Philadelphia Attractions

From touring Independence Hall to seeing the iconic Liberty Bell, visitors will be awed by how much US history is packed into this grand city. Don't miss these 10 must-see Philadelphia attractions.

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Encore at Wynn Las Vegas
Encore at Wynn Las Vegas

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas

Opened in December 2008, the 2,034-room Encore is all about pure opulence, including the gorgeous European Pool. The classically elegant pool surrounds a unique outdoor casino. 960 1280

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Mondrian Los Angeles

Mondrian Los Angeles

This ornately designed Sunset Strip hotel has an exclusive pool and poolside lounge, and more scene than even the Sunset Marquis. The Mondrian Los Angeles’ white walls and hanging potted plants gives this pool a beachy feel -- despite it being several stories above bustling Sunset Boulevard. 960 1280

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La Reunion Golf Resort & Residences

La Reunion Golf Resort & Residences

La Reunion Antigua Golf Resort is an outstanding luxury pick, located in the shadow of 4 volcanoes -- 2 of them active -- about 30 minutes from the colonial city of Antigua, Guatemala. Rooms have private patios with infinity-edge swimming pools, but the resort also has a main pool as well as a separate kiddy pool. These gorgeous volcanic views are hard to beat. 960 1280

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Gansevoort Turks and Caicos

Gansevoort Turks and Caicos

The Gansevoort Turks and Caicos is without a doubt the sexiest resort on Grace Bay, and a large part of its appeal is thanks to its stunning pool surrounded by palm trees. The pool features 4 hard-decked islands. 960 1280

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The Joule

The Joule

The Joule is one of the coolest -- and most luxurious -- hotels in Downtown Dallas. And it features one of the most talked about pools in the states. The Joule's cantilevered pool juts out over Main Street, so swimmers can get a glimpse of pedestrians below. 960 1280

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Biltmore Coral Gables

Biltmore Coral Gables

Built in 1926, the iconic Biltmore, a national landmark, brings timeless luxury to Miami’s hotel scene. Though far from any beaches, it offers -- among many other luxuries -- an amazing pool. This 22,000-square-foot pool is the largest in the continental U.S. Actor Johnny Weissmuller, better known as Tarzan, was a swimming instructor at the pool many years ago. 960 1280

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Gansevoort Park Avenue

Gansevoort Park Avenue

This 249-room hotel with flashy decor, lots of bars, and an outdoor pool is the uptown sister to the original, once wildly popular Hotel Gansevoort. The Gansevoort chain knows how to do their pools. One of only a handful of rooftop pools in New York, this is the only one that features a sexy pin-up mural. Plus, the pool has an underwater sound system and is a popular scene during the summertime. 960 1280

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Ventana Inn & Spa

Ventana Inn & Spa

Situated on more than 200 acres of picturesque land -- in Big Sur, CA -- , the Ventana Inn & Spa looks like a rustic cabin nestled in the woods -- yet it features a long list of on-site amenities, including 2 pools. This pool is in a secluded spot for a reason -- it's the resort's clothing-optional pool. So forget your bathing suit and enjoy a dip au naturel. 960 1280

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Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa

Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa

The beautifully designed, 780-room Grand Wailea has one of the top US spas, a prime location on one of the best US beaches, and 9 pools -- including arguably the best one in Hawaii. The massive main pool has several fun features, including volleyball nets, a waterslide, and a rope swing. Dive in! 960 1280

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Four Seasons Maui

Four Seasons Maui

An immaculate, art-filled property fronting Wailea beach, the Four Seasons Miami stands at the pinnacle of the area's resorts, offering spacious rooms, a top-notch staff and a slew of amenities, including three high-design pools. The poolside cabana staff refills guests' free glasses of ice water, and employees patrol the lounge chairs with cold towels and spray-bottles of Evian to spritz guests' faces. 960 1280

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Royal Corin Resort

Royal Corin Resort

For Costa Rica’s Royal Corin Resort & Loto Spa, this 54-room boutique hotel has a lot to offer, including great views of Arenal volcano, a lovely spa, a bar with an outdoor terrace, an on-site restaurant and a beautiful pool. This hot springs pool features natural thermal waters that help guests relax and take in the scenery. 960 1280

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The Raleigh Hotel

The Raleigh Hotel

Some things at the Raleigh Hotel are vintage-bordering-on-dated, but not the stunning free-form pool. This pool became a Miami landmark when former swimmer and movie star Esther Williams leapt from its waterfall diving board in a sequined bathing cap. 960 1280

