The Absolute Best Free and Entertaining Things to Do in Philadelphia



When it comes to travel, many times seems like your wallet never gets a break. While there are often sites in cities such as Philadelphia that you'd like to see, affording them all (as well as lodging and food) can be quite a feat.

In the city of Philadelphia, there are quite a few venues that offer visitors free admission. The sites, many iconic historic powerhouses, deliver on value while not shortchanging you on educational or entertainment returns. For instance, did you know that you can stop in and snap a photo of yourself next to the Liberty Bell for no cost at all? True story. You can also walk the rooms of Independence Hall like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the Second Continental Congress did, all free. The U.S. Mint will not require you to pay, nor will Christ Church or it's burial grounds. In case you are thinking all of the sites are historical, there are other activities available that will not require you to remember a thing from your school days.

Whether you're watching your wallet, or just looking to cut down on the cost of going from site to site, these venues offer up great opportunities to experience the many faces of Philadelphia, all on a budget. Make a deposit into your inner educational bank, beef up on your history, walk where famous changemakers walked. No one has to know you kept your George Washingtons to yourself while doing it.



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For many visitors to the City of Brotherly Love, one of the most recognizable and interesting landmarks to visit is the Art Museum steps. These steps were made famous in the Rocky movies, and folks love to run up the steps like the famous boxer did in the films. You can stop to do just that, free of charge, as many times as you like. Whether or not you choose to also go into the art museum is up to you, but visiting and running the steps is free of charge. There's also a statue of Rocky of to the side of the museum, and you may get your picture taken there or on the steps to say you've been here. Many people love adding this budget activity to their visit, as it's quick, fun, free and gives them some bragging rights as well.


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Everybody loves money. Now you can learn the mystery behind the fascinating coin-making process via a free, self-guided tour of the United States Mint. Located in Independence Mall, this facility produces nearly one million coins every 30 minutes. Paper money is also printed here. Audio stations are set up to guide visitors through the building. On the self-guided tour, you'll be able to stop at the coining operations factory and view the coin-making through a long glass window. Other highlights include displays of important coins, the first coining press and the Key to the First Mint. Tours here tend to last approximately 45 minutes.


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One of Philadelphia's five original squares, Franklin Square is certainly one of the best for kids. Children can take a ride on the Philadelphia Park Liberty Carousel that's located here before heading to the playground for a more active adventure. The park's 18-hole mini golf course is Philadelphia-themed, and all will enjoy guiding their ball through traditional city landmarks like Elfreth's Alley, the LOVE statue and the crack in the Liberty Bell. Afterward, a bite to eat here or a dessert is the perfect way to refresh. There are also great light shows during the holiday season, which are wonderful for families to view together.


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If you're in town during the first of the month, don't miss a chance to explore Philly's incredible art scene. First Friday is a free open house that takes art enthusiasts through many of the galleries in the Old City Arts District. Found mostly between Front and Third, and Market and Vine Streets, the 40-plus galleries open their doors to share a wide range of artistic creations, including everything from contemporary works in various mediums to ceramic arts. Many also offer complimentary beverages and/or and small appetizers for visitors who stop in after work, or those who simply like to sample.


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Spruce Street Harbor Park


 

Spruce Street Harbor Park is a pop-up park on Penn's Landing in Philadelphia. Offering fun amenities such as hammocks, lawn games, chairs by the water, food and drink options, music and good times to locals, visitors, friends, family and even strangers. There's so much fun to be had at this venue that all can leave friends when the night is over. Spruce Street Harbor Park is free to enter, and features sponsored Happy Hours periodically throughout the summer, along with music and special events. It's a great way to start or finish off a weekend in the city with people you care about or just by yourself.


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Edgar Allan Poe National Historical Site


 

Did you know that you can explore the house where famous author Edgar Allan Poe wrote and published some of his greatest tales? It's true! This National Historical Site, located in Philly's Northern Liberties neighborhood, was once home to Poe, his wife and, for about a year, his mother-in-law, during which time he wrote "The Black Cat." Today, visitors can enjoy self-guided or ranger-led tours of the three-story, red brick home, as well as an eight-minute audio-visual presentation on Poe's life, all for free. It's a great way to see an offbeat site when touring the city while still remaining within your budget.


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Independence Hall was built between 1732 and 1756 as the State House of the Province of Pennsylvania. It is one of Philadelphia's most popular attractions. It's also free. A guided tour is part of your admission, and they are available year-round. Beginning in the East Wing, tours take visitors through the building, pointing out what is important in each area. It served as the meeting place for the Second Continental Congress and the site where the Declaration of Independence was adopted in 1776. Although tours are available year-round, timed tickets are needed from March through December and are available at the Visitors Center.


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Christ Church Episcopal Philadelphia


 

Take a stroll through Franklin Court to get to Christ Church, the first parish in Pennsylvania of the Church of England. This building was the place of worship for colonists like George Washington, Betsy Ross and Benjamin Franklin. Still in use today, the late 1700s building is considered one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in the country. The chandelier inside is authentic and was supposedly lit when Benjamin Franklin's daughter was married here. Historical talks and tours of the church and burial ground are offered daily. The venue is free of charge to visit, as are the burial grounds on site, although donations are certainly appreciated.


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Take a step back in time (free of charge) when you visit this, the oldest continuously inhabited street in the US. It is located in Philadelphia's Old City section, and although the cobblestone alley here opened in 1702, the 32 buildings lining the block were built between the 1720s and 1830s. The homes here are owned and occupied privately now, but the street still contains the look and feel of the Colonial period. Free cell phone tours guide you through this residential street, while two connecting houses, the Museum House and the Chairmaker's House, permit visitors to enjoy a public tour for a small fee.


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Liberty Bell


 

The Liberty Bell is obviously one of Philadelphia's most famous sites, but did you know it's also one of the most memorable free attractions in the city? Yes, we said free! Located on Market Street, the Liberty Bell Center is open year-round and offers visitors a chance to learn more about this iconic piece of history. A video presentation and various informative exhibits focus on the bell's origins, how it cracked, it's role throughout history and its significance today. The cherished bell itself is displayed at the back of the center, and is the perfect place to grab a photo.


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