Firemans Hall Museumold City
2022 Update: Online reservations are required and masks are strongly recommended. If your little one is fascinated by firetrucks, this museum is a must-see. One of the city’s most kid-friendly free museums, Fireman’s Hall has an array of historic equipment from the Philadelphia Fire Department and encourages visitors to play dress-up with firefighter gear. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9am to 4pm, with late closing on Fridays until 9pm.
See How Money Is Made At The Us Mint
TripSavvy / Christopher Larson
Ever wondered what that little P on the right side of your quarter meant? It means that the quarter was produced at the Philadelphia Mint. Take a free tour of the Philadelphia Mint, one of two U.S. locations responsible for producing coins and medal dies. Youll view the factory floor from 40 feet above, all while learning about coin design history and manufacturing, minting processes, craftsmanship, and coin striking. Tours take about 45 minutes and are self-guided with no reservations needed they typically run Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with a few national holiday exceptions.
See Shofuso Japanese House And Garden
This city is full of unexpected surprises, and one of the biggest is the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden. Just a few minutes from downtown, the house and peaceful garden span an acre oasis in Fairmount Park.
Shofuso was built in 1953 as a gift from Japan to American citizens as a symbol of peace following World War II. Constructed using traditional Japanese techniques, it was originally exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan and was later moved here in 1958.
The Shofuso Japanese House and Garden includes a traditional-style Japanese house modeled on an early 17th-century temple guest house and a serene garden complete with koi pond and 75-year-old weeping cherry tree. Visitors can walk through the house , learn about its art and function, and linger in the gorgeous garden thats one of the prettiest things to see in Philadelphia.
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Free Things To Do For History Lovers
1. Independence National Historical Park
Start off at Independence Visitor Center, 6th and Market streets, in the heart of Philadelphias historic mile, at the official welcome center of the region and gateway to Independence National Historical Park and the exclusive location to pick up free timed tickets to tour Independence Hall. Multilingual visitor services representatives are available to assist with any trip-planning needs, including on-site ticketing for more than 100 tours and attractions. Stop in for other FREE amenities, including regional maps and brochures, historical films, cell phone charging stations and WiFi access. Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily .
Must-sees include Independence Hall, the building where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were debated and adopted. Visitors can also tour Congress Hall, where George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States.
2. The Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell is the symbol of our historic past, on display in the Liberty Bell Center. Tickets are not required, and access is granted 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day on a first-come, first-served basis. A walk through the museum provides background and history around the famous bell and visitors can get a close look at the famous icon with a beautiful backdrop of Independence Hall across the street.
3. The Presidents House
4. Carpenters Hall
5. Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches
6. Elfreths Alley
7. Christ Church
The Irish Memorial At Penns Landing
Roman Babakin / Shutterstock
A terrible famine struck Ireland in the 19th century due to the failure of the potato crop.
Millions of lives were lost, but they were not forgotten.
The Irish Memorial at Penns Landing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is a moving tribute to the victims of the Great Potato Famine.
A bronze monument showing Irish citizens in a boat embarking on the hopes of a better life, the Irish Memorial at Penns Landing should touch the hearts of anyone with even a touch of sensitivity.
Creator Glenna Goodacre has created such a meaningful ode to this specific generation.
The Irish Memorial at Penns Landing is one of the most impactful attractions in Philly.
If youll be in Philadephia this weekend, try to come here.
Its one of the top memorials in Pennsylvania.
Address: 100 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, United States
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Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District
Location: Olde City, 400 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106Located in the Historic Old City, this Wyndham accommodation is one of the most affordable, yet accessible for the sightseeing travelers. This is a very chic location to stay at, and ideal for those who want to enjoy some important features, without having to pay a lot.You have a gym, in-room desks, as well as a modern restaurant, in a location that is close to the Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House, or the National Constitution Center.
Visit Amish Country An Interesting Thing To Do Near Philadelphia
Last but not least, visiting Amish Country is one of the most popular things to do near Philadelphia, and its well worth the drive.
The Amish are a religious group that stands out for their rejection of modern technology and the use of electricity, which is why they practically live like theyre in the 17th century. The second-largest Amish congregation in the United States lives in Lancaster County, just an hour and a half from Philadelphia. You might hear the area be referred to as Dutch Country or the Pennsylvania Dutch. This is a nod to the Amish, who are descendants of early German immigrants to Pennsylvania and, as such, primarily speak German.
25. Visit Amish country, an interesting thing to do near Philadelphia
If you visit the outskirts of Lancaster, particularly along Highway 30 or 340, you will almost certainly come across horse carriages Amish dont use cars to get around. In addition, their clothing is very unique. Men wear long beards and hats, and women wear black or white head coverings called kapps.
