Is Philadelphia worth visiting on your East Coast road trip?
Whether you’re looking for art and culture, outdoor activities, great food and drinks, or just a relaxing weekend getaway, Philadelphia is one of the top cities for sightseeing on the Eastern Seaboard.
To show us around the city and answer whether Philadelphia is worth visiting, we’ve asked our friend Laura from The Traveling Elms to weigh in. Laura has set out with her family to travel around the US by RV – roadschooling and exploring the whole way.
Is Philadelphia Worth Visiting In 2023?
Yes! Philadelphia is an ideal destination for all sightseers exploring Pennsylvania and all of America’s East Coast.
The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the National Constitution Center are just a few of the historical sights that make Philadelphia one of America’s most beloved cities and worth the visit.
In addition to being an excellent destination for history buffs and culture seekers, Philadelphia is also home to many vibrant neighborhoods with some of the best restaurants in the country.
Philadelphia also has many state-of-the-art museums and galleries for people of all ages to explore. The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Academy of Natural Sciences, and Franklin Institute are a few of the most notable in the city.
With plenty of monuments, parks, gardens, and even historic water fountains, there’s also lots of great outdoor attractions in Philadelphia.
There’s no doubt that Philadelphia is a city boasting a wealth of history and culture and a city well worth visiting.
20 Best Things To Do In Philadelphia
A city as old and instrumental in American history as Philadelphia is filled with exciting things to do. Here’s a look at some of the best places to visit during your stay.
1. Visit The Liberty Bell
Visiting the Liberty Bell will give you an up-close look at the birth of the United States. At the Liberty Bell Center, you’ll explore the history of the bell and its importance to our nation.
The Liberty Bell is an absolute must-see attraction for those wanting to learn the history of both Philadelphia and the United States as a whole.
The Liberty Bell Center is open each day from 9 am – 5 pm and there’s no cost for admission, making it one of the best free things to do in Philadelphia.
2. Walk Through Independence Hall
At Independence Hall, you can walk through the actual room where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.
This is an incredible place to learn about the significant events which resulted in our nation’s independence and the creation of the Constitution. Independence Hall is open daily from 9 am – 5 pm and tickets are required if visiting from March – December.
3. Visit The National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center is the only museum in the country dedicated to exploring and celebrating the U.S. Constitution, making it a great place to learn about our Founding Fathers and their work that’s shaped American history.
This interactive museum offers educational programs, exhibits, and much more. Make sure you stop by Signers’ Hall where you can even sign the constitution with the Founding Fathers!
The National Constitution Center is open Wednesday – Sunday from 10 am – 5 pm. Admission is $14.50 for adults and $11 for children, with discounts for seniors and students.
4. Explore The Philadelphia Museum Of Art
At the Philadelphia Museum of Art, you will explore a vast collection of art from all over the world. This museum is home to works from some of the most renowned artists in history, such as Monet, Picasso, and Van Gogh.
Some of the most popular exhibits are the Impressionist Collection, the Ancient Greek and Roman Art Collection, and the contemporary galleries.
5. Tour The Historic United States Mint
The United States Mint in Philadelphia is the first mint established in America. On a tour here, you can learn about how coins are made, see the first coining press, and get an up-close look at some of America’s most famous coins.
Tours are self-guided and free, with no reservation needed, making this another one of the best free things to do in Philadelphia.
6. Eat Your Way Through Reading Terminal Market
Reading Terminal Market has been a Philadelphia staple since 1893 and is home to some of the city’s best restaurants and food vendors. Whether you are craving a fresh-baked pretzel or succulent seafood, it’s well worth stopping here for a bite to eat.
The market also features a wide variety of produce and specialty items from local vendors. Open daily from 8 am – 6 pm, this is the perfect place to sample some of Philadelphia’s best eats.
7. Step Back In Time At Valley Forge National Historical Park
Valley Forge National Historic Park is one of Philadelphia’s most popular outdoor attractions. Here, you can learn about Revolutionary War history and explore miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
There are also exhibits that tell the story of the soldiers who lived at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War.
