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Best Things To Do in Philadelphia

History pervades Philadelphia's major attractions: America's Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence here in Independence Hall, and the city's Liberty Bell rang in 1776 to summon citizens for the first reading of the Declaration. Philly is also home to the green Fairmount Park and the bustling Rittenhouse Square. Noteworthy museums include the odd Mutter Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art with its remarkable collection of impressionist art.

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Philadelphia

Local Pick: Must-see ? Free
If you're interested in history, you must visit this red-brick Georgian-style building (located in Independence National Historical Park in the Old City), where the Second Continental Congress met off and on from 1775 to 1783. More importantly, it was here that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated, drafted and signed by our forefathers. While touring Independence Hall, you'll have the chance to see the Assembly Room where George Washington was appointed the commander in chief of the Continental Army. You can also see surviving copies of the declaration, the Constitution and the Articles of Confederation, all displayed in the West Wing's Great Essentials Exhibit.
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Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Independence Hall
If you're interested in history, you must visit this red-brick Georgian-style building (located in Independence National Historical Park in the Old City), where the Second Continental Congress met off and on from 1775 to 1783. More importantly, it was here that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were debated, drafted and signed by our forefathers. While touring Independence Hall, you'll have the chance to see the Assembly Room where George Washington was appointed the commander in chief of the Continental Army. You can also see surviving copies of the declaration, the Constitution and the Articles of Confederation, all displayed in the West Wing's Great Essentials Exhibit.
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#2

#2 in Philadelphia

Local Pick: Must-see ? Free
Opposite Independence Hall, you'll find the Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historical Park. Now residing in a huge glass gazebo, this 2,080-pound piece of history was once mounted in the belfry of Independence Hall. It was used to mark important historic events, most notably at the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Historians believe the first crack developed in the early 1840s. Metal workers were tasked with repairing the bell in anticipation of George Washington's birthday in 1846. The repair was unsuccessful and the bell ceased to chime ever again.
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Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Liberty Bell Center
Opposite Independence Hall, you'll find the Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historical Park. Now residing in a huge glass gazebo, this 2,080-pound piece of history was once mounted in the belfry of Independence Hall. It was used to mark important historic events, most notably at the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Historians believe the first crack developed in the early 1840s. Metal workers were tasked with repairing the bell in anticipation of George Washington's birthday in 1846. The repair was unsuccessful and the bell ceased to chime ever again.
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#3

#3 in Philadelphia

Local Pick: Must-see ?
Unlike the Please Touch Museum, the Franklin Institute is sure to appeal to kids of all ages, not to mention the young-at-heart. Interactive displays help you and your kids learn about everything from physics to astronomy. While you're here, don't miss the SportsZone, which explains the science behind sports like surfing and rock climbing with the help of simulators. Or explore space without ever leaving earth at the Fels Planetarium. You can also take in a movie at the IMAX theater or test your wits in the museum's escape rooms. If you're interested in history, make sure to save time for the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, which features a 30-ton statue of Franklin as well as a collection of his belongings.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Franklin Institute Science Museum
Unlike the Please Touch Museum, the Franklin Institute is sure to appeal to kids of all ages, not to mention the young-at-heart. Interactive displays help you and your kids learn about everything from physics to astronomy. While you're here, don't miss the SportsZone, which explains the science behind sports like surfing and rock climbing with the help of simulators. Or explore space without ever leaving earth at the Fels Planetarium. You can also take in a movie at the IMAX theater or test your wits in the museum's escape rooms. If you're interested in history, make sure to save time for the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, which features a 30-ton statue of Franklin as well as a collection of his belongings.
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#4

#4 in Philadelphia

Local Pick: Must-see ?
Whether you're actually interested in the exhibits or just looking to re-enact that timeless scene from "Rocky," the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a must-see. Modeled after the ancient Greek temples, this notable attraction is one of the leading museums in the country. After you've made it to the top of the stairs, take a moment to appreciate the Mr. Balboa's statue before diving into the museum's impressive of works by Matisse, Van Gogh, Picasso, Cézanne and many others. You'll also find entire structures from around the world, including a 16th-century Indian temple hall, a 17th-century Chinese Palace hall and a Japanese teahouse. Of note, there are ongoing renovations in the Main Building, resulting in a few galleries being closed until 2019.
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Museums Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Whether you're actually interested in the exhibits or just looking to re-enact that timeless scene from "Rocky," the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a must-see. Modeled after the ancient Greek temples, this notable attraction is one of the leading museums in the country. After you've made it to the top of the stairs, take a moment to appreciate the Mr. Balboa's statue before diving into the museum's impressive of works by Matisse, Van Gogh, Picasso, Cézanne and many others. You'll also find entire structures from around the world, including a 16th-century Indian temple hall, a 17th-century Chinese Palace hall and a Japanese teahouse. Of note, there are ongoing renovations in the Main Building, resulting in a few galleries being closed until 2019.
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#5

