21 Best Things to Do in Philadelphia

Planning a visit to Pennsylvania's largest city? If you're wondering what to do in Philadelphia, your options are truly endless! Explore America's constitutional history, reenact an iconic movie scene (you know the one), escape to a forest, or glimpse authentic architecture and art. You'll also have to catch a baseball or football game if you can — but that's a given.

In Philly, there's no shortage of old alleys to roam and world cuisines to try. However you choose to spend your time in Philly, you'll discover an adventure!

Best Things to Do in Philly

When you visit Philadelphia, you get a truly unique experience. Here are some of the best things to do in the City of Brotherly Love.

1. Explore the Liberty Bell Center

The Liberty Bell is one of the nation's most iconic historic landmarks, symbolizing unity, activism, courage, and freedom. It was first installed in 1751 to commemorate 50 years of William Penn's Charter of Privileges. The bell was famously rung numerous times during the next century, including in 1776, when Colonel John Nixon rang the bell to summon residents for the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.

The bell rang for the last time in 1851, creating its famous crack. It was then made “unringable” following a commemoration of George Washington's birthday.

Although silenced, the Liberty Bell remains an iconic symbol of freedom. The bell has inspired abolitionists, women suffragettes, and Civil Rights leaders. You can see the famed crack, read the inscription (including the "Pass and Stow" inscription that inspired that one clue in "National Treasure"), and envision the Liberty Bell's storied history in one memorable visit. You'll also gain greater insight into America's history and heritage at this Philadelphia tourist attraction.

2. Rise Above at the Rocky Statue and Steps

a women jumping posing for a photo Philly skyline in the back
The Rocky Statue and Steps

A popular tourist attraction in Philly, the Rocky Statue and Steps are movie stars in their own right, as iconic as Philly itself. The 72 steps leading up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art are the same ones from the iconic 1976 film “Rocky.” Sylvester Stallone stars as the underdog boxer Rocky Balboa, who ran up these very steps every morning on his quest to defeat the reigning world champion in a thrilling match.

The towering bronze statue of Rocky at the foot of the steps made its film debut in “Rocky III.” For locals and visitors, the statue symbolizes the underdog's triumph against all odds and people's determination to rise above their circumstances, whatever the challenge.

Whether visiting the Rocky Statue and Steps as a tribute to your favorite films or encouraging yourself to face new challenges, you will feel inspired when you leave. Pro tip: be sure to snap a picture with the Rocky Statue to celebrate your triumphs.

3. Relive History at Independence Hall

Independence Hall holds a unique place in American history. It was here that the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were debated and signed by the Founding Fathers, and the United States was born. A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, this renowned Philly landmark is an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy.

Originally built in the mid-1700s to house Pennsylvania’s colonial government, the building’s Assembly Room bears witness to the remarkable history that took place here. Explore the distinct architectural influences of this remarkable building. Immerse yourself in history as you imagine listening to Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and other founding fathers debate the principles on which this country was founded.

As the centerpiece of the Independence National Historical Park, Independence Hall invites you to take a step back in time where history is preserved. Take a guided tour to learn even more about this unique period in U.S. history.

4. Taste World Cuisines at Reading Terminal Market

Reading terminal market signage board
Reading Terminal Market

The Reading Terminal Market is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is one of Philadelphia's best and most diverse places. The market houses rows of food and beverage stalls from everywhere. You can get souvlaki for starters, order an authentic Philly cheesesteak as your entree (of course), and end with a South American or Asian dessert. Aside from the wide range of produce, the Reading Terminal Market has an impressive history.

It is one of the oldest and most significant markets in the nation, with visitors coming by for more than 130 years. The market aims to preserve and promote the history and culture of unique heritages, and you can expect a vibrant atmosphere when you visit. Experience different cultures, share delicious food and drinks, go shopping, take home souvenirs, and enjoy a memorable day in one of the oldest and most culturally relevant destinations in Philly.

5. Explore History Through Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Even non-museum aficionados can appreciate the Philadelphia Museum of Art. After all, who wouldn't want to see paintings by artists like Van Gogh and Renoir in person?

