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Things to do in Philadelphia

Philly is steeped in history. Get a sense of where it all began with the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

Our most recommended things to do in Philadelphia

Philadelphia: Eastern State Penitentiary Admission

1. Philadelphia: Eastern State Penitentiary Admission

Discover the historic building of the Eastern State Penitentiary which stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Learn about how when Eastern State opened more than 180 years ago, it changed the world of prisons and was copied throughout the world. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world's first true "penitentiary," a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of prisoners. Discover how the building itself was an architectural wonder; it had running water and central heat before the White House. Marvel at the vaulted, sky-lit cells which once held many of America's most notorious criminals, including bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton and Al Capone. As you explore the building, listen to 'The Voices of Eastern State' audio tour which is included in your admission price. Narrated by actor Steve Buscemi (known for Boardwalk Empire, Fargo, Armageddon, and Ghost World), this rich, stereo soundscape mixes dozens of voices. Hear the stories of 3 former wardens and 25 guards and inmates which create an atmospheric tour as you stroll through Eastern State's cellblocks and yards. When you arrive, receive an MP3 player and headset that will guide you through the penitentiary complex and explain the prison's history. This audio guide contains a main audio route, plus additional stops for subjects like escapes, riots, sports, sexuality, and more. You are free to tour at your own pace and to listen to (or skip) stops based on your interests. Also discover interactive experiences, history exhibits, and a critically acclaimed series of artist installations.

Philadelphia: Double-Decker Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour

2. Philadelphia: Double-Decker Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour

Explore the origins of America on a hop-on hop-off bus tour of Philadelphia. Discover the city where America’s Founding Fathers first declared independence, and ratified the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Along the way, enjoy stunning views of historic landmarks including the Christ Church Burial Grounds, Elfreth’s Alley, the Betsy Ross House, and Independence Hall.   Begin your tour at the Bourse Building, across from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Listen to the multilingual audio commentary as you enjoy the views from the open-top deck. See the Friendship Gate in Chinatown and be amazed by the architecture of Philadelphia’s City Hall.   Hop off to explore the various museums along Benjamin Franklin Parkway, including the world's largest collection of post-impressionist art at the Barnes Foundation. Marvel at Philadelphia’s skyline and stop to enjoy a bird’s-eye view from the One Liberty Observation Deck. Pass through the charming neighborhood of Society Hill and end your tour with a drive along the banks of the Delaware River. Stops:  • The Bourse Building  • Betsy Ross House  • National Constitution Center  • Chinatown  • Reading Terminal Market  • Love Park  • Cathedral Basilica  • Logan Circle  • Rodin Museum  • Eastern State Penitentiary  • Special Events - The Perelman Building  • The Rocky Steps and Statue  • West Entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Boat House Row  • Civil War Memorial  • Please Touch Museum  • Philadelphia Zoo  • Franklin Institute  • Mutter Museum  • One Liberty Observation Deck  • Avenue of the Arts  • Society Hill, Antique Row  • Mother Bethel A.M.E Church  • Headhouse Square  • Vietnam & Korean War Memorials  • Penns Landing  • Museum of the American Revolution  • Christ Church  • The Liberty Bell

From New York City: Washington and Philadelphia 1-Day Tour

3. From New York City: Washington and Philadelphia 1-Day Tour

Learn about American history on a tour of Washington DC and Philadelphia, both of which played important roles in the development of democracy in the USA. Visit the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall, Independence Hall, and more on a guided day trip with roundtrip transfers from NYC. Your day will begin with an early morning departure from Times Square in Manhattan, where you’ll be greeted by your bilingual tour guide for the day. After 4-5 hours, your first destination will be the nation's current capital, Washington, DC. Once there, visit the Iwo Jima Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. During the tour, stop for a classic outside view of the White House, home and office of the U.S. President, and the Capitol Building, home of the U.S. Congress. Your visit to Washington concludes with free time for lunch on your own. Your next destination, after a 3-hour journey, will be the first-ever U.S. capital, Philadelphia, PA. Visit its historic Old City neighborhood and the Independence National Historical Park where your guide will lead you on a brief walking tour. Then, ascend to the top of the Rocky Steps before returning to Times Square in Manhattan.

