Things to do in
Philadelphia

Philly is steeped in history. Get a sense of where it all began with the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

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Our most recommended things to do in Philadelphia

Philadelphia: Eastern State Penitentiary Admission

1. Philadelphia: Eastern State Penitentiary Admission

Discover the historic building of the Eastern State Penitentiary which stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Learn about how when Eastern State opened more than 180 years ago, it changed the world of prisons and was copied throughout the world. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world's first true "penitentiary," a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of prisoners. Discover how the building itself was an architectural wonder; it had running water and central heat before the White House. Marvel at the vaulted, sky-lit cells which once held many of America's most notorious criminals, including bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton and Al Capone. As you explore the building, listen to 'The Voices of Eastern State' audio tour which is included in your admission price. Narrated by actor Steve Buscemi (known for Boardwalk Empire, Fargo, Armageddon, and Ghost World), this rich, stereo soundscape mixes dozens of voices. Hear the stories of 3 former wardens and 25 guards and inmates which create an atmospheric tour as you stroll through Eastern State's cellblocks and yards. When you arrive, receive an MP3 player and headset that will guide you through the penitentiary complex and explain the prison's history. This audio guide contains a main audio route, plus additional stops for subjects like escapes, riots, sports, sexuality, and more. You are free to tour at your own pace and to listen to (or skip) stops based on your interests. Also discover interactive experiences, history exhibits, and a critically acclaimed series of artist installations.

Philadelphia: Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour of Historic Old City

2. Philadelphia: Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour of Historic Old City

Enjoy this private carriage ride through the tree-lined streets of Philadelphia’s Independence National Historic Park, Society Hill, and Old City. Your personal guide will whisk you away on a leisurely ride through historic Philadelphia giving you entertaining insights on the City of Brotherly Love's past and present. Choose the daytime option for picture-perfect views of all the sights or the night option to take in the illuminations when the crowds are gone.

Philadelphia: Double-Decker Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour

3. Philadelphia: Double-Decker Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour

Explore the origins of America on a hop-on hop-off bus tour of Philadelphia. Discover the city where America’s Founding Fathers first declared independence, and ratified the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Along the way, enjoy stunning views of historic landmarks including the Christ Church Burial Grounds, Elfreth’s Alley, the Betsy Ross House, and Independence Hall.   Begin your tour at the Bourse Building, across from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Listen to the multilingual audio commentary as you enjoy the views from the open-top deck. See the Friendship Gate in Chinatown and be amazed by the architecture of Philadelphia’s City Hall.   Hop off to explore the various museums along Benjamin Franklin Parkway, including the world's largest collection of post-impressionist art at the Barnes Foundation. Marvel at Philadelphia’s skyline and stop to enjoy a bird’s-eye view from the One Liberty Observation Deck. Pass through the charming neighborhood of Society Hill and end your tour with a drive along the banks of the Delaware River. Stops:  • The Bourse Building  • Betsy Ross House  • National Constitution Center  • Chinatown  • Reading Terminal Market  • Love Park  • Cathedral Basilica  • Logan Circle  • Rodin Museum  • Eastern State Penitentiary  • Special Events - The Perelman Building  • The Rocky Steps and Statue  • West Entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Boat House Row  • Civil War Memorial  • Please Touch Museum  • Philadelphia Zoo  • Franklin Institute  • Mutter Museum  • One Liberty Observation Deck  • Avenue of the Arts  • Society Hill, Antique Row  • Mother Bethel A.M.E Church  • Headhouse Square  • Vietnam & Korean War Memorials  • Penns Landing  • Museum of the American Revolution  • Christ Church  • The Liberty Bell

Philadelphia: Buffet Brunch, Lunch, or Dinner Cruise

4. Philadelphia: Buffet Brunch, Lunch, or Dinner Cruise

See the sights of the city from onboard the Spirit of Philadelphia during a brunch, lunch, or dinner cruise on the Delaware River. Enjoy an attended buffet dining experience as you sail through the city and delight in panoramic views of the skyline. Board your vessel at Penn's Landing and receive a personal greeting. Have your photo taken by the ship's photographer to capture the memory before being seated at your private table. Once there, gorge on your brunch, lunch, or dinner buffet which includes an array of dishes and delicacies. At the salad bar choose from organic mixed field greens salad, organic spinach and kale salad, green bean salad, bean and chickpea salad, red beetroot salad, and more. At the veggie station, opt for roasted broccoli florets, creamed corn and cheddar cheese casserole, baked ziti pasta, and tasty mashed potatoes. For your entree, dine on oven-baked Atlantic flounder fillet, honey and sesame chicken, or Italian beef meatballs. If you’ve still got room for dessert, tuck into some seasonal fruit, fluffy raspberry mousse, lemon pound cake, coconut vanilla cake, and carrot cake. After your meal, sip your cocktail on the spacious outdoor deck as you glide along the river for optimal views of the city. Enjoy music with a live Dj set and take in the sights, including Naval Shipyard and Ben Franklin Bridge.

