Top 25 Philadelphia Attractions & Things To Do for an Amazing Trip

Last Updated on February 24, 2024 by Nikki Jain

A trip to Philadelphia is an excellent opportunity to experience American history and a myriad of Philadelphia tourist attractions. Philly is a cultural epicenter boasting influence in art and music around the world. Not to mention, there are amazing opportunities for food, museums, parks, and recreation.

Many Philadelphia attractions are rich in history, as Philly is one of the oldest cities in the country and was the original capital of America. It is hard to run out of things to do in Philadelphia. The following is a list of our picks for the top tourist attractions in Philadelphia.

Things To Do in Philadelphia

Table of Contents [Show]

Affiliate links may be used in this post. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use my affiliate link.

1: Independence National Historical Park

Independence National Historical Park
Flickr/National Park Service

Independence National Historical Park is perhaps the most significant sight to see in Philadelphia. This is the place where you'll find Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the National Constitution Center.

The Independence Hall is one of the most historical buildings where the United States Constitution was written. The National Constitution Center is a place where you can learn about the Constitution and American leadership.

The Liberty Bell is a symbol of American freedom and equality as it was a symbol for abolitionists. There is a lot of interesting information about this bell, so go visit!

The entire park goes beyond these historical landmarks.

You can visit exhibits on Women's history and suffragettes. Or you can see The President's House exhibit, where George Washington once lived.

There is a memorial to Martha Washington's slave and the abolitionist, Ona Judge, at The President's House. Also, you can tour many historical buildings located in the Independence National Historical Park area.

This is one of the must-visit Philadelphia attractions. The history here is at the heart of American philosophy and innovation.

Recommended: Book Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour that stops at many historic landmarks including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

Address: 143 S 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

2: Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the top attractions in Philadelphia. This architectural and cultural wonder lives at the end of Ben Franklin Parkway, tucked along the Schuylkill River.

The museum houses some of the most exquisite art in the world, including Vincent Van Gogh's "Sunflowers." You can enjoy American art, impressionist works, modern art, and an awe-inspiring armor collection.

The museum itself and the surrounding area are just stunning. Along the backside of the museum, you can view the famous Boat House Row.

Head down below to visit Fairmount Water Works and the gazebo near the river. You can also hop on the Schuylkill River Trail here and enjoy a stroll or bike ride along this beautiful path.

From the front, view the famous "Rocky Steps" seen in the 1976 movie Rocky. Many people choose to run up the stairs of the Art Museum like Rocky (played by Sylvester Stallone) did in the film.

It is a kind of Philadelphia rite of passage. There is also a Rocky statue to take pictures at the bottom of the steps of this iconic Philadelphia tourist attraction.

Plus, from the top of the steps, you will receive one of the best views of Philadelphia you can get.

Recommended: Admission to the Philadelphia Museum of Art is included in an all-inclusive city pass. You can check it out here >>.

Address: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130

3: Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary
Flickr/rob zand

When it comes to the most bone-chilling things to do in Philadelphia, Eastern State Penitentiary has you covered.

It was famously once home to Al Capone and bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton.

The prison was built in 1829, and in true Philadelphia form, was the world's first true penitentiary.

On the outside, it looks like a fortress. There was a focus on rehabilitation in the prison which inspired vaulted sky-lit ceilings in the cells.

If you visit in October, check out "Terror Behind the Walls" for a Halloween haunted house experience in the penitentiary.

Buy Eastern State Penitentiary Ticket Online

Address: 2027 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Also Read: Top 10 Most Haunted Places In The United States

4: Philadelphia Zoo

Philadelphia Zoo

Like many other Philadelphia attractions, the Philadelphia Zoo is the first and oldest in America.

Come see some tigers, monkeys, lions, birds of prey, and more. You can also explore the "treehouse" jungle gym, ride in swan paddle boats, or take a ride in the hot air balloon.

Additionally, it features numerous rides and attractions along with great food options. It is also located in the Centennial District near other attractions in Philadelphia.

Recommended: Admission to the Philadelphia Zoo is included in an all-inclusive city pass. Check reviews & prices >>.

Address: 3400 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104

5: Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market
Flickr/Geoff Livingston

Reading Terminal Market is located right near Philly's historic district.

This is an indoor farmer's market with some of the most iconic food in Philly. DiNic's Pork Sandwiches are found in this market. The Travel Channel named it the best sandwich in America. Plus, you can get Philly Cheesesteaks, oysters, or tacos.

There are multiple stands run by Amish and Mennonite families where you can get baked goods and pretzels.

