There are so many fun things to do in Philadelphia. From exploring the city’s rich history to relaxing in the parks, eating your way through the neighborhoods, and checking out the world-class museums, there’s enough here to make you want to visit Philly again and again.
Here’s a look at some of the top Philadelphia attractions and unique things to see and do in the city.
- Reading Terminal Market
- Christ Church and Burial Ground
- Independence Hall
- Liberty Bell
- Franklin Fountain
- Elfreth’s Alley
- LOVE Park
- Craft distilleries
- Bourse Food Hall
- Mann Center for the Performing Arts
- Shofuso Japanese House and Garden
- Magic Gardens
- Rittenhouse Square Park
- Try a classic Philadelphia food
- Spruce Street Harbor Park
- Rooftop bars
- Carpenters’ Hall
- Pizza Brain
- Street art of the Mural Arts program
- World Cafe Live
- Parks on Tap
- The Mummers Museum
- Laurel Hill Cemetery
- Morris Arboretum
- Penn Museum
- Graffiti Pier
- Craft breweries
- Mother Bethel AME
- Bok Bar
- Head House Farmers Market
- Rail Park
- John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge
- Bartram’s Garden
- The Woodlands
- Rittenhouse Town
- FDR Park
- The Rosenbach
- Miracle on 13th Street
- Christmas Village
Reading Terminal Market
In Center City, Reading Terminal Market is not just a place to eat—it’s a slice of history. Opened in 1893, it’s the home of over 100 vendors who feed Philly locals and tourists every day. You can find cuisines from all over the world, Pennsylvania Dutch specialties, flowers, produce, and more.
Christ Church and Burial Ground
Founded in 1695, Christ Church welcomed Presidents, signers of the Declaration of Independence, and other notable figures among its worshipers. The building, which is located at 2nd and Church, is open for tours.
One of the main draws of Christ Church is its burial ground a couple of blocks away at 5th and Arch. The burial ground is the final resting place of many Revolutionary War figures and early leaders, including Benjamin Franklin.
Visiting Independence Hall is one of the top things to do in Philadelphia. The building where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were adopted has been restored to its 1776 appearance, so walking through it feels like the Founding Fathers just left.
The exterior of Independence Hall is impressive, but the 20-minute guided tour is what brings the building and the history that was made here to life. There are artifacts from the Constitutional Convention and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Nothing symbolizes the city more than the Liberty Bell. Year-round, people line up to see this cracked symbol of liberty, which is free to visit in Old City.
A stop at Franklin Fountain is one of the most popular Philadelphia activities, no matter the season. On summer weekends, the line at its Old City location can stretch around the block. In the off season, the crowds let up a little, but they keep people coming through the door with seasonal ice cream and soda flavors.
At Franklin Fountain, the ice cream comes in over 2 dozen flavors, including vanilla bean, peanut butter, and rocky road. Many flavors have an historic or local tie, such as their apple butter ice cream that includes local apples and apple butter from a Pennsylvania company founded in 1892.
Elfreth’s Alley is one of the most colorful places to visit in Philadelphia. Even though it’s only one block long, we always find ourselves wandering up and down multiple times looking at its decorations and brightly painted doors.
The oldest residential street in the US, Elfreth’s Alley is still an active neighborhood. The 32 houses here now were built between 1728 and 1836. When you visit, stop by the museum that occupies 124-126. It’s been restored to its Colonial-era appearance and exhibits there tell the history of the street and the tradesmen who lived here when it was first built.
If your time in the city is short, see what to do in Philadelphia in one day.
LOVE Park is one of the most iconic Philadelphia sites and is a symbol of the city. Named for the iconic red LOVE statue by Robert Indiana, the park is a popular photo spot for tourists and a place where locals stop at the afternoon food trucks. Throughout the year, there are markets, pop-ups, and special events here, including the city Christmas market.
There are lots of fun craft distilleries to visit. Check out Philadelphia Distillers’ modern tasting room in Fishtown or pull up a stool at New Liberty Distilling in nearby Olde Kensington. Several suburban distilleries like Bluebird Distilling and Manatawny Still Works also have outposts with great cocktail bars in the city.
Bourse Food Hall
If you’re visiting the historic attractions, the artisanal food hall at The Bourse is the place to go. Grab a cocktail at Bluebird Distilling, ice cream at Scoop DeVille, a fantastic sandwich at Freebyrd Chicken, and numerous other delicious treats.
Mann Center for the Performing Arts
The Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Fairmount Park is one of the unique places to go in Philadelphia to see a performance. In the warmer months, the Mann Center offers both a covered pavilion and a sprawling lawn, making it the ideal place to enjoy a show on a nice day.