Of course, if you want to take a trip back in time, visiting Amish Country is the best thing to do near Philadelphia. If you do it on your own, I recommend stopping by the Amish Farm House Museum to learn more about the ways of life and cultural aspects of this society. If you dont have your own vehicle to get there, I recommend this tour.
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Best Free Things To Do In Philadelphia
- Art and design
- Ben Franklin Parkway – Kelly Drive
Inside this 100-year-old building, find a stunning collection of over 240,000 pieces of original art, ranging from sculpture and paintings to collections of historic furniture and armory. Theres lots to do with kids here, too, including the Family Art Cart in the galleries, where kids can sketch from the masterpieces, and Sunday Family Tours. Although the museum does charge admission, you can snag pay-what-you-wish prices on the first Sunday of the month and every Wednesday night .
- Greater Philadelphia
More than 100 vendors in individual stalls offer goods ranging from artisan cheeses to Amish shoo-fly pies in this 200-year-old indoor market housed in the bottom floor of what was once the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company. While youre there, grab a cone of Bassetts famous ice cream, the oldest ice cream vendor in the country.
- Art and design
- Greater Philadelphia
The Barnes Foundation features the immense art collection of Albert C. Barnes, who managed to amass one of the leading collections of works by impressionist and modernist masters such as Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Pierre-August Renoir, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Henri Rousseau. Founded in 1922, the Barnes Foundations mission is to make art more accessible, so they open up the museum free of charge on the first Sunday of each month. Take advantage of the free day to get up close and personal with these masters.
- Late openings
Watch Coins Being Made At The Us Mint
It is possible to see some of the coins made every day in the US when you are vacationing in Philadelphia. Touring the US Mint is one of the top things to do in Philadelphia and its free! Your tour guide will have you standing high above the area where the coins are produced. You can even see some rare historic coins and the early coining equipment during your visit.
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Enjoy Music At World Cafe Live
World Cafe Live is our favorite music venue. A comfortable listening space, large concert venue, and bar/restaurant rolled into one, it welcomes nationally known acts and up-and-comers. World Cafe Live is also home to WXPNs radio studios and the national radio show World Cafe.
In addition to the performances, there are open mic nights, trivia games, and other special celebrations. Even if theres no music, the upper level is a great place to drop in for a bite to eat or something to drink near the University of Pennsylvania and 30th Street Station.
Free Places In Philadelphia For Kids
1. Talk a stroll through Chinatown.
2. Visit the U.S. Mint and take a free self-guided tour.
3. Stop by Franklin Square to see the fountain and play on the free playground. Some of the other attractions there require a small fee. The annual Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival is a very popular attraction held in Franklin Square.
4. Have a picnic or take a walk through Rittenhouse Square, one of five original squares planned by city founder William Penn. Bring some sketch pads and pencils and give the kids some time to sketch the sights!
6. Visit Sister Cities Park .
7. Look for ships sailing up and down the Delaware River at Penns Landing.
8. See the iconic LOVE statue at Love Park.
9. Check out the Liberty Bell a historic Philadelphian symbol! Admission is free, however tickets are limited and available on a first come, first served basis.
10. Get tickets for a tour of Independence Hall, the building where the US Constitution AND Declaration of Independence were both signed. Like the Liberty Bell, tickets are free but limited and are given out first come, first served. For a small charge, you can make advance reservations.
11. Reading Terminal Market is an incredible indoor marketplace with fresh baked goods, flowers, ice cream, meat, produce, cheeses and more.
15. Older kids might enjoy one of the Free at Noon concerts at World Cafe Live.
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Sample The Offerings At Reading Terminal Market
One of the top Philadelphia tourist attractions is also a popular place with locals. For over 100 years, Reading Terminal Market has been one of the main markets in the city, and its the oldest continually operating market in the US.
Originally opened in 1893, Reading Terminal Market is still the home of over 100 vendors on the ground floor and basement levels of the Reading Terminals former train shed. Its now part of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, welcoming visitors every day.
You can find fresh produce, artisan cheese, baked goods, Pennsylvania Dutch specialties, flowers, and food counters. Our favorite stop is always Bassetts Ice Cream, the oldest ice cream company in America and the first company to sign a lease in the marketyou really cant go wrong with any of their flavors.
Walk Through Magic Gardens
South Street is home to one of the most creative attractions in the city, Philadelphias Magic Gardens. The unique museum, which bills itself as a immersive mixed media art environment, was created by artist Isaiah Zagar. It began as a project to beautify South Street and expanded into this unique place.
