51 Best Things to Do in Philadelphia
If you’re looking for things to do in Philadelphia, you’re in for a treat. Did you know that Philly is one of America’s oldest cities, dating back to colonial times? Philadelphia has made its mark on America, featuring many famous monuments and historic battle sites. It’s no wonder that there are many meaningful sites to see when you head to this dazzling northeastern city.
Philadelphia is also one of the most populous cities in the U.S. with more than 1.6 million residents according to the 2020 U.S. Census. That equates to many diverse cultural influences in art, food and activities. With a mild climate from late spring to early fall, there are several ideal months to vacation in Philadelphia. Here are 51 of the best things to do in the City of Brotherly Love.
Jump to Section
- Foodie Things to Do in Philadelphia
- Fun Things to Do in Philadelphia for Couples
- Free Things to Do in Philadelphia
- Things to Do in Philadelphia for Sports Fanatics
- Things to Do in Philadelphia for History Buffs
- Outdoor Things to Do in Philadelphia
- Fun Things to Do in Philadelphia With Kids
- Best Things to Do in Philadelphia at Night
Foodie Things to Do in Philadelphia
1. Cooking Classes
Cooking classes in Philadelphia are a fun and unique way to spend time while you’re visiting the Northeast. Find interactive cooking classes near you, or opt for online cooking classes for your convenience. Live virtual cooking classes are among the best things to do in Philadelphia if you’re visiting someone in the area who likes to stay in or you're hoping to connect with folks from afar.
2. Private Chef Experiences
Fine dining is an integral piece of any vacation, and there are many private chefs in Philadelphia who are ready to wow you with their culinary skills. Not only do these masterful chefs plan a gourmet menu, but they also handle the grocery shopping, cooking, serving and even kitchen clean-up before they leave. Enjoy a five-star meal from one of the many private chefs near you.
3. Indulge in Some Cheesesteak
Philadelphia is known as the place where cheesesteak sandwiches originated — hence the name “Philly cheesesteak.” This hearty culinary staple consists of thinly sliced pieces of beef steak smothered in melted cheese and served on a hoagie roll. Through the years, cheesesteak has evolved to include many flavorful variations, and they can be found at several family-owned restaurants and fast-food chains in the city. If you’re a committed meat-eater, indulging in some cheesesteak is a must when you’re planning things to do in Philadelphia.
4. Visit McGillin’s Olde Ale House
McGillin’s Olde Ale House is a famous eatery and tavern that features authentic 18th-century recipes. McGillin’s is the oldest continuously operating tavern in Philadelphia and one of the oldest in the country. It opened in 1860, the year Lincoln was elected, and has been going strong for over 160 years, surviving the Civil War, Prohibition and two pandemics. While you're there, check out the 30 local beers on tap, reasonably priced homemade comfort food and camaraderie amongst both locals and visitors.
5. Attend a Food Festival
Every fall, Philadelphia's FringeArts partners with local restaurants to put on FEASTIVAL. In addition to an incredible array of food food, you'll get to enjoy the works of local musicians and craftsfolks for a truly memorable thing to do in Philadelphia.
6. Warm Up With Some Hot Chocolate
If you’re looking for things to do in Philadelphia when the weather is cold, visit Café y Chocolate and order the Chocolate Oaxaca. It is a must-try warm beverage that is made with authentic Mexican hot chocolate and sprinkled with cinnamon. It is perfect for an icy night.
7. Indulge in Sweet Treats at Weckerly’s
The French-style ice cream at Weckerly’s is crafted with local, seasonal ingredients, making it a premier dessert destination. Eating here is one of the tastiest things to do in Philadelphia when your sweet tooth strikes. Get lost in a variety of unique ice cream sandwiches and confections, or take home a pint of classic whole bean vanilla.
