A city rich in history, art, and culture, Philadelphia has been a popular tourist destination for years. From historic landmarks like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell to modern-day attractions like the Rocky Steps and LOVE Park, there’s something for everyone. So whether you’re visiting Philly for business or pleasure, take a break and enjoy some of these 16 top tourist attractions and things to do in Philadelphia! No matter what you’re looking for, there is something fun waiting for you.
Things to Do in Philadelphia
1. Liberty Bell Pavilion
The Liberty Bell Pavilion is a must-see for any visitor to Philadelphia. The pavilion, which is located in Independence National Historical Park, is home to the famous Liberty Bell. The bell was commissioned by the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1751 and was used to summon legislators to meetings. It also rang on July 4, 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was read aloud in Philadelphia.
The bell cracked soon after it was cast and was not used again until 1846 (during George Washington’s birthday), during which it cracked irreparably. It then served as a symbol of freedom and democracy during the American Revolution and the Civil War. The Liberty Bell Pavilion was built in 1975 to house the bell and protect it from the weather.
Today, the Liberty Bell Pavilion is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Philadelphia. It is an iconic symbol of American freedom, and the pavilion that it sits in makes for a fascinating visit. Best of all, it’s free to visit. And I recommend visiting early in the morning or late in the day to avoid the crowds.
Tours are available daily, so anyone who would like to learn more about this important piece of American history should take advantage of this opportunity. And since it’s free, I think it’s one of the best things to do in Philadelphia that you should not miss when in the city.
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2. Independence Hall
Independence hall is another top attraction in Philadelphia. It’s the birthplace of American democracy, and it’s where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were drafted and adopted. It’s also home to one of the most famous speeches in our history: President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
The building is open to visitors, and on tour, you can see the Assembly Room, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted. In addition, you can visit the Senate Chamber, where the Constitution was drafted.
Independence Hall is an important piece of American history, and it’s worth a visit for anyone interested in learning more about our country’s founding. The guided tours are very informative, and the staff is passionate about sharing the hall’s history with visitors. This is a highly recommended attraction, and it’s a must-see for anyone interested in learning more about the country’s history. I would advise allocating at least two hours for a visit.
3. Independence National Historical Park
But besides the above-mentioned attractions, this historical park is also home to Congress Hall. This is where the first Congress of the United States met from 1790 to 1800 and where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed.
The Ben Franklin Museum is also part of this park, which is dedicated to the life and work of Benjamin Franklin. It features interactive exhibits that allow visitors to explore Franklin’s many inventions and discoveries, as well as contributions to American society.
The park is also home to the National Museum of American Jewish History and park-like Independence Mall. There are also a number of cultural festivals throughout the year, including concerts, book signings, craft shows, and more.
The park is open every day of the year and offers ranger tours as well as self-guided tours. There are also several exhibits located throughout the park that explore different aspects of Philadelphia’s history.
4. Reading Terminal Market
The Reading Terminal Market is one of the top tourist attractions in Philadelphia, and for a good reason. This historic market has been around since 1893 and is home to more than 80 merchants selling everything from fresh produce and meat to baked goods and cheeses. It’s also a great place to find souvenirs, as there are many merchants who sell Philly-themed items.
The Reading Terminal Market is a great place to get a taste of Philadelphia’s local cuisine. You can find all sorts of delicious foods here, from Philly cheesesteaks to soft pretzels to Amish-made furniture. And if you want to take some of the local flavors back home with you, the market is also home to a variety of ethnic food shops, where you can buy spices, sauces, and other ingredients.
Visiting this market is a great way to experience the authentic food and culture of Philadelphia. The best time to visit the Reading Terminal Market is on Saturdays when it really comes alive. And because it’s in such a convenient location, visitors should add it to their list of things to do when in Philadelphia.
5. The Barnes Foundation
If you’re looking for an art museum with a difference, then you should visit The Barnes Foundation. This unique museum is home to one of the largest collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artwork in the world. It was founded by Dr. Albert C. Barnes in 1922 and features pieces from some of the most famous artists in history, including and Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Manet, and Degas.
The Barnes Foundation is located in a beautiful building that was once the home of Dr. Barnes himself. The museum has been praised for its unique layout, which allows visitors to experience the art in a very hands-on way. You can actually walk among the paintings, and many of them are hung at eye level, so you can see them as if you were standing next to the artist. It’s one of the few museums in Philadelphia that does not shy away from displaying its works up close and allowing visitors to interact with them.
