Without a doubt, first time visitors visiting Philadelphia should prioritize a few must-dos: learn American history in Old City, climb 37 Rocky steps in front of the Museum of Art, consume a cheesesteak as well as a roast pork sandwich at John’s. But there’s so much more to see and experience (and eat) in the City of Brotherly Love, like take inside a performance at America’s oldest opera theatre,
try barbacoa tacos in the Italian Market, and rise above the clouds in a glass elevator for a world-class perspective of the city (just to name a few) (just to name a few). To help get you started, we took the opportunity of choosing these very finest things to do in Philadelphia, whether that’s your first visit or your fifth.
20 Best Things To Do Philadelphia This Weekend
1. Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is an art museum first incorporated in 1876 for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The main museum structure was erected in 1928 on Fairmount, a hill situated at the northwest end of a Benjamin Franklin Parkway near Eakins Oval. The museum maintains collections including approximately 240,000 pieces including important holdings of European, American and Asian provenance. The many types of artwork include sculpture, paintings, prints, drawings, photography, armor, and decorative arts.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art maintains various annexes including the Rodin Museum, also situated on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and the Ruth & Raymond G. Perelman Building, which would be located across the street immediately north of the main building. The Perelman Building, which completed in 2007, holds more than 150,000 prints, drawings and photos, together with 30,000 costume and textile items, and over 1,000 modern and contemporary eye on things including furniture, ceramics and glasswork. The museum also maintains the historic colonial-era mansions of Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove, both situated in Fairmount Park.
- Address: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130
- Departments: The Hall
- Phone: (215) 763-8100
- Architects: Julian Abele, Howell Lewis Shay
- Director: Alexandra Suda
- Founded: 1876, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA
- Construction started: 1919
2. Independence National Historical Park
Independence National Historical Park is a federally designated historic area in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that protects many locations related with the American Revolution or the nation’s founding history. Administered by the National Park Service, the 55-acre park encompasses several of Philadelphia’s most-visited historic attractions within the Old City and Society Hill districts. The park has been termed “America’s most historic square mile” because of its plethora of historic monuments.
The centerpiece of the park was Independence Hall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were discussed and accepted by America’s Founding Fathers in the late 18th century. Independence Hall was the major meetinghouse of the Second Continental Congress from 1776 to 1783 and the Constitutional Convention in the summer of 1787. Next to Independence Hall are Carpenters’ Hall, the 1774 meeting location for the First Continental Congress, with Congress Hall the meeting place of a United States Congress in the 1790s.
- Address: Philadelphia, PA 19106
- Departments: Independence Park Institute · Wilson Park
- Phone: (215) 965-2305
- Established: July 4, 1956
- Area: 40 acres
- Management: National Park Service
- Architect: Strickland, William; Et al
- Architectural style(s): Colonial, Georgian, Federal
- Visitors: 3,572,770 (in 2011)
- Added to NRHP: October 15, 1966
3. Franklin Square
Franklin Square is one of five original open-space parks established by William Penn when he lay out the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1682. It is located in the Center City region, between North 6th and 7th Streets, or between Race Street and the Vine Street Expressway. Penn included this portion of green space in his initial city design as one of five squares, however the park was slow to develop because it was a swampy terrain. Originally, the park was indeed a place for settlers to reflect and set a virtuous behavior to set a right example.
The park was designed to be planted to make settlers appreciate the significance of nature. In the 1920s, the park was abandoned or the surrounding area became locally known as the tenderloin with just an entertainment district ” which features taverns and bordellos, and a place for individuals experiencing homelessness to sleep just on park’s benches, resulting inside its reputation as Philadelphia’s skid row. In 2003, Historic Philadelphia, Inc. refurbished the park by adding businesses and residences to attract tourists, which in turn returned the park back to its uniqueness.
- Located in: Independence National Historical Park
- Address: 200 N 6th St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
- Phone: (215) 629-4026
- Area: 8 acres
- Built: 1683
- Added to NRHP: September 14, 1981
- NRHP Reference Number: 81000556
4. Barnes Foundation
The Barnes Foundation is indeed an art collection and educational organization fostering the enjoyment of art and gardening. Originally in Merion, the art collection moved in 2012 to a new location on Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The arboretum of the Barnes Foundation continues in Merion, where it has been suggested to be preserved under a long-term educational affiliation arrangement with Saint Joseph’s University. The Barnes was formed in 1922 by Albert C. Barnes, who made his money by co-developing Argyrol, an antiseptic gold compound that was used to cure gonorrhea and inflammations of a eye, ear, nose, and throat.
He sold his firm, the A.C. Barnes Company, two months well before stock market crash of 1929. Today, the organization has more than 4,000 pieces, including over 900 paintings, estimated to be worth over $25 billion. These are predominantly works by Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, or Modernist masters, but the collection also contains many more paintings by famous European and American painters, as well as African art, antiques from China, Egypt, & Greece, and Native American art.
