Things to do in Philadelphia

Things to do in  Philadelphia

Get that cheesesteak to go

Get an up-close look at American history in the City of Brotherly Love, an early capital of the United States. History lovers, foodies, and adventurers will find plenty of things to do in this bustling city: Book a private or group tour to experience Philly’s sights, sounds, and tastes. Start with a hop-on hop-off city sightseeing tour on a double-decker bus. You’ll get your bearings and stop wherever you like—and hop back on when you’re ready. Tour major historic sites such as the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Congress Hall, plus the Betsy Ross House, Constitution Center, and the immense City Hall topped with a statue of William Penn. Or get some exercise with a walking or bike tour around the city center. Culinary tours focus on Philly’s vibrant local brewery scene and regional specialties, such as soft pretzels, Philly cheesesteaks, and cuisines from around the world. (Try an Uzbekistan restaurant.) Peruse the outdoor Italian Market, one of the country’s oldest, for cannoli and fresh pasta. Then turn your focus to culture: Take a tour of public art, including sculptures and murals, and discuss what the artists intended with your guide. Head to the Philadelphia Art Museum, the Franklin Institute, and the 42-acre Philadelphia Zoo. And cap off your day with an evening bus tour through the city’s lights, a dinner cruise, or a pub crawl, for a great night’s sleep, before starting again in the morning.

Top 15 attractions in Philadelphia

Liberty Bell Center

The Liberty Bell, a 2,000-pound (907-kilogram) piece of American history, was forged in London's Whitechapel Foundry and represents freedom in the city where the Declaration of Independence was crafted. Now set in the Liberty Bell Center, the bell was commissioned in 1752 and has been in Philadelphia since British Colonial rule.More

Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest public art galleries in the United States. Along with its main Greco-Roman style building—home to works by Rubens, Monet, and van Gogh—this cultural treasure boasts four smaller museums and is fronted by the “Rocky Steps,” immortalized in the hit 1976 film Rocky.More

The Franklin Institute Science Museum

One of the country’s first science museums, the Franklin Institute takes its name from inventor and former Philadelphian Benjamin Franklin. Today, it serves as an entertaining and educational destination for visitors of all ages—its hands-on exhibits, temporary exhibitions, planetarium, and other offerings make it a family-friendly must.More

Betsy Ross House

George Washington supposedly asked Betsy Ross to stitch the first-ever American flag. The seamstress is said to have created the Stars and Stripes in 1776. Today, visitors can explore the 18th-century house where Betsy Ross purportedly lived, examine artifacts from her life, and even meet a costumed Betsy Ross impersonator.More

Philadelphia City Hall

Philadelphia City Hall, in the middle of Center City at the intersection of Broad and Market streets, is visible from all over town. For nearly 100 years, it remained the tallest structure in the city. Though it no longer bears the accolade, City Hall remains one of the city’s most recognizable historic buildings.More

Rocky Statue

The larger-than-life bronze statue standing at the base of the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art has become an essential stop on any visit to the hometown of fictional fighter Rocky Balboa. The massive Rocky Statue—both arms raised—was made for the movie Rocky III (1982) and gifted to the city by actor Sylvester Stallone.More

Congress Hall in Philadelphia

Congress Hall played an important role in the history of the United States. Following the American Revolutionary War, Philadelphia was declared the capital city and Congress Hall served as the home of the U.S. Congress from 1790-1800. Today, the building is part of Independence National Historic Park and is open to the public for tours.More

Christ Church

Founded in 1695 and located in the heart of Old City, Christ Church is one of Philadelphia’s oldest and most significant religious landmarks, formerly attended by Founding Fathers including George Washington. Christ Church Burial Ground serves as the final resting place of Benjamin Franklin, George Ross, and other American luminaries.More

Independence National Historical Park

Known as “America’s most historic square mile,” Independence National Historical Park comprises the most significant landmarks linked to the Revolutionary War and the founding of the United States. Highlights of the park, located in Philadelphia’s Old City and Society Hill neighborhoods, include Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.More

Elfreth's Alley

Billed as the oldest residential street in the United States, Elfreth’s Alley dates back to 1702. A National Historic Landmark and a living museum, the narrow, cobbled alley features 32 buildings in Georgian and Federal styles. It’s also home to Elfreth's Alley Museum House.More

Love Park

Located in downtown Philadelphia, the John F. Kennedy Plaza is better known as LOVE Park, after Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE sculpture in the center of the park. Newly redesigned, with expanded green spaces, improved seating and pathways, and a programmable fountain, LOVE Park is a popular destination with locals and visitors alike.More

Eastern State Penitentiary

At the time of its construction in 1829, Eastern State Penitentiary was the most expensive public structure ever built, housing notorious criminals such as gangster boss Al Capone and bank robber Willie Sutton. No longer a functioning prison, the structure is now open to the public as a National Historic Landmark.More

