Editor's Note: Philadelphia is not currently an active cruise port.
Philadelphia's chief bit of notoriety is its colonial history. The city, founded in 1682, can rightly be credited as the site of America's birth -- the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were created there. So, too, was the first American flag.
And lately the city has been spiffing up the old and developing the new, in terms of its heritage appeal. Most notable were the launch of the National Constitution Center and a new home for the Liberty Bell, one of America's most valued symbols of freedom. And yet, to consider that Philadelphia's only major appeal is its historic sites is to miss out on the latest "revolution." Among some of the relatively new entrants onto the scene: a retro-designed sports stadium (the Philadelphia Phillies' Citizens Bank Park), the Fairmount WaterWorks Interpretive Center (an eco-educational center) and thriving -- but not over-commercialized -- waterfront, Penn's Landing, which features everything from historic ships-turned-into-restaurants to summerlong festivities.
Philadelphia, which lies at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, also has amazing green spaces. Of particular note is Fairmount Park, one of urban America's largest within-the-boundaries parks. And there are whole other worlds to explore, from the country's most prominent Amish settlement and the battlefields of Gettysburg to Wilmington's cultural and historic Dupont country and the Atlantic beaches of South Jersey.