most were banks at some point and restored/repurposed). I usually tell people to book a visit to The Barnes collection, look at The Magic Gardens or the Mural Arts tours and definitely be prepared to eat – The Reading Terminal Market is a great place in the city to start but only scratches the surface of the foods available.
    Sadly, you had what looks like awful weather and that alone would put me off any city. So do come back and I’ll be happy to show you around if you like food, art and nature.You’ll be running up the Rocky Steps in no time!

    • bethanydickey says

      This is so kind – thank you Suzanne! It’s such a shame how much weather can affect your impressions of a city. I hope to make it back and give Philly another try, and I’ll be sure to let you know if I do!

  3. Chloe Logan says

    This post made me laugh, because I literally did the exact same thing when I went to the Liberty Bell–just looked through the window!

    Chloe | Wanderlust in the Midwest

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