45 Fun Things to Do in Philadelphia

Whether you’re exploring the city’s rich history, relaxing in the parks, or eating your way through the neighborhoods, there are many fun things to do in Philadelphia. The city is packed with world-class museums and beautiful outdoor spaces that will make you want to visit again and again, no matter what your interests.

As locals, we love the classic Philadelphia attractions (you know, the go-tos when company visits) as well as discovering the newest offerings that keep the city vibrant. While there are way too many places to list in just one article, we are highlighting spots not to miss whether it’s your first trip or you’ve lived here for years. Here’s a look at some of our favorite unique things to see and do in the city, including lots of places you won’t find included elsewhere.

Highlights include…Sample the cuisines of the world (and Philadelphia!) at Reading Terminal Market. Don’t miss the skyline views at Cira Green. See the city’s incredible street art on a self-guided tour, and appreciate the masterful artworks at the Barnes Foundation. See the ornate monuments of Laurel Hill Cemetery, and visit the house where Edgar Allan Poe wrote one of his most famous works.

Sample your way through Reading Terminal Market

People walking by sign for "Reading Terminal Market."
Reading Terminal Market is a Center City attraction

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. Our favorite spots are Miller’s Twist for their buttery pretzels, Kismet Bialys for their onion-topped pastry, and Termini Brothers Bakery for pretty much everything. Truthfully, the list of vendors worth visiting is nearly endless.

Weekends and afternoons at the market tend to be very busy, so time your visit for a weekend morning, if you can. Otherwise, it’s best to have a destination or two in mind and to bring your patience along for the trip.

See Christ Church and its Burial Ground

Two headstones in a burial ground and a small colonial American flag.
Notables buried at Christ Church Burial Ground

If walls could talk, the ones at Christ Church would surely have a lot to say. The church, which was founded in 1695, welcomed presidents and signers of the Declaration of Independence among its worshipers.

The church building, which is located at 2nd and Church, is open for tours. You’ll see the pews where the Penn family, Betsy Ross, and many other significant figures sat, along with other historical items. The educators who provide information inside seem to know everything possible about the church’s history and the people who worshipped here.

One of the main draws of Christ Church is its burial ground which is located (slightly confusingly) a couple of blocks away from the main church building at 5th and Arch. The burial ground is the final resting place of many Revolutionary War figures and early leaders, including Philip Syng Physick, the father of modern surgery, and Benjamin Rush, the father of American psychiatry. It is also the site of Benjamin Franklin’s grave.

If you’re interested in history, it’s worth the $5 to walk around and peruse the headstones (dignitaries are well-marked). If you don’t want to pay to enter, however, you can see Franklin’s grave through a cut out in the wall.

Try a scoop at Franklin Fountain

Hand holding an ice cream cone in front of a sign for The Franklin Fountain.
Franklin Fountain ice cream on a summer day

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. We’re big fans of everything here but particularly love their root beer float.

Wander Elfreth’s Alley

Home with green door, shutters, and a wreath covered with the colonial American flag.
One of the historic doors of Elfreth’s Alley

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 brightly painted doors. There are often seasonal decorations, too, so there’s something new to see, even if you’ve visited before.

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 tells the history of the street and the tradesmen who lived here when it was first built. Even if you only have one day in Philadelphia, Elfreth’s Alley is worth a stop.

Visit the Museum of the American Revolution

People looking at panels in a museum with a fake tree in the foreground.
Exhibit on slavery and liberty at the Museum of the American Revolution

Tracing the conflict’s origins in the 1760s through the final years of the war, the Museum of the American Revolution takes visitors on a storytelling journey of how America came to be. Thousands of artifacts, weapons, and original documents help bring the historic events to life.

The exhibits are designed to make the stories engaging for visitors of all ages and to examine points of view that have often been overlooked. We were particularly surprised to see the voices of Native and Black Americans included as well as women’s viewpoints. A dedicated theater houses the most magnificent artifact in the museum—George Washington’s original headquarters tent.

An average visit to the museum is around 2 hours, but there are lots of activities for kids and plenty of details for history lovers, so you could spend much longer if you want to go deep into the stories.

Tour Independence Hall

Two-story brick building with a clock tower and cupola.
Independence Hall in Old City

Visiting Independence Hall is undoubtedly one of the top things to do here. 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. In fact, you’ll find one of George Washington’s chairs still in a prominent place.

