Best Tours and Excursions in Philadelphia

Top Tours and Excursions to Include on Your Philly Bucket List

Visiting the City of Brotherly Love soon? Got a friend or relative or coworker coming to town you'd like to show around? Just interested in seeing a little more of the city you call home? 10Best has compiled a list of the tours and excursions that are totally worth your time when looking to discover more about Philadelphia. Whether you're interested in food or historic sights or interesting locations throughout the city, there are options for you. Spend some time with the friendly and knowledgeable folks at Philadelphia Urban Adventures and sign up for a tour or two to rekindle your interest in the events that shaped this country, or take a beer tour just for the fun of it. Tour operators like Chew Philly allow patrons to satisfy their culinary tastes as they travel about town, and Grim Philly Twilight Tours bring out the ghost-story-loving person in the crowd. No matter what motivates you to find out more about the area, there's sure to be a tour or two to spark an interest in those you mingle with or those you want to mingle with. It can be a great way to see something new or experience something you'd never really taken a second look at, or both. See which ones make you want to head on out and join in.


Grim Philly Twilight Tours was created by a university professor. These tours consistently rise to the top of the charts when it comes to tour rankings in Philadelphia. Covering such adults-only topics as vampires, gangsters, pirates, ghosts and serial killers, Grim Philly aims to seduce, haunt, fascinate, educate and even amaze those who dare to join them for an evening. There are various topics to select from, as well as modes of taking the tour, including walking, boating, and tavern tours. For a little something on the dark side, grab your friends and take a tour of the grim side of this city.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Most tours happen during the day and cover history or cultural offerings. This tour does none of that yet still manages to entertain and educate.

Sharon's expert tip: This tour concentrates on historically grim facts, and is not so much of a ghost tour, so don't expect to see hauntings on your route.

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Looking for something completely different on your next tour through Philadelphia? Well, things don't get much more off the wall that Stray Boots tours. Discover Philly through a cell phone-guided game that transforms exploring the city from a passive experience into an interactive adventure. Receive challenges on your phone that ask you to find interesting things, solve riddles, talk to locals, take photos, and more. Send the answers to earn points and learn facts about the city! Any US phone works, and you can start anytime and play completely at your own pace. Just visit the Stray Boots website to start your very own walking tour and have it all in the palm of your hand.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: A scavenger hunt using your cell phone and your sense of adventure makes any afternoon much more interesting.

Sharon's expert tip: Bring along your teens and your camera for an activity they'll actually find fun.

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Fairmount/Art Museum area
Philadelphia Bike Tour Co

Whether you're more interested in parks, neighborhoods, murals or beer, there's a tour for you here. Done on two wheels, these tours offer folks the option to stay active, and guides can cater the day to the abilities and preferences of the riders more than with big group activities. With a variety of subjects to choose from when arranging what you'd like to see, there's likely to be something of interest to your crowd. Take a tour as a first-time visitor to the city, or sign up for one that presents even the frequent visitor or resident a side of the city they may never have considered.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: There are many ways to tour the city. This one lets you grab a helmet, get active and learn a few cool things about Philly.

Sharon's expert tip: Be sure to show up a little early to get your equipment sorted out, get comfy and get ready to have some fun.

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Here's your chance to experience a variety of Philadelphia attractions, all on a comfortable and easy-to-operate segway. Sign up for the Full City Tour and take in more than 30 of Philadelphia's most popular attractions, or drink in some American history and retrace the steps of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington on the Old City Historic Tour. Groups meet at the Independence Visitor's Center and roll on over to the many sights included on the tour you choose. Easy on the feet and a cool experience as well, these tours are fun, entertaining, educational and a great activity for groups of all kinds. With many options to select from, there's sure to be one to interest your crowd.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Touring the city by segway is not only fun, but pretty cool to tell friends and family about when you get home.

Sharon's expert tip: Be sure to pay attention to road safety and operate the segway accordingly for the most positive experience possible.

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Awfully Nice Tours provides personal and group walking and driving tours around the Philadelphia cityscape. With options to even create your own personalized tours, Awfully Nice Tours can show you anywhere in Philly that you can possibly think to visit, be it backdrops from Rocky or the historical districts of the early United States. Groups are equally as welcomed, and Awfully Nice Tours can accommodate just about any sized crowd. Tours range from just under two hours to day long affairs, depending on what you're in the mood for. When it comes to all encompassing tours of the city of brotherly love, not many beat Awfully Nice Tours.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: For a tour of an area of special interest to you or your crowd, look to this company to make it personal and pertinent.

Sharon's expert tip: Don't be afraid to personalize your tour to meet the interests and preferences of the folks you're traveling with.

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Love Letter Tour (Mural Arts Phila)
Photo courtesy of M. Kennedy for VisitPhilly

Many of us get a little tongue-tied when it comes to expressing our love. Why not avoid the awkwardness and take that beloved person for a ride on the El with the Love Letter Tour? This 1.5-hour guided tour showcases 15 of 50 murals between 45th and 63rd streets in West Philly. The murals are literally a love letter from a guy to a gal and an artist to the city. While oozing with romance, the trip is also entertaining, and will enthrall any appreciator of the arts. It's also a nice way to get out and see an often overlooked element of the cityscape. This year it will be held virtually on February 11th with hopes to have it return to in-person soon. Make this the year you open your heart to the magic of it all.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: This tour is a little out-of-the-ordinary for folks sick of the same-old sights and is a unique offering with a romantic side.

Sharon's expert tip: These tours are also available for private bookings if the times and dates don't mesh with your needs. There are also virtual tour options and self guided tours for those interested in those.

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Museum District & Fairmount Park
Eastern State Penitentiary
Photo courtesy of Sharon Nolan

Opened in 1829, Eastern State Penitentiary was the world's first true "penitentiary," a prison designed to inspire penitence among convicts. Today, the massive structure stands in ruins as one of Philadelphia's most historic sites. Visitors can tour this haunting building that once held America's most notorious criminals, including gangster Al Capone. Narrated by actor Steve Buscemi, the audio tour offers an intimate and informative look at Eastern's storied cellblocks and yards. Take a camera, as the building is incredibly photogenic. Walk through and listen to the stories of the inmates, and imagine the past come to life as you stroll the halls. The hospital section is especially interesting. What must have gone on there...

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: For a truly out-of-the-ordinary and architecturally cool way to spend some time, take this tour and imagine how life would have been spent here.

Sharon's expert tip: Remember that the prison is cooler, so head here with that in mind, and be sure to check this place out at Halloween when they host one of the scariest walk-throughs in the nation.

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Hit the pavement with the 2.5-hour Chew Philly Food Tours. Be treated to an afternoon of savory and sweet foods