Throughout its 149 years, the museum has become a place for art, history, cultural exhibitions, and teachings. It is also home to 200-year-old pieces from ancient and medieval times, as well as pieces from times of war and eras of industrial transformation. With more than 200,000 exhibitions on display, you can easily spend an afternoon exploring. If you're traveling with art lovers, you may have to drag them away so that you have time for the other Philly sights!

The museum, situated along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, has undergone many renovations over the years to make room for more art. The building itself is just as memorable as what's housed inside, so don't be surprised if you find yourself staring at the stunning Greek-style architecture. The columns, sculptures, and bronze griffins are incredible to see in real life.

Journey through the Renaissance, Impressionist, and Modern movements, and witness the world's history through the eyes of renowned artists at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

6. Explore the Solitary Cells at Eastern State Penitentiary

eastern state penitentiary areal view
Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary is one of Philadelphia's most prominent attractions. The prison used solitary isolation as a way of reforming prisoners. However, the controversial method was considered inhumane, and the prison closed down in the 1970s. It was abandoned for many years before becoming a museum and tourist attraction that allows visitors to take guided tours and witness the cell blocks where prisoners like Al Capone served sentences.

The building, molded after a Gothic or medieval structural design, was one of the most expensive developments in the U.S. at the time. Its brick and stone ceilings and secluded cell blocks paint a picture of the cold and strict conditions prisoners endured. You can see its eerie and fascinating history preserved in the cells, walls, arches, and stained windows.

Visiting Eastern State Penitentiary is an enthralling and educational experience for anyone interested in history. The prison is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with extended hours for holidays like Halloween.

7. Learn About Art Diversity at the Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation — built by Dr. Albert C. Barnes — is an iconic Philadelphia tourist attraction. It houses a diverse collection of European paintings, African art, Greek antiquities, and Native American ceramics. Situated between the Franklin Institutes and Rodin Museum, the Barnes Foundation offers a unique experience for enthusiasts and admirers. It's an excellent outing for art lovers or school groups visiting Philadelphia.

The art assortment is inclusive, distinct, colorful, masterful, classic, futuristic, and educational, providing a memorable tour. Extra eager learners can scan display barcodes with their smartphones to learn more about the pieces and their contributors, making the Barnes Foundation a traditional art gallery experience with an innovative twist.

8. Witness Creativity at Magic Gardens

creative wall created from glass bottles and bike wheel
Magic Gardens

Out of all the things to see in Philadelphia, the Magic Gardens is one of the most enchanting. The Magic Gardens is a street art museum on South Street displaying quirky, colorful, and unconventional artwork. The Magic Gardens showcases founder Isiah Zagar's life through mirrors, wheels, bottles, paint, and patterns. It is a hallmark of his experiences and Philadelphia's exceptional heritage.

You can tour the museum or explore the outdoor complex for yourself, complete with vibrancy and intrigue. The Magic Gardens has various exhibits throughout the year, so you can see something new to see each time. Taking a picture in front of the multicolored walls is an excellent way to capture the magic and beauty of your Philly excursion.

9. See Famous Sculptures at the Rodin Museum

The Rodin Museum is an iconic Philly landmark housing the most Rodin sculptures outside Paris. It is home to some of his most famous pieces, like The Thinker and Two Lovers, so whether you're a Rodin admirer or new to his work, you can't go wrong with this experience.

The marble sculptures are sleek against the contemporary walls and floors, each one expressing classical designs and distinguished emotions. Touring the museum offers a chance to learn about Rodin and appreciate the feelings and expressions in his work.

10. Learn Coin History at the United States Mint

You might not consider the coins in your purse interesting, but learning how they're made sure is. Visiting the United States Mint is an essential thing to do in Philadelphia. The United States Mint is a fundamental part of American history and has manufactured coins for more than 200 years. The institution boasts a rich history and illustrates the development and evolution of coins in the U.S.

Visiting the United States Mint offers a chance to explore and learn what goes into coin design and manufacturing. The building offers artifacts, history, and demonstrations on the making and stamping of coins. The United States Mint is located above the manufacturing factory and provides an experience beyond expectations. Families and collectors can enjoy a fascinating educational journey and tour through coinage.

