No other city showcases America's past better than Philadelphia, PA. This city has an illustrious history that goes back to 1682 and played a central role in historical events that shaped America, including the drafting of the Constitution.
After the Revolution, the City of Brotherly Love became the temporary U.S. capital and has been a catalyst for change ever since. Whether you're a student or a young professional moving to Philadelphia, there are tons of tourist attractions to keep you busy. Visiting tourist spots is also an excellent way to discover delicious local cuisines at Philadelphia’s top restaurants and to make new friends along the way.
If you own or rent in Philadelphia, you’ll know that there are tourist attractions all over the state—so many, in fact, that it can be a little overwhelming deciding which ones to visit. So, we’ve put together a handy list to make it easier to choose. Here are the top ten attractions that you should visit when you’re in Philadelphia.
Address: 143 South Third Street, Philadelphia, PA
The Independence National Historical Park is the top tourist attraction in Philadelphia. It’s America's most historic square mile, home to Independence Hall, the birthplace of the United States of America. This iconic hall hosted the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. In 1787, the Continental Congress met here to draft the U.S. Constitution.
Across from Independence Hall is the Liberty Bell, a symbol of U.S. independence and freedom for all Americans. Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Pavilion are open to the public from 9AM–5PM daily. Neither attraction requires an entry fee, but you'll need a free, timed ticket to enter Independence Hall. Capacity is limited, so it’s advisable to arrive early.
Address: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA
If you have a passion for art, Philadelphia is a must-visit destination that will captivate your senses and inspire your creativity. Not only are there hundreds of spectacular mural artworks adorning the city streets, thanks to the City’s public art program, but it is also home to the esteemed Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a treasure trove of artworks. It features American, European and Asian paintings and artworks from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Whether you’re into Picasso, Van Gogh, Matisse or Monet, this museum is the go-to tourist site for fine art and neoclassical paintings. Set aside a couple of hours to check out masterpieces by Philly's Thomas Eakins and Charles Peale and artworks by Renoir, Manet, Chagall, Cézanne, Miró, Paul Klee, and Degas.
The museum’s staircase is a tourist attraction on its own. Thousands of “Rocky” fans visit Philadelphia to reenact Rocky’s triumphant run on the "Rocky Steps" outside the museum. Don’t forget to strike a Rocky pose for your photo on this iconic staircase!
Address: 3400 West Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA
The Philadelphia Zoo is a popular tourist attraction for all ages. It consists of several habitats for different animals, including Big Cat Falls, Outback Outpost, Bear Country, and the Carnivore Kingdom. The zoo’s African Plains habitat is home to the world's largest animals, including rhinoceros, giraffes and hippos.
If you're a wildlife conservation enthusiast, visit the zoo’s rare animal center to learn how you can help protect endangered species like the rhino.
Address: Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia, PA
Fairmount Park is a National Historic Landmark, close to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Zoo. With around 200 years of history, the 2,000-acre site is one of the nation's first public parks. After visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art you can have a picnic, relax, and cool off in this lovely park. You can also have a picnic and take Instagram-worthy photos at the Boathouse Row or the Shofuso Japanese house.
Address: 118 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA
This fine arts museum takes visitors on a historical journey, from the 18th through to the 20th centuries. The museum is in a National Historic Landmark building and features contemporary and historical American art. Students will find tons of resources for school projects here.
Did you know that the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts is the oldest of its kind in America? The 1876 building features Renaissance Gothic architectural style by Frank Furness and George Hewitt. As an aspiring or practicing architect, visit this tourist attraction in Philadelphia to learn more about America’s architecture history.
Address: 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA
This creative museum is a must for students and young professionals in comp science, IT, space travel, astronomy and oceanography. It consists of several museums and allows you to try your physics or tech experiments. You can also learn a thing or two from scientist Benjamin Franklin. Don’t forget to check out the Fels Planetarium and have a photo taken with Franklin's giant statue.
Address: 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA
The Academy of Natural Sciences is open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday, 10AM–5PM. It’s the first natural sciences institution in America and features the Permian Monsters exhibit.
Here, fossils of prehistoric land and sea beasts can teleport any visitor millions of years back into the past. The museum also offers immersive experiences of prehistoric times with intricate full-size models of ancient beasts. To avoid last-minute surprises, make a reservation in advance.
Address: Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA
After visiting the Franklin Institute, take some time to celebrate the City of Brotherly Love. This tourist site in Philadelphia offers the perfect photo-op with the iconic LOVE sculpture in the background. The sculpture is placed at the entrance to Philadelphia's Museum Mile and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, home to the Franklin Institute, the Barnes Foundation, and many more.
You can create a one-day Philadelphia tour itinerary combining several attractions around LOVE Park. During your tour, watch out for pop-up events, parties and festivals on this popular tourist site.
Address: 315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA
The Science History Institute is a free-to-visit museum featuring scientific objects and discoveries spanning several centuries. This tourist attraction in Philadelphia’s Old City is open to the public three days of the week, from Thursday to Saturday, 10am-5pm. Here, you’ll learn the history of notable scientists and their innovations. The Science History Institute can answer all your burning questions in science-related fields.
Who built the first electrospray ionization mass spectrometer? Have water protection strategies in the U.S. evolved over the past 200 years? Visit Philadelphia’s science museum to learn and journey through the history of science.
Address: 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ 08103
Adventure Aquarium on the Camden waterfront is home to over 15,000 aquatic species. You can get intimate with the sharks by walking on the aquarium’s V-shaped rope bridge across the shark tank. Plan your tour beforehand to ensure you see all animals, including the majestic hippos. To discover the wonders of life underwater, visit Adventure Aquarium 10AM–4PM on weekdays or 9:30AM–5:00PM on weekends.
Of course, these are just ten of the top attractions in Philly. Here are some others that are worth visiting:
Reading Terminal Market
Society Hill Historic District
There’s no shortage of tourist attractions in Philadelphia, PA. Joining an organized tour can help you hit as many sites as possible. Group tour organizers understand the city like the palms of their hands. They can cover more locations than solo tours.
If you’re visiting Philadelphia solo for a day, plan everything beforehand because it’s possible to hit all the big tourist sites in Philadelphia in one day. Another idea is to eat at Reading Terminal Market and combine a visit to several top tourist sites close to each other.
For instance, you can visit attractions in Fairmount Park, Independence Historical National Park, and LOVE Park — all of which are gateways to over half of the top tourist sites and other attractions such as Eastern State Penitentiary.
If you don't have enough time to complete the tour, squeeze in Independence Historical National Park. A two-hour tour around this historical square mile can cover Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Old City Hall, the Ben Franklin Museum, and many more. You'll walk in the footsteps of the Founding Fathers and learn about the U.S. Independence, the Constitution, the Revolution and American Jewish history. Whether you’re a history buff or not, your tour of Philadelphia won’t be complete without visiting the birthplace of the U.S. It’s a must-visit tourist site for students and young professionals alike.
If you’re studying or working in Philadelphia, check out Tripalink’s co-living properties! You can find the perfect place in Philadelphia to rent close to the state’s top attractions and universities. Whether you're looking for an off-campus house to rent in Temple, PA, an apartment near Drexel University, or anything in-between, Tripalink can eliminate the hassle of house hunting for you.