If you have 3 Days…
Grab a cup of Philly’s local La Colombe coffee and head to the Independence Visitor Center (IVC) early to reserve your timed ticket for Independence Hall (FREE). Walk-up tickets are available from 8:30, and getting there before 10:30 is recommended. While at the center, buy your ticket for the Big Bus hop-on, hop-off 3-day tour 20% OFF which will take you to sights around the city for all three days. Here you can also purchase your ticket for the Franklin’s Footsteps colonial walking tour 20% OFF. You’ll meet a guide dressed in colonial garb who will take you around all of the sites in the historic center, retracing the steps of Ben Franklin. Keep an eye on the line at the Liberty Bell (FREE) and jump in if the wait isn’t too long. Just across the park, in sight of the Liberty Bell, is another testament to freedom — The National Museum of American Jewish History (B#1) 20% OFF. Don’t miss a look at Einstein’s pipe and Spielberg’s first camera. By now, you’ve earned lunch! Hop on the bus stop at 5th and Arch (B#3) and head to Reading Terminal Market (B#5) for a Philly foods extravaganza. Try the roast pork at DiNic’s, consistently voted one of America’s best sandwiches, or classics Dutch Eating Place or Hershel’s. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a donut from Beiler’s or ice cream from Bassett’s. Jump back on the bus to end your afternoon at a Philly institution – The Franklin Institute #14 20% OFF, one of the city’s most popular (and fun!) museums. Near Logan Circle you will also find a number of museums and sights, including the Rodin Museum and the Barnes Foundation (See What’s Free). Head to Love Park #6 , catch views of and from City Hall and its observation deck. Finish the day by exploring Center City, to Rittenhouse Square district #16 , or South Street #18 , where you’ll find great options for eating and drinking (see Philly by Night). Be sure to sample a Cheesesteak or a Hoagie (see Classic Philly Foods).
Fuel up with breakfast at one of the many cafes in the popular Fairmount/Art Museum District #9 . Explore Eastern State Penitentiary #9 20% OFF, America’s most historic prison and the former home of the legendary Al Capone. Re-board the Big Bus to enjoy a tour along the Schuylkill River, up Kelly Drive, past Boathouse Row, and the attractions and mansions of Fairmount Park. Get off at the famous Rocky Steps #13 and enjoy the amazing view of the Ben Franklin Parkway and the city skyline. Need a snack? Keep an eye out for Philly Pretzels. They’re cheap, filling, and sold almost everywhere. Spend the afternoon exploring University City, the student district, home to Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania, and plenty of cafés and shops. Don’t miss a visit to the world-class Penn Museum: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology 20% OFF. Its vast collection is stunning, and its Egyptian gallery is supreme. Cross the Walnut St Foot Bridge over the Schuylkill River to the Walnut St Dock, where you can end the day on a Patriot Harbor Boat Cruise 20% OFF and enjoy the parks and activities along Schuylkill Banks (see Philly by Night).
Head to Penn’s Landing on the Delaware River to explore the seaport and the exhibits of the Independence Seaport Museum #20 . Your admission also includes touring the Olympia and Becuna docked in the harbor. On the Camden side, don’t miss a tour aboard the nation’s largest battleship, the Battleship New Jersey 20% OFF. The RiverLink Ferry can take you there in minutes. Enjoy a Riversharks Baseball game 20% OFF or board the Patriot Harbor Line for Grim Philly’s Riverboat Cruise: Pirates, Rum Runners, and the Jersey Devil #20 20% OFF for a completely unique (and super fun!) historic experience.
Philly by Night: Philly is hard to beat when it comes to great eating & drinking. Old City, South Street, and Rittenhouse Square are top spots to explore. The more adventurous might check out up-and-coming Northern Liberties or Fishtown. Culture lovers can enjoy a performance on the Avenue of the Arts. Relax aboard the Patriot while taking in the sights, or take a wine education tour. Grim Philly combines history and beer on many of their tours, including the Bootlegger’s Ball. Catch a Riversharks Baseball game while enjoying bridge and skyline views. Franklin Square and Schuylkill Banks offer outdoor movies and special events.
What’s Free: Most historic sights and many museums are either free (Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, Carpenter’s Hall etc.), pay-what-you-wish (Rodin Museum, PMA 1st Sun of the month – also Barnes Foundation, and Wed after 5pm) or low admission (Betsy Ross House, Mummers Museum). Also free: Franklin Square, Edgar Allen Poe House, Carpenter’s Hall, Institute of Contemporary Arts, U.S. mint, “Only in America” exhibit at the National Museum of American Jewish History.
Don’t miss Classic Philly Foods: Philly Pretzels, Cheesesteaks, Hoagies, Water Ice, Tastykakes