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12 Amazing Pools  12 Photos

Disney Fantasy
Disney Fantasy

Disney Fantasy

The fourth ship in the Disney fleet, the Disney Fantasy has 14 decks and can accommodate 4,000 passengers. Visit one of the 3 different pools on deck 11, or splash around in the AquaLab, a 1,800 square foot water play area. When you’ve had enough fun in the sun, catch a Disney musical show or a first-run movie in 3D. 960 1280

Disney Cruise Line  

Carnival Magic

Carnival Magic

Test your climbing ability at Carnival Magic’s SportSquare, the world’s first ropes course at sea! If you’d rather keep your feet firmly planted on the deck, catch a movie or sports game on the ship’s huge outdoor screen at the Seaside Theatre. 960 1280

Carnival Cruise Lines  

MSC Divina

MSC Divina

Stare out to sea from MSC Divina’s infinity pool. For a more exclusive and luxurious experience, upgrade to the MSC Yacht Club and enjoy a private pool deck with a private restaurant featuring panoramic views. 960 1280

MSC  

Norwegian Epic

Norwegian Epic

The Norwegian Epic certainly lives up to its name. With performances by the Blue Man Group and the Second City, an Aqua Park complete with 3 waterslides, Nickelodeon characters and 20 different dining options, the ship has something for everyone. Have a drink in the Svedka ice bar and then head to Spice H20—an adults-only Ibiza-inspired beach club (pictured here). 960 1280

Norwegian Cruise Line  

MSC Fantasia

MSC Fantasia

The new flagship of MSC cruises, the Fantasia has staircases made of Swarovski crystals and a transparent ceiling for stargazing. If that’s not enough to make you sign up, the Fantasia also has an Aqua Park, a Formula 1 simulator and an interactive 4D theatre. 960 1280

MSC   

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas has everything you could ever dream of…including a zipline that’s 9 decks in the air. Climb a rock wall, test your skills in a surf simulator, go ice skating on the rink, play a round of mini golf or see a performance of Hairspray. There’s even a Starbucks on board! 960 1280

Simon Brooke-Webb  

Carnival Breeze

Carnival Breeze

Think all cruise food is boring? Think again. Hop aboard the Carnival Breeze and sample signature burgers by celebrity Food Network chef Guy Fieri. Then, take in a “5D” movie—a 3D movie with special effects and moving seats. 960 1280

Carnival Cruise Lines  

Ruby Princess

Ruby Princess

Christened in 2008 by Trista and Ryan Sutter of The Bachelorette, the Ruby Princess is a perfect ship for couples. Relax in a cabana in the adults-only sundeck called The Sanctuary, or cozy up for a first-run movie in the outdoor theatre. 960 1280

Princess Cruises  

Celebrity Silhouette

Celebrity Silhouette

On the Celebrity Silhouette, order food and wine from an iPad menu in one restaurant and sample 50 international craft beers in another. Take a painting class, grill your own food in the “Lawn Club,” or rent one of the cabana-style “Alcoves” for a relaxing day at sea. 960 1280

Celebrity Cruises  

Disney Dream

Disney Dream

As the only cruise line to feature fireworks at sea, Disney's Dream lights up the sky to dazzle guests with the largest fireworks extravaganza presented aboard a cruise ship. The skies above the Disney Dream explode with brilliant colors during "Buccaneer Blast!" -- a pyrotechnic spectacular choreographed to a dramatic score featuring songs from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, "Peter Pan" and the "Pirates of the Caribbean" attraction at the Disney theme parks. 960 1280

Matt Stroshane/Disney  

Mickey's Pool, a favorite feature of the Disney Cruise Line fleet, continues on the Disney Dream. This play area for children features a Mickey Mouse-shaped pool and an oversized version of Mickey's hand supporting a yellow winding slide that splashes down into the pool area. 960 1280

Jimmy DeFlippo/Disney  

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas' AquaTheater located in the ships Boardwalk neighborhood, hosts spectacular shows during its voyage. 960 1280

Royal Caribbean  

Fireworks cast a colorful light on the Queen Mary 2. 960 1280

Cunard Line  

Passengers aboard the Queen Mary 2 can enjoy planetarium shows in Illuminations. 960 1280

Cunard Line  

Norwegian Pearl

Norwegian Pearl

The Norwegian Pearl's pool area can easily be mistaken for a full-blown water park. 960 1280

