One Day in Philadelphia Itinerary – Experience Philly in a Day for Under $100

Headed to historical Philadelphia on your next vacation, but aren’t sure what to tackle first? It’s fair to say that there’s loads of top attractions to enjoy in the city of brotherly love, so it can be tricky to figure out that ideal one-day itinerary.

Whether you’ve never been to Philly before, or have visited without seeing much of the major tourist sites, we’ve got some great suggestions to help you plan your time in Philadelphia. If you’ve got limited time and are actually only in town for one day, check out this sample one day Philadelphia itinerary.

This one day itinerary includes: 

  • Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Philadelphia Trolley Tour
  • City Hall Tower & Observation Deck
  • Eastern State Penitentiary
  • Franklin Institute Science Museum

Spending more time in the area? Take a peek at one of our sample 2 day or popular 3 days Philadelphia itinerary.

Save on Attraction Admission

Pick up a Philadelphia Pass and save off combined admission vs paying at the gate.

Remember, this 1 day in Philadelphia itinerary is just one of many ways to experience the city and there are tons of fun things to do in Philadelphia.

Our pass gives you the flexibility to create your own itinerary, so you can choose from dozens of top attractions and create a vacation tailored to your interests.

Stop #1: Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Philadelphia Trolley Tour 

Big-Bus-Hop-On-Hop-Off-Tour-Philadelphia (3)

This tour is the perfect introduction to Philly for first-time visitors. You’ll enjoy informative narration plus the best insider info from a real Philadelphia native while learning the city layout and getting familiar with some of the most historic sights.

Choose to ride the entire loop (approximately 90 minutes long) to get a feel for everything you pass and make a note of areas you want to go back to or hop off at any of the stops along the way if you want to visit an attraction or explore an area by foot. With your ticket, you can just hop on the next available bus at one of the designated stops.

You’ll have over 25 stops to choose from, including major sites around the city like the Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross House, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Eastern State Penitentiary (see more on that below) and several more.  

Getting In: Hop On Hop Off Big Bus Philadelphia Tour tickets are included on The All Inclusive Philadelphia Pass.

Stop #2: City Hall Tower & Observation Deck


For photographs of the city from a special perspective, head to the top of the country’s largest City Hall building. The Philadelphia City Hall, a unique attraction in its own right, also boasts an impressive observation deck from which you can see the entire city and the Ben Franklin Parkway. A great place to head for the perfect Instagram photo of your trip to Philadelphia.

Ride an elevator 548 feet above ground level to see the aerial views of Philly. Take a guided tour of the tower and of the interior of City Hall for the most complete experience. You’ll learn all about the building’s history and significance from the tour’s narration.

Getting In: City Hall Tower & Observation Deck tickets are included on The All Inclusive Philadelphia Pass.

Stop #3: Eastern State Penitentiary 

Eastern-State-Penitentiary-Philadelphia-Sightseeing (15)

This truly eerie attraction is one of the city’s oldest (but no longer active) prisons. It’s actually now a National Historic Landmark and continues to operate as a museum to showcase what life was like for prisoners in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It only closed in 1970!

It was particularly known for pioneering a different system of prisoner management, one which emphasized isolation and solitary confinement alongside hard labor instead of corporal punishment. Take a guided tour to get a full rundown of the architecture and the history of this fascinating place.

Getting In: Eastern State Penitentiary tickets are included on The All Inclusive Philadelphia Pass.

Franklin Institute

The front of Franklin Institute

Named after the famous inventor and Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, the Franklin Institute is one of the best science museums in the region. It’s also the most visited museum in all of Philadelphia and attracts travelers of all ages for its fantastic exhibits and special programming.

The exhibits emphasize interactivity and are all about hands-on learning. You’ll find a lot of focus on engineering and technology, as well as human biology and the natural world. Check out the museum’s giant replica of a human heart which kids can actually crawl through and explore!

Getting In: Franklin Institute Science Museum tickets are included on The All Inclusive Philadelphia Pass.

Let’s Recap

It couldn’t be easier to save big on your one day in Philadelphia.

We know that these four attractions will make for a great day in Philadelphia. If you want to visit all four, or just pick and choose alongside some others that strike your fancy, you’re bound to enjoy the amazing city that is Philly.

The Philadelphia Pass is the best choice for maximum savings and flexibility during your vacation.

The information contained in this post, to the best of the author's knowledge, was accurate at time of publishing. We do our best to ensure and maintain the accuracy of this information.

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