Philadelphia: Museum of Illusions Timed Entrance Ticket

4. Philadelphia: Museum of Illusions Timed Entrance Ticket

Experience the impossible with an entry ticket to the Museum of Illusions Philadelphia. Immerse yourself in a world where your eyes will be in a constant battle with your brain. Located in the heart of Philadelphia, this brain-boggling museum is a one-of-a-kind destination for optical illusions.  Challenge yourself in more than 60 visual and educational exhibits featuring holograms, stereograms, optical illusions, and immersive rooms designed to tease the senses and trick the mind. Defy gravity, grow and shrink, walk on the ceiling, experience infinite space, and much more. Spend some time in the Smart Playroom with games that will stimulate and challenge your mind. Enjoy some friendly competition with friends and family while simultaneously improving your cognition, problem-solving skills, and memory.  Have fun while learning the mechanics behind each and every illusion you experience. And don't forget your camera or smartphone when you visit as there are eye-fooling photo-ops around every corner.

From New York City: Philadelphia and Amish Country Day Trip

5. From New York City: Philadelphia and Amish Country Day Trip

Enjoy a unique day in historic Philadelphia and Lancaster County, home to Pennsylvania’s Amish community. You’ll travel from New York through New Jersey on your way to Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. On your guided tour of Philadelphia you’ll see Elfert Alley, which is the oldest inhabited street in America. You’ll visit the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall, and have the opportunity to run up the famous Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Following your sightseeing in Philadelphia, the tour heads to Lancaster County, home to Pennsylvania’s Amish community. Explore the Amish market and enjoy some country cooking at lunch. After lunch at the Amish market you’ll go on an authentic Amish buggy ride through farm country and learn how the Amish live without the benefit of modern technology. Imagine no electricity, no running water, no telephones, and no appliances!

Philadelphia: Buffet Brunch, Lunch, or Dinner Cruise

6. Philadelphia: Buffet Brunch, Lunch, or Dinner Cruise

See the sights of the city from onboard the Spirit of Philadelphia during a brunch, lunch, or dinner cruise on the Delaware River. Enjoy an attended buffet dining experience as you sail through the city and delight in panoramic views of the skyline. Board your vessel at Penn's Landing and receive a personal greeting. Have your photo taken by the ship's photographer to capture the memory before being seated at your private table. Once there, gorge on your brunch, lunch, or dinner buffet which includes an array of dishes and delicacies. Choose from organic mixed field greens salad, organic spinach and kale salad, green bean salad, bean and chickpea salad, red beetroot salad, and more. At the veggie station, opt for roasted broccoli florets, creamed corn and cheddar cheese casserole, baked ziti pasta, and tasty mashed potatoes. For your entree, dine on oven-baked Atlantic flounder fillet, honey and sesame chicken, or Italian beef meatballs. If you’ve still got room for dessert, tuck into some seasonal fruit, fluffy raspberry mousse, lemon pound cake, coconut vanilla cake, and carrot cake. After your meal, sip your cocktail on the spacious outdoor deck as you glide along the river for optimal views of the city. Enjoy music with a live Dj set and take in the sights, including Naval Shipyard and Ben Franklin Bridge.

Philadelphia: BYOB Historically Hilarious Trolley Tour

7. Philadelphia: BYOB Historically Hilarious Trolley Tour

Do not miss this one-of-a-kind BYOB trolley tour of Philadephia. Explore Philadelphia’s historic landmarks and sites while sipping your own favorite beer or wine. Listen to your entertaining guide share with you little-known facts about the city and get insider knowledge of off-the-beaten-path sites. Step back in time while you stop at important historical landmarks. Take the stress off finding a designated driver and see top sights such as City Hall, Love Park, Boathouse Row, the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross’ House, and the Declaration House.

