You've read about it since those elementary school history lessons. Now it's time to see Philadelphia for yourself, to follow in Ben Franklin's footsteps and stuff yourself with soft pretzels and cheesesteaks.
The Web page of the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau -- www.libertynet.org/phila-visitor -- will guide you to information on major sightseeing spots such as Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
It also has sections on food, hotels and nightlife, and a calendar of events. Taking along friends from Europe? There are pages in German and Italian.
Check in at History Channel Traveler -- www.HistoryTravel.com -- where searching for "Philadelphia" turns up entries on everything from the Battle of Germantown to the Mario Lanza Museum and the Mummers Parade.
For still more leads to historical attractions, try ushistory.org -- www.libertynet.org/iha/index.html. You can read copies of historical documents, learn about Betsy Ross and sample their suggestions for historic tours.
If you want to see what the city looks like, try the live Web camera from Lockheed Martin Corp. -- 126.96.36.199/philaview/camera.html -- and be sure to click on the 24-hour time lapse movie.
A Web site called phillyfriend -- www.phillyfriend.com -- invites you to "feel the pulse of Philadelphia." Its sections include one called "25 great Philly kid things to do."
If you need to learn about such indigenous delicacies as hoagies, soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, click on phillyfriend's food section and go to "special (tr)eats." Or link to Philadelphia magazine's dining guide -- www.phillymag.com/dining.html -- for a sampling of the city's many choice restaurants.
The food section at the Convention Center Visitors Guide -- www.phillyvisitor.com -- breaks the city into major neighborhoods and lets you search a restaurant database guide by cuisine.
Another Web site to consider is the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. -- www.gophila.com -- which helps you find "jammin' nightlife and beautiful countrysides." And if you're taking along youngsters, click on "kids and families."
Before going, learn the layout of the city with the interactive Philadelphia map from MapBlast -- www.ego.net/us/pa/phl/qtour/mapframe.htm. And learn to get around like a native by checking the transit maps and fares at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority -- www.septa.org.
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