8. Brunch at Bud and Marilyn’s
You have to have at least one brunch experience on your list of things to do in Philadelphia. Bud and Marilyn’s restaurant puts its own spin on classic comfort food favorites like chicken and waffles but also serves specialty dishes like grilled shrimp Benedict. If you’re up for a cocktail, try an herb-infused bloody mary or a grapefruit mimosa. The restaurant serves its brunch menu on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Fun Things to Do in Philadelphia for Couples
9. Enjoy a Romantic Night In
If you want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of big city life, virtual experiences are a great alternative when you’re looking for things to do in Philadelphia. Learn how to mix delicious craft cocktails with online mixology classes, or consider expanding your palate with sommelier-led virtual wine tastings.
10. Watch the Philadelphia Orchestra Perform
If you are in search of romantic things to do in Philadelphia with your sweetheart, consider watching a performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra. The group is considered to be one of the top five orchestras in the country. If you happen to visit in the summer, you’ll be right on time for their annual summer concert series at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts.
11. Pose in Front of a Giant "LOVE" Sculpture
Taking a photo in front of the famous LOVE sculpture in John F. Kennedy Plaza is one of the most romantic things to do in Philadelphia. When you embark on this juicy photo opp, you’ll be able to let the whole world know how you feel about your special someone. For a Spanish twist, take a six-minute walk to Sister Cities Park where you’ll find an “AMOR” sculpture.
12. Plan a Picnic at Race Street Pier
Nestled south of the Ben Franklin Bridge, visiting this park is one of the most breathtaking things to do in Philadelphia. It features an upper and lower level offering unique views of the Delaware River and the downtown cityscape. The lower level features beautiful landscaping, a manicured lawn and tables perfect for a romantic picnic date idea. Taking in the views and ambiance of this location is known as a fun thing to do in Philadelphia for couples.
13. The Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk
Walk hand-in-hand on a romantic stroll through the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk for a relaxing date idea in Philadelphia. The walkway spans 2,000 feet of scenic views, including the best of the Philadelphia skyline.
14. Take the Virtual Love Letter Tour
Mural Arts Philadelphia will take you on a virtual ride through an iconic mural tour along the Market-Frankford train line. These works of art by Steve Powers comprise an open-ended love letter, making it one of the fun things to do in Philadelphia for couples.
Free Things to Do in Philadelphia
15. Spruce Street Harbor Park
Get cozy on a colorful hammock, or lounge on an Adirondack chair facing the Delaware River. The magnificent views and atmosphere are available at no cost, making it a favorite free thing to do in Philadelphia.
16. Take a Self-Guided Mural Tour
One of the most breathtaking free things to do in Philadelphia is to seek out the vibrant murals that pepper the city. That’s largely thanks to the Philadelphia Mural Arts project that was launched in 1984 to combat graffiti. Visit the Mural Arts website to pinpoint larger-than-life artwork destinations in Philly.
17. Relax on the Schuylkill Banks
Spending a lazy afternoon lounging on the Schuylkill Banks that overlook the Schuylkill River is one of the most magnificent things to do in Philadelphia. Take a blanket or a lawn chair and get comfortable with a book or your favorite playlist.
18. Institute of Contemporary Art
If you want to see the latest trends in contemporary art at no cost, this is one of the most cultural things to do in Philadelphia. Historically, the Institute of Contemporary Art has featured shows from several iconic artists, including Andy Warhol.
19. Visit Rail Park
This three-mile stretch of abandoned railroad tracks is being transformed into a green space for visitors to enjoy. So far, the free attraction features industrial artwork, landscaping, benches and giant wooden swings, making it a perfect place to capture unique photos.
20. Taller Puertorriqueño
Indulging in cultural experiences from Puerto Rican and Latin artists is a must when it comes to things to do in Philadelphia. The gallery, which doubles as a community center, features film screenings, readings, workshops and more.