The exterior of Independence Hall is impressive, but the 20-minute guided tour is what brings the building and the history that was made there to life. We’ve taken the tour multiple times and always learn something new. There are artifacts from the Constitutional Convention and the signing of the Declaration of Independence inside, and the Parks Service rangers can answer just about any question about the site.

Tickets are just $1 and can be booked in advance. In busy periods, make sure to leave plenty of time for the security screening before the tour. Conversely, if you visit in January or February advanced tickets aren’t necessary (except holiday weekends) because it’s the slow season.

See the Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell with Independence Hall visible through the window.
The bell and its famous crack

Nothing symbolizes the city more than the Liberty Bell. Year-round, people line up to see this cracked symbol of liberty, which is one of the free places to see in Old City.

Inside, there are several temporary exhibits with rotating topics related to liberty but not necessarily about the bell itself like Civil Rights and the ratification of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote. If your time (or interest in the exhibits) is limited, you can make a beeline straight to the back of the building for the main attraction.

If you don’t want to wait in line or go through security, the bell is visible from outside the building 24/7 and is lit at night.

Stop by a local distillery

Two cocktails and a menu on a table in front of a mural showing a bottle of Bluecoat gin.
Cocktails at Philadelphia Distilling

There are lots of fun craft distilleries to visit. Check out two of our favorites—Philadelphia Distilling’s modern tasting room in Fishtown or Manatawny Still Works newest location nearby. In Olde Kensington, you’ll find Stateside, a popular vodka distillery, or you can pull up a stool at New Liberty Distillery nearby. Four Humours Distilling also makes excellent cocktails, and they frequently have weekend food trucks.

Hang out at Washington Square Park

Monument with a statue of George Washington and an eternal flame in a park.
Revolutionary War monument in Washington Square Park

First established in 1682, Washington Square Park is a tree-filled park just one block from Independence Hall. In the middle of the park, the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier monument includes a soldier’s remains, an eternal flame, and a statue of George Washington after whom the park was named.

There is lots of seating to enjoy nice weather, which makes Washington Square Park a great break if you’re visiting the sites of Old City. There are often different performances and pop-up events, so you never know what you might find.

See a show at the Mann Center

People in lawn chairs at the Mann Center, a music venue in Philly.
A unique way to see a movie: lawn seats and an orchestra

The Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Fairmount Park is one of the unique places to see a performance, and it’s our favorite venue in the summer. Open during the warmer months, the Mann Center offers a covered pavilion and a sprawling lawn that’s general admission.

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. If you’re visiting for the popular Roots Picnic that happens every June, you’ll find that at the Mann, too.

Parking is free but limited. For easier access to an event here, consider taking the Mann Loop bus, which has 7 different stops in Center City.

Explore Shofuso Japanese House and Garden

Bridge across a pond surrounded by trees and plants.
Part of the stunning Shofuso Japanese 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.

Shofuso is enormously popular during cherry blossom season because of the blooming trees on the property and right outside its walls. They host a festival featuring food, dancers, and celebrations of Japanese culture.

Take a photo in LOVE Park

City square with a red LOVE statue in the center.
LOVE Park on a spring day

LOVE Park is a symbol of the city. Named for the 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. In the summer, water jets provide a place for people to cool off, and there are often lots of chairs and tables to make eating lunch or just hanging out a welcoming experience.

See the art at Barnes Foundation

Paintings hanging in an art gallery with yellow walls.
Main gallery at the Barnes

One of the greatest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modern paintings in the world resides at the Barnes Foundation. The works of renowned artists such as Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso, Seurat, and many more grace the Foundation’s walls.

The masterpieces at the Barnes are displayed just as they were by the original collector Dr. Albert C. Barnes, who turned his home in Merion into an impeccable gallery. That means you’ll see the eclectic nature of his thinking in “ensembles” that are likely to position a Matisse painting next to a piece of Pennsylvania German furniture, a 14th-century French chicken sculpture, and a spatula, for instance. It’s fascinating to see and never fails to surprise if you look closely.

It’s worth prioritizing a visit to the Garden Restaurant for lunch or brunch when you visit the museum. The tuna and watermelon crudo and grilled chicken salad BLT are particularly delightful. And, if you have more time to kill, the Rodin Museum is just a 3-minute walk. Admission there is donation based.

