There are so many things to see and do in Philadelphia. It was the United States’ former capital and the site where its independence was first declared. It has two faces: the historical part and the more modern area with skyscrapers like any large American city. We propose 25 things to see and do in Philadelphia so that you can get to know the city of brotherly love in-depth. Yes, his name is of Greek origin, and it means precisely that. However, its inhabitants prefer to call it Philly.
25 THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN PHILADELPHIA
- Enter the historic Independence Hall
The Independence Hall was an important place for the Americans since they became independent from the British Empire. Later, in the same place, the Constitution of the United States was signed. It is a must-see in Philadelphia if you are interested in history.
The visit is free, but you need a ticket with an assigned time. You can book it online for a symbolic price of $ 1 or wait until the day of the visit. From 8:30 a.m., they distribute a limited number of tickets for the same day; the sooner you arrive, the more possibilities you will have to choose the time you prefer.
2. Photograph the Liberty Bell
The most famous object to see in Philadelphia is a bell. Later, it acquired a significant symbolic value in the fight to abolish slavery.
That is why it represents freedom on a global level. Its crack is a great mystery, as there is no unified theory as to how the bell broke. The visit is free; you only have to queue for a few minutes.
3. Stroll through the historic center, an essential thing to do in Philadelphia.
If you want to get into 18th century Philadelphia, you have to walk through its historic center. The red brick buildings have become businesses of all kinds that give the neighborhood a lot of atmospheres. There are also several tranquil garden areas where you can stop to rest. Strolling these streets is probably our favorite thing to do in Philadelphia.
4. Don’t miss Elfreth’s Alley
It known for being the first residential street in the country. Its houses were built between 1728 and 1836, an actual historical gem to see in Philadelphia.
5. Visit Betsy Ross’s house.
The city’s historic area is the home of Betsy Ross, the woman who sewed the first American flag. Now it is in a perfect house-museum for the most curious. There is a small patriotic shop on the ground floor where you can find all kinds of flags embodied in mugs, key chains, or T-shirts. You can even get a copy of the American Constitution!
The entrance to the house costs $ 5.
You will most likely arrive in Philadelphia from New York. So we tell you how to get from one city to the other on your own.
6. Gape at Philadelphia City Hall
Construction of the Philadelphia City Hall began in 1871 to be the tallest building in the world. But before it was finished, it was already surpassed by the Eiffel Tower and the Washington Monument. Of course, its 167 meters high allow it to continue being the largest city hall in the United States. Beyond its size, the design is awe-inspiring!
On its tower, there is a statue of William Penn, the founder of the city. If you want to have such good views as he does, you can go up to the tower’s viewpoint for $ 8. There are also guided tours of the building Monday through Friday for $ 15.
7. Go up to the One Liberty viewpoint.
City Hall is the most beautiful building to see in Philadelphia, but it has competition. The One Liberty skyscraper has a lookout point with great views of the entire city. In addition, there is a small exhibit on the history of Philadelphia and its main buildings. You can buy tickets online to save time once there.
8. Feel like Rocky climbing the stairs of the Museum of Art, a classic thing to do in Philadelphia.
Thanks to the Rocky movies, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has become the most iconic place to see in Philadelphia. You can climb the stairs like the boxer and even take a picture with a statue in his honor.
Beyond its fame, the museum is a true marvel, from its neoclassical façade to its galleries with invaluable pieces from medieval to contemporary times. Fees :$ 20.
9. Take a selfie in good company at Love Park.
Are you a selfies lover? If you visit Philadelphia with someone you love, you won’t be able to avoid posing under Robert Indiana’s Love statue. Versions have been made worldwide, but Philadelphia can boast of having had the first since 1976.
10. South Street – one of the funniest places to see in Philadelphia
South Street is Philadelphia’s most characterful street. There you will find all kinds of alternative shops, bars, and restaurants with many atmospheres.
Be amazed by street art at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens Right on South Street; there is an urban art paradise. These peculiar gardens are full of mosaics made with bottles, bicycle wheels, wires, and other objects converted into art. It is a highly recommended different visit to do in Philadelphia.
Fees :$ 10.
11. Try a delicious Philly Cheesesteak at Jim’s, a must-do in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia has something even more magical than the Magic Gardens. And oddly enough, we are talking about a sandwich! Philly cheesesteak is a city classic: beef, cheese, and poached onions. It is a perfect stellar combination to recharge your batteries on a tourist day. You’ll find the best cheesesteak at Jim’s, recommended by locals.
Eat local food at the Reading Terminal Market, and it is another perfect place to try local delicacies. Reading Terminal Market opened in 1893 and retained its original charm. It is a reference point in the city to buy food directly from local producers. Many of the stops offer elaborate dishes and exquisite sweets, even handicrafts. Strolling through this market is an ideal thing to do in Philadelphia to learn about local life.