Using reclaimed materials, Zagar created this unexpected space that is essentially a giant, walk-through mosaic. The project weaves inside and outside, incorporating bicycle spokes, bottles, mirrors, and other items into the giant work. Weve never seen anything like it anywhere else, so its one of our top places to visit.
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Go On A Craft Distillery Crawl
Craft distilleries have experienced a boom locally in the last few years. That means there are lots of fun places to visit to learn about distilling straight from the distillers themselves, or you can simply pop in for a cocktail to appreciate the fruits of their labor.
We enjoy the modern tasting room of Philadelphia Distillers in Fishtown where you can try products not available elsewhere and see where theyre made. Pulling up a stool at New Liberty Distilling in nearby Olde Kensington is also funyou can sample from their variety of whiskeys and fabulous cocktails. Suburban distilleries Bluebird Distilling and Manatawny Still Works also have tasting rooms in the city.
Once Upon A Nation Storytelling Benches
Storytellers reenact various historical events in the Old City during the summer. They sit at the 13 scattered storytelling benches in the area and tell stories to those willing to listen. The benches can be found at these 13 locations:
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Del Friscos Double Eagle Steak House
Del Friscos is an amazing steak house that will cost you quite a bit if youre going to eat there! However, you have to at least stop in and see this incredible building. I have to say this was one of the highlights of our trip to Philly. Del Friscos was built in 1904 and is in the old First Pennsylvania Bank building. They kept a lot of the original building when they were renovating. It has impressive balconies with plush drapes and a draw-dropping 3 story wine tower in the center. It is an absolutely beautiful building. Be sure to head downstairs to see the original vault, in which you can now dine.
Try A Classic Philadelphia Food
Theres DiNics Roast Pork sandwichan oven-roasted pork shoulder layered with provolone cheese and sautéed broccoli rabeand the Schmitter from McNallys tavern, stacks of roast beef, grilled salami, cheese, tomato, and onion on a Kaiser roll. Also not to be missed are the fried chicken and donuts from Federal Donuts, water ice, Philly Soft Pretzels, and many more.
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Academy Of Natural Sciences Of Drexel University
An incredible science museum thats been around for more than 200 years, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is absolutely brilliant and beautiful.
If you want to plan your trip with an emphasis on learning, you have to come here.
Its a lot of fun for science lovers and those with other types of interest.
At this museum, you can see all kinds of cool exhibits and have fun as you give your mind a polish.
Some of our favorite aspects of the Academy of Natural Sciences are exhibits devoted to dinosaurs, butterflies, and mollusks.
You cant go wrong with a museum that has a full-scale T-Rex skeleton in its corridors.
If your kids love dinosaurs, chances are theyre going to love this museum.
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is where to go in Philly for learning about the natural world.
Its open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission is $22 for adult guests, $18 for children, $19 for seniors, students, and military members, and free for children younger than two.
Its worth knowing that lower ticket prices are available if you order online.
Address: 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19103, United States
See A Show At Mann Center For The Performing Arts
The Mann Center for the Performing Arts is one of the unique places to go to see a concert. Similar to venues like Wolf Trap in Virginia or the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York, the Mann Center has both a covered pavilion and a sprawling lawn, making it the ideal place to enjoy a performance on a nice day.
Located in Fairmount Park, the nonprofit performing arts center is one of the top destinations for music lovers. It hosts concerts from artists of every genre from Bob Dylan to Jill Scott to Tony Bennett. The Bolshoi Ballet, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Buena Vista Social Club have performed on its stage.
In addition to more typical concerts, musicals, and festivals, you can also see the Philadelphia Orchestra, which has made its summer home at the Mann for decades. One of our favorite recent experiences there was watching the orchestra play the live score during Harry Potter and the Goblet of Firedefinitely an uncommon and fun way to watch a movie. Dont miss the overlook point with views of downtown.
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Fun Things To Do In Philadelphia
Posted on Last updated: January 23, 2022
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Philadelphia is often overlooked in favor of our popular neighbors just a little bit north in New York City and a little bit south in Washington, D.C.. But people who skip over us here in the City of Brotherly Love are missing out!
There are plenty of awesome things to do in Philadelphia, our adopted hometown of 15 years. In addition to the sites where the founding fathers walked, there is lots of contemporary culture. Youll find great parks, unique museums, fabulous food and drinks, and loads of seasonal pop-ups and events that will make you want to come back to Philly again and again.
Heres a look at some of our favorite attractions, whether youre visiting for the first time or the fifth.