Philadelphia: Segway Adventure Tour

5. Philadelphia: Segway Adventure Tour

Take a Segway tour of Philadelphia to see the main city sights and get an informative commentary on the history of the city at the forefront of the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence. Your guide will give you a 30-minute training session before you set off on the self-balancing vehicles. Then, traveling in groups of up to 6 people, head down to Penn's Landing for views across to New Jersey and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Glide through the Historic District, passing Elfreth's Alley and the Betsy Ross House. Admire Independence Hall en route to Society Hill, where you can marvel at the stately homes while catching the aroma of fresh coffee at quaint cafés. Pass over Avenue of the Arts to Rittenhouse Square, before winding through the Fitler Square neighborhood to Schuylkill River. The scenery changes here, as you work your way along the paths of the Schuylkill Banks, joined by runners and bikers en route to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Admire the statue of Rocky Balboa at the bottom of the famous steps he ran up in the 1976 blockbuster movie, before moving on to Benjamin Franklin Parkway to see Rodin’s “Thinker” statue in the outdoor sculpture garden. A cruise of some of the back streets will lead you to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, from where you can loop through Chinatown and the end of your tour.

Washington DC: National Mall Tour by Electric Vehicle

6. Washington DC: National Mall Tour by Electric Vehicle

Glide around the streets of Washington DC on a guided tour by a battery-operated electric cart. See all the major monuments of the United States capital, like Capitol Hill, the White House, and the Lincoln Memorial with an onboard guide. After getting comfortable onboard, head first towards the Smithsonian complex. Admire the size of the largest museum and research complex in the world.  Next, discover three of the most well-known monuments in Washington DC. Admire the monuments to Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington, arguably the three most beloved presidents of the U.S. From here, take a moment to pause and remember those who lost their lives in battle as you visit various war memorials. Pause at the memorials to World War I, World War II, the Korean War Veterans, and Vietnam War Veterans memorial sites.  Get your camera ready for when you pass by one of the most recognizable landmarks in the whole world, the White House, the home of the U.S President. Finally, feast your eyes on Capitol Hill, home to the United States Congress.

Philadelphia Ghost Tour by Candlelight

7. Philadelphia Ghost Tour by Candlelight

Join an entertaining evening tour of Philadelphia on a ghostly walking tour by candlelight. You will see Philadelphia's historic districts, including Independence National Park, Old City, and Society Hill in a completely new light! A costumed tour guide will lead you off the beaten path and spin tales of the rich and famous, and of heroes and villains from America's colonial era. You will hear tales of the well-known, like William Penn, Ben Franklin, Benedict Arnold and Mad Anthony Wayne, and tales of the unknown, such as the spectral Quakeress of Washington Square and the ghost of Old Pine Street Cemetery. The tour departs from Signers Garden at 5th and Chestnut Streets, lasts approximately 90 minutes, is appropriate for all ages, and is ideal for anyone with the inclination to hear Philadelphia's dead brought back to life! The Ghost Tour of Philadelphia has offered tours since 1995 and continues to be one of the city's most popular night-time attractions. It was recently named one of the top 15 "must see" attractions in the country by Budget Travel Magazine.

From New York City: Washington and Philadelphia 1-Day Tour

8. From New York City: Washington and Philadelphia 1-Day Tour

Your day will begin with an early morning departure from Times Square in Manhattan, where you’ll be greeted by your bilingual tour guide for the day. After 4-5 hours, your first destination will be the nation's current capital, Washington, DC. Once there, visit the Iwo Jima Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. During the tour, stop for a classic outside view of the White House, home and office of the U.S. President, and the Capitol Building, home of the U.S. Congress. Your visit to Washington concludes with free time for lunch on your own and a possible short visit to one of the Smithsonian museums, the world-famous National Air and Space Museum. Your next destination, after a 3-hour journey, will be the first-ever U.S. capital, Philadelphia, PA. Visit its historic Old City neighborhood and the Independence National Historical Park where your guide will lead you on a brief walking tour. Then, ascend to the top of the Rocky Steps before returning to Times Square in Manhattan.