21. Franklin Square
This bustling family-friendly square is located in Philly’s historic district, making it a perfect place to stop and rest as you explore on foot. There are several low-cost activities you can take part in while you’re there (like a carousel and mini golf), but hanging out on the square is completely free. If you’re on a tight budget, Franklin Square should definitely be on your list of cool things to do in Philadelphia.
22. The President’s House
Exploring the nation’s first executive mansion is basically a must when you’re looking for things to do in Philadelphia. Located next to the Liberty Bell Center, this free exhibit once served as the home of George Washington and John Adams.
23. Elfreth’s Alley
Take a journey through time as you walk through Elfreth’s Alley — the nation’s oldest continually inhabited residential street. The alley was once an 18th-century hotspot that was home to artisans and tradespeople of the era. Take in all the charming details that accent this historic stretch.
Things to Do in Philadelphia for Sports Fanatics
24. Tour Eagles Stadium
If you’re a football fanatic, touring Eagles Stadium is one of the best things to do in Philadelphia. Officially dubbed Lincoln Financial Field, many refer to it as “The Linc.”
25. Check Out Boathouse Row
Did you know Philadelphia hosts several major rowing regattas? In fact, Boathouse Row is considered by many to be the rowing headquarters of the U.S. Located on the east bank of the Schuylkill River, it is made up of 15 boathouses that house social and rowing clubs, as well as their racing shells. Strolling past Boathouse Row is definitely among the most awe-inspiring things to do in Philadelphia.
26. Visit the Fusion eSports Arena
If you’re searching for extraordinary things to do in Philadelphia, this $50 million eSports and entertainment venue might tickle your fancy. It is home to the Philadelphia Fusion eSports franchise and serves as the largest eSports arena in the Western Hemisphere.
27. Go to a Phillies Baseball Game
While you’re in the area, why not catch a game played by the oldest continuous same-name, same-city franchise in American professional sports? The Phillies play home games at Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia.
28. Get Your Ice Hockey Fix
The Philadelphia Flyers, which have won two Stanley Cup championships, are ready to entertain fans and visitors alike during their season, which generally spans October through April.
Cool Things to Do in Philadelphia for History Buffs
29. Visit Independence Hall
This historical building is where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were born. It is nestled inside Independence National Park, which is known for its beautiful scenery.
30. Tour Colonial-Style Mansions
As far as things to do in Philadelphia are concerned, scoping out architectural trends is a popular favorite. The distinct architecture of colonial times can be found throughout Philadelphia. Settlers from England and other parts of Europe brought their intricate styles and techniques to America, creating gorgeous structures that still wow visitors centuries later.
31. Take a Photo of the Liberty Bell
Also located in Independence National Park is the famous liberty bell. It is said that the bell was chimed to mark the first reading of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia in 1776. It has since gone on to become an important national symbol of freedom.
32. Visit the Museum of the American Revolution
One of the best things to do in Philadelphia is to learn more about the city that once served as the U.S. capitol. At the Museum of the American Revolution, visitors are able to gaze upon artwork, displays and artifacts that tell the story of the Boston Tea Party, monumental battles and the drafting of the constitution.
33. Valley Forge National Historical Park
Get a glimpse into the Revolutionary War when you visit the Valley Forge National Historical Park. This landmark location is known for housing the winter encampment of General Geroge Washington and the Continental Army in 1777-78. Visitors can tour the park by car, bike or foot via the park’s cell phone tour.
Outdoor Things to Do in Philadelphia
34. Spend a Day at Fairmount Park
Fairmount Park boasts lovely cityscape views and many opportunities to get active. Embark on a horseback riding adventure, go cycling off-road or escape from civilization with a hike in the woods.
35. Jog Up the Famous Rocky Steps
In 1976, the 72 steps leading to the Philadelphia Museum of Art became super famous when they were featured in the blockbuster Rocky. While you’re in the city, stop by this popular tourist destination, take a jaunt up the steps and pose next to the bronze statue of Silvester Stallone as Rocky.