Norwegian Cruise Line  

The Emerald Princess Piazza dazzles passengers with its opulence. 960 1280

Emerald Princess  

Photos

Fish

Fish

As you can expect -- with a name like Fish -- this is the place for a seafood lover. The restaurant's extensive raw bar includes oysters, king crab, salmon belly and caviar, and there are plenty of delicious fish dishes on the menu. Try the fried brandade and cod with serrano ham. Fish has more sophistication than your average seafood restaurant with swanky décor and creative cocktails. 960 1280

Amanda Jaffe  

Brick

Brick

Brick is a comfortable neighborhood restaurant in Rittenhouse Square that won’t break the bank. And comfort food is where it shines: fried shrimp, crab cakes and macaroni and cheese are all menu favorites. 960 1280

Amanda Jaffe  

Xochitl

Xochitl

Xochitl , a coxy Mexican restaurant in Society Hill, is known for its custom-order guacamole (mix-ins include black truffle and roasted garlic), ahi tuna ceviche, tequila flights and mushroom tamales. 960 1280

  

Matyson

Matyson

Matyson, a popular BYOB restaurant in Philly, focuses on hyper-seasonal new American cuisine, using local produce and livestock whenever possible. Monday-Thursday, Matyson offers a 5-course tasting menu with themes ranging from lobster to vanilla. 960 1280

Felicia Perretti  

Ulivo

Ulivo

Another neighborhood BYOB restaurant in Philly is Ulivo, a rustic Italian-Mediterranean restaurant featuring handmade pasta and an ever-changing seasonal menu. 960 1280

Andrew Kahl  

La Famiglia

La Famiglia

La Famiglia, a classic Italian spot in Old City, stands out with its formal dining, wine cave and rich dishes. Try the signature rack of lamb and decadent rum-rich mascarpone tart. 960 1280

Amanda Jaffe  

C19

C19

Rittenhouse House Square’s C19 serves local authentic Venetian fare in a casual but sophisticated setting. Small plates allow for long leisurely meals and opportunities to make your way through the extensive cocktail and wine list. 960 1280

Andrew Kahl  

Rex 1516

Rex 1516

Rex 1516 is full of Southern charm -- from its simple soul-food-inspired cuisine to the faded, Southern-mansion decor. Don't leave without trying the signature crawfish pot pie and wash it down with a mint julep or lime rickey. 960 1280

Amanda Jaffe  

Bistro Romano

Bistro Romano

History buffs will love dining at Bistro Romano, a property built in the early 1700s that served as an endpoint on the Underground Railroad. A private wine cellar that was formerly an underground tunnel can be reserved for a special evening. 960 1280

Alexei Kaleina  

The Prime Rib

The Prime Rib

Philly may be known as a laid-back town, but The Prime Rib brings an air of formality that stands out among even the finest restaurants in the city. This is the place for a special celebration -- with a pianist playing during the week and a full band on the weekends. And don’t even think about not ordering the signature dish: prime rib, of course. 960 1280

Alexei Kaleina  

Independence Hall

Independence Hall

Visit the Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, where George Washington was appointed command in chief of the Continental Army in 1775; the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776; the design of the American Flag was agreed upon in 1776; and the US Constitution was drafted in 1787. 960 1280

techfun, Flickr  

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell

Take a tour to see the 2,080-pound Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. A group of abolitionists adopted the Bible verse inscription and the Bell as a symbol of their cause to abolish slavery -- the first to call it the “Liberty Bell.” Built in London, England, the Bell was retired -- 2 cracks later -- after the final fatal crack during George Washington’s birthday celebration in 1846. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

American author Edgar Allan Poe lived in several houses while living in Philadelphia from 1837 to 1844, but this is the only one that remains standing. National Park Rangers provide a 30-45 minute guided tour or you can tour the residence on your own and see the author’s rare books and letters, and discover how Poe influence other authors, including Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King. 960 1280

Midnightdreary, Wikimedia Commons  

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

National Park Rangers provide a 30-45 minute guided tour of the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site or you can tour the residence on your own. See the author’s rare books and letters, and discover how Poe influenced other authors, including Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King. 960 1280

RTLibrary, Flickr  

Hopewell Furnace

Hopewell Furnace

Passing through Elverson, PA? Then make a stop at the Hopewell Furnace National Historical Site, a 19th century rural iron plantation, which includes a blast furnace, ironmaster’s house, blacksmith’s shop, company store and several worker’s houses. Ironmaster Mark Bird founded Hopewell Furnace in 1771. A shift in iron-making techniques changed causing the site to halt its operations in 1883. 960 1280

