20 Awesome Things To Do In Philadelphia

20 Awesome Things To Do In Philadelphia

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All photos are original to the author unless otherwise noted. 

This blog post may contain affiliate links.  I may earn a small commission for any purchases made through these links. Click here for the disclosure statement.

All photos are original to the author unless otherwise noted.

Philadelphia is a city with a lot of history and culture. There are plenty of fun and unique things to do in the city of brotherly love, regardless of your interests. Here are 25 things to get you started:

Have a picnic in Fairmount Park

Boathouse Row

Shofuso Japanese Garden

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful oasis or an exciting adventure, Fairmount Park has something to offer everyone. Fairmount Park is also home to the Philadelphia Zoo, the Underground Museum, the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, and the boathouse row. With over 2,000 acres of trees and trails, you can enjoy a picnic, stroll along scenic trails, or kayak the Schuylkill River.

Visit The Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation museum is home to one of the world’s largest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modern art paintings, including works by Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, and Picasso. You can also find a rare collection of plants at The Barnes Arboretum, which is on the campus of Saint Joseph’s University and is open to the public.

Eastern State Penitentiary

The eastern state penitentiary is a historical prison that held thousands of prisoners, including notorious mobsters like Al Capone and bank robbers like Slick Willie. However, it is best known for its innovative architectural design, with concrete cells arranged in a radial pattern around a central hub. Today, it remains an integral part of Philadelphia’s history; visitors can explore its eerie cell blocks and learn about its colorful past and the lessons we learned from it.

Take a walk through Philadelphia’s historic district and Independence Mall

Independence Hall
Independence Hall

Philadelphia’s historic district is the perfect place to take a walk and learn about American history. Start at Independence Hall, where the American founding fathers wrote and Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Then, head to the Liberty Bell, an iconic symbol of American Independence. While in the area, visit Washington Square, which is home to many sculptures and monuments. Philadelphia’s historic district is full of fascinating history, so be sure to take some time to explore it!

Take an architecture walking tour

Philadelphia is rich in history, with stunning urban architecture reflecting its storied past and contemporary urban landscape. Whether you are an avid urban photographer or simply interested in beautiful and diverse urban spaces, an architecture walking tour is a great way to experience Philadelphia.

Tours typically include historic landmarks like Independence Hall, where you can learn about colonial America and see examples of classic 18th-century architecture. You’ll also get to walk amongst modern skyscrapers, which contrast the older structures. In addition, many tours explore hidden gems off the beaten track, giving you a glimpse into lesser-known yet equally fascinating parts of the city’s history.

See medical oddities and historical medical equipment at Mutter Museum

Mutter Museum is a unique attraction that houses various medical oddities, including specimens of conjoined twins and preserved body parts. The museum also features a wide range of historical medical equipment, from early x-ray machines to iron lungs. The Mutter Museum is a fascinating glimpse into the past and will interest any visitor. In addition, the museum often has special exhibitions featuring different aspects of medical history. So whether you’re a history buff or just looking for something different, the Mutter Museum is worth a visit.

Philadelphia Magic Gardens

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a unique, one-of-a-kind attraction that attracts visitors from all over the world. This immersive art installation by street artist Isaiah Zagar features mosaic sculptures, murals, and colorful stained glass windows. Whether exploring them on your own or participating in one of their many public programs and events, they will delight and inspire you with their vibrant energy.

VISIT WONDERSPACES LIGHT ART EXHIBIT

Wonderspaces is an immersive showcase of a diverse range of artistic mediums. Visitors will enjoy a variety of exhibits, including mesmerizing light shows, video projections, intricate sculptures, and other art forms. The exhibits change frequently, so there are always new and exciting creations to keep you coming back.

Visit the Foodie’s Paradise Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market is a gathering place and food market located at 12th and Arch Streets in Center City, Philadelphia. The historic public market offers cuisines and foods from local vendors, including Amish farmers, ethnic eateries, and Pennsylvania Dutch specialties. With its convenient location and wide selection of food, the Reading Terminal Market is a must-visit for anyone exploring food options in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia zoo

Philadelphia zoo is the oldest in the United States and is home to a diverse collection of animals with unobstructed views, which makes it an excellent destination for zoo photographers. In addition, visitors can take advantage of keeper talks to learn more about the animals, and there’s an opportunity to feed the giraffes.

hike in Wissahickon Valley Park

Wissahickon Valley Park is a beautiful spot for a hike just minutes from downtown Philadelphia. The park spans over 1,800 acres and features over 50 miles of winding trails that lead through forests, meadows, and the banks of Wissahickon Creek. The park is open year-round and is a popular spot for fall foliage, birdwatching, nature photography, and historical landmarks such as the Fingerspan Bridge and Forbidden Drive.