- Address: 2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130
- Departments: Barnes Foundation Parking Lot
- Phone: (215) 278-7000
- Founder: Albert C. Barnes
- Collections: Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Early Modern
- Director: Thomas Collins
- Founded: 1922
5. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is indeed a non-profit organization, folk art setting, and gallery space along South Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. To date, it is the biggest piece made by mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar.
The Magic Gardens encompasses three municipal lots, and contains interior galleries and a vast outdoor labyrinth. The mosaics are made up of anything from marble backsplash to bike wheels, Latin-American art to china plates. The area is open for public observation, from 11:00-6:00 Wednesday thru Monday and closed on Tuesdays.
- Address: 1020 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
- Phone: (215) 733-0390
- Founder: Isaiah Zagar
- Size: 3,000 square feet
6. Spruce Street Harbor Park
The Spruce Street Harbor Park is indeed an urban park located near Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Open throughout the summer, the location has a boardwalk all along Delaware River with a beachside ambience. Fireworks were planned throughout the Independence Day celebration, while the biggest fireworks were slated for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on July 4 itself.
The park’s amenities include a beachfront with such a boardwalk along the Delaware River and roughly 100 hammocks dangle under thousands of LED lights hanging in the trees throughout the night. There are various eateries and pubs or taverns. The park offers hammock couches and two barges available for rent. On Saturdays, it plays host to the Art Star Start Popping up Market, where local artist offer candles, soaps, pottery, art, home items, jewelry and more.
- Address: 301 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106
- Phone: (215) 922-2386
- Opened: 2014
- Number of visitors: 175,000 (2015)
7. Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell, historically named the State House Bell and Old State House Bell, is an iconic emblem of American independence, housed in Philadelphia. Originally installed on the steeple of a Pennsylvania State House, the bell currently is situated across the street in the Liberty Bell Center at Independence National Historical Park. The bell was commissioned in 1752 by Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly from the London firm of Lester & Pack, and was cast with the writing “Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land unto the all Inhabitants Thereof”, a Biblical allusion from the Book of Leviticus.
The bell originally cracked when rung after its arrival in Philadelphia, and was twice remade by local artisans John Pass and John Stow, whose last names appear on the bell. In its early years, the bell was used to summon parliamentarians to legislative sessions and to warn residents of public gatherings and proclamations. Although no immediate proclamation was made of the Second Continental President’s vote for independence—and therefore the bell could not have sounded on July 4, 1776, relating to that vote—bells were rung on July 8 to mark the reading of a United States Declaration of Independence.
- Address: 526 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
- Phone: (215) 965-2305
- Weight: 2,080 pounds (940 kg)
- Opened: 1753
- Designer: Whitechapel Bell Foundry
- Height: About 4 ft (1.2 m)
8. National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center is indeed a non-profit institution committed to the the United States Constitution. On Independence Mall near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the center is indeed an interactive museum as well as a national town hall for constitutional conversation, attracting government officials, journalists, professors, and celebrities for public talks. The center offers civic learning tools onsite and online. It does not house the entire Constitution, which is preserved in the National Archives Building in D.C.
The groundbreaking ceremony was place on September 17, 2000, the 213th anniversary of a signing of a Constitution. The center opened on 4, 2003, joining other historic buildings and attractions in what has been termed “America’s most historic sq mile” because of its closeness to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
- Located in: Independence National Historical Park
- Address: 525 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
- Phone: (215) 409-6600
- Ceo: Jeffrey Rosen constitutioncenter.org
- Established: September 17, 2000
9. Rittenhouse Square
Rittenhouse Square is a neighborhood, containing a public park, in Center City Philadelphia. Rittenhouse Square generally explicitly refers to the park, whereas the district as a whole is known simply as Rittenhouse. The park is one of the five original open-space parks created by William Penn & his surveyor Thomas Holme during the late 17th century. The area is among the highest-income urban communities in the country. Together with Fitler Square, the Rittenhouse area and the square compose the Rittenhouse–Fitler Historic District.
Rittenhouse Square Park is managed by the non-profit organisation The Friends of Rittenhouse Square. The square cuts off 19th Street near Walnut Street as well as a half-block above Manning Street. Its limits are 18th Street to the east, Walnut St. towards the north, Rittenhouse Square West, & Rittenhouse Square South, making the park about two short blocks on each side.