Walk through mosaics at Magic Gardens

Walls and walkway covered in multi-colored mosaics.
The mosaics of Magic Gardens

Located on South Street, Magic Gardens is a one-of-a-kind experience. We’ve loved it since the first time we came to Philadelphia before we moved here.

Artist Isaiah Zagar has created an environment decorated with fantastical mosaics and reclaimed items that combine to create one of the coolest places to visit in the city. Whether it’s broken plates, glass bottles, or bicycle spokes, every artwork features something unexpected. The gardens have tunnels, attention gettting walls, and tons of details in an open-air environment. Often, the interior features works of guest artists.

Once you’ve finished at Magic Gardens, take a walk around the streets of South Philly where you’re sure to see other remarkable Zagar creations.

Relax in Rittenhouse Square Park

People relaxing in a city park surrounded by high-rise buildings.
People relaxing in 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 outdoor farmers market and many special events such as the Rittenhouse Square Spring Festival are highlights. Take a little time to enjoy the neighborhood while you’re in the area or grab an outside seat at Parc and enjoy the people-watching.

Try a classic Philadelphia food

Sandwich cut in half on a plate with potato chips.
The Schmitter from 100-year-old McNally’s tavern

Most people visiting Philadelphia know that we’re known for cheesesteaks and Tastykakes, but have you heard of the other classic Philadelphia foods?

There’s DiNic’s Roast Pork sandwich—an oven-roasted pork shoulder layered with provolone cheese and sautéed broccoli rabe—and the fried chicken and donuts from Federal Donuts. For something uniquely Philly, tomato pie (served room temperature) fits the bill.

Another classic sandwich, the Schmitter from McNally’s tavern is stacks of roast beef, grilled salami, cheese, tomato, and onion piled high on a Kaiser roll. You can enjoy one at the 100-year-old tavern in Chestnut Hill or at Lincoln Financial Field during an Eagles game.

Also not to be missed are water ice, Philly soft pretzels, and a litany of other delicious choices.

Sink into a hammock at Spruce Street Harbor Park

Chairs, tables, and people on colorful floating platforms.
A beautiful afternoon at Spruce Street Harbor Park

Colorful hammocks, floating gardens, and lots of food options make Spruce Street Harbor Park one of our favorite places to go in Philly in the spring and summer. Plus, an outing here 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 water ice, and you have the makings for a fabulous time.

The seasonal park has great views along the river and is fun during the day. At night, thousands of LED lights provide vibrant splashes among the trees. We highly recommend it for a great day by the water.

Go on a rooftop bar crawl

Hand holding a cocktail in front of a skyline view.
The Assembly rooftop has one of the city’s best views

Everyone loves a good rooftop bar. Fortunately, Philly has an extensive selection when it comes to places to have a cocktail or beer with a view.

We love Assembly for an upscale vibe on the roof of the Logan Hotel overlooking Logan Circle. It’s beautiful in the summer and often features an après ski or other winter theme in the colder months. The Continental Midtown, which has an indoor/outdoor bar that’s open year-round, has been a staple for decades—try the cheesesteak eggrolls and the Astronaut cocktail made with Tang. The Stratus Rooftop Lounge at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco is also a winner along with El Techo, also in Center City.

Get hands-on at the Franklin Institute

White marble statue of Benjamin Franklin in a rotunda.
Benjamin Franklin at the museum that bears his name

Pennsylvania’s most visited museum, The Franklin Institute is packed with hands-on science exhibits and learning opportunities. From how the body works to the mechanics of playing sports and flying airplanes, the Institute introduces visitors to lots of engaging concepts. You’ll also find artifacts related to Benjamin Franklin himself, including part of a 270-year-old lightning rod he designed.

The institute is an educational place to take kids but is engaging for adults as well, particularly if you attend one of their Science After Hours events, which includes cocktails and entertainment.

See an exhibit at Carpenters’ Hall

Large brick building with a cupola surrounded by trees.
Carpenters’ Hall in Independence National Historical Park

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 displayed along with rotating exhibits. Because it’s part of Independence National Historical Park, it’s free to visit.