The foundation offers tours of the collection, and I highly recommend taking one if you have the opportunity. It’s interesting to learn about how Barnes assembled the collection and the stories behind each of the paintings. So if you’re interested in art, then The Barnes Foundation is a must-see when in Philadelphia. It’s one of the best art museums in the world, and it’s worth a visit.
6. Wissahickon Valley Park
Wissahickon Valley Park is a real hidden gem and one of the top attractions in Philadelphia if you’re looking for a more natural experience. The park was established in the late 1800s with the goal of preserving land that was home to Native Americans. Today it’s home to over 54 km of hiking trails, as well as a creek that flows through the park.
The park is located in northwestern Philadelphia, and it’s easily accessible by public transportation. It’s a great place to go for a walk, a run, or a bike ride. And there are plenty of places to stop and rest along the way. The park is also open during the week, so this makes it a great place to go if you have free time during the day.
The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, beavers, owls, red foxes, and turtles. Anyone who takes the time to explore the park will likely see some of these animals.
Overall, Wissahickon Valley Park is a great place to go for a nature walk, and it’s also home to some of Philadelphia’s most popular hiking and biking trails. So if you’re looking for a relaxing escape from the city, Wissahickon is the perfect place to visit.
7. Philadelphia Museum of Art
Visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art is, without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Philadelphia. The museum is considered among the top art museums in the United States. It’s home to over 240,000 works of art: paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings, including important pieces by renowned artists like Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet.
The museum was founded in 1876 and has since grown to become one of the largest museums in the United States. And today, you’ll find collections of American, European, and Asian art, as well as its large collection of modern and contemporary art.
One interesting feature of the museum is its outdoor “Rocky Steps,” which visitors can climb while taking pictures with Sylvester Stallone’s character from the Rocky movies. These steps are one of the most popular free attractions in town.
If you’re looking for an amazing art museum to visit in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art should be at the top of your list. With a vast collection of artwork from some of the world’s most famous artists, as well as an outdoor sculpture garden that is second to none, this museum is sure to impress.
8. Rittenhouse Square Park
Rittenhouse Square Park is a beautiful green space in the heart of Philadelphia. The park, which was designed by William Penn, is named after David Rittenhouse, an astronomer, and mathematician who served as the first director of the United States Mint.
The park was originally built in 1683 as part of Penn’s design for Philadelphia. The park has been renovated several times over the years, but it still retains its original charm. Today, the park is home to a playground, a wading pool, and a basketball court, as well as several statues and monuments. It is also a popular spot for dog owners, and there are several areas where dogs can play off-leash. There are also several restaurants within walking distance of the park.
I think that Rittenhouse Square Park is a must-see for any tourist looking to explore Philadelphia’s green spaces. It has a little something for everyone, and there are plenty of things to do in the area surrounding the park.
9. LOVE Park
I also recommend visiting LOVE Park in the Center City district of Philadelphia. This park is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, and it’s easy to see why. The park is named after the LOVE sculpture that sits in its center. The sculpture was created by artist Robert Indiana and was installed in the park in 1976.
Today, the “Love” sculpture has become one of the most important pieces of art in Philadelphia history. Visitors come from all over just to snap selfies with this piece of modern art and perhaps kiss beside it. And this has made it a great place to relax and take in the sights and sounds of Philadelphia. It’s also a popular spot for people-watching, so be sure to bring your camera along. And if you get hungry, there are plenty of places to eat nearby.
The park is open year-round and is free to visit, perfect to spend an afternoon. And since it’s one of the famous places in Philadelphia, I highly recommend paying it a visit if you have time while in the city!
10. Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP)
If you’re looking for more eerie tourist attractions in Philadelphia, then I suggest you check out the Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP). It is one of the best-known prisons in America, and it used to be home to some famous American criminals.
ESP began operating as a prison in 1829 and was designed with solitary cells that were unlike any other prison building in the country. The idea was that criminals would spend time alone contemplating their crimes and reforming themselves. It was also one of the first prisons to implement silent meditation as a form of punishment for unruly inmates.
The prison operated until 1971, when it was closed down due to a decrease in the number of prisoners and the need for repairs on the deteriorating structure. It is now a popular tourist attraction where visitors can take a guided tour of the grounds, some of which remain as they were originally built in the 1800s.
This is a fascinating place to look into America’s criminal justice system and its history. It’s also a great opportunity to learn about some of the country’s most notorious criminals. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in American history or criminology.
11. The Franklin Institute Science Museum
One of the best things to do in Philadelphia is a visit to The Franklin Institute Science Museum. This world-renowned museum houses some of the most innovative and interesting exhibits that I’ve ever seen. The museum, which opened in 1824, has an extremely impressive permanent collection that children and adults alike never get tired of exploring.