Philadelphia: Founding Fathers Historical Walking Tour

9. Philadelphia: Founding Fathers Historical Walking Tour

Explore the oldest districts in Philadelphia on a guided historical walking tour focusing on the Founding Fathers of the United States. Stop outside historic sites such as the Betsy Ross House, the former home of Benjamin Franklin, and Independence Hall. Start your tour with your local guide with a stop outside the Betsy Ross House. Learn more about how the first American flag was sewn at this location. Stroll to the Old District of Philadelphia and see some of the homes of the oldest continuously inhabited residential street in the USA. Learn more about the famous historical figures who once lived in the area, including where William Penn and the Quakers first settled. Then, visit Christ Church where many of the Founding Fathers worshipped. Then, see the previous home of Benjamin Franklin in the Historic District. Next, explore Independence Mall, a three-block section of the Independence National Historic Park. Follow your guide across the mall and visit the President’s House, once home to George Washington and John Adams when Philadelphia served as the nation's capital city.  Discover more about William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania during your visit to Washington Square. Take a moment outside the monument Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution dedicated to those who perished during the fight for independence, but remains have never been identified. Don’t forget to snap a picture of Independence Hall, where the deceleration of Independence and the US Constitution was signed. The tour will end in the Old City, where you’ll get to rest your legs and enjoy a refreshing cold beverage in a local brewpub. 

Philadelphia: Grim, Dark, and Twisted History Tour

10. Philadelphia: Grim, Dark, and Twisted History Tour

Experience the grim history of Philadelphia on this urban adventure beginning at the sites where the seeds of political change were sown. Descend into the sites of former brothels, mass burial grounds, and polluted prisons, stepping on salvaged streets where pirates roamed freely with the founding fathers. Historian and professor Joe Wojie or one of his expert guides will lead you on a tour that explores the grim realities of colonial America and the legends and traditions they inspired. From the home of Dolly Madison to the sights of Helltown - murder, mayhem, and madness are in the roots of this city. This tour was researched and designed by university professor Joe Wojie to stand apart from every other day or night tour offered in Philadelphia with its originality and dark flavor. The 8 PM tour is geared more towards an adult audience, while families and children can enjoy a fun way to learn about Philly's secret past during the earlier tour departures.

Frequently asked questions about Philadelphia

What top attractions are a must-see in Philadelphia?

Planning Your Visit

  • Age limit

    For all tours involving alcohol, such as to vineyards, all participants must be over 21 years of age.

  • Summer fun

    Philadelphia is known for its summer events, so check online to see what's happening to ensure you don't miss out!

  • City tours

    Plan to visit Philadelphia if you're visiting other East Coast cities like Washington DC or NYC - it's a relatively short drive or train ride.

  • Local dish

    Philadelphia's famous sandwich is the cheesesteak. The best place to try one? You'll get different answers depending on who you ask and in which part of the city!

Good to know

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    USD ($)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-04:00)
  • Country Code
    +1
  • Best time to visit
    In terms of avoiding the humidity and crowds of the summer months and the snowfall in the fall and winter, March through May is your best bet for enjoying perfect weather in the City of Brotherly Love.

Other Sightseeing Options in Philadelphia

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What people are saying about Philadelphia

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,628 reviews

Excellent tour!! Peter was personable, professional and knowledgeable. My elderly parents were visiting from Illinois and Peter was especially patient and kind. The tour was just the right amount of time and we received a very thorough and comprehensive tour. Thank you Peter! You help to make our day!

Walked around on day 1, day 2 got the hop on bus excellent commentary from the guide who was such a laugh also would have missed a few sites worth seeing on foot. Please be aware of the hustlers wanting to take your photo at some of the sites they take the photo for you then want paid.

Loved our tour guide! She brought great historical perspectives and made the entire tour fun and engaging. It’s a great way to see a part of what Philadelphia has to offer.

Excellent to see this old penitentiary so glad they decided to use it for visitors to see.

Never received what I was expecting and never got a guided tour from this company!