11. Go on a Cultural Journey at the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History

zion flag
Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History

The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History showcases Jewish culture and history in the U.S. The museum offers an enlightening experience, displaying artifacts from Jewish artists and contributors. Visitors can hear stories about education, work, slavery, and the accomplishments of Jewish people. You can tour four floors of the museum, each providing an extensive look into Jewish America throughout the decades. The displays are sure to provide an intriguing and enriching experience for people of all cultures.

12. Explore the Beauty of Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Philadelphia. It's the most extensive botanical garden in Philly, housing more than 10,000 plant species. When planning what to do in and around Philly, add Longwood Gardens as a day trip. This horticulture wonderland is situated in Kennet Square, 50 miles from Philly, and is an excellent full-day excursion.

Spend the day roaming the gardens and admiring the colorful flower varieties. Attend one of the garden events, like music and fountain shows or concerts. Or, enjoy lunch at one of the restaurant and cafe options and indulge in a drink at the beer garden. Longwood Gardens offers fun, exploration, nature, photo-ops, food, drinks, and good times. It's an ideal destination for couples, friends, and family. You can don your best springtime outfit and surround yourself with beautiful flowers — what's better than that?

13. Kick Back at Spruce Street Harbor Park

The Spruce Street Harbor Park tops the list of fun things to do in Philadelphia. Situated on the Delaware River Waterfront, Spruce Street Harbor is a popular summer destination for locals and tourists. The park overlooks the river and is lively with greenery, sitting areas, food vendors, and activities.

Renting a hammock is one of the highlights of visiting the park. Friends and families can sit back, relax, watch the sunset, play board games, grab a bite to eat, and take in the Philly views. It's an excellent day and night venue and a great way to kick back if you want a relaxing day in Philly. The trees are luminous at night with colorful lights, and the atmosphere is vibrant and packed with families and friends from all over.

14. Marvel at the Views at Cira Green

walking trail with green plants on both sides
Cira Green

Sightseeing in Philadelphia is only complete with a stop at Cira Green. Cira Green is no ordinary rooftop park — it sits on a parking structure in Downtown Philadelphia, overlooking the city center. The hidden gem is brimming with greenery and flowers!

Visiting Cira Green is an excellent way to see the city. The rooftop venue hosts various events, like big-screen movie viewings. There's also a bar, food options, and comfortable sitting areas. At Cira Green, you can enjoy a day or night out with friends and make lasting memories. It's also a cozy date night spot and perfect for meeting new people.

15. Visit the Last-Standing Edgar Allen Poe House

We all remember reading Edgar Allen Poe's short stories and poems in high school English class, and if they resonated with you, then the Edgar Allen Poe House would make an interesting Philadelphia tourist attraction. The three-story residence was one of Poe's many homes and is the last one standing. Situated in the National Historical Park, you can get a quick and insightful tour of Edgar Allen Poe's Life and work when you visit. While some parts of the house were restored, many walls and features remain the same, preserving its authenticity.

You might hear a staff member read one of his original poems if you're lucky enough. For enthusiasts and those who want a rare experience in Philly, visiting the Poe house is a fascinating and worthwhile option.

16. Unwind at Shofuso Japanese Garden

blossoms for trees next to Pond
Shofuso Japanese Garden

If you're looking for quiet or less touristy things to do in Philadelphia, PA, then Shofuso Japanese Garden is the perfect place. The Shofuso Japanese Garden, which is a few miles from the city center, is a small, tranquil, and beautiful oasis. Perfect for those who want an alternative to the inner city tourist spots.

The garden surrounds a traditional Japanese-style house, complete with a koi pond, flowers, waterfalls, and streams. Explore the garden's unique features, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the flowing water and pink cherry blossoms. Tour the house to learn about Japanese heritage through visual displays or relax with a rejuvenating stroll.

17. Escape to Wissahickon Valley Park

Wissahickon Valley Park is an extraordinary nature experience. It is a hidden gem off the beaten path and perfect if you're looking for an outdoor escape and adventure. The park boasts distinct features like a red-covered bridge, stunning greenery, and beautiful views. Wissahickon Park also has historic hiking and running trails — like Forbidden Drive — nestled deep in the forest.