The most popular exhibit at the Franklin Institute Science Museum is the Giant Heart, which lets visitors walk through a working model of a human heart. This immersive experience lets you learn all about how our hearts work. Best of all, it’s completely hands-on, so anyone looking for an interactive way to learn about their body should start here.
The Franklin Institute Science Museum also offers planetarium shows, educational classes, and special exhibits throughout the year. So whether you’re a science lover or just looking for something fun to do with your family, this museum is sure to please. It’s definitely one of the top tourist attractions in Philadelphia.
12. Philadelphia Zoo
Another one of Philadelphia’s top tourist attractions is the zoo. The zoo features more than 1,300 animals and covers 17 acres in total land area. It was opened to the public on July 1, 1874, by the City of Philadelphia.
Today, it is a world-class zoo that attracts about 2 million visitors every year. And for a good reason: there are many exhibits that feature endangered species from around the world. For instance, there’s an exhibit called “Birds in Flight,” which showcases various owls and vultures from North America, Asia, Africa, and other regions.
In addition to these fascinating exhibits, there are several family-oriented activities featured during weekends at this zoo, such as live shows and face painting. This is definitely one of the top attractions in Philly that got something for everyone.
13. Rodin Museum
If you’re looking for something a little more artsy to check out in Philadelphia, the Rodin Museum is definitely worth a visit. The museum was founded in 1919 and holds the highest collections of sculptor Auguste Rodin’s.
Rodin was a master of sculpture, and his work is considered some of the most important in the history of art. His sculptures are both realistic and expressive, and many of them are considered to be masterpieces.
Today, the museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Philadelphia. It features sculptures from Rodin’s later years, and visitors can see some of his most famous pieces here, including a cast of The Thinker and a copy of The Gates of Hell (which originally sat in front of the Pantheon in Paris). The museum is also home to over 300 other sculptures from various artists.
The Rodin Museum is a great place to visit for anyone who appreciates art. The works on display are truly incredible and span many centuries and styles. Just be aware that it can get pretty crowded on weekends, so try to go during the week if possible. In addition to the works by Rodin on display at the museum, visitors can also enjoy beautiful gardens outside.
14. Fairmount Park
Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park is the largest landscaped urban park in the United States. It contains more than 830 acres of land that are open to visitors. Many of these acres are used for activities like running, biking, soccer, and hiking.
Over one million people visit this park each year because it offers many different attractions within its boundaries. There are art museums, a zoo, a botanical garden, and even a waterfall. You could spend an entire day exploring this park and still not see everything it has to offer.
The best way to explore the park is by taking one of the many walking or biking trails that run through it. This will allow you to take in all of the scenery and not be bothered by car traffic. Some of these trails follow the paths that Native Americans once walked, and you will also find many beautiful bridges throughout this park as well.
I highly recommend spending at least one day exploring Fairmount Park when in Philadelphia. It’s a large park, but it’s safe enough for everyone.
15. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
The Academy of Natural Sciences has long been a leading natural history museum and is one of the top tourist attractions in Philadelphia. Its collections contain several artifacts and specimens (one of the largest in all of North America), including fossils, skeletons, minerals, insects, and more.
In addition to its extensive collection, the Academy has an impressive live animal collection. The live animal exhibits include reptiles, fish, and amphibians housed in their own habitats. Visitors will also enjoy the Academy’s butterfly pavilion with over 700 different species of butterflies from around the world.
For those looking to learn more about the natural world, this is an excellent place to visit. It’s a large museum, so expect to spend a few hours there. But it’s worth the visit.
16. The South Street
If you’re looking for a place to experience Philadelphia’s unique and eclectic atmosphere, look no further than South Street. This vibrant street is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, bars, and music venues. There’s something for everyone on South Street, and it’s a great place to people watch and soak up the local culture.
South Street is particularly popular with a young crowd, so it can be a bit noisy at night. But that’s also part of its appeal, as there’s always something happening on South Street. You can find everything from vintage clothing stores to record shops to tattoo parlors here, so it’s the perfect place for those who are looking for something unique and special.
So if you’re looking for a taste of Philadelphia’s history and culture, be sure to visit South Street. It’s one of the coolest streets in the city.
Philadelphia is a city that offers so much for tourists and visitors alike. I hope that this list of top tourist attractions in Philadelphia has given you some ideas on where to go next time you visit the City of Brotherly Love. If there’s anything else we should add, let me know!