Philadelphia Ghost Tour by Candlelight

8. Philadelphia Ghost Tour by Candlelight

Join an entertaining evening tour of Philadelphia on a ghostly walking tour by candlelight. You will see Philadelphia's historic districts, including Independence National Park, Old City, and Society Hill in a completely new light! A costumed tour guide will lead you off the beaten path and spin tales of the rich and famous, and of heroes and villains from America's colonial era. You will hear tales of the well-known, like William Penn, Ben Franklin, Benedict Arnold and Mad Anthony Wayne, and tales of the unknown, such as the spectral Quakeress of Washington Square and the ghost of Old Pine Street Cemetery. The tour departs from Signers Garden at 5th and Chestnut Streets, lasts approximately 90 minutes, is appropriate for all ages, and is ideal for anyone with the inclination to hear Philadelphia's dead brought back to life! The Ghost Tour of Philadelphia has offered tours since 1995 and continues to be one of the city's most popular night-time attractions. It was recently named one of the top 15 "must see" attractions in the country by Budget Travel Magazine.

Philadelphia: Segway Adventure Tour

9. Philadelphia: Segway Adventure Tour

Take a Segway tour of Philadelphia to see the main city sights and get an informative commentary on the history of the city at the forefront of the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence. Your guide will give you a 30-minute training session before you set off on the self-balancing vehicles. Then, traveling in groups of up to 6 people, head down to Penn's Landing for views across to New Jersey and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Glide through the Historic District, passing Elfreth's Alley and the Betsy Ross House. Admire Independence Hall en route to Society Hill, where you can marvel at the stately homes while catching the aroma of fresh coffee at quaint cafés. Pass over Avenue of the Arts to Rittenhouse Square, before winding through the Fitler Square neighborhood to Schuylkill River. The scenery changes here, as you work your way along the paths of the Schuylkill Banks, joined by runners and bikers en route to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Admire the statue of Rocky Balboa at the bottom of the famous steps he ran up in the 1976 blockbuster movie, before moving on to Benjamin Franklin Parkway to see Rodin’s “Thinker” statue in the outdoor sculpture garden.  Take back streets that will lead you to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, from where you can loop through Chinatown and the end of your tour.

Philadelphia: Grim, Dark, and Twisted History Tour

10. Philadelphia: Grim, Dark, and Twisted History Tour

Experience the grim history of Philadelphia on this urban adventure beginning at the sites where the seeds of political change were sown. Descend into the sites of former brothels, mass burial grounds, and polluted prisons, stepping on salvaged streets where pirates roamed freely with the founding fathers. Historian and professor Joe Wojie or one of his expert guides will lead you on a tour that explores the grim realities of colonial America and the legends and traditions they inspired. From the home of Dolly Madison to the sights of Helltown - murder, mayhem, and madness are in the roots of this city. This tour was researched and designed by university professor Joe Wojie to stand apart from every other day or night tour offered in Philadelphia with its originality and dark flavor. The 8 PM tour is geared more towards an adult audience, while families and children can enjoy a fun way to learn about Philly's secret past during the earlier tour departures.

Available activities

  • Exploring Philadelphia
  • American Revolution history
  • Cheesesteaks, craft beers, & more
  • Pennsylvania ghost tours & more
  • Museums & more in Philadelphia
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What people are saying about Philadelphia

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,868 reviews

This is definitely an experience that is worth the cost. If time is limited but your trying to fit in as much as possible this is a great adventure. You will pass through multiple states which is interesting and nothing felt rushed. We had plenty of time to site see at the monuments. You do have to pack your own food. At a couple of stops you can find food from food trucks but they do not make a stop for food other than the morning coffee. I do recommend taking your own snacks especially if you are not ok with just grabbing food from a food truck or food from a fast food market

Nina did a superb job introducing the history of Ben Franklin and the Founding Fathers. It was miserable weather, but her happy and very kind attitude kept me warm. Mixing in some modern information about Philly was very interesting as well, since I could learn what this historically city has developed into. I’d recommend during the tour together with a half-day visit at the Museum of the American Revolution (which I did) to complete your deep insights of this historically so important era.

Dale was very helpful in guiding us around the large garden and telling us the main sites to check out. Huge plus for mini cab pickup was extremely in the rainy weather. Made the whole visit with it and fun.

Met awesome travelers and enjoyed good beer. Guide was really entertaining! Highly recommend this tour!

So great! Educational fun spooky. Good exercise. Awesome knowledgeable guide