Philadelphia is a modern, urban city with deep, historic roots. It’s known for the role it has played in US history, its iconic landmarks, sports teams, academic institutions, lively night life, cheese steaks, the Rocky film franchise, and more—all reasons why it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the US.
Whether you’re looking to explore historic battlefields or learn how Benjamin Franklin’s discoveries are still furthering science today, Philadelphia has a ton of fun things to do for every type of traveler’s interests.
What are some popular attractions to visit?
- Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Philadelphia Tour – A popular attraction for first-time visitors, this comprehensive guided tour is the perfect introduction to Philadelphia’s layout, history, culture, and top attractions. Enjoy the flexibility to hop on or off any of the 25+ included stops along the way, like Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Museum of Art, and more.
- Eastern State Penitentiary – an official National Historic Landmark that was once an active prison and correctional facility that explores the history of the American criminal justice system. It’s most notable inmate? Al Capone – you’ll even get to see his cell from his 8-month stint at ESP.
- Franklin Institute Science Museum – the most visited museum in PA, this science institution is dedicated to educating the public on the fundamentals of science with hands-on exhibits and highlights the accomplishments of its namesake scientist and Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin.
- One Liberty Observation Deck – explore Philadelphia and beyond from 57-floors above ground. The One Liberty Observation deck offers fantastic views of the sprawling metro, as well as interactive and historical displays that tell the story of the city of brotherly love.
- Philadelphia Museum of Art – home to over 240,000 objects and artifacts that represent more than 2,000 years of human achievement around the world, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest and most important art museums in the US.
- National Constitution Center – experience the history of the US Constitution via interactive, hands-on exhibits, theatrical performances, artifacts, and more at the first and only institution in the US established by Congress to teach the public about the importance of the Constitution.
These are just a few. Want more fun ideas for things to do in Philadelphia? Head over here for more Philly based attractions to see during your trip.
How long are you visiting?
Whether you’re visiting Philly for 24-hours or a long weekend, we’ve put together sample itineraries highlighting all the most popular things to do in the city.
From top-rated tours to the most iconic landmarks, these itineraries give you the best experience based on the time you have in the city.
- 1 day in Philadelphia – sample itinerary
- 2 days in Philadelphia – sample itinerary
- 3 days in Philadelphia – sample itinerary
- more coming soon!
If you’re a Philly first-timer, you’ll definitely want to check out our Top 10 Must See & Do attractions too.
When are you visiting?
Philadelphia is a fun city to visit no matter what time of year and each season will offer a totally different experience from the next. We put together a couple lists of the best things to do in Philadelphia depending on the season. Check them out:
- Things to do in Philadelphia in the summer
- Things to do in Philadelphia in the spring
- Things to do in Philadelphia in the winter
- Things to do in Philadelphia in the fall
Who are you visiting with?
Sometimes creating the perfect itinerary depends on who you’re traveling with. Is this a couple’s trip, or are you bringing the whole family along? We’ve got a few different lists for every type of travel crew.
- 10+ Things to Do in Philadelphia with Teens During Your Trip
- Philadelphia Family Vacation Ideas – Activities, Attractions & Things to Do
- 10+ Things to Do in Philadelphia with Kids
- More coming soon!
What parts of Philadelphia are you visiting?
We highlighted a handful of the top attractions, places to see, and which Philadelphia neighborhoods to visit during your vacation.
- Philadelphia neighborhoods guide
- Things to Do in Logan Square
- Things to Do in Center City
- Things to Do in Old City
What’s the best way to get around Philadelphia?
With lots of transportation options, getting around Philadelphia is easy. Most major attractions and things to do in Philadelphia are centrally located and easily walk-able from one to another – plus, Philadelphia is known for having a great public transportation system and lots of taxi/ride share options.
Hop-On Hop-Off Bus
A hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus tour, like Big Bus Philadelphia, is a great way to get acquainted with the city and visit popular attractions. Tours follow a specific route and time schedule, so plan accordingly if you have timed tickets or reservations.
Popular stops include:
- Independence Hall
- Liberty Bell
- Love Sculpture
- Museum of Art
- Memorial Hall
- Eastern State Penitentiary
- Betsy Ross House
- African American Museum
Philly’s public transportation system, SEPTA, is one of the best and largest in the country. There are 2 lines that run through downtown Philadelphia that intersect right at City Hall: the Market-Frankford Line (the “El” or Blue Line) and the Broad Street Line (the Subway or Orange Line).
In addition to those 2 major subway lines, there are 5 trolley lines, over 70 bus routes, and the PHLASH touris bus (runs May – October) that fill in most of the gaps of downtown Philly and beyond.
Tip: download the Moovit mobile app (free) for helpful trip planning and real-time public transportation updates.
Taxis & Rideshares
Taxis are a popular way to get around the city and are typically easy to find – especially near popular destinations and major streets. Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft are a popular alternative to taxis are widely available to order via your mobile device.
Philly is consistently voted a top city in the country for biking and commuting by bike for a reason—it’s super bike-friendly. Most roads have dedicated bike lanes, there are hundreds of miles of trails and paths, and bikes are readily available through bike share services and rental shops.
Philadelphia is best explored by foot. It’s a compact city with history on every corner, so you’re likely to see sights you might not get to see by car or public transportation when you walk.
For more transportation information, check out our guide to Getting Around Philly for Tourists.
Where to Eat?
- Steve’s Prince of Steaks – Practically a tourist experience in itself, don’t leave Philly without trying a Philly Cheesesteak. Steve’s Prince of Steaks is a quick walk from City Hall and features a menu centered around the famous “hoagie” sandwich.
- Geno’s Steaks vs. Pat’s King of Steaks - this is the ultimate showdown: two fabulous Philly Cheesesteak landmarks right across the street from one another. Try one from both.
- Urban Farmer – This farm-to-table restaurant features a rustic-chic atmosphere that focuses on a fusion of art, culture, and history native to Philadelphia and a straightforward menu that celebrates locally-sourced ingredients, heritage-bred beef, craft cocktails, and more.
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