See the street art of the Mural Arts program

Mural of trees and flowers in an Impressionist style.
Garden of Delight mural in Center City by artist David Guinn

This city is full of street art. There are places in 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 has created over 3000 murals, and they add more than 60 public art projects each year. Themes include history, local celebrities, the celebration of marginalized communities, and generally kick-ass art that make the whole city a canvas. Check out their tours to dig into the city’s street art culture.

Catch a show at World Cafe Live

World Cafe Live is one of the best places to visit for live music. With two listening venues and a restaurant and bar, it welcomes nationally known acts and up-and-comers. We’ve spent many nights watching some of our favorite bands on the stages here. World Cafe Live is also home to WXPN’s radio studios and the national radio show “World Cafe.”

In addition to the concerts and radio show, World Cafe 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.

Get outside at Parks on Tap

People at an outdoor beer garden.
Parks on Tap mobile beer garden

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 drinks in a relaxed, family- and pet-friendly environment. In a city and state with strict liquor laws, Parks on Tap is a unique opportunity to enjoy a cocktail and snack in an outside space.

Check out their schedule to see where they are.

Visit 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.

Explore Otherworld

Mythical creature illuminated in black light.
One of Otherworld’s creatures

In northeast Philadelphia, Otherworld is a playground for the imagination. This fanciful place occupies over 50 rooms filled with interactive elements and creatures from a different universe. A bit like the famous Meow Wolf attractions, the entire space is packed with unexpected sights and visual tricks whether it’s a giant monster whose mouth you enter or bright cow udders to pull on.

As you make your way through, keep an eye out for secret passageways and clues to unlock more information. Staff members stationed throughout may be helpful.

If you need a snack before or after your visit, head to Asad’s Hot Chicken nearby. Don’t be dissuaded by the location in a gas station parking lot—the sandwiches are delicious.

Enjoy Cherry Street Pier

View of Ben Franklin Bridge from inside Cherry Street Pier.
The beer garden at Cherry Street Pier

Cherry Street Pier is an ideal place to go when the weather is nice. The repurposed pier is home to artists’ workshops and special events, including lots of craft and food markets throughout the year. The pier offers a spectacular view of the Delaware River and hosts a seasonal beer garden with food vendors. If you’re visiting the sites of Old City, this is a unique spot for a lunch break or drink.

Walk through the monuments at Laurel Hill Cemetery

Tomb with a sculpture of a woman opening the lid to let the spirit out.
Elaborate monuments at Laurel Hill

It might seem odd to put visiting a cemetery on a list of what to do in Philadelphia, 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. Did we mention there is even a headstone for Adrian Balboa, Rocky’s wife? Laurel Hill is a must see.

See the gardens at Morris Arboretum

Landscaped garden with trees, flowers, and a fountain.
The Maloney Garden at Morris Arboretum

Morris Arboretum & Gardens 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, so a visit here makes you feel like you’ve been transported to the countryside. 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.

The arboretum offers natural beauty year-round, but it’s particularly glorious for cherry blossoms in the spring and fall leaves, when you’ll also see scarecrows around the grounds. In the winter, the Holiday Garden Railway is a popular attraction that regularly sells out.

We’re members of the arboretum, so it’s always on our list of recommendations when people are looking to explore beyond downtown.

Tour the Penn Museum

Marble sphinx displayed in a museum.
The Penn Museum’s grand sphinx

Remarkable objects from around the world make up the collection of the Penn Museum. Together, they trace the history of humanity from the earliest cities to today.

As you wander the museum’s galleries, 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. One of the most remarkable pieces is a headdress made of gold leaves and lapis from Ur (present-day Iraq) that’s around 4500 years old.

The collections are fascinating, and many are interactive, encouraging visitors to imagine themselves within the cultural context of the exhibits. In a move we haven’t seen in many other museums, the displays note the often problematic ways in which artifacts were acquired and ask visitors to consider that as they learn about the meanings behind the objects.

Visit the Johnson House Historic Site

Stone home with a blue historical marker in the foreground for "The Johnson House."
The Johnson House

The Johnson House Historic Site in Germantown is one of the most fascinating Black history sites in the city. Its owners were devout Quakers who offered their home as a station along the Underground Railroad, a pivotal spot for formerly enslaved people making their way north. Tours of the house include information about the Johnson family, the Quakers and the anti-slavery movement, those who sought freedom here, and the people who risked their lives to help.

