Philly is the perfect city to visit for the weekend. The city is small enough to see it all by foot, bike, or even double decker bus. As a Philly resident for the past four years, these are my recommendations for the most fun and perfectly touristy attractions in the City of Brotherly Love. These activities and eateries are classically Philly and will give you the best taste of Center City (what we call “downtown”)! Pack your agenda with everything on this list to make the most of your trip!
Activities & Attractions
Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour: I always recommend this for any city travel, because it gives you a look at the popular sites in town while acting like an Uber! This red double decker bus drops you off at the most popular spots in Philly. You can’t miss it.
Museums: Philadelphia Art Museum, Barnes Foundation, Rodin Museum, and Franklin Institute are some of the best museums in the world for a small cost. And, they’re all in walking distance from each other!
Eastern State Penitentiary: This spooky prison-turned-museum is educational and haunting. I had a really great time learning about the history while my mom had a great time trying to feel the ~ghosty vibes~. If you’re in town for the Halloween season and like the crap scared out of you, 100% go to their nightly haunted houses. Also, if you’re into creepy things, visit the Mutter Museum. This museum is packed with weird, preserved body parts that strangely attracts thousands of visitors per year. I thought it was fascinating, but I have a weak stomach and almost fainted!
Parks: Spruce Street Harbor Park, Rittenhouse Square, and Franklin Square are my favorite parks in the city. Spruce Street Harbor Park has hammocks, a beautiful river view, and yummy foods so you can spend the whole day there. Rittenhouse Square is a beautiful park situated in a bustling shopping area and surrounded by some of the most highly acclaimed restaurants. Lastly, Franklin Square has mini golf and always has activities for the family! Also, if you begin at Race Street Park, you can walk across the famous Ben Franklin Bridge. This mile walk takes you to New Jersey and back!
City Hall: Right smack dab in the middle of Philly is the most beautiful building you will ever see (probably)! I highly recommend taking a tour of city hall because you get to learn so much about the building and the city. They also let you take an elevator all the way to the top, which results in beautiful views of the city.
Historical sites: Philly is the birthplace of our nation (nbd) and has historically significant places at each corner. Visit the Constitution Center, Independence Hall, Betsey Ross Museum, American Revolution Museum, African American Museum, Congress Hall, and many many (SO MANY) more!
One Liberty Observation Deck: Empire State Building who?? This observation deck is absolute perfection because it is cheap, not crowded, and you could spend all day there. This top of one of the tallest buildings in Philly gives you a 360 view of everything. Stay there all day overlooking the city and playing the provided board games!
Sports: Philly is known for being a crazy sports city, so check it out for yourself! If you’re in town during season, buy some cheap tickets to a basketball, hockey, baseball, football, or soccer game. They’re fun, rowdy, and spirited!
Reading Terminal Market: Right in the heart of the city is this massive food market with all of your cravings. Shop around and taste all this market has to offer. I recommend Beiler’s Donuts, Bassett’s Ice Cream, Meltkraft, and Fox & Son Fancy Corndogs.
Pat’s King of Steaks vs Geno’s Steaks: These two cheesesteak establishment are rivals for the best cheesesteak in town. Visit this ~hoagie grail~ and decide for yourself! But, if you want an actually good cheesesteak that the local’s favor, try Delassandro’s.
Franklin Fountain: Designed after an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, this shop has some yummy, fun flavors served in a special to go container. The line is always out the door, but it’s worth the wait.Morgan’s Pier: This fun, outdoor restaurant and bar has the best food and views. I would go everyday if I could!
Italian Market: If you’re a fan of the Rocky movies, you need to come here. If not, still visit. The Italian market has lots of fresh food and a fun atmosphere all located in South Philly.
City Tavern: This historical replica restaurant serves you the foods that the Founding Fathers loved most. It’s best to visit after spending the day at the museums!
Ralph’s Italian Restaurant: This is the oldest Italian restaurant in America and there’s a reason it’s been in business for so long. They have some of the best Italian food I’ve ever had, and I’ve been to Italy!
Philly Pretzel Factory: Even though this is a chain, you have to have at least one pretzel while you’re here. It’s required by law (not really, but basically).
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