Visiting Philadelphia on a Budget – A Simple Way to Save on Your Vacation

Planning to visit to Philadelphia on a budget?

This area is a great choice for a family vacation, especially when you use The Philadelphia Pass – which makes visiting Philly on a budget a breeze.

Save on Admission to Tourist Attractions

Admission to many of these Philadelphia tourist attractions and are available on The Philadelphia Pass.

The Philadelphia Pass gives you the flexibility to choose as you go from dozens of top attractions to create a vacation tailored to your family’s interests.

See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.

A few of the attractions include:

  • Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Philadelphia Tour
  • One Liberty Observation Deck
  • Franklin Institute Science Museum
  • Eastern State Penitentiary
  • And more!

Top Attractions to Visit for a Budget Friendly Trip

Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Philadelphia Tour

Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Guided Tour of Philadelphia

The Big Bus Hop On Hop Off Tour gives you the opportunity to see this historic city from a unique perspective.

You can get off the bus at any stop that piques your interest, whether that be the Eastern State Penitentiary, City Hall, or one of the many other stops.

The full tour takes about 90-mins, so you’ll learn tons about “The City of Brotherly Love” from the friendly guide on board.

Getting In: Hop On Hop Off Philadelphia Tour tickets are available on The Philadelphia Pass.

One Liberty Observation Deck

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See Philadelphia from 57 stories up at One Liberty Observation Deck, the tallest enclosed observation deck in the city.

To go along with the great heights, there are interactive exhibits within in the observation deck to help identify landmarks and learn about the historic city.

Best of all, the observation deck is located right in the center of Philly, so when you’re done observing you can head down and explore the city from ground level.

Getting In: One Liberty Observation Deck tickets are available on The Philadelphia Pass.

Franklin Institute Science Museum

The Franklin Institute Memorial Statue

The Franklin Institute Science Museum is the most-visited museum in Philly, and for good reason, it’s filled with awesome exhibits!

A few of the top exhibits are: Sports Zone – learn science’s impact on sports, Virtual Reality – use the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift to meet a blue whale or tour the human body, The Giant Heart – a two-story tall human heart, and much more.

We recommend that you visit early in the day, so you can see the whole museum from the bottom-up.

Getting In: Franklin Institute Science Museum tickets are available on The Philadelphia Pass.

Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary

Take a temporary visit to the Eastern State Penitentiary, many of its past visitors didn’t have that luxury.

The famous prison was home to many notorious American criminals such as bank robber ‘Slick Willie’ Sutton and ‘Scarface’ Al Capone. You’ll learn the stories of these high-profile criminals along your tour of the penitentiary.

Fun fact: There are several ongoing Paranormal Investigations that take place within the penitentiary walls, so you may get more than you bargained for on your visit.

Getting In: Eastern State Penitentiary tickets are available on The Philadelphia Pass.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

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Home to over 240,00 art pieces, The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest art museums in the United States. Luckily, a ticket grants you admission to the museum for two consecutive days so you’ll have time to see it all.

There are works by artists like Picasso, Van Gogh, and Claude Monet housed in this museum, and those are just some of the names you’ll see featured.

Getting In: Philadelphia Museum of Art tickets are available on The Philadelphia Pass.

Fun Options to Visit During Your Trip:

As you can already tell, visiting Philadelphia on a budget doesn’t have to be boring or traditional.

There are plenty of other fun options to choose from, including these activities available on The Philadelphia Pass.

Franklin Footsteps Walking Tour – Follow Franklin’s footsteps around Philly with an entertaining tour guide who’ll teach you all about the city of brotherly love, past, and present.

Adventure Aquarium – The only aquarium in the world where you can see hippos and the only one in the U.S. where you can see hammerhead sharks, but that’s not all, the aquarium is filled with interactive and immersive exhibits as well.

National Constitution Center – Called “America’s town hall”, the National Constitution Center is filled with displays to teach visitors about history and explain the constitution and its importance.

Free Activities for a Budget Friendly Vacation

The Liberty  Bell – See Philly’s most iconic landmark at Independence Hall and be sure to snap a great photo.

Rocky Statue and Steps – “Yo Adrian!” Get your steps in at this famous site and take a pic with the champ.

Love Sculpture – JFK Plaza aka LOVE Park is home to this quintessentially Philadelphian statue.

Spruce Street Harbor Park – Head to this beautiful park nearby the Delaware River and just hang out. They have great food and drink options as well if you don’t mind spending a few bucks.

Traveling to Philly on a Budget

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Depending on where you’re coming from, travel to Philly can pose a financial challenge. However, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you save money.

If you’re within the East Coast corridor, an Amtrak ticket is a good deal and is a convenient way to head to Philadelphia. Really on a budget? Opt for a bus ticket from companies like Peter Pan or Greyhound, both of which come into the conveniently-located terminal at 1001 Filbert Street.

If you need to fly into town, look for cheaper fares at PHL – you’ll also save on getting from the airport to your hotel. SEPTA, Philadelphia’s public transit system has an airport line that is the most economical option for getting you from any terminal of PHL into Center City.

Finding Lodging

Philadelphia is full of things to do, so this gives you some flexibility when deciding which area of town to stay in.

If you really want a great deal, there are centrally located hostels like The City House Hostel or the Apple Hostels of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Transit

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Seasonally, Philadelphia runs a bus route called the Philly Phlash that is designed to make it easier for visitors to get from attraction to attraction, so if you’re visiting Philly during the warmer months this is a great option

Philadelphia also has a great public transit system called the SEPTA, one of the best and most affordable systems of its kind in the U.S.

Dining on a Budget in Philadelphia

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Dining expenses can add up in a hurry – especially if you’re visiting a major metropolitan area that features premium prices and high-end restaurants.

Luckily, some of Philly’s signatures dishes are priced right, like their signature cheesesteaks, roast pork sandwiches and pizza.

Scope out website likes Open Table or Yelp for information on pricing, menus, and location before you travel or before you head out for dinner.

Or, stroll through neighborhoods like City Center, Rittenhouse Square, Chinatown, and Old Town for a good selection of delicious restaurants at reasonable prices (these neighborhoods at least partially cater to college students so they have to stay moderate).

Let’s Recap on Visiting Philadelphia on a Budget

There you go – a few great recommendations for things to do when visiting Philadelphia on a budget.

Remember, many of these great budget friendly attraction options and more are included on The Philadelphia Pass, where you can save up to 45% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.

So when you are planning your trip, consider including some of these options to your Philly vacation itinerary.

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.