Guided tours of the house include information about the Johnson family, the Quakers and the anti-slavery movement as well as lots of history about the Philadelphia region. Expect a vivid account of what those escaping from slavery endured while fleeing north as you explore the historic home.

See Graffiti Pier

Concrete structure covered with graffiti and a spray painted portrait of a man.
Edgar Allan Poe in spray paint at Graffiti Pier

An abandoned pier along the Delaware River in Port Richmond has been transformed into an informal, urban open air gallery at Graffiti Pier. Depending on when you visit, you might find artists at work, people perusing the murals, or bands filming music videos. Or maybe all three—it’s just that kind of place.

Sip your way through craft breweries

Flight of beer glasses on a table in front of a mural of wheat labeled "Evil Genius."
A flight in the Evil Genius beer garden

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. Try one of the signature pizzas and a beer at Dock Street South, cozy up with a house brew at Bar Hygge, grab a sidewalk table at Brewery ARS to enjoy an imperial stout, or try one of the many other options around the city.

Tour Stenton

Georgian style 2-story brick house with rows of windows.
Stenton House

Stenton is one of the most historic buildings in the city. Built in the 1720s, it was the home of James Logan who was the city’s colonial mayor, Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and William Penn’s right-hand man. The house stayed in the family for nearly 200 years. Despite all that pedigree, Stenton is an under-the-radar attraction.

Today, the home in North Philadelphia is an historic house museum with furnishings and exhibits that tell the story of life in the city before and after the Revolution. Visitors can tour the house and wander through the incredible garden. (Note that the museum is by appointment only January through March.)

Learn the history of Mother Bethel AME

Statue of a man outside a church.
Statue of Rev. Richard Allen outside the church he founded

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.

An important part of Black history in the city, 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. Tours of the church are available Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 3pm by appointment.

Take in the view from Bok Bar

Couple at a table overlooking the Philadelphia skyline.
The Bok Bar offers tremendous city views

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, which was completed in 1938. The building retains many of the features you’d expect in such a setting, like lockers and a gymnasium, which makes it even more fun to explore.

Spending an afternoon or evening here is one of the best things to do in Philadelphia in the summer and early fall, and we make it as often as possible. If you have a chance, check out their special events, which include drag brunches, rooftop yoga, and music.

For another intriguing view, head across the hall from Bok Bar to Irwin’s, a fabulous Italian restaurant. Their expansive rooftop patio looks out on South Philly.

See wildlife at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

A stone’s throw from Philadelphia International Airport isn’t the first place you might expect to see a wildlife refuge. Interestingly, however, the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge is the largest freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania and a natural retreat from the city. 

The 1200-acre site has more than 10 miles of walking trails, boardwalks for wildlife observation, and opportunities for canoeing in the sunlit Darby Creek. They even lend binoculars and fishing rods for free! Keep a lookout for blue herons, turtles, swans, and lots of other animals.

Wander through The Woodlands

Bright fall foliage over gravestones in a cemetery.
Fall foliage at The Woodlands Cemetery

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.

The Woodlands is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year, and it’s one of the best places to see fall foliage in Philadelphia. The organization that runs the property aims to ensure that it is a community hub rather than only an historic site. As a result, there are often fun things happening–check their events calendar for their regular markets and craft fairs, happy hours, and musical performances.

See Rittenhouse Town

Stone building beside a small waterfall surrounded by fall foliage.
Historic Rittenhouse Town

We drove by Historic Rittenhouse Town dozens of times before we stopped, lured in by its setting among the trees, which were showing off their fall colors at the time. In a spot right off Lincoln Drive, this collection of buildings is the remains of a community that included the first paper mill in North America, which was built in 1690.

Today, six historic buildings remain in the enclave. Tours of the structures are available by appointment, but many special events hosted here give a glimpse into the historic spaces, including facilities that host cooking demonstrations and paper-making workshops. To service the many people who hike and bike along the Wissahickon Trail here, you’ll also find PAPERtrail, a bike shop and cafe. It’s worth some time to wander around and appreciate the natural beauty and history of the place, even if you don’t take a formal tour.

Tour the Edgar Allan Poe House

Large drawing of a man writing at a desk displayed in a house museum.
Poe’s writing room

Author Edgar Allan Poe lived in Philadelphia for six years, but this rowhome in Northern Liberties is the only one of his residences that still stands. Part of the National Historical Park, it’s free to visit.