- Address: 1800 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
- Phone: (267) 586-5675
- Area: 7 acres
- Built: 1683
- Architect: Thomas Holme; Paul Philippe Cret
- Added to NRHP: September 14, 1981
- NRHP Reference Number: 81000557
10. Love Park
LOVE Park, formally known as John F. Kennedy Plaza, is indeed a public park located in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The park is dubbed LOVE Park because its copy of Robert Indiana’s 1970 LOVE sculpture that overlooks the plaza. The region has a following in the skate world, since it functioned as a skating site for many years.
- Address: Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
- Phone: (215) 686-1776
11. Dilworth Park
Dilworth Park is a public park and open area along the western side of City Hall in Center City, Philadelphia. The one-half-acre park opens to the public on September 4, 2014.
Dilworth Park opened in September 2014. It really is named in honor of Richardson Dilworth, whose served as mayor of the city from 1956 until 1962. The new park was built by KieranTimberlake, Urban Engineers it OLIN as well as replaced Dilworth Plaza, built by Vincent Kling in 1972.
- Located in: Philadelphia City Hall
- Address: 1 S 15th St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
- Phone: (215) 440-5500
- Area: 0.5 acres (0.20 ha)
- Opened: September 4, 2014
12. Longwood Gardens
Longwood Gardens is a botanical garden that comprises of approximately 1,077 acres of gardens, forests, and meadows near Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, United States in the Brandywine Creek Valley.
It is one of the greatest horticultural display gardens in the United States and is accessible to visitors year-round to experience native and exotic plants , horticulture, events & performances, seasonal and themed attractions, in addition to educational lectures, seminars, and workshops
- Address: 1001 Longwood Rd, Kennett Square, PA 19348
- Departments: Longwood Gardens, Pipe Organ & Gallery
- Phone: (610) 388-1000
- Area: 1.609 mi²
- Owner: Pierre S. du Pont longwoodgardens.org
- Added to NRHP: December 10, 1972
- NRHP Reference Number: 72001105
13. Fairmount Park
Fairmount Park is the biggest municipal park in Philadelphia and the old term for a set of parks spread around the city. Fairmount Park consists of two park areas designated East Park and West Park, split by the Schuylkill River, with the two sections combined comprising 2,052 acres. Management of Fairmount Park and the whole citywide park system is handled by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, a city department founded in 2010 from the merging of the Fairmount Park Commission and the Department for Recreation. Many of the city’s other parks had historically also been part of the Fairmount Park system prior to 2010, s
uch as Wissahickon Valley Park in Northwest Philadelphia, Pennypack Park in Northeast Philadelphia, Cobbs Creek Park through West Philadelphia, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park through South Philadelphia, and 58 additional parks, parkways, plazas, squares, & public golf courses spread throughout the city. Since the 2010 merger, however, the phrase “Fairmount Park system” is no longer utilized by the Parks & Recreation department, and the nearby Wissahickon Valley Park and all other park sections are regarded wholly different organizations.
- Address: Reservoir Dr, Philadelphia, PA 19119
- Phone: (215) 683-3600
- Area: 14.38 mi²
- Built: 1812
14. Philadelphia City Hall
Philadelphia City Hall is the seat of a municipal government of the City of Philadelphia. Built in the opulent Second Empire architecture, City Hall contains the chambers of the Philadelphia City Council or the offices of the Mayor of Philadelphia. It is also a courthouse, serving as seat of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, & houses the Civil Trial & Orphans’ Court Divisions of a Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County.
Built of brick, white marble, and limestone, Philadelphia City Hall is really the world’s largest free-standing masonry building and was world’s tallest habitable building only on its completion in 1894. In 1976, it was national historic Landmark, and in 2006, also was named a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by American Society of Civil Engineers.
- Address: 1400 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19107
- Phone: (215) 686-1776
- Opened: 1901
- Height: 548′
15. Eastern State Penitentiary
The Eastern State Penitentiary is a defunct American prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It really is located at 2027 Fairmount Boulevard between Corinthian Avenue & North 22nd Street in the Fairmount part of the city, and was functioning from 1829 to 1971. The prison perfected the innovative method of segregated detention initially pioneered at the Walnut Avenue Jail which emphasized ideas of reform rather than punishment.
Notorious criminals like as Al Capone and bank robber Willie Sutton were confined inside its revolutionary wagon wheel construction. James Bruno and four male relatives were jailed here between 1936 and 1948 for the alleged deaths in the Kelayres massacre in 1934, before they were paroled. At its completion, the facility was the largest and most expensive public edifice ever created in the United States, and immediately became a model for more than 300 jails worldwide. The jail is presently a U.S. National Historic Landmark, which is available to the public as a museum for visits seven days a week, twelve months a year, 10 am to 5 pm.
- Address: 2027 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130
- Phone: (215) 236-3300
- Opened: 1829
- Construction started: 1821
- Architect: John Haviland
16. Kimmel Cultural Campus
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is a significant performing arts arena at 300 South Broad Street and the intersection of Spruce Street, along the area known as the Avenue of a Arts in Center City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is owned and maintained by Kimmel Cultural Center, which also oversees the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, &, as of November 2016, the Miller Theater.