Sdwelch1031, Wikimedia Commons  

Valley Forge

Valley Forge

Travel to Valley Forge, PA. See the military camp of the American Continental Army from 1777 to 1778, during the American Revolutionary War. Explore the Park’s trails Washington Memorial Chapel, National Memorial Arch and Isaac Potts’ house, General George Washington’s Headquarters (pictured) in the winter of 1777. 960 1280

  

Valley Forge Railroad Station

Valley Forge Railroad Station

The Valley Forge Train Station is also part of the National Park Site. The Reading Railroad completed the station in 1911. It was the point of entry into the park for travelers who came by rail through the 1950s, from Philadelphia. The station overlooks the site of Washington’s Headquarters. 960 1280

Doris Rapp, Flickr  

Gloria Dei Episcopal Church

Gloria Dei Episcopal Church

Gloria Dei Episcopal Church in South Philadelphia is the oldest church in Pennsylvania, and among the oldest in the US. The church, built between 1698 and 1700 for Swedish settlers, was initially a Swedish Lutheran Church for almost 150 years before it became part of the Episcopal Church in 1845. 960 1280

B. Krist for GPTMC  

Gloria Dei Episcopal Church

Gloria Dei Episcopal Church

Nils Collin, a Swedish pastor who served Gloria Dei from 1784 to 1831, was a close friend of Benjamin Franklin. In fact, the remains of an early lightening rod -- visible on the church’s exterior -- are the result of their relationship. Collin remained neutral in the Revolutionary War. Rumor has it that his extensive writings about the King of Sweden are buried under the floor of the church. 960 1280

B. Krist for GPTMCS  

Thaddeus Kosciusko National Memorial

Thaddeus Kosciusko National Memorial

Explore the life of Thaddeus Kosciuszko at this National Park Site. The Polish freedom fighter was instrumental in engineering military structures and forts to hold off British troops during the American Revolution. History buffs can visit his preserved home on 301 Pine Street in Philly to see where he met infamous visitors, including Thomas Jefferson and Chief Little Turtle. 960 1280

Photo by R. Kennedy for GPTMC  

Deshler-Morris House

Deshler-Morris House

The Germantown White House aka the Deshler-Morris House is the oldest official presidential residence. The historic mansion, located in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, was shelter for US President George Washington when the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 struck the city. The following year, President Washington and his family returned to the house for a summer vacation. The house takes its name from the first owner, David Deshler, and the last owner, Elliston P. Morris. 960 1280

Historic Germantown, Flickr  

Erebus Haunted Attraction

Erebus Haunted Attraction

One of the largest Halloween attractions in the world, Erebus is a 4-story haunted house in Pontiac, MI, that promises underworld giant monsters, bottomless pits and crushing walls.

Looking for more haunted places to visit? See which creepy locations made our list of Travel's Best Halloween Attractions 2013. Plan ahead and prepare to be spooked!
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Bennett's Curse

Bennett's Curse

Bennett's Curse in Jessup, MD, is consistently ranked a top haunt because of its unique special effects and hi-tech fright entertainment. Check out the trifecta of terror attractions here: House of Vampyres, Sanctuary of Insanity and Zombie Kingdom 3-D. 960 1280

Jim O'Connor  

Witches of New Salem

Witches of New Salem

“Enter the corn at your own risk,” warns Witches of New Salem. This nighttime tour in Dorr, MI, will take you on a wild ride of dead ends, twist and turns, and the entire time you’ll be haunted by creepy corn stalkers. And if your heart can take it, take a tour of the Witches Woods’ for even more frightening fun. 960 1280

Witches of New Salem   

Dent Schoolhouse

Dent Schoolhouse

The legend of Charlie the Janitor, a janitor in the ’50s who killed students who taunted him, still haunts the Dent Schoolhouse in Cincinnati. Tour this haunted schoolhouse, where town lore says the missing children were killed. 960 1280

Dent Schoolhouse  

Hangman's House of Horrors

Hangman's House of Horrors

Hangman's House of Horrors in Fort Worth, TX, features the Cirque de Fantomes, Hillbillies Revenge and a wild 3-D Funhouse. Inspired by the legend of Hezekiah Jones, a murderer known as "Hangman,” this house of horrors also includes less scary entertainment like live music, rides and karaoke. 
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Hangman's House of Horrors  