The three-story home is believed to be the location that inspired Poe to write The Black Cat. Though the Poe House is unfurnished, there is lots of information about how Poe, his wife, and his mother-in-law likely used the home when they lived here and about the author’s prolific career. Illustrations throughout the house make it easier to envision what the house would have looked like, but it helps to have a little imagination. If you’re a lover of street art, don’t miss the Poe mural just outside.

Stop by Cira Green

Skyline of Philadelphia.
The city view from Cira Green

I’ve never encountered a space quite like Cira Green. One of the more unique things to do, spending an afternoon at this rooftop park lets you get outdoors right in the middle of the city. The sprawling space offers skyline views 12 stories above University City. It feels like you’re practically at eye-level with some of the tallest buildings around.

During much of the year, the park hosts special events, often projecting movies and sports on its massive screen. Visitors can also enjoy the offerings of Sunset Social while hanging out at the park. The fast-casual menu at the rooftop restaurant and bar includes salads, sandwiches, cocktails, and other drinks.

Enjoy FDR Park

Two women having a picnic beside a lake with a boathouse in the distance.
People picnicking by the lake in FDR Park

FDR Park is a great place for almost anything you want to do outdoors. There are walking paths and picnic and recreation areas as well as a skate park. There are also wetlands and waterways that have led the Audubon Society of Pennsylvania to say the park is one of the best places to go in Philadelphia for bird watching. For two years, the park hosted the outdoor version of the Philadelphia Flower Show, and Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular is a new addition during the Christmas season.

One of the park’s most popular attractions is the Southeast Asian Market that takes place weekends from April through October. Over 70 vendors sell food and items from Cambodia, Vietnam, and beyond. The food is incredible, and the atmosphere makes it a must-visit. Some of the top items to try include beef skewers and lemongrass cheesesteaks, but everything here is worth sampling.

Tour Grumblethorpe house

Historic stone home seen from a lush garden in the backyard with a large tree on the right side.
The garden at Grumblethorpe

For 160 years, the historic house known as Grumblethorpe was home to the Wister family. Built in 1744, British General James Agnew set up residence here during the Revolutionary War. He was later shot and died in the front parlor, landing Grumblethorpe on the list of haunted spots in the city.

The house is now a museum, part of the Historic Germantown district. Its garden—built on fertile soil in the Schuylkill Valley—was a working farm from the time the house was built. Today, it supplies produce for the Grumblethorpe Youth Farmstand, which sells its bounty at the house every weekend in the summer.

Explore Eastern State Penitentiary

Red barber chair in the ruins of a concrete prison cell.
Barber’s chair at Eastern State

Eastern State Penitentiary was one important prison. The institution housed thousands of inmates in its 140-year history, and the site, which is now a preserved ruin, was the model for 300 prisons on five continents.

Closed in 1970, Eastern State went 20 years without maintenance, leading to crumbling walls, fractured concrete, and cellblocks that are open to the elements and plants. The penitentiary has since become a museum but was kept in its ruined state. Exhibits and an audio tour tell the history of the building, the controversies around incarceration, and the stories of many former prisoners. It’s a fascinating place to explore and is particularly interesting if you enjoy photography because of the dilapidated state of much of the building.

Walk through Miracle on 13th Street

Sign in Christmas lights for "The Miracle on South 13th St.: Merry Christmas."
Festive lights on South 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. Sometimes you get the feeling that the neighbors are trying to outdo each other with decorations, all for the benefit of the visitors who come each season.

If you’re in town in the winter, visiting Miracle on 13th Street should certainly be on your list. Going during the week is best if you’d like to avoid crowds. Expect parking to be a challenge in the area.

Shop at Christmas Village

Hand holding a blue mug labeled "Christmas Village" with blurry Christmas lights in the background.
Mulled wine at the Christmas Village

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. Grab a sausage and some mulled wine or try the popular raclette while you shop. Just across the street in Dilworth Park, you’ll find even more artisan vendors at the Made in Philadelphia Market. It is absolutely worth a visit if you’re in town at the holidays.

1 thought on “45 Fun Things to Do in Philadelphia”

  1. Why are The National Constitution Center, the Art museum & The Franklin Institute not included?
    The. Constitution Center is a true gem!

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