Planning an American holiday is one of the best holidays to plan, and if you are considering a USA city break getaway this year, Philadelphia is a must! Not only is Philadelphia rich in history and bursting with so much to enjoy and explore, its also a city that offers fantastic value for money. What many don’t realize, or perhaps expect from a US city, Philadelphia has a huge array of attractions to enjoy for absolutely FREE during your holiday. We’ve rounded up a must do check list of the best 30 free things to do in Philadelphia, let’s dive in!

Historic Mile

America’s Most Historic Square Mile is a must visit in Philadelphia. Within this square mile of history, there is a huge amount to enjoy during your trip for absolutely free, so get those walking shoes on!

  1. Start off at the Independence Visitor Center which is located at 6th and Market streets, in the heart of Philadelphia’s historic mile. This visitor center is where you will learn everything you need to know about this region and where you can pick up your free timed tickets for tours of Independence Hall. The team here are hugely knowledgeable and will give you all the information you need to make the most of your time in Philadelphia.
  2. Your first stop of your walk into history will take you to Independence Hall, the building where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were debated and adopted. While, we have this included in our fantastic list of free Philadelphia attractions, it does in fact come with a $1 reservation fee for a ticket through the NPS (which must be booked in advance), but at $1pp and being a must see piece of history, its practically free!
  3. Next up, you must visit Congress Hall. This is where George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States.
  4. No trip to Philadelphia is complete without a visit to the Liberty Bell, the iconic symbol of America’s historic past. The Liberty Bell is on display in the Liberty Bell Center and tickets are not required. Entrance is on a first-come, first-served basis.

5. The President’s House is the site of the residence of American Presidents from 1790 to 1800, prior to the building of the national capital in Washington, D.C. While visiting, be sure to visit the “Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation” exhibit.

6. For a quainter walk through history, be sure to wander down Elfreth’s Alley, which is America’s oldest continuously-inhabited street. For a closer look at these 18th century residences, house numbers 124 and 126 serve as the Elfreth’s Alley Museum.

7. Fireman’s Hall is a unique museum of firefighting, fire-safety tips and so much more. Did you know that Philadelphia is the birthplace of the first volunteer fire company? It was created in 1736 by Benjamin Franklin.

8. The National Museum of American Jewish History can be browsed for free, which features the “Only in America” gallery, a fantastic exhibit that illustrates the choices, challenges, and opportunities 18 Jewish Americans encountered on their path to remarkable achievement.

9. The American Philosophical Society Museum is the oldest learned society in the United States, founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin for the purpose of “promoting useful knowledge” and is another interesting museum to explore during your visit to Philadelphia.

10. Ever wondered how money is made? Visit the United States Mint and experience making money at the source with a free, self-guided tour including a view of coining operations from 40 feet above the factory floor. This 45-minute tour is available to the public Monday through Friday

Explore the Outdoors

Did you know that Philadelphia has over 270 miles of recreational trails? If you love to embrace a city’s outdoor spaces and parks, you are in for a treat in Philadelphia!

  1. Philadelphia is home to many gorgeous squares which were part of William Penn’s original plans for the city. No visit to the city is complete without a leisurly visit (and maybe a picnic?) to the picturesque Rittenhouse Square, Washington Square, Franklin Square and Logan Square.
  2. Head to LOVE Park for one of Philadelphia’s favorite selfie spots with the LOVE statue.
  3. With 2,000-plus acres, making it one of America’s largest urban park systems, Fairmount Park is a vast outdoor playground with 63 individual parks, 200 historic buildings, an impressive collection of public art, and more. Set aside some time to bike, run, or play in this incredible green space.
  4. Bartram’s Garden, America’s first botanical garden, spans over 45 acres along the Schuylkill River and including walking trails, historic buildings and a working community farm that produces food for area residents.
  5. Relax at Spruce Street Harbor Park which is situated atop of several floating barges and features hammocks and lounge chairs as well as LED lights on the Delaware River Waterfront.
  6. Spend your evening strolling along South Street, between 10th and Front streets. This district is a mecca of eclectic and bohemian culture, with nearly 150 stores, boutiques, and galleries, as well as numerous bars and restaurants.
  7. At Rail Park, unused rail lines have been transformed into a beautiful public space that provide gorgeous benches to enjoy a coffee on as well as gorgeous trails to wander along.
  8. Cherry Street Pier, a redeveloped, century-old municipal pier, offers live music performances, pop-up shops, food vendors and more, year-round, as well as Instagram-ready views of the Delaware River and Ben Franklin Bridge.

Enjoy the Arts

Philadelphia has a thriving arts scene, and a fantastic array of art attractions and exhibitions are free for holidaymakers to enjoy during their city break.

  1. During your trip, be sure to enjoy self-guided tours of Philadelphia’s exceptional collection of public art with Mural Arts Philadelphia and the Association for Public Art.
  2. The Kimmel Center for Performing Arts offers its “Free at the Kimmel” series of indoor and outdoor concerts and workshops.
  3. Follow in the steps of Rocky Balboa with a morning jog up the Rocky Steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art – and don’t forget to take your photo with Rocky’s statue once you’ve cooled down. The museum has a “pay what you wish” offer on the first Sunday of every month and every Wednesday from 5 to 8:45 p.m.
  1. The Barnes Foundation offers free admission on the first Sunday of each month.
  2. Visit the Fabric Workshop & Museum, a free, contemporary art museum featuring work in fabrics and other materials.
  3. Explore University of Pennsylvania’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), which has developed an international reputation as a preeminent venue for contemporary art and culture.
  4. The Galleries at Moore College of Art and Design feature the work of significant regional, national and international artists with distinctive exhibitions and educational programs, open to the public, free of charge.
  5. Catch a First Friday in Old City – on the first Friday of each month, year-round, the galleries, studios, shops and restaurants in Old City open their doors for exhibition of the neighborhood’s vibrant arts scene.

Science Attractions

Learn something new at one of Philadelphia’s science attractions during your visit with this list of free experiences.

  1. The Science History Institute holds an outstanding collection of chemistry-related objects, artwork, photographs, and books, illustrating the impact chemistry and chemistry engineering have had on the modern world.
  2. Founded in 1855, the Wagner Free Institute of Science is dedicated to providing free public education in science and its evening science courses are in their 160th year, making them the oldest program devoted to free adult education in the United States. The National Historic Landmark building houses more than 100,000 natural history specimens including fossils, shells, minerals and mounted animal skeletons and skins displayed in original wood and glass cabinets.
  3. Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond, offers tours of the historic Pine Building with stops at a 13,000-volume library (home to a preserved seven-pound tumor!) and the oldest surgical amphitheater in the country. Pennsylvania Hospital is part of the University of Pennsylvania, whose medical school was the first in the U.S.
  4. The Benjamin Franklin Memorial at The Franklin Institute is the official national memorial to the Founding Father. The 20-foot-high marble statue of the famous Philadelphia scientist, statesman, inventor and printer sits in the rotunda, modelled after the Pantheon in Rome. The floors, walls, columns, pilasters, and cornices are made of rare marbles from Portugal, Italy, and France. The Memorial is always open to the public when the museum is open, and no admission fee is required. Be sure to check out Benjamin Franklin Forever, a 3.5-minute multimedia show detailing Franklin’s profound impact on the world.

So, there you have it, 30 free things to do in Philadelphia. If you want to learn more about this exciting city, you can discover more about Philadelphia here. Alternatively, our USA travel experts are on hand seven days a week to help you plan the city break of a lifetime to this historic, contemporary, and exciting city – simply call 01-6995329.