Indulge your sweet tooth with ice cream or chocolates from Mueller Chocolate Co.

A must-visit when it comes to Philadelphia attractions, especially for a foodie.

Book Flavors of Philly Food Tour

Address: 51 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

6: Please Touch Museum

Please Touch Museum

The Please Touch Museum is located in the Centennial District, immersed in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia.

It is an incredible sight to see for kids age seven and under. The museum exhibits are interactive and playful, inspiring learning and creativity among young ones.

The kids are sure to enjoy Please Touch Museum adventures like the Happy Camper, Roadside Attractions, or Please Touch Garden exhibits.

It is one of the must-see Philadelphia tourist attractions if you have small kids.

Address: 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, PA 19131

7: Betsy Ross House

Betsy Ross House
Wikimedia/Beyond My Ken

Betsy Ross House is located in Old City, one of the original neighborhoods of Philadelphia.

Betsy Ross sewed the first flag of the United States. Her home is the site where she made the flag.

It was the flag of the patriots of the American Revolution, making Betsy Ross a notable American patriot.

Betsy Ross House can be found on North 2nd Street and Arch Street, just a couple of blocks from the nation's oldest road, Elfreth's Alley (located between North Front Street and 2nd Street).

An important landmark and one of the most famous historical sights in Philadelphia.

Address: 239 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Also Read: Top 10 Most Famous Historic Homes in America

8: Franklin Square

Franklin Square
Shutterstock/Jon Bilous

Franklin Square is a city park that rests at the foot of the Ben Franklin Bridge.

Benjamin Franklin is an iconic Philadelphian and they are proud of his legacy in Philly.

Here you can find a carousel, mini-golf, and refreshments at Square Burger. Also, it hosts various seasonal events throughout the year.

Do not miss the centerpiece in this square, the 180-year-old fountain. Beginning in April 2021, there will be fountain shows yet again after renovations are completed.

A great family-friendly spot to see when you visit Philadelphia.

Address: 200 6th St, Philadelphia, PA 19102

9: Center City Shopping and LOVE Park

Center City Shopping and LOVE Park

Philadelphia is known as the "City of Brotherly Love". It translates literally in Latin.

To commemorate this, you can visit the LOVE sign at LOVE Park near city hall.

City Hall is also a beautiful architectural site and is one of the central sights to see in Philadelphia.

In this area, on Market, Chestnut, and Walnut Streets, mostly, you will find some of Philly's best shopping, including Anthropologie, Lululemon, independent boutiques, the mall at Liberty Place, and the concourse in the Comcast Building.

Also, endless options for food and drinks.

Address: Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19102

10: UPenn (The University of Pennsylvania)

UPenn (The University of Pennsylvania)

Speaking of Ben Franklin, how about a trip to see America’s first University.

UPenn’s campus is in the University City neighborhood in West Philly. These are some of the oldest buildings in the city and they are stunning.

Check out the bio-pond for a lovely oasis park on the campus. Plus there are a lot of places to eat from cuisines all over the world.

In addition to that, you can visit the Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology.

If you are looking for history and beautiful buildings, this is a not-to-be-missed experience of places to see in Philadelphia.

Address: 3451 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19104

11: South Street

South Street
Flickr/Britt Reints

Many people come here to shop and check out the funky stores.

It is a spot to see cultural diversity and an eclectic mix of music, art, and food.

Enjoy an authentic Philly Cheesesteak at Jim’s or check out some bars, like Tattooed Mom.

A visit to South Street cannot be missed on your list of places to go in Philadelphia.

Address: 301 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

12: Philadelphia Magic Gardens

Philadelphia Magic Gardens
Flickr/Kevin Burkett

This is a small and humble Philadelphia tourist attraction (and a favorite for locals).

It is a museum built by Philadelphia folk artist Isaiah Zagar and it is covered in his work.

It features many mosaics and sculptures and has an outdoor courtyard full of art. You will notice Zagar's mosaics around the city, as well.

Definitely, one of the most affordable sights to see in Philadelphia.

Also, it is right along South Street, a popular shopping and restaurant area making this a must-see on your trip to Philadelphia.

Address: 1020 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

13: Frankford Ave/Fishtown

Frankford Ave/Fishtown

When you visit Philadelphia, head to the Fishtown neighborhood to find funky bars, record stores, coffee shops, and music venues like The Fillmore.

An excellent spot for some fun tourist attractions.

On Frankford Ave, you will find Barcade, Frankford Hall (a German beer garden with games), and Johnny Brenda's (bar and music venue).