The Mann hosts concerts from artists of every genre from Bob Dylan to Jill Scott. Plus, it is the summer home of the Philadelphia Orchestra, which plays traditional concerts as well as special events like playing the live score to movies like Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Shofuso Japanese House and Garden
The Shofuso Japanese House and Garden is an oasis. Just a few miles from Center City, the Japanese house, peaceful garden, and pond could not be a more relaxing place to spend time.
You can walk inside the traditional-style Japanese house and learn about homes in Japan—both their art and function—and how the Japanese live. When you’ve seen the inside, take time to explore the outside. The garden, koi pond, and 75-year-old weeping cherry tree are some of the prettiest things to see in Philadelphia.
Located on South Street, Magic Gardens is a one-of-a-kind experience. Artist Isaiah Zagar has crated an environment decorated with fantastical mosaics and reclaimed items that combine to create one of the coolest places to visit in the city.
Rittenhouse Square Park
Fun fact: Rittenhouse Square was one of the five original squares created by William Penn in the 17th century. Today, it is a tree-filled park surrounded by luxury apartments, shops, and restaurants. Its year-round Saturday farmers market and many special events such as the Rittenhouse Square Spring Festival are highlights.
Try a classic Philadelphia food
There’s DiNic’s Roast Pork sandwich—an oven-roasted pork shoulder layered with provolone cheese and sautéed broccoli rabe—and the Schmitter from McNally’s tavern, stacks of roast beef, grilled salami, cheese, tomato, and onion on a Kaiser roll. Also not to be missed are the fried chicken and donuts from Federal Donuts, water ice, Philly Soft Pretzels, and many more.
Spruce Street Harbor Park
With colorful hammocks, floating gardens, and lots of food options, Spruce Street Harbor Park is one of our favorite places to go in Philly in the spring and summer and makes a perfect date night.
In the Marina at Penn’s Landing, the park has floating gardens and nets that let you hang out above the Delaware River. Throw in some crab fries, local craft brews, and ice cream from Franklin Fountain, and you have the makings for a great time.
The seasonal park has great views along the river and is fun during the day. At night, thousands of LED lights brighten up the trees.
Everyone loves a good rooftop bar. Fortunately, Philadelphia has an excellent selection when it comes to great places to have a cocktail or beer with a view.
We love Assembly on the roof of the Logan Hotel overlooking Logan Circle and Continental Midtown, which has an indoor/outdoor bar that’s open year-round. The Stratus Rooftop Lounge at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco is also a winner along with El Techo, also in Center City.
Carpenters’ Hall was the home of the First Continental Congress in 1774 where colonial delegates voted to take a stand against the King of England. Patrick Henry and other passionate patriots gathered here to debate the future of the colonies and the path to independence. The delegates’ chairs and the original banner from the 1788 Constitutional parade are also displayed.
Pizza Brain is the world’s first pizza museum and a restaurant serving some of the country’s best pizza rolled into one. This Fishtown mainstay has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as having the largest collection of pizza memorabilia in the world.
Street art of the Mural Arts program
This city is full of street art. There are places downtown where it feels like there is a mural nearly every other block. That’s because we have the nation’s largest public arts program—Mural Arts Philadelphia.
In its 35-year history, Mural Arts Philadelphia has created over 3000 murals around the city, and they add more than 60 public art projects each year. Check out their tours to dig into the city’s street art culture.
World Cafe Live
World Cafe Live is one of the best places in Philadelphia for live music. With two listening venues and a restaurant and bar, it welcomes nationally known acts and up-and-comers. World Cafe Live is also home to WXPN’s radio studios and the national radio show “World Cafe.”
In addition to the concerts, World Café hosts open mic nights, trivia games, and other special celebrations. Even if there’s no music, stop by the upper level for a bite to eat or something to drink near the University of Pennsylvania and 30th Street Station.
Parks on Tap
In the warmer months, Parks on Tap is a traveling beer garden that visits different parks to introduce residents and visitors to the beautiful outdoor spaces throughout the city. Each pop-up event offers food and adult beverages in a relaxed, family- and pet-friendly environment.
The Mummers Museum
Mummers, who dress in unique, colorful costumes and entertain the city during their famous New Year’s Day parade, are the keepers of one of Philadelphia’s most storied traditions. The Mummers Museum teaches visitors about the roots of the celebration and even lets you dress up as a Mummer.
Laurel Hill Cemetery
It might seem odd to put a cemetery on a list of places to visit, but Laurel Hill is an uncommon cemetery. When it opened in 1836, it was designed as a scenic spot overlooking the Schuylkill River where visitors could enjoy the scenery.