A trip to Valley Forge National Historical Park is the perfect way to combine an educational walk through time with an afternoon in the great outdoors.
8. Tour The Eastern State Penitentiary
The Eastern State Penitentiary tour is one of the most unique tours in Philadelphia. This former prison is now a museum, and you can explore the cells, hallways, and guard towers featured in films such as The Shawshank Redemption.
You’ll also see some of America’s oldest prison artifacts here. If you’re up for a thrill, check out the Halloween Festival with five haunted houses, live performances, a flashlight tour of the prison, and more.
9. Shop At The Iconic King of Prussia Mall
The King of Prussia Mall is one of the largest malls in America, and home to more than 400 stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues. This mall is a great place to shop for designer clothing, accessories, home goods, and more.
King of Prussia Mall also offers an impressive array of dining options ranging from fast food to upscale restaurants. You will do a lot of walking here so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
10. Explore The Old City’s Vibrant Nightlife
Old City is Philadelphia’s oldest neighborhood and is home to some of the city’s best bars and clubs.
This Historic District has a vibrant nightlife with tons of places to unwind when the day is nearly done. Whether you’re looking for craft cocktails or live music, Old City has it all and is well worth a visit.
11. Tour Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is an incredible outdoor art museum located in the city’s South Street neighborhood. This space was created by local artist Isaiah Zagar and it boasts more than 3,000 glass tiles, recycled objects, and found materials used to make impressive artwork.
The gardens are a great way to explore Philadelphia’s culture and appreciate the work of local artists. It’s open Wednesday – Sunday from 11 am – 6 pm, and tickets must be purchased in advance.
12. Visit Franklin Square
Franklin Square is one of Philadelphia’s five original squares, and it is located in the city’s Old City neighborhood. This space hosts a variety of activities, including mini-golf, carousel rides, and outdoor concerts.
There are also plenty of restaurants located on-site where you can grab a bite to eat. Franklin Square is a great place for families to have fun and experience the culture of Philadelphia’s Historic District.
13. Tour The Mütter Museum
The Mütter Museum is one of Philadelphia’s most unique attractions. This museum houses a collection of more than 20,000 medical oddities and anatomical artifacts, including skulls, fetal specimens, and organs preserved in jars.
The Mütter Museum is a fascinating look at the history of medicine and a great way to explore Philadelphia’s unique culture. It’s open Wednesday – Monday from 10 am – 5 pm, and tickets must be purchased in advance.
14. Ride The Philadelphia Zoo Train
The Philadelphia Zoo Train is a fun way to explore the zoo in a unique way. This train takes passengers on a 30-minute tour of the zoo, featuring stops at all of the animal exhibits.
The train ride is also narrated so you can learn more about some of Philadelphia’s most exotic residents, like the African lion, the Andean bear, and crocodilians. The Philadelphia Zoo has a lot to see, and the train ride is a great way to take it all in.
15. Stroll Through Morris Arboretum
Morris Arboretum is one of Philadelphia’s oldest arboreta, located in the city’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood. This lush space features more than 12,000 plants and trees, and it’s one of the best spots in the city to take a stroll or have a picnic.
You can also explore the many walking trails located here or visit the various gardens. Morris Arboretum is an oasis of beauty in the city. My personal favorite feature of the arboretum is the treehouse!
16. Catch A Game At Citizens Bank Park
Citizens Bank Park is home to Philadelphia’s beloved Phillies MLB baseball team. Located just outside of the downtown core, this stadium hosts 81 games throughout the season and is a must-visit attraction for baseball lovers.
There are plenty of restaurants and shops located at Citizens Bank Park, as well as some fun attractions, including the interactive kids’ exhibits at the Yard.
17. Explore The Academy Of Natural Sciences
The Academy of Natural Sciences is one of Philadelphia’s most beloved museums, offering a unique look into the world of science and nature.
