2 Days in Philadelphia – A Weekend in Philadelphia Itinerary for Fun Sightseeing & More

Visiting the city of Brotherly Love and in search of the top attractions? Craft a vacation that perfectly combines the cultural with the historical, and the educational with the entertaining.

If you’ve never been to Philly before, or haven’t really seen the sights during your past visits, and you’re wondering what to see in Philadelphia in two days, check out this 2 days in Philadelphia itinerary. For travelers who only have two days to explore, these are the attractions we most recommend visiting.

This Philadelphia weekend itinerary includes:

  • Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Philadelphia Trolley Tour
  • City Hall Tower & Observation Deck
  • Reading Terminal Market
  • Eastern State Penitentiary
  • Franklin Institute
  • Battleship New Jersey Museum And Memorial
  • Adventure Aquarium
  • Betsy Ross House
  • RiverLink Ferry
  • Ghost Tours of Philadelphia

Spending more or less time in Philly? Check out our 1 day and 3 days in Philly itinerary for tourists visiting Philadelphia.

Save on Admission

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

Remember, this 2 days in Philadelphia itinerary is just one of many ways to experience the area.

The Philadelphia 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.

DAY 1

Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Philadelphia Trolley Tour

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

For an unbeatable introduction to the city, this hop-on hop off trolley bus tour is one of the best ways to start your Philadelphia sightseeing trip. While on board, you’ll be treated to informative narration about all landmarks and neighborhoods you pass by, as well as handy insider information.

If you choose to disembark, you have more than 25 different unique stops to choose from, including famous sites like the Betsy Ross House, the Philadelphia Art Museum, the Eastern State Penitentiary, the Liberty Bell, and many more. If you stay on, the entire loop takes about 90 minutes.

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

City Hall Tower & Observation Deck

City-Hall-Tower-3

Take a tour of the nation’s largest City Hall building on your first day in Philly. A visit here is a chance to enjoy intriguing architecture and fascinating stories about politics in Philadelphia’s past, as well as an unbeatable bird’s-eye view of the city below.

Take a guided tour of the interior, then head up to the observation deck (located nearly 550 feet above ground level). From there you’ll get some amazing aerial photos of the skyline, the city below, and the river.

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

Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market center court

By Bruce Andersen [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Located just a short distance from City Hall Tower & Observation Deck, Reading Terminal Market is a must-see for anyone looking for some local Philadelphia eats. From local oysters and seafood to classic sandwiches and foodie finds, Reading Terminal Market has it all.

As you walk through, you’ll be able to sample local Philadelphia dishes and poke around the shop stands for souvenirs, all while experiencing the hustle and bustle of this busy downtown market.

Fun fact: it’s been in operation since 1893!

Getting In: Reading Terminal Market is open to the public.

Eastern State Penitentiary

exhibits at the Eastern State Penitentiary

If you’re in search of something a little bit spooky to enjoy on your vacation to Philly, the Eastern State Penitentiary should be on your list. This eerie retired prison is one of the oldest and most historic structures in the city and is actually a National Historic Landmark.

Come here to tour the facilities – actually only closed in 1970 – and learn about their pioneering methods of isolating prisoners instead of subjecting them to corporal punishment. You’ll also appreciate the unique architecture, which was well ahead of its time when it was built.

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

Franklin Institute Science Museum

The Franklin Institute Memorial Statue

This amazing science museum is a must-visit for everyone coming to Philly. Named after inventor and founding father Benjamin Franklin, it’s dedicated to preserving his legacy of boundless curiosity.

Come here to enjoy interactive, exciting exhibits about engineering, human biology, natural phenomenon, virtual reality, and more. The museum also hosts periodic special exhibits on scientific and cultural topics, so be sure to check their operating calendar before you go to see what’s on.

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

DAY 2

Battleship New Jersey Museum & Memorial

Battleship New Jersey lit up at night

Pay a visit to one of the most exciting military attractions on the East Coast – the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial. She was one of the largest battleships ever built, and actually served in WWI, Korea, and Vietnam.

Explore the ship on a self-guided tour of the facilities, assisted by an audio recording available at the front desk. You can roam several different areas of the ship used by real navy sailors and explore exhibits that trace the ship’s impressive 48-year history.

Getting In: Battleship New Jersey Museum & Memorial tickets are included on The Philadelphia Pass.

Adventure Aquarium

Kids in front of large tank at the Adventure Aquarium Philadelphia

This famous aquarium has a lot to offer animal lovers. From the truly unique exhibits like the world’s only aquarium-based hippos to fun and fascinating exhibits like a touch tank, Piranha Falls, and a 3-D Theater, there’s so much to do here you could spend a few hours. If you’re traveling with little ones, be sure to take them to Gill’s Grotto, too.

Actually located across the river in Camden, New Jersey, a visit here is a great compliment in terms of scheduling and transit to the Battleship New Jersey Museum.

Getting In: Adventure Aquarium tickets are included on The Philadelphia Pass.

Betsy Ross House

Betsy Ross Flagmaker House

Visit the home of the person responsible for creating the very first American flag – the inimitable Betsy Ross. An hour or so spent in this house is more than just a glimpse into the space where the flag project was conceptualized, though. It’s also an in-depth look into Ross’ life and times.

Come here to learn about life in eighteenth-century Philadelphia, especially for industrious Quaker women like Ross. See her house restored to the way it would have looked in the 1770s during her residence, and examine real artifacts and objects from that time period. It’s another must-see Philly attraction that both kids and adults love.

Getting In: Betsy Ross House tickets are included on The Philadelphia Pass.

RiverLink Ferry

RiverLink Ferry in front of bridge

Since you’re going to be spending a good amount of time on the New Jersey side of the Delaware today, it makes sense to utilize the RiverLink Ferry. Take it to Camden to see the aquarium and the Battleship New Jersey Memorial, then back to Philly for the Betsy Ross House and your evening ghost tour (up next).

It couldn’t be easier – just join up with commuters as the ferry crosses the river multiple times per day. The Philadelphia Pass gets you free, round-trip tickets.

Getting In: RiverLink Ferry tickets are included on The Philadelphia Pass.

Ghost Tours of Philadelphia

Spooky Ghost Tour of Philadelphia

Finally, for your last attraction of the weekend, enjoy an evening ghost tour of Philly. With all that history, you’re bound to run into a few terrifying ghosts! Take a 75 to 90 minute guided excursion of Independence Park and Society Hill, led by a costumed narrator.

You’ll see everything from haunted houses and spooky graveyards to eerie abandoned gardens and narrow streets. Learn about the secrets of “America’s most haunted city” as you’re escorted to places of real documented hauntings.

These tours are super kid-friendly, too! Their combination of history, folklore, and gentle ghost stories makes for an educational and entertaining event for the little ones.

Getting In: Ghost Tours of Philadelphia tickets are included in The Philadelphia Pass.

Let’s Recap

So there’s your perfect 2 days in Philadelphia weekend itinerary – tours, museums, and much more.

We hope this selection of top Philadelphia attractions makes for the beginnings of a promising vacation weekend. From tours to historical attractions to a delightful aquarium, there’s a little bit of everything on this trip.

And don’t forget, you can save up to 45% on combined admission prices when you visit these attractions with The Philadelphia Pass. Be sure to grab one before your Philly trip.

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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