Published: March 15, 2021
Updated: August 11, 2021
By: Frances Ellison
Welcome to Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love! Whether you're brand new to the area, or are a native Philadelphian, being in a city this big can sometimes feel overwhelming. With neighborhoods changing every day, it can be hard to know where to go on a day out, but luckily, some Philly staples will never change.
There's always a ton to do in Philadelphia, but here's our beginner's guide for top city experiences. From the world famous Liberty Bell, to some newer, more fun staples like the Rocky Statue, we have got you covered on your crash course of the city.
*Please be sure to view and participate in these activities safely. For up-to-date information on the City of Philadelphia's COVID-19 restrictions, visit their official website.
Eastern State Penitentiary, the world's first true penitentiary, was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers.
Why you should check it out: Tours today include the cellblocks, solitary punishment cells, Al Capone's Cell, and Death Row. Just five blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art!
Eastern State is officially open to visitors! Learn more about their virtual and in-person programming by visiting their official website!
Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence was adopted, the design of the American flag was agreed upon, the Articles of Confederation were adopted, and the U.S. Constitution was drafted and signed. Steps away from Independence Hall is The National Constitution Center: interactive museum and civic education headquarters dedicated to that sacred document.
Why you should check it out: See Freedom Rising, a 360-degree theatrical production, Signer's Hall: 42 life-size bronze statues of the founding fathers, and celebrate being an American!
The Constitution Center is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; check their official website for safety and visitor guidelines.
The Philadelphia Zoo has the distinction of being the first in America, founded back in 1874. Today it is a leading destination for people of all ages. See zebras and giraffes roam an African-type plain. Say hello to red pandas and clouded leopards. Watch polar bears splash in their chilly habitat. Come explore the magic and excitement of the Philadelphia Zoo.
The Zoo is open daily and advanced reservations are required. Check the Zoo's website for their safety guidelines and to make a reservation before visiting.
The Franklin is known for blockbuster exhibits and one-of-a-kind theatrical experiences. Founded in honor of America's first scientist, Benjamin Franklin, the mission of The Franklin is to create a passion for learning about science and technology.
Why you should check it out: Walk through the Brain exhibit, as well as other favorites like the Giant Heart exhibit, Sports Challenge, and Amazing Machine. Admission includes a show in the famous Fels Planetarium!
Opening hours and safety information can be found on The Franklin Institute's website.
Reading Terminal is a historic farmer's market in downtown Philadelphia, and is a favorite among locals as well as visitors.
Why you should check it out: Choose among the homemade Amish specialties (Beiler’s Donuts!), fresh produce, fresh seafood, and tasty meats and poultry, browse the hand-made crafts, or visit one of the many restaurants.
The Liberty Bell Center is open year round, and offers a video presentation (in many languages) and exhibits about the Liberty Bell, focusing on its origins. The Liberty Bell's inscription conveys a message of liberty which goes beyond the words themselves.
Why you should check it out: No tickets are required. See the international icon of freedom in its magnificent glass chamber and find out how the bell got its famous crack!
Frances Ellison is the Digital Content Manager for the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and handles all things Phillyfunguide, including all digital content, social media and of course, the weekly Funsavers email. If you enjoy irreverently yelling into the void, read her portfolio.