Explore this neighborhood for unique shopping and delicious food.

Address: Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA

14: Italian Market

Italian Market
Flickr/Anthony G. Reyes

The Italian Market is a dream for cooks and food lovers alike. There are amazing Italian restaurants here with handmade pasta and delicious sauce.

Find yourself sampling cheese in the beloved cheese shop, DiBruno Brothers. There are multiple vegetable stands, flower stands, and incredible butcher shops with delectable sausages, as well.

They even host a Procession of the Saints in May, a traditional Italian festival.

The Italian Market is one of the iconic places in Philadelphia to take a date or bring the family.

Book Italian Market Walking Food Tour

Address: 919 S. 9th Street. Philadelphia, PA 19147

15: Chinatown

Flickr/Britt Reints

Philadelphia has one of the most vibrant Chinatowns in the USA. There are wonderful restaurants and exciting places to shop.

Try Hop-Sing Laundromat, a legendary speak-easy, or Yakitori Boy for karaoke with private rooms, Japanese style. Find Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and Korean cuisines and influences.

If you come during the winter, Chinatown has very lively and fun Lunar New Year celebrations, complete with dragon dances and fireworks.

This is one of the crowd-pleasing attractions in Philadelphia.

Address: 10th Street, Philadelphia, PA

Also Read: Best Chinatowns In America

16: Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest and Winterfest

Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest and Winterfest

For most of the year, you can come to Penn's Landing to enjoy all kinds of activities.

In winter, find yourself in a winter wonderland of ice-skating, cozy firepits, and arcade games. In the summer, it turns into a roller-rink with great spots for chilling out between skates.

They also have carnival games and rides for a true summer festival feel. Plus classic Philly food. An all-around excellent spot in your list of places to visit in Philadelphia.

Address: 101 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106

17: Barnes Foundation

Barnes Foundation

Fans of art will be impressed by the art collection of Philadelphian Dr. Albert C. Barnes.

It is one of the best collections of impressionist, post-impressionist & modern art on the globe.

There are also African masks, Native American jewelry, ancient Greek art, and metalwork.

They focus on educational programs at The Barnes. We highly recommend you take advantage of this opportunity.

At least get the headset and do the audio-guided tour; you will learn so much!

Address: 2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130

18: Spruce Street Harbor Park

Spruce Street Harbor Park

This seasonal attraction features waterfront entertainment. There are hammocks to sit in while you enjoy conversation and a view of the Delaware River.

There are also lovely floating gardens and beautifully lit trees in the evening. Plus, you can find yourself indulging in local craft beers and food from local Philly restaurants.

Be sure to try out the famous Chickies and Pete's crab fries. A sweet little getaway in your list of Philadelphia vacation spots.

Address: 301 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106

19: The Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute is an interactive science museum. It is also the center for science education and research in Philadelphia, making this museum appropriate for all ages.

It houses the Benjamin Franklin Memorial, which contains an amazing statue of Ben.

The science museum is known for its IMAX theater, where you can watch educational movies and blockbuster hits.

They also have after-hours events for adults that serve alcoholic beverages and live music.

Be sure to check out the gift shop having some awesome science-centered goodies to find.

Address: 222 N 20th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

20: Breweries

Flickr/Dan K

Philadelphia is home to some stellar breweries. This follows a tradition that is long-lasting in Philly.

You can take a day trip out to Pottsville, PA, to tour America's oldest brewery. You can even tour the original caves that were dug for fermentation in the early days of the brewery.

For breweries in Philadelphia proper, try out Dock Street Brewery in West Philly for great beer and even better pizza. Or, head to Yard's Brewing Company Taproom.

Their beers are brewed in Philadelphia with names that reflect the history and culture of Philly.

Other favorite breweries include Evil Genius Beer Company, Crime and Punishment Brewing, and Iron Hill Brewery.

Book Guided Craft Brewery Tour

21: Cheesesteaks


Philadelphia may be most famous for its Philly Cheesesteaks.

They can be found all throughout the city and you really should try one when you are exploring places to go in Philadelphia.

Pat's and Geno's are probably the two most famous cheesesteak spots in Philly. While they are okay, we suggest you check out Tony Luke's steaks or, as mentioned above, Jim's on South Street.

You don't have to learn the lingo, but there is a traditional way to order your food. Want your cheesesteak with American cheese and onions? Order "one American 'wit'."

Book Philly Cheesesteak Tour

22: Mutter Museum

Mutter Museum

This museum is one of the most unique you will find in any city around the world.

