27 Surreal Places In Philadelphia You Won't Believe Exist
Forget interesting, these places are surreal
Philadelphia is a city full of interesting places to see. From the funky eateries to the spectacular nature parks, it truly does not matter if you're a newbie, visitor, or native, there is bound to be at least a few places in the city that you never even knew existed.
So hurry up and free some time in your busy schedule, because you're going to want to check out all these exciting, cool, and just straight up surreal locations in the Philadelphia before the cold winter months roll in and force you to be homebound.
Where: Fairmount Park
Take a seat at the infamous Whispering Benches located at the Smith Memorial Arch in Fairmount Park. These man-made anomalies are situated in such a way that when two people sit at opposite ends they can still hear the other loud and clear.
Shofuso Japanese House and Garden
Where: Lansdowne Dr & Horticultural Dr
Feel like you just stepped into Japan while you enjoy the smell of cherry blossoms, feed the koi fish, and meditate in the traditional 17th century-style Japanese house and garden.
Where: 530 South St
Profound, edgy, and colorful, Tattooed Mom is truly a one-of-a-kind restaurant and bar. If you can't tell from the pictures, normal is unnormal, so cut loose, relax, eat some amazing food, and don't bother being on your best behavior.
Forbidden Drive Trail
Where: Ridge Avenue
This scenic trail runs along the Wissahickon Creek and is favored by sports enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. While the peaceful surroundings always draw a crowd, what really makes the trail spectacular is the popular swimming hole, Devil's Pool located just off Forbidden Drive, near Livezey Lane.
Philadelphia's Magic Gardens
Where: 1020 South St
Believe me, it's as magical as it sounds. The Magic Gardens span for a half-block and feature the enchanting artworks of Isaiah Zagar who used nontraditional materials such as folk art statues, found objects, bicycle wheels, colorful glass bottles, hand-made tiles, and thousands of glittering mirrors.
The Shrine of Saint John Neumann
Where: 1019 North 5th Street
The exhumed remains of Saint John Neumann and his collection of hundreds of relics are on display in one of Philadelphia's churches. His body is clothed in Bishop's robes and his face is covered with a white mask mimicking his lifelike facial features.
Where: 2313 Frankford Ave
Pizza on the brain? Always. Grab a slice of pizza and tour the world's first pizza museum all in one location. It's sure to be a visit you'll never forget.
Philadelphia's Moon Tree
Where: Washington Square Park, 6th Street and Walnut Street
As part of the famous 1971 Apollo 14 Moon Mission, astronaut Stuart Roosa was given a special task — take some plant seeds to the moon with him to see if they would still germinate after a trip to space. After the mission, Roosa brought back the seeds and they were planted in several locations including right here in Philly.
Please Touch Museum
Where: 4231 Avenue of the Republic Ave
Whether you're just babysitting or have some rugrats of your own, the Please Touch Museum must be on your list to take 'em. This interactive museum is great for a fun hands-on learning experience — and most importantly, keeping the kiddos occupied. Honestly, it's even fun for adults.
Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
Where: 6825-31 Norwitch Dr
Calling all car lovers! The Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum has one of the world’s greatest collections of racing sports cars. From antiques to uniques, they have everything you've ever dreamed of.
Where: 407 South St
I'm getting itchy just looking at the photos. These giant ant sculptures are actually the remanence of a punk-rock store called Zipperhead that used to inhabit the location. Although Zipperhead (renamed Crash Bang Boom) only moved down a few storefronts, they didn't take the ants, and now they remain a kind of cool and gross icon of the neighborhood.
Hop Sing Laundromat
Where: 1029 Race St
Your best behavior is a must at this classy Chinatown speakeasy. Make no mistake, there is a strict dress code and cell phone use restriction, but it makes the experience so much cooler — and be sure to ogle the inviting decor.
Penn Treaty Park
Where: 1301 N Beach St
Not only is the Penn Treaty Park gorgeous, offering spectacular views of the Delaware River and the city, but it's historic too. According to legend, Native Americans met William Penn under an elm tree at Shackamaxon, the site of present-day Penn Treaty Park. Pretty exciting stuff, huh?
