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Best Hidden Gems in Philadelphia

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During the day this park is alive with skateboarders, sunbathers and dog walkers; at night couples stroll on romantic walks. The natural sanctuary of lovely trees and green grass is surrounded by one of the city's most upscale eating, shopping and residential districts. Renamed Rittenhouse Square in 1825 for esteemed clockmaker and astronomer David Rittenhouse, this spot is the ideal place to take refuge from modern distractions. A few steps down the path at any of the six gates, and the noise and traffic of the city seem to disappear.

This 92-acre public garden is populated with rare, exotic and large trees presented in four different environments: The English Park, Rose Garden, Swan Pond and Japanese Garden all offer a multitude of species and phylum of plants specific to each area. The generally Victorian tone of the gardens radiates a sense of romance and natural splendor. University of Pennsylvania students conduct botanical experiments and studies that are also on display.

The Rosenbach Museum & Library is cozily nestled away in a residential area within the two historic townhouses at 2008 and 2010 Delancey Place. The 19th-century townhouses boasts original manuscripts and handwritten copies of some of the world's most important literary works. The most highly prized of all the rarities on display is the original handwritten manuscript for James Joyce's 'Ulysses'. The museum celebrates 'Ulysses' every June 16th with the Bloomsday festival. Apart from the library's extensive collection, the historic house museum also showcases period furniture and decorative artwork from the 16th to the 20th Centuries making for a diverse chronicle of historic culture and the literary arts.

One of the city's most unique parks and outdoor spaces, Race Street Pier stands close to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, jutting out into the Delaware River. Manicured lawns cover one part of the pier, while a beautiful raised promenade occupies the rest of the space. From joggers in the morning to picnicking families and tourists looking for some calm by the river, the park sees a lot of visitors throughout the day, and is an excellent bet for people-watching. Panoramic vistas of the city make it a favorite hangout for photographers. Check website for more.

Philadelphia has been an important seaport town since the 1600s. The Seaport Museum traces this history through exhibits, demonstrations, and several ships on display, including a World War II submarine and the USS Olympia, Admiral Dewey's flagship in the Spanish-American War. The auditorium at the museum is also used for chamber music concerts.

Built between 1698-1700, Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church survives today as the oldest church in Pennsylvania. The church is known as Old Swedes because Swedish pioneers were the first to settle the area in 1646. There is a fine collection of religious historical and religious artifacts the church has acquired over three centuries, including bronze crosses and 18th Century bibles in Swedish and English. The building itself is a perfectly preserved example of 18th Century public architecture. Today the church is still owned and maintained by its congregation of Episcopalians. The church is part of the Independence National Historical Park system.

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