12. Go shopping at irresistible prices at Century 21
Century 21 is a must-do in Philadelphia for fashionistas. It’s one of our favorite outlets in New York, but it’s even better in Philadelphia! There are hardly any people, the clothes are elegant, and the prices are even lower because there are not the same taxes as in New York.
13. Watch an NBA game
If you like basketball, watching an NBA game is a must-do in Philadelphia (and any other city). Even if you think that watching live sports is not your thing, you will surely enjoy it. The games are quite a spectacle. We get tickets online for the Philadelphia 76ers for only $ 40 practically on the field.
14. Discover the dreaded Eastern State Penitentiary
Did you know that before going to Alcatraz prison, Al Capone was locked up in a Philadelphia jail? It was at the Eastern State Penitentiary, a facility built in 1829 used until 1971 to rehabilitate the most dangerous criminals. In its beginnings, it was one of the most advanced prisons of the time. Visiting this historical space, you can learn about the stories that happened.
Admission costs $ 14 when booking online and $ 16 at the box office.
15. Walk the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk at sunset.
On the banks of the river Schuylkill, there is an enjoyable walk that locals frequent. From there, there are excellent views of the Philadelphia skyline, especially at sunset. Another charming riverside spot is Boathouse Row, a row of piers where rowing competition equipment is kept. At night it has beautiful lighting.
Enjoy art at the Barnes Foundation Philadelphia has a lot of fascinating museums. The Barnes Foundation stands out for its immense collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. It has the most extensive Renoir collection globally and works by Matisse, Manet, Cézanne, or Degas.
Fees :$ 25 and is free on the first Sunday of each month.
16. Admire Rodin’s sculptures
The Rodin Museum is another must-see in Philadelphia for art lovers. It houses around a hundred works by the prestigious French sculptor. Not only are the sculptures art, but the outdoor garden will also leave you in awe.
17. Discover the history of the Mummers, something curious to do in Philadelphia
If you spend the end of the year in Philadelphia, you will have the opportunity to learn about one of the oldest traditions in the United States. Every January 1, the Mummers Parade, clubs that come together to prepare spectacular costumes and masks. It would be the Philadelphia carnival. If you don’t have a chance to see the parade, you can always visit the Mummers Museum to learn more about the tradition and see the costumes.
18. Pass by the pretty 30th Street Station
It may seem strange, but a train station is one of the most beautiful places to see in Philadelphia. 30th Street Station is the central railway station in the city. It was inaugurated in 1933 and is an excellent work of architecture. Its classic and majestic style makes it one of the best stations we have ever stepped on. If you arrive in Philadelphia from New York by bus, the stop is next to this station.
- Know the importance of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin is one of the most famous figures in Philadelphia. He is one of the Founding Fathers of the United States who signed the declaration of independence and was one of the most relevant figures at the time. He was not only a politician but also a journalist, a philosopher, and a scientist. Did you know that he invented the lightning rod? To learn more about this American hero, you can visit the Benjamin Franklin Museum, dedicated to his career.
Fees :$ 5
Learn about everything that surrounds us at The Franklin Institute, We continue with Franklin! In this case, The Franklin Institute is a perfect science museum to visit as a family. It deals with many different topics in a very didactic way: physics, astronomy, oceanography, or computer science, for example.
General admission costs $ 23, but there are additional charges to access the planetarium and specific exhibits.
20. Strolling through the Morris Arboretum and Longwood Gardens, a relaxing plan to do in Philadelphia
Suppose you want to get away from the city center, lovely green areas to see in Philadelphia. You can relax at Morris Arboretum, the botanical garden of the University of Philadelphia. You can also take a walk through Longwood Gardens. These beautiful gardens are the scene of various outdoor activities throughout the year.
21. Visit an Amish village
Near Philadelphia is Lancaster County, known for being home to a large Amish community. There, time seems to have been stagnant in the 19th century. They live in a rural environment, producing the products they consume. They also wear classic clothing and horse-drawn carts to get around. They are even reluctant to use modern conveniences like electricity. You can book a visit to an Amish village to get a closer look at their way of life. Without a doubt, it is an exciting cultural visit to do in Philadelphia.
Go on a field trip to Washington’s the last thing to do in Philadelphia; we suggest another excursion. In the country’s capital, you can walk between memorials on the National Mall and see the impressive Capitol and the famous White House. It only takes a couple of hours to get from Philadelphia to Washington by bus.
It is advisable to stay in Washington to see the city calmly in a couple of days. But if you’re short on time, a great option is to book a two-day excursion to Philadelphia and Washington from New York.