Mercer Museum

Located an hour outside of Philadelphia in Doylestown, The Mercer museum showcases archeologist Henry Mercer’s rich and varied collection of historical artifacts. Exhibits include everything from carriages and vehicles to pre-industrial tools from various cultures and eras, providing a look at the history of human civilization. If you’re looking for an enlightening experience that will take you back in time, stop by this one-of-a-kind cultural institution.

Fonthill Castle

Chinatown is an energetic, vibrant neighborhood filled with bustling shops, delicious restaurants, and colorful street markets. Whether you crave dim sum or a traditional Chinese dessert, you will find the perfect dish among Chinatown’s many delicious options. In addition, this vibrant neighborhood hosts a range of cultural events throughout the year, from traditional festivals and parades to workshops on art, history, and food production.

Walk through Chinatown

Chinatown is an energetic, vibrant neighborhood filled with bustling shops, delicious restaurants, and colorful street markets. Whether you crave dim sum or a traditional Chinese dessert, you will find the perfect dish among Chinatown’s many delicious options. In addition, this vibrant neighborhood hosts a range of cultural events throughout the year, from traditional festivals and parades to workshops on art, history, and food production.

View Philadelphia city hall from the Rocky Steps at the Museum of Art

Art lover or not, a trip to Philadelphia’s Museum of Art is worth it to soak in stunning city views at the top of the rocky steps leading up to the museum. Once in the museum, you can explore over 250,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years. The museum is a treasure trove of world-renowned masterpieces from ancient Egyptian sculpture to modern pop art.

Longwood gardens

Longwood Gardens offers a diverse collection of plant life from around the world, featuring rare species from Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. The gardens also provide several unique attractions, including an indoor conservatory filled with exotic plants, colorful water fountains, a topiary garden, and much more. Visitors can also enjoy gorgeous landscaped areas ideal for relaxing or exploring outdoors in any season.

The Franklin Institute of science museum

The Franklin Institute is known for its innovative exhibits and captivating educational programs and is one of the most popular science museums in the world. The museum is named after Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s Founding Fathers and advocate for scientific discovery. Today, visitors flock to The Franklin Institute to learn everything from electricity and technology to chemistry and biology. The Franklin Institute is guaranteed to leave you feeling inspired and excited about all that science has to offer.

Elfreth’s Alley, America’s Oldest Residential Street

Constructed in 1703, Elfreth’s Alley is America’s oldest residential street. The street is named after Jeremiah Elfreth, a blacksmith who lived in the alley. Many of the houses in Elfreth’s Alley served as workshops and residential homes throughout the years and many of the inhabitants were artisans, such as blacksmiths and sewists. Today, the street is a popular tourist destination known for its preserved 18th-century architecture. 29 of the 32 houses in Elfreth’s Alley are private residences, but visitors can tour Elfreth’s Alley Museum, which is dedicated to the history of the street and its residents.

Shane’s Confectionery

Shane’s Confectionery has been a staple of the North American confectionery scene for over one hundred years. Founded in 1906 by William Shane, this family-run business remains the longest-running confectionery business in the United States. Its history is rooted in traditional craftsmanship and attention to detail. Its unique offerings continue to delight customers with its bold flavors and beautiful presentation.

With its rich history and plentiful attractions, there’s no shortage of things to do in Philadelphia. The city has lively nightlife, parks, and outdoor festivals throughout the year. Shopping lovers will find plenty of stores to explore in downtown Philadelphia, and history buffs can learn about the city’s past at various museums and historical sites. So if you’re looking for a fun-filled vacation, be sure to add Philadelphia to your list!

Author Bio

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Delaney is a project manager by day and a travel and wildlife photographer by night who is using her skills for translating complex technical language into easy to understand concepts to make photography achievable at all skill levels. You have questions; she has answers.

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