#5 in Philadelphia

Local Pick: Must-see ? Free
For a taste of local Philly produce, baked goods, coffee and more, head to Reading Terminal Market in the Market East District. This market is located beneath the Reading Railroad's 1891 train station (a National Historic Landmark) and harbors more than 80 different vendors. Here, you can sample food from around the world – including Greek, Thai, Mexican and Indian specialties – while perusing homemade crafts and jewelry. 
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Shopping Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Reading Terminal Market
For a taste of local Philly produce, baked goods, coffee and more, head to Reading Terminal Market in the Market East District. This market is located beneath the Reading Railroad's 1891 train station (a National Historic Landmark) and harbors more than 80 different vendors. Here, you can sample food from around the world – including Greek, Thai, Mexican and Indian specialties – while perusing homemade crafts and jewelry. 
... more

#6

#6 in Philadelphia

Local Pick: Recommended ?
Many say this children's museum is one of the best in the country, offering dozens of hands-on displays related to everything from gardening to construction zones. You and your kids can travel to Wonderland with the Mad Hatter's tea party, practice your reading skills in Wordsworth's Cottage and learn about the properties of water in the River Adventures exhibit. The museum also hosts weekly events, ranging from story time to science experiments. And when tummies begin to rumble, the Please Touch Museum Café serves plenty of healthy snacks that both you and your little ones will love.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Please Touch Museum
Many say this children's museum is one of the best in the country, offering dozens of hands-on displays related to everything from gardening to construction zones. You and your kids can travel to Wonderland with the Mad Hatter's tea party, practice your reading skills in Wordsworth's Cottage and learn about the properties of water in the River Adventures exhibit. The museum also hosts weekly events, ranging from story time to science experiments. And when tummies begin to rumble, the Please Touch Museum Café serves plenty of healthy snacks that both you and your little ones will love.
... more

#7

#7 in Philadelphia

Local Pick: Recommended ?
Having opened way back in 1874, the Philadelphia Zoo is the first and oldest zoo in the country, but this 42-acre facility does a great job hiding its age. With nearly 1,300 animals residing here, there is plenty to keep you and your kids entertained for the entire day. Swing by the PECO Primate Reserve and check out the gorillas and the orangutans or come face to face with lions, tigers and jaguars at the KeyBank Big Cat Falls. Other top sites include the Tortoise Trail, the African Plains and Bear Country. In 2018, the zoo opened two new exhibits, Penguin Point and Water is Life, where you can see otters, red pandas and more. There are plenty of indoor and outdoor concessions, but you're also welcome to bring your own picnic.
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Zoos and Aquariums Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Philadelphia Zoo
Having opened way back in 1874, the Philadelphia Zoo is the first and oldest zoo in the country, but this 42-acre facility does a great job hiding its age. With nearly 1,300 animals residing here, there is plenty to keep you and your kids entertained for the entire day. Swing by the PECO Primate Reserve and check out the gorillas and the orangutans or come face to face with lions, tigers and jaguars at the KeyBank Big Cat Falls. Other top sites include the Tortoise Trail, the African Plains and Bear Country. In 2018, the zoo opened two new exhibits, Penguin Point and Water is Life, where you can see otters, red pandas and more. There are plenty of indoor and outdoor concessions, but you're also welcome to bring your own picnic.
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#8

#8 in Philadelphia

Local Pick: Recommended ?
The National Museum of American Jewish History aims to connect Jews to their heritage and inspire people of all backgrounds to appreciate the diversity of the Jewish experience. More than 30,000 artifacts illustrate immigration, worship, hard work, community and family life. The first floor features the "Only in America Gallery/Hall of Fame," which showcases the accomplishments of 18 well-known Jewish Americans. The other three floors cover Jewish history dating back to 1654. 
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
National Museum of American Jewish History
The National Museum of American Jewish History aims to connect Jews to their heritage and inspire people of all backgrounds to appreciate the diversity of the Jewish experience. More than 30,000 artifacts illustrate immigration, worship, hard work, community and family life. The first floor features the "Only in America Gallery/Hall of Fame," which showcases the accomplishments of 18 well-known Jewish Americans. The other three floors cover Jewish history dating back to 1654. 
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#9