Philadelphia Academy of Music

Philadelphia is home to plenty of old-school American history, and the roots of its local music scene run deep, too. Travelers in search of an elegant establishment showcasing some of the best international talent will find it all at the Academy of Music.This unassuming building in the heart of Philadelphia is actually the nation’s oldest continually operational opera house. Its stunning interior houses a 5,000-pound chandelier and is modeled after Milan’s La Scala Opera House. In addition to being a destination for travelers seeking live, classical entertainment, the Academy of Music is a worthy stop for history buffs as well. The National Historic Landmark is the site where President Ulysses S. Grant was nominated for his second term and it’s the site where Martha Graham first performed “The Rite of Spring”. Visitors who arrive during the month of January can watch the Philadelphia Orchestra perform their anniversary concert, which has occurred each year for more than a century.More

National Constitution Center

Located on Philadelphia’s historic Independence Mall, the National Constitution Center is dedicated to honoring and exploring the United States Constitution, which (ratified in 1788) is the supreme law of the nation. The sprawling, tech-savvy museum brings the Constitution to life via interactive exhibits and dramatic presentations.More

President's House

In the early days of the nation, Philadelphia served as the capital of the United States, and the Philadelphia mansion at 6th and Market streets was the first President’s House. Here George Washington served his entire presidency, and John Adams served three years, until June of 1800 when he moved to the newly completed White House in the District of Columbia. Today, much of the original house is gone—only the side walls and foundation remain. Visitors can walk through the historic site, exploring the footprint of the building. There’s also a a commemorative exhibition called "The President's House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation" located on the grounds.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Old City Historic Walking Tour with 10+ Top Sites
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BYOB Historically Hilarious Trolley Tour of Philadelphia
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Revolution and the Founders: History Tour of Philadelphia
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Flavors of Philly Food Tour
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Flavors of Philly Food Tour

Chef-Led Taste of the Italian Market Food Tour
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Dark Philly Adult Night Tour

Dark Philly Adult Night Tour

Philadelphia Segway Tour
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Philadelphia Segway Tour

Half Day Private Philadelphia Driving Tour

Half Day Private Philadelphia Driving Tour

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All about Philadelphia

When to visit

Summer heats up in Philadelphia with festivals, concerts, and cultural events, from the Wawa Welcome America July 4th Fireworks over the Delaware River to Philly Beer Week. But, spring holds its own with major annual events like the Philadelphia Flower Show and the South 9th Street Italian Market Festival and is another good time to visit. It also sees fewer crowds at the popular sights located within the Independence National Historical Park complex.

Getting around

The City of Brotherly Love is served by Philadelphia International Airport, which links it with a range of domestic and international destinations. Philadelphia's major train hub is William H. Gray III 30th Street (which is served by intercity Amtrak services as well as local SEPTA and NJ Transit lines), while commuter trains also can be picked up at Suburban Station and Jefferson Station. The city’s three subway lines, numerous buses, and trolleys offer alternative public transit options.

Traveler tips

Philadelphia’s Mural Arts program has covered the city in vibrant public artworks since its inception in 1984, and today its thousands of murals can be viewed on walking and trolley tours around town. Afterward, head to the Magic Gardens on South Street to experience more outdoor art. The Magic Gardens project is a unique sculptural environment formed from a mosaic of tiles, mirrors, and found objects that have been transformed into a sculptural masterwork.

Local Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
EST (UTC -5)
Country Code

People Also Ask

What is Philadelphia famous for?

Philadelphia was the nation's early capital, and history buffs can discover the Liberty Bell, follow in the footsteps of the Founding Fathers in Old City, and visit Independence Hall, where the Constitution was drafted. Philly is also known for its Art Museum (immortalized in "Rocky"), its sports teams, and its cheesesteaks.

How can I spend a day in Philadelphia?

Begin a day in Philadelphia among the landmarks of Independence National Historical Park before heading to the indoor Reading Terminal Market for a hearty lunch. Afterwards, continue to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for a dose of culture, and finish with a stroll among the shops and restaurants of Rittenhouse Square.

Is Philadelphia worth visiting?

Yes, the Philadelphia area welcomes upwards of 40 million visitors per year, and its wealth of historical landmarks, cultural destinations, and distinctive neighborhoods make it a must-visit city. Sports teams like the Eagles and the Phillies are a draw, and the city's dozens of museums and top-tier dining scene added bonuses.

What attractions are there in Philadelphia?

Philadelphia has a wealth of attractions, including historic landmarks (Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, City Hall) and museums (the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation, the National Constitution Center). Eastern State Penitentiary is a macabre draw, while Longwood Gardens and Fairmount Park are popular warm-weather destinations.

What should I avoid in Philadelphia?

Philadelphia has something for everyone, but it's wise to do your research: squeamish visitors should skip the medical oddities of the Mütter Museum, and those bored by politics should avoid the National Constitution Center. Additionally, beware of tourist-trap cheesesteaks: try Angelo's or Jim's instead.

Is Philadelphia dangerous for tourists?

No, Philadelphia is not usually dangerous for tourists, but the city does have elevated levels of crime. While the main attractions of Center City are usually a safe bet, it's best to avoid straying into outlying neighborhoods in North, West, and South Philadelphia, and to avoid walking around alone at night.

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