The park also offers a charming roadhouse to stop and refuel. It is home to diverse wildlife and provides an ideal break for those eager for nature activity near the city. In fall, the leaves don beautiful autumn colors, while summer and spring bring a lush green backdrop of leaves. Pack your camera or phone for some mesmerizing photos.

18. Tour the Betsy Ross House

Betsy Ross owned an upholstery business with her first husband, John Ross, and is famous for supposedly sewing the first American flag. If the history of the nation's flag piques your interest, you've got to add the Betsy Ross House to your Philly things-to-do list.

After Betsy's death, a speech by her grandson describes how she helped design the Stars and Stripes. After George Washington and Congress members came to her shop with a sketch of the flag, she also helped stitch it.

While there's no evidence to prove Betsy sewed the American flag, the Betsy Ross House is a trip worth making. You can take a self-guided or audio tour through her home in Old City. The tour provides information about Betsy's life, work, and patriotism. At the end of the tour, a Betsy Ross impersonator answers all your questions, so come prepared with some good ones.

The house remains the same, placing you back in the 17th century when Betsy lived, worked, and contributed to America's history. Quick tip here: The house has three flights of stairs, so wear comfortable shoes and enjoy the experience with friends or family.

19. Enjoy the Vibe at Citizens Bank Park

Citizens bank park stadium
Citizens Bank Park

For more fun things to do in Philly, visit Citizens Bank Park, home to the Philadelphia Phillies. The park offers excellent seating, food and beverage options, and an electric atmosphere — it's a complete vibe.

Sport red, white, and blue and join locals and traveling fans in cheering on their favorite team. There are many delicious food kiosks and outdoor beer gardens to enjoy before and after the game. Also, you might spot famous fans like Bradley Cooper or Miles Teller!

If you want an exclusive experience, book a guided tour of the stadium. Tours last around 75 minutes, giving you an inside look at locker rooms and trophy displays. You'll also get the opportunity to take pictures in the stadium and on the pitch. Visiting Citizens Bank Park is an excellent way to unwind, experience Philly traditions, and have a fun day.

Need a bigger sports fix? Might we recommend a trip to Lincoln Financial Field to catch an Eagles game, or perhaps a stop at the Wells Fargo Center to see the Flyers? Philadelphia is home to some of the most passionate sports fans out there — so bring the excitement if you head to a game!

20. Walk Back in Time at Elfreth's Alley

Elfreth's Alley is often at the top of the list when planning what to see and do in Philadelphia. The 32-house neighborhood is one of the oldest suburbs in the U.S. Walk down the alley and admire the homes and history, or take a 45-minute guided tour. You can also visit the museum and learn the history of the families and merchants who lived and worked on the alley.

Citizens still live in many residences, making the street livelier. Visiting Elfreth's Alley provides a sentimental trip through history and is also one of the best places to take pictures in Philly.

21. Kimmel Center

Along the Avenue of the Arts, you'll find the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. This is the perfect spot for music lovers or those looking for a night of unforgettable entertainment. There's no shortage of events all year round, so you can be sure to catch a show during your trip. Enjoy Broadway shows, comedy specials, films, workshops, operas, jazz music, and free community entertainment.

Stop in to see a beloved celebrity performer or take the whole family to a famous ballet. The iconic Philadelphia Orchestra also performs here, giving you an authentic impression of Philly music culture. The Kimmel Center also offers special hotel rates and packages reserved for guests. Within blocks of the Cultural Campus, you can access pre-show dining options, themed cocktails, and nightlife. You'll also find upscale shopping and historical museums across the street!

Discover More Philly Activities With visitpa

Beautiful view of road during night with sky scrappers on both sides of the road

Every trip, travel goal, and itinerary is unique. You shouldn't have to settle for what everyone else wants to see and do. Your hidden gem, favorite place in the world, ultimate travel experience, and destination is worth finding.

At visitpa, we understand the importance of exploring everything a city has to offer. That's why we help you discover niche events, travel destinations, and adventures in Pennsylvania. Visit for a day or stay for a few nights to appreciate our gardens, museums, stadiums, and galleries. Whether exploring Philadelphia or elsewhere in PA, our newsletter is your trusted guide for unique sights and events.

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