The facility is named after benefactor Sidney Kimmel. The facility is the home of the Philadelphia Orchestra, was one America’s “Big Five” symphony orchestras. It’s also the home venue of both the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra if Philadelphia, Philadanco, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, or the Kimmel Center Presents concert series, which offers a range of jazz, classical, and global pop acts.
- Address: 300 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
- Phone: (215) 790-5800
- Capacity: 3,150
- Opened: December 16, 2001
- Architect: Rafael Viñoly
17. Citizens Bank Park
Citizens Bank Park is a baseball stadium situated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the city’s South Philadelphia Sports Complex. It’s the home playing field of the Philadelphia Phillies, a city’s Major League Baseball team. The stadium opened April 3, 2004, and held its inaugural regular-season baseball game of April 12 of the same year, with the Phillies falling to the Cincinnati Reds, 4–1. It is named after Citizens Financial Group. The ballpark was designed to replace the 33-year-old, now-razed Veterans Stadium, a multipurpose football and baseball complex that was demolished in 2004.
Citizens Bank Park offers a natural grass-and-dirt playing field and a multitude of Philadelphia-style food vendors that provide cheesesteak sandwiches, hoagies, Tastykakes, bagel sandwiches, Yards, Yuengling beer, and a variety of regional delicacies. The ballpark is on the northeast corner of the Sports Complex, which contains Lincoln Financial Field, the Wells Fargo Center, plus Xfinity Live!, the Center’s neighboring fun park and food court. The stadium seats 42,792.
- Address: 1 Citizens Bank Way, Philadelphia, PA 19148
- Phone: (215) 463-1000
- Capacity: 43,035
- Opened: April 3, 2004
- Owners: Philadelphia, Philadelphia City Council
18. Wells Fargo Center
The Wells Fargo Center is indeed a multi-purpose indoor arena situated near Philadelphia. It serves as the home of the Philadelphia Flyers of a National Hockey League, the Philadelphia 76ers of a National Basketball Association, as well as the Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League. The arena stands at the southwest corner of the South Philadelphia Sports Centre, which includes Lincoln Financial Field, Citizens Bank Park, and Xfinity Live!. The Wells Fargo Center, formerly dubbed Spectrum II, was erected in 1996 to replace el Spectrum as the home arena of the 76ers & Flyers,
on the former site at John F. Kennedy Stadium at the a cost of $210 million, primarily privately financed. It is owned by Comcast Spectacor, that also owns the Flyers, and is administered by its arena-management company, Global Spectrum. Since inception, it has been known by a variety of different names through naming rights arrangements and bank mergers, including CoreStates Center in 1996 to 1998, First Union Center from 1998 until 2003, and Wachovia Center from 2003 to 2010. Since 2010, name rights have been held by financial services corporation Wells Fargo, after their acquisition of Wachovia.
- Address: 3601 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19148
- Phone: (215) 336-3600
- Capacity: 19,500
19. Adventure Aquarium
The Adventure Aquarium, previously the Thomas H. Kean New Jersey State Aquarium, is a non-profit educational entertainment facility managed in Camden, New Jersey just on Delaware River Camden Waterfront with Herschend Family Entertainment.
Originally built in 1992, it re-opened in its present version on May 25, 2005 including around 8,000 creatures living in diverse sorts of semi-aquatic, freshwater, and marine environments. The facility has a total tank volume from over 2 million US gallons, with public floor space of 200,000 square feet.
- Located in: Wiggins Waterfront Park
- Address: 1 Riverside Dr, Camden, NJ 08103
- Phone: (844) 474-3474
20. Reading Terminal Market
Reading Terminal Market is indeed an enclosed public market located at 12th and Arch Streets near Center City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It debuted originally in 1893 under the elevated train shed of a Reading Railroad Company after city of Philadelphia lobbied to shift public markets from the streets to indoor facilities for both safety and hygienic reasons. When the Center City Commuter Connection was built in 1984, the Reading Terminal ceased serving as a rail station, impacting foot traffic at the Market. The Reading Company then suggested utilizing the Reading Terminal complex as that of the site for a new convention center.
The location was chosen for the convention center, and then in 1990 the Company handed title to the project to the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority. Presently, the Market remains occupies the ground floor and basement floors of the Reading Terminal’s original train shed which is now part of a Pennsylvania Convention Center. Vendor booths occupy the ground level with entrances on Filbert Street to the South, Twelfth Street to a West, and Arch Street to the North.
- Service options: Dine-in · Curbside pickup · Delivery
- Address: 1136 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19107