Top 10 Activities To Do in Philadelphia

Liberty Bell in Philadelphia - Top 10 Activities To Do in Philadelphia

What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of Philadelphia? Rocky? Liberty Bell? National Treasure movie? Or all of the above. How do you decide what to do when you visit Philly? Lucky for you I spent a week in Philly and figured out the best ones to not miss. Here are the top 10 activities to do in Philadelphia.

Liberty Bell in Philadelphia - Top 10 Activities To Do in Philadelphia

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell in Philadelphia - Top 10 Activities To Do in PhiladelphiaThe Liberty Bell Center is across from Independence Visitor Center on Market & 6th Streets and is free to visit. It opens at 9 am, and I recommend being there before it opens to make sure you are one of the first people in line. We walked by during the day, and the line was out the building’s cues and around the corner down the street. We were the first ones to see the bell and get photos with nobody else in them. Plus, you can be in and out within 15 minutes if you have lots of other places to visit that day.

Betsy Ross House

Front of Betsy Ross' HouseInside of Betsy Ross' house with the American FlagIf you have the Philadelphia City Pass, this self-guided tour will be free. Audio does cost extra but, you can hear about her life and the Revolutionary War. The house is surprisingly small with tight stairwells. Betsy Ross is an amazing woman that outlived three husbands and sewed the American Flag in secret.

Elfreth’s Alley

Elfreth's Alley in PhiladelphiaElfreth’s Alley is the oldest continuously residential street in the country since 1713. A picturesque alley with a cobbled street and brightly colored Federal and Georgian house fronts. The only thing that Kayla and I mentioned was how odd to live in these houses with tours coming through daily and people wandering and taking pictures of their houses. You wouldn’t be able to look out your front windows or have your curtains open ever. But, the street is very photogenic and in 1966 was named a National Historic Landmark.

Christ Church Graveyard

Kayla tossing a penny onto Benjamin Franklin's grave at Christ Church GraveyardBenjamin Franklin's tombstone at Christ Church GraveyardBenjamin Franklin is buried here. As you can see, Kayla is tossing a penny onto his tombstone for good luck. The tossing of pennies is a tradition that has netted Benjamin Franklin $3000/year. “A penny saved is a penny earned” even after death he is still saving his pennies.

Eating at Reading Terminal Market

Map of Vendors in Reading Terminal market in PhiladelphiaHunger Burger at Reading Terminal MarketThere are so many choices that you couldn’t possibly go hungry here. The Reading Terminal Market – pronounced “Redding” is an indoor farmer’s restaurant since 1892. Over 80 vendors provide fresh fish, meat, fruits, pastries, and local Philly cuisine daily. It is loud with the constant flow of people. One of the vendors I tried is Hunger Burger, where each burger sold feeds a child. Love that mission statement. Plus, the burger was delicious!

Franklin Institute

Franklin Institute in PhiladelphiaKayla trying to make the gears work at the Franklin InstituteKayla and I spent hours at the Franklin Institute. This is a great museum for families. The interactive displays explaining engineering, technology, and science are well done. They have separate areas focusing on trains, space, and energy so, you can choose what interests you. The highlight is you can walk through a giant heart and all the surrounding organs. After exploring all the rooms, we saved the best for last, the 360-degree Planetarium. We watched a great show “The Sky Tonight” showcasing our stars and planets. Truly wonderful time spent here! Free admission with the City Pass.

Spruce Street Harbor

Lying in a hammock at Spruce Street HarborKayla wrapped up in a hammock burrito at Spruce Street HarborSpruce Street Harbor is a great place to relax by the water and rest your feet from walking around the city. The hammocks are scattered around the park and are a hot commodity. You might have to wait a bit for one to free up. There are vendors nearby for food and adult beverages. Kayla and I relaxed for an hour by the banks of the Delaware River. So peaceful!

Magic Gardens

Heather and Kayla at the Magic Gardens in PhiladelphiaMagic Garden display in PhiladelphiaTiled stairs at the Magic GardenColorful statue at the Magic GardensMirror mosaic tiles at the Magic GardenPhiladelphia is by far the center for the arts, and the Magic Gardens is their crown jewel. Magic Gardens cover a half a block with an outdoor display and indoor galleries. Everywhere you turn you can see beautiful displays of folk art statues, colorful glass bottles, pottery tiles, mirrors, and everyday items combined into breathtaking visions of art. Plus, there are numerous displays throughout the city in alleyways and sides of buildings. Keep your eyes out for them! Admission to Magic Gardens is $10.

Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State PenitentiaryDefinitely the most creepy place in Philadelphia. There is a self-audio tour with Steve Buscemi narrating which adds to the creepiness factor. Eastern State Penitentiary was designed to create penitence in the hearts & minds of the inmates by using sensory deprivation. The prisoners were in solitary confinement the majority of each day. When they were allowed to leave their cell, they had a hood placed over their head. The prison is now a haunting image of the past with crumbling cells and empty guard towers, and I’m sure more than a couple of ghosts. Free admission with the City Pass.

Grimm Philly Ghost Tour

Independence Hall at twilight in PhiladelphiaWashington Square Park Monument for buried PhiladelphiansPink, purple, & blue HydrangeasThe Grimm Philly Ghost Tour is a fun and irreverent tour. We traipsed all around the city while hearing about the sordid past of the city. One particular spot unnerved me is Washington Square Park. This is the resting place of 11,000 souls buried in mass graves beneath a beautiful landscape. How can something so beautiful (see pics of hydrangeas) bloom right above all this death of colonial soldiers, yellow fever victims, and Philadelphians murdered by the British?

There is a mixture of fun activities to do in Philadelphia. Whatever your interests lie, history, adventure, art, there is something for everyone here. Do you have other places you have visited in Philadelphia that deserve to be on this list?

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Further Reading

If you are coming to Pennsylvania for a visit, check out these posts for further travel inspiration:

1 Comment

  • The 30 Absolutely Best Historical Ghost Tours in America – 20October2019 at 8:48 PM Reply

    […] The City Tavern one of the many haunted stops in Philadelphia is haunted by not one ghost but several. Which you can find out all about on the Grimm Philly Tour. There are plenty of tour options all year round depending on what you are interested in, but all are filled with plenty of historical facts, spooky and creepy stories, and adult humor. Tours are hardy ever canceled so, make sure to bring an umbrella as I found out on my tour.  Since its inception, Grim Philly has been voted Best Philadelphia Tours for the past four years. Heather of  RaulersonGirls Travel […]

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