#9 in Philadelphia

Local Pick: Recommended ?
The castle-like Eastern State Penitentiary is one of Philadelphia's most important historic sites. Having opened in 1829, this Quaker-inspired prison sought to reform prisoners using isolation and reflection rather than capital punishment and physical abuse. Although it was shut down in the 1970s, the Eastern State Penitentiary led the way to reform in the judicial system. Today, you are welcome to tour the facility; the highlight for many is Al Capone's cell. 
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Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Eastern State Penitentiary
The castle-like Eastern State Penitentiary is one of Philadelphia's most important historic sites. Having opened in 1829, this Quaker-inspired prison sought to reform prisoners using isolation and reflection rather than capital punishment and physical abuse. Although it was shut down in the 1970s, the Eastern State Penitentiary led the way to reform in the judicial system. Today, you are welcome to tour the facility; the highlight for many is Al Capone's cell. 
... more

#10

#10 in Philadelphia

Local Pick: Recommended ?
You may want to think twice about bringing your kids to the small yet fascinating Mütter Museum. Housed within The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Mütter is dedicated to the exposition of medical oddities. While most museums like this fill their halls with old pictures and antique scalpels, this rather cramped 19th-century building overflows with wet specimens (biological samples preserved in fluid), skeletal specimens, anatomical models, instruments and more. Some highlights include items that belonged to Marie Curie, a tumor removed from Glover Cleveland's mouth, an informative display on Siamese twins and the tallest skeleton on display in North America.
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Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Mutter Museum
You may want to think twice about bringing your kids to the small yet fascinating Mütter Museum. Housed within The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Mütter is dedicated to the exposition of medical oddities. While most museums like this fill their halls with old pictures and antique scalpels, this rather cramped 19th-century building overflows with wet specimens (biological samples preserved in fluid), skeletal specimens, anatomical models, instruments and more. Some highlights include items that belonged to Marie Curie, a tumor removed from Glover Cleveland's mouth, an informative display on Siamese twins and the tallest skeleton on display in North America.
... more

#11

#11 in Philadelphia

Local Pick: Recommended ? Free
While it was once a grazing area for livestock, Rittenhouse Square is now one of the swankiest areas in the city. Named for David Rittenhouse, the first director of the United States Mint, this neighborhood – several blocks southeast of the Mütter Museum – now features plenty of top-notch restaurants, elegant stores and trendy nightlife venues. The park itself is a great place for a picnic or an outdoor stroll.
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Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Rittenhouse Square
While it was once a grazing area for livestock, Rittenhouse Square is now one of the swankiest areas in the city. Named for David Rittenhouse, the first director of the United States Mint, this neighborhood – several blocks southeast of the Mütter Museum – now features plenty of top-notch restaurants, elegant stores and trendy nightlife venues. The park itself is a great place for a picnic or an outdoor stroll.
... more

#12

#12 in Philadelphia

Local Pick: If Time Allows ?
Constructed in the late 19th century and decorated by artist George Herzog, this sturdy stone temple is one of the largest of its kind and was once the meeting place of one of history's more legendary organizations. Tour the temple's seven meeting rooms, each of them dedicated to ideal forms of architecture: Oriental, Gothic, Egyptian, Renaissance, Ionic, Corinthian and Norman. Or attempt to uncover the mysteries behind the masons (members of which include Ben Franklin and George Washington).
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Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Masonic Temple
Constructed in the late 19th century and decorated by artist George Herzog, this sturdy stone temple is one of the largest of its kind and was once the meeting place of one of history's more legendary organizations. Tour the temple's seven meeting rooms, each of them dedicated to ideal forms of architecture: Oriental, Gothic, Egyptian, Renaissance, Ionic, Corinthian and Norman. Or attempt to uncover the mysteries behind the masons (members of which include Ben Franklin and George Washington).
... more

#13

#13 in Philadelphia

Free
Home to one of the largest public collections of Rodin's work outside of Paris, the Rodin Museum, which opened in 1929, boasts almost 150 bronzes, marbles and plasters created by Auguste Rodin. The collection represents every phase of the illustrious artist's career. Highlights include The Kiss, Rodin's famous sculpture of two lovers.
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Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Rodin Museum
Home to one of the largest public collections of Rodin's work outside of Paris, the Rodin Museum, which opened in 1929, boasts almost 150 bronzes, marbles and plasters created by Auguste Rodin. The collection represents every phase of the illustrious artist's career. Highlights include The Kiss, Rodin's famous sculpture of two lovers.
... more
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Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

Sightseeing Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
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