36. Attend the Philadelphia Folk Festival
The Philadelphia Folk Festival is an annual music festival that takes place at Old Pool Farm. This event has a decades-long history featuring world-class acts.
37. Hit the Hiking Trails
Philadelphia is home to many running and biking trails, which offer fun things to do in Philadelphia for couples, families or even a solo retreat. These scenic paths will lead you through woodlands, meadows and everything in between.
38. Go Horseback Riding
Get acquainted with your inner cowboy when you take horse riding lessons at the Chamounix Equestrian Center, located in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park.
39. Brave a Skyline Obstacle Course
Treetop Quest is an environmentally friendly adventure park that affords visitors the opportunity to zipline, jump and climb through the woods.
40. Play Disc Golf
Visit Sedgley Woods in Fairmount Park, which contains a 27-hole disc golf course. Dating back to 1977, it also happens to be one of the oldest permanent disc golf pole hole courses in the world.
41. Go Fly Fishing
Book time with a professional fly fishing guide on the Delaware River. If you’re a beginner, trained professionals will lead you through the fundamentals of the sport.
42. Attend Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest and Winterfest
Embark on a waterfront roller skating or ice skating adventure. Located just off the Delaware River, amenities include a lodge and play area, plus an assortment of food and drink options.
43. Visit Philadelphia Magic Gardens
A funky, mosaic-style collection of objects, ceramics and glass comes together to create a magical spread of visionary art. The unique and inspirational environment was created by artist Isaiah Zagar, and it’s a stylish place to capture fun photos. The location also offers touch tours for the blind and visually impaired.
44. Tour Bartram's Garden
In addition to 50 acres of breathtaking beauty, Bartram’s Garden aims to educate through its outdoor classroom and living laboratory. Here, visitors learn about regional plants, history and much more. The public space is located on the banks of the Tidal Schuylkill River, and the park hosts many events throughout the year that families can get involved in.
Fun Things to Do in Philadelphia With Kids
45. Get Hands-On at the Please Touch Museum
Visiting the Please Touch Museum is one of the best things to do in Philadelphia if you have small children. The facility promotes learning through play, including a large hands-on grocery store exhibit where children can shop, cook and work.
46. Take a Guided Movie Tour
Philly features guided tours of the famous Rocky shooting locations, including Mick’s Boxing Gym, Adriene’s pet store, the Italian Market and the famous steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Top it off with a Rocky movie marathon at home.
47. Smith Memorial Playground
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Philadelphia with kids, take them to the Smith Memorial Playground. It is the home of a giant wooden slide that was built in 1899. Of course, there is lots of other play equipment in the outdoor play area and 16,000-square-foot playhouse.
Best Things to Do in Philadelphia at Night
48. Visit the City’s Hidden Speakeasies
Speakeasies are trendy hidden gems in Philadelphia. There are many to check out during your visit, including the Pen & Pencil Club, Charlie Was a Sinner and Hop Sing Laundromat.
49. Hit the Historic District
When the sun goes down, Philadelphia’s historic district transforms into a vibrant social scene that offers many fine dining and craft beer options, as well as moonlit riverside views. If you’re feeling rather adventurous, catch the sunset at the Race Street Pier before heading out on the town.
50. Visit a Comedy Club
The Comedy Explosion club features hilarious acts in a wide range of styles and subjects. Enjoy an evening of laughs on Friday and Saturday nights.
51. Go Stargazing
While Philadelphia may not strike you as a go-to stargazing destination, there are actually a variety of locations and observatories that are ideal for this activity. Check out the Joel N. Bloom Observatory at Franklin Institute or the Joseph R. Lynch Observatory at Drexel University to start.
Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or a family vacation, Philadelphia has a variety of activities that will keep everyone smiling. From the beautiful wonders of nature to some of the most famous historical sites in the nation, taking a trip to this northeastern city is a must for your bucket list.
For even more things to do in Philadelphia and beyond, check out other experiences happening on Cozymeal.