Where: Franklin Institute
Sorry, flat-earthers, the Foucault Pendulum experiment proves daily that Earth is indeed round. This remake of Foucault's original pendulum is on display at the Franklin Institue and every morning at 9:30 a.m., the museum pulls back the 180-pound bob and sets it swinging from North to South, knocking over pegs systematically throughout the day as the world turns.
Bryn Mawr Film Institute
Where: 824 Lancaster Ave, Bryn Mawr
Bryn Mawr Film Institute (BMFI) is an impressive nonprofit, member-supported motion picture theater and film education center that the public has been enjoying since 1926. In recent years, the location has undergone some restoration work but still maintains the old-theater authenticity. Click the link below to see their schedule of showings and to learn more about the Institute.
Where: 2353, 1023 Cherry St
In the mood to try some funky soft serve flavors? If you answered yes, KuriiMii is the place for you. I hear the Black Sesame ft. Taro is pretty good, and the tangy Sriracha topping — can't beat it.
Where: 1 N Broad St
A must-see for conspiracy theorists. Often hailed as one of the great “wonders” of the Masonic world, this temple was constructed in the 1870's and was adorned with some of the finest artifacts of Freemasonry and magnificent Lodge rooms based on themes of the ancient architectural world.
Spruce Street Harbor Park
Where: 301 S Christopher Columbus Blvd
Sprawl out on a hammock and enjoy the river views. The Spruce Street Harbor Park is an urban beach located in Penn's Landing open during the summer. Featured is a boardwalk along the Delaware River with a beachfront atmosphere, hung hammocks, and at night the park is illuminated by colorful lights.
Pavilion in the Trees
Where: Lansdowne Dr
Currently undergoing some restoration work, the Pavilion in the Trees is an observation deck in Fairmont Park offering tree-top views of the surrounding woodlands.
Cave of Kelpius
Where: 777-795 Hermit Ln
Also part of Fairmont Park, the Cave of Kelpius is a stone-framed enhanced cave built into the side of a hill marking what is believed by many historians to be the 17th century home of America’s first cult of mystics —the followers of Kelpius — who expected to live out the human race apocalypse after their misinterpretation of the Book of Revelations.
The Ranstead Room
Where: 2013 Ranstead St
The Ranstead Room is another dimly lit Philadelphian speakeasy, a little easier to access than the Laundromat — as it's open every day of the week. The Randstead Room is slightly pricer but well worth the investment if you enjoy speakeasies.
Where: Elfreth's Alley
Take a stroll down one of America's oldest continuously-inhabited streets. This charming narrow alleyway still retains it's original colonial style vibe — making anyone who walks it feel like they just stepped back in time.
Laurel Hill Cemetery
Where: 3822 Ridge Avenue
Addddrriiiaaann! The Laurel Hill Cemetery is the final resting place to many area-famous residents, including the fictitious wife of Rocky, Adrian Balboa.
Where: 80 S 30th St
Views from rooftops are cool and all, but views from a rooftop nature park? Well, that's just futuristic. Cira Green is exactly that — a nature park on top of a downtown parking garage.
Graffiti Pier has been a well-loved spot by Philadelphians for many years but has recently come to an abrupt end. Well, kind of. People still dare to explore the pier despite the city's best efforts to close the premises due to safety concerns. I imagine that as long as the pier still stands it will always draw a crowd of curious spectators.
Where: 5400 Lindbergh Blvd
Bartram's Garden is not only a historic Philadelphia garden and arboretum, it's a 45-acre national landmark that holds the title of being the oldest surviving botanic garden in North America. The grounds are free to visit and park at and open to the public year-round except during certain holidays.
Mercer Museum & Fonthill Castle
Where: 525 E Court St, Doylestown
This beautiful early 1900s castle, once the home of archaeologist, anthropologist, ceramist, scholar, and antiquarian, Henry Chapman Mercer, lies on the outskirts of the city in Doylestown. Mercer built Fonthill both as his home and as a showplace for his collection of tiles and prints. Since his passing, the castle and museum were donated and remain open for public enjoyment and learning.