Independence Hall, Philadelphia

There are some monuments and museums that you just shouldn't leave Philly without seeing. (©f11photos/Shutterstock)

Top Things to Do in Philadelphia

By Jessica Tzikas on 03/11/16, updated 05/18/17
Favorite

When visiting a city for the first time, it’s important to hit all the spots that city is known for. And in Philadelphia, we’re known for our history: the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the Betsy Ross House are all major parts of America’s past that every one should see at least once.

But beyond our (many) historical sites, Philly is also home to many other attractions. Photo opportunities abound at LOVE Park and the Rocky Statue (be sure to run up the steps for the ultimate experience), art is a major focus at the infamous Philadelphia Museum of Art and sports fanatics will find bliss in South Philly, where all three of our stadiums sit beside one another.

So whether you are visiting for the first time, back after a long hiatus or just want to explore Philadelphia more in depth, here are our favorite must-do things. 

Liberty Bell Center

©Ritu Manjo Jethani/Shutterstock

Attractions

Liberty Bell Center

It’s on all our to-do lists—and for good reason. Every city has their “thing” and for Philly it's the famous cracked bell. Carve out 20 minutes of your day to walk through the indoor and outdoor site, learning about the history and ending with a picture in front of the bell.

National Constitution Center

©G. Widman/Visit Philadelphia

Attractions

National Constitution Center

Referred to as our most “hands-on museum,” the National Constitution Center is great for any age. Kids and adults alike can be part of the fun at signer’s hall, where you can sign the Constitution alongside the founding fathers.

Independence Hall

(©f11photos/Shutterstock)

Attractions

Independence Hall

Philadelphia may be known for the Liberty Bell, but for anyone who has studied American History, Independence Hall is right there next to it in terms of Philly icons. The place where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed is now home to a museum and historical park.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

©B. Krist/Visit Philadelphia

Attractions

Philadelphia Museum of Art

If you’re in the city for an extended period, try to find a few hours to spend at the art museum. The huge exterior isn’t just a façade—the inside features tons of exhibits, both permanent and rotating on multiple floors and a dining area.

The Franklin Institute

©J. Fusco/Visit Philadelphia

Attractions

The Franklin Institute

Created in honor of Benjamin Franklin, this science museum can’t be missed. See a show inside the planetarium or the Tuttleman IMAX theater—check their website for daily show times—or wander exhibits like SportsZone, Your Brain and The Giant Heart.

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

©Lori Labrecque/Shutterstock

Attractions

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

What was once home to some of America’s most notorious criminals, including Al Capone, is now a historic site that gives visitors the full penitentiary experience. Explore the narrow alleyways and tiny jail cells while learning about the inmates that occupied them.

Please Touch Museum

(Courtesy of Please Touch Museum)

Attractions

Please Touch Museum

This kid-friendly museum stays true to its name—all exhibits are meant to be touched. Children will learn about architecture in "City Capers", public transpiration in "Roadside Attractions" and recycling in the "Please Touch Garden." Just don’t leave without taking a ride on the carousel, complete with 52 hand-carved, wooden animals.

City Hall and Tower

©f11photo/Shutterstock

Attractions

City Hall and Tower

If you’re here on a weekday, you’re in luck. City Hall offers tours starting at noon Monday through Friday that offer an inside look at the historic building. The tour ends with an elevator ride up to William Penn, where you’ll witness unparalleled views of the city.

Love Park, JFK Plaza in Philly

(©M. Fischetti/Visit Philadelphia)

Attractions

Love Park (JFK Plaza)

Instagram lovers rejoice: LOVE Park is one of the best photo ops in the city. Find about 20 minutes to venture over to the park—it will only take a minute to snap a photo, but the lines can get long (especially on beautiful days), so be sure to factor that in to your day.

Reading Terminal Market

(Courtesy Reading Terminal Market)

Restaurants

Reading Terminal Market

With Philly soft pretzels, broccoli rabe and roast pork sandwiches—and Pennsylvania Dutch delicacies—food options abound at the Reading Terminal Market. In addition to food visitors can also find gifts like cookbooks, candles and philly-themed décor.

Philadelphia Phillies

(©Joseph Sohm/ShutterStock)

Entertainment

Philadelphia Phillies

Calling all sports fans: Citizens Bank Park is home to the Philadelphia Phillies. But even if baseball isn’t your thing, an afternoon spent at the baseball park is a Philly must-do. Order crab fries—a local favorite from Chickie’s and Pete’s—and a beer and enjoy the fresh air, no matter who you are rooting for.

Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Tom Ipri/Flickr, Creative Commons)

 

Entertainment

Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

This iconic concert hall sits pretty along the Avenue of the Arts in Center City. Plan to see a show. Everything from Broadway Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Ballet to the Philly Pops and Opera Philadelphia can be found here.

Philadelphia Zoo

©J. Fusco/Visit Philadelphia

Attractions

Philadelphia Zoo

1,300 animals roam here—many freely with the exhibit "Zoo360" that allows animals like tigers and lions to walk above your heads in above-ground, open-air tunnels. Check out their daily schedule so you don’t miss events like the goat training show and feedings of cheetahs and polar bears.

Betsy Ross House

©G. Widman/Visit Philadelphia

Attractions

Betsy Ross House

Located in historic Philadelphia (not far from the Liberty Bell) is the home of American flag-maker, Betsy Ross. Learn about her life and see the very spot where the first American flag was sewn. Plus, leave with colonial-style gifts like books and costumes.

Rocky Statue

©f11photo/Shutterstock

Attractions

Rocky Statue

Sitting right out front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rocky Statue is an ode to the beloved movie. Take a picture doing the infamous Rocky pose before running up the 72 stone steps—you may be too tired to even take a photo after the climb.

Philly-themed mini golf at Franklin Square

©J. Holder/Visit Philadelphia

Attractions

Franklin Square

William Penn himself planned this park, so it is just a much a piece of history as it is a great place to relax and spend the day. Play mini golf, ride the Parx Liberty Carousel, and enjoy a burger and fries from SquareBurger while enjoying the view of the Franklin Square Fountain.

The Mural Arts Tour shows Philly's mural program from the comfort of a trolley.

The Mural Arts Tour shows Philly's mural program from the comfort of a trolley. (©R. Kennedy, Visit Philly)

Activities, Attractions, Areas to Explore

Mural Arts Program Tours

Philly is known for their murals. No matter where you are in the city, look closely and you’ll find an intricate mural on the sides of buildings, in alleyways, and along busy streets. Take a walking tour to learn about each one—you’ll even get some exercise in.

Map of Top Things to Do in Philadelphia