This museum houses a variety of exhibits, including dinosaur fossils, historic artifacts, and interactive displays. The Academy is also home to a butterfly garden where you can learn about these beautiful creatures up close.
18. Shop At The Philadelphia Navy Yard
The Philadelphia Navy Yard is a former naval base that has been transformed into a vibrant shopping destination with plenty of stores offering vintage goods, local art, and handmade crafts.
You can also find delicious restaurants serving up flavors from all over the world. The Navy Yard is a great place to explore and pick up some unique souvenirs from your trip to Philadelphia.
19. Visit The Philadelphia Insectarium And Butterfly Pavilion
The Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion is a one-of-a-kind experience. This museum houses live insects, spiders, and more while also featuring educational exhibits that focus on their behavior and habitats.
You can even visit the butterfly pavilion to get up close with some of the most colorful and delicate creatures in nature. Make sure to wear bright colors so the butterflies will want to land on you!
20. Climb The Philadelphia Museum Of Art Steps
The Philadelphia Museum of Art Steps is an iconic landmark in the city, and they’re a great spot for taking in some amazing views.
The steps were featured in Rocky, one of the most popular movies to come out of Philadelphia. You can still climb the 72 steps just like Sylvester Stallone did in the movie.
Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with awesome views of the city skyline. It’s a great way to see Philadelphia from a different angle while paying homage to one of its most beloved films.
What Is Philadelphia Known For?
Philadelphia is widely known as the “City of Brotherly Love,” and it has a long history of being a major cultural center in the United States. With so many historic landmarks that mark America’s independence, Philadelphia is one of the most significant and historic cities in the country.
Philadelphia is also known for its vibrant food scene, which features a variety of delicious cuisine from around the world. It’s also a great place to get an authentic Philly cheesesteak!
The city is renowned for its art, music, and theater scenes, making it a great destination for culture lovers. Finally, Philadelphia is known for its sports teams—especially the beloved Phillies baseball team.
Best Time To Visit Philadelphia
The best time to visit Philadelphia is during the spring or fall months. The weather in these seasons is mild and perfect for exploring the city on foot.
Additionally, peak season for tourism falls between April and October, which means prices will be higher compared to other times of the year.
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider visiting Philadelphia in the winter months. Although it will be colder outside, you can still find plenty to do indoors. Plus, you’ll avoid the rush of tourists and get more bang for your buck.
How Many Days In Philadelphia Is Enough?
How many days you should spend in Philadelphia depends on what kind of experience you’re looking for. If you want to see the main attractions and soak up some culture, then two or three days is probably enough.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed vacation, then four or five days would be ideal. This way, you can explore the city’s neighborhoods, check out some of its hidden gems, and take part in a variety of activities.
Where To Stay In Philadelphia
When visiting Philadelphia, the best place to stay is in the city’s Center City neighborhood. The area is filled with great restaurants and shops, plus it’s close to most of the main attractions like the iconic City Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the Reading Terminal Market.
If you want to be in closer proximity to the waterfront, then consider staying in one of the neighborhoods along Delaware Avenue. This area has plenty of hotels and Airbnbs that are surrounded by some of the best restaurants and bars in the city.
How To Get Around Philadelphia
The best way to get around Philadelphia is by using public transportation. The city has an extensive system of buses and subway lines that will take you anywhere you need to go.
Additionally, there are plenty of bike-sharing stations throughout the city that makes it easy to explore in a fun, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly way.
Taxis are also readily available in most parts of the city, and they’re a great option if you want to get around quickly. And, of course, Uber and Lyft are both available in Philadelphia, making it easy to get between sites without having to worry about parking.
Conclusion: Is Philadelphia Worth Visiting?
Absolutely! Philadelphia is an amazing city with a lot to offer. From its iconic steps and skyline views to its vibrant food and culture scenes, the City of Brotherly Love is one of the East Coast’s most beloved cities to visit.
So if you’re looking for an exciting destination that’s full of adventure – and some important American history – then Philadelphia should definitely be on your list.