There are more than 30,000 monuments to peruse, some of which are featured on special, expert-led tours of the grounds. You’ll see graves and monuments for city leaders, pioneers across industries and social movements, and even a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is a 92-acre garden in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood. Thousands of native, rare, and majestic plants fill the grounds. There are manicured gardens, sculpture gardens, and the unique Out on a Limb exhibit that takes visitors 50 feet up into the treetops without climbing.
With remarkable objects from around the world, the Penn Museum traces the history of humanity from the earliest cities to today. You’ll find everything from the largest Egyptian Sphinx in the Western hemisphere to a bull-shaped lyre made of gold and lapis from Ancient Mesopotamia. The collections are fascinating and many are interactive, encouraging visitors to imagine themselves within the cultural context of the exhibits.
An abandoned pier has been transformed into an informal, urban open air gallery at Graffiti Pier. Depending on when you visit, you might find artists a work, people perusing the murals, or bands filming music videos. Or maybe all three—it’s just that kind of place.
Philadelphia has been called one of the best beer cities in the world. There are dozens of craft breweries to choose from, including some of the top breweries in the country like Yards and Evil Genius.
Mother Bethel AME
Mother Bethel AME Church in Old City is the mother church of the first Black denomination in America. Dating to 1787, it was built on the oldest piece of land in the country that has been continuously owned by African Americans.
Mother Bethel was a stop on the Underground Railroad and welcomed abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass and Lucretia Mott. Visit to see its beautiful stained-glass windows and the tomb and artifacts related to Rev. Richard Allen, the church’s founding minister.
If you’re looking for an unparalleled view of the city skyline alongside good food and drinks, head to Bok Bar. This unusual space is at the top of the former Bok Vocational High School, and the building retains many of the features you’d expect in such a setting, which makes it even more fun to explore.
Head House Farmers Market
The Head House Farmers Market is one of the most charming places to go in Philadelphia. Held in a building whose history dates to 1745, and the Sunday market draws farmers and producers of artisanal products from across the region. Visitors will find flowers, an abundance of produce, bread, cheeses, prepared foods and more.
A section of overgrown, unused rail lines has been revitalized into the free, pet-friendly Rail Park. Stroll, swing, and enjoy the open space.
John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge
The largest freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania, the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge is a natural retreat from the city. The 1200-acre refuge has walking trails, boardwalks for wildlife observation, and opportunities for canoeing and fishing in the sunlit Darby Creek.
The Cliveden estate began as a country house for attorney Benjamin Chew and his family in 1767. Just 10 years later, it became famous when the Revolutionary War arrived on its doorstep in the form of the Battle of Germantown.
Visitors can tour the house and learn the story of the seven generations of the Chew family that lived here. On the first Saturday in October, the estate hosts a battle reenactment on the property.
Bartram’s Garden is the oldest botanical garden in North America. Founded in 1728, it was filled by its owner John Bartram with an astonishing collection of plants from around the continent.
The original garden and early-18th-century home can still be visited. Descriptions throughout the grounds provide insights into the various plants and their uses in Colonial America. It’s the perfect place to spend a few hours wandering and enjoying nature.
The historic Woodlands Cemetery and Mansion sits on 54 acres in University City. It features an 18th-century Neoclassic mansion surrounded by the graves and monuments of over 32,000 souls. Across the grounds are over 700 historic trees and plants that date from the earliest days of America. It’s a beautiful place to visit any time of the year, and it’s one of the best places to see fall foliage in Philadelphia.
In a spot right off Lincoln Drive is Historic Rittenhouse Town, the remains of a community that included the first paper mill in North America built in 1690. Today, six historic buildings remain, including facilities that host cooking demonstrations and paper-making workshops.
FDR Park along the Delaware River is a great place for almost anything you want to do outdoors. There is a golf course, walking paths, and picnic and recreation areas. There are also wetlands and waterways that have led the Audubon Society of Pennsylvania to say the park is one of the best places in Philadelphia for bird watching.
The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia houses an astounding collection of rare manuscripts and books. From Lewis Carroll’s own copy of Alice in Wonderland to a handwritten manuscript for Ulysses by James Joyce, there are many outstanding works here.
Housed in a 19th-century townhouse that was owned by the Rosenbach brothers, The Rosenbach also displays the brothers’ fine collection of statues, jewelry, artwork and artifacts collected from around the world.
Miracle on 13th Street
Miracle on 13th Street is one of the most fun things to see at Christmas. Every year, the residents in the 1600 block of South 13th Street transform this block into a festival of lights, decorations, and all things holiday kitsch. If you’re in town in the winter, it should certainly be on your list.
Each year between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve, the Christmas Village pops up in LOVE Park. The groups of merchants feature decorations, gifts, and food in an environment designed to make Center City feel like a German Christmas market.