It is a museum for medical study and medical oddities. See human body parts in jars with all kinds of afflictions, skeletons, and even a poisonous plant garden.

Fun fact: this museum was featured on American Horror Story: Freak Show. It is truly one of the most unique, eccentric sights to see in Philadelphia.

Recommended: Admission to the Mutter Museum is included in a flexible sightseeing pass that can be clubbed with many other Philadelphia attractions. Buy your pass here >>.

Address: 19 S 22nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

23: Chestnut Hill

Chestnut Hill

Chestnut Hill is a dreamy Philadelphia neighborhood with many restaurants, hotels, and art centers.

There are numerous bakeries as well. We suggest Baker Street Bakery.

Head there for beautiful tree-lined cobblestone streets and their Annual Harry Potter Festival, which occurs every October.

Known as the city's "Garden District", one should take the time to visit Morris Arboretum while here, too. It is wonderful.

Address: Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia

24: Wissahickon


Wissahickon is an option for those wanting to get out of the city and explore some of the hiking trails in the area.

Wissahickon is convenient to the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia.

This area used to be the site of numerous mills that were run by the Wissahickon Creek.

You can see ruins of the mill, old taverns and homes, some still maintained.

It is a great site to do some hiking in a place with a lot of history.

Head down Forbidden Drive or to the Devil's Pool. Devil's Pool gets really crowded in summer, where many people can be found lined up waiting their turn to cliff jump.

25: Philadelphia Sports Tailgate

Philadelphia Sports Tailgate
Flickr/Michael Stokes

The stadiums are sacred grounds for Philadelphia sports fans. They take their sports very seriously.

This makes attending a game and seeing how Philly tailgates is a must.

Whoever is in season, you can be sure to find a good time tailgating before the event.

Tailgates often go on during the games for those who do not have tickets. Enjoy wings, pizza, cheesesteaks, and beers while the fans get geared up to watch their team play.

If standing in a parking lot isn't your thing, check out "Xfinity Live!" where there is table service and big-screen TVs. Go Birds!

Address: One Lincoln Financial Field Way, Philadelphia, PA 19148

What to pack for your trip to Philadelphia?

Remember, Philadelphia lies in the Northeastern region of the United States, meaning it has all four seasons. It is very cold in the winter; prepare for below-freezing temperatures and potentially snow. It is temperate in spring and fall, so it can be warm during the day and chilly at night.

You will want to bring a jacket at least. In the summer, it is hot. It can get up into the 90s and be very humid. We suggest you also bring an umbrella because it rains throughout the year, sometimes more than others.

Always check the weather so you can prepare accordingly. Do not forget to bring comfortable shoes. You will probably walk a lot, and no one likes aching, blistered feet. We suggest a good pair of sneakers or hiking boots.

How do you get around Philadelphia?

When it comes to how to get around Philadelphia, we've got you covered. The public transit system in the city is quite extensive and can get you to most of the notable landmarks in the city via train or bus. Walking is also an option, especially if exploring Center City, Old City, or South Street.

Philly is also extremely bike-friendly. You can rent bikes at bike-share stations and ride along on the many bike routes throughout the city. Biking is a favorite option for Philly residents. In addition to public transit and biking, Uber, Lyft, and taxis are available. You may want to rent a car if you want to go to the city's outskirts or beyond.

No matter your transportation method, you will have an enriching, beautiful time visiting Philadelphia. This is an incredible city, America's birthplace, and one of the greatest in the world. Immerse yourself in Philadelphia, and you will find yourself surrounded by good food, beautiful art, rich history, and great things to do. The city of brotherly love will always love you back. Visit Philadelphia!

Wrapping Up

One of the best things about Philadelphia is its diversity. You can get lost walking the streets of this beloved American city. You will find friendly faces and unique experiences. It is one of the music capitals of the world. This means you can find world-class music throughout this city rich in music history. You can also find street musicians playing in many different parts of the city.

Philly is very friendly to street performers or buskers. This is a huge perk of visiting Philadelphia, giving you a cultural experience unlike any other. This list is as good as it gets when it comes to Philadelphia tourist spots. Look for the many amazing murals and art around the city (there are even mural art tours).

Stroll through Rittenhouse Square while shopping in Center City. Watch a game at a bar in South Philly. Head to Old City and walk on the cobblestone streets while passing a colonial-era church. Have a beer in an old tavern, as if you have traveled back in time. The city will mesmerize and inspire you no matter your interests. You may never run out of things to see in Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania Travel Guide

Explore Guide