Terror Behind the Walls

Terror Behind the Walls

Once one of the most notorious prisons in the country, Pennsylvania’s Eastern State Penitentiary is now one of the country’s top-ranked haunted attractions, with its empty cell blocks and over 11-acres of frightening fun. New this year, Detritus takes brave souls past the historic prison greenhouse and into an outdoor labyrinth of overgrown twisting vines. 960 1280

By David (eastern state peniteniary, 11) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

ESP's Night Watch

ESP's Night Watch

We can’t think of anything scarier than a night at Eastern State Penitentiary, a 180-year-old facility that dozens of paranormal investigation teams have declared haunted. Visitors explore ESP's Night Watch on their own, using only a flashlight to guide the way. 960 1280

By David (eastern state peniteniary, 23) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Fright Factory

Fright Factory

Ghoulish fiends masquerade as Hollywood's famous villains at the Fright Factory in Philadelphia. For a full night of fright, check out all 3 terrifying attractions: the Asylum, Village of the Damned and Horror High. 960 1280

  

Bates Motel

Bates Motel

When you check in to the Bates Motel, be prepared for the creepiest trip you'll ever take. Whether exploring the hotel's gruesome interior of computerized lighting and high-tech special effects, hopping aboard the 20-minute haunted hay ride through a forest of nightmarish ghouls, or getting lost in the spine-tingling aisles of the corn maze, visitors are sure to be spooked. 960 1280

Bates Motel   

The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary

Ahoy! Hop aboard Southern California's Queen Mary -- a 12-deck ship -- and experience 7 terrifying mazes; 1 sassy "fright mistress" in her private lair, a 45,000-square-foot "Dome of Doom" dance hall; and all the requisite skeletons, blood and gore. 960 1280

Andy Black, flickr  

Thrillvania

Thrillvania

This notorious thrill park plantation features 4 haunted attractions, including the "Labyrinth of Terror," Dr. Lycan's "Trail of Torment," "Voodoo Bayou," and Granny Lupus' "Seance Theater." 960 1280

Thrillvania  

Scream in the Dark

Scream in the Dark

Staged for the first time outside in an expansive parking lot, the Scream in the Dark, formerly Chamber of Chills, has mastered the creepy art of using sound and lighting -- and some very talented actors -- to bait and confuse visitors to the site. 960 1280

Chamber of Chills  

Netherworld Haunted House

Netherworld Haunted House

The Collector awaits your visit to the self-guided Netherworld Haunted House in Norcross, GA. Known for its unique themes and chilling close attention to detail, Netherworld is owned by TV and film professionals, so the makeup, costumes and acting are top notch. 960 1280

  

UNDEAD Haunted House

UNDEAD Haunted House

The UNDEAD Haunted House, located on the premises of the 13th Floor Haunted House in Denver, CO, is an interactive and immersive zombie experience. The zombies of the UNDEAD Haunted House have taken over a built-to-scale farmhouse, and it's up to you to seek refuge. 960 1280

  

The Beast

The Beast

The Beast in Kansas City, MO, transports you to a creepy, haunted Louisiana plantation, complete with a live alligator pit and bayou filled with who knows what else! 960 1280

  

The Haunted Trail

The Haunted Trail

The Haunted Trail in San Diego, CA, takes over the city’s famous Balboa Park for a mile-long, terrifying walk through the woods. The Haunted Trail is San Diego's only all-outdoor haunted attraction – and it’s not for the faint of heart. 960 1280

Mike  

The Haunted Hotel

The Haunted Hotel

If you prefer your scares indoors, The Haunted Hotel in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter offers patrons a ride on the "hell-evator." The Haunted Hotel is San Diego's biggest and longest-running Halloween attraction. 960 1280

  

The Edge of Hell

The Edge of Hell

The Edge of Hell in Kansas City, MO, is home to Medusa, the largest man-eating python. 960 1280

  

Creepywoods

Creepywoods

Creepywoods in Kingsville, MD, turns a once-quiet family farm into a frightening forest of evil creatures, werewolves and ghouls. An all-outdoor attraction, Creepywoods allows visitors to wander the woods on their own, making it an even more terrifying adventure. 960 1280

  

Hundred Acres Manor

Hundred Acres Manor

Hundred Acres Manor in Pittsburg, PA, features 6 different experiences, from the twisted medical research facility known as “South Valley Hospital” to the meat-processing plant turned human butcher shop called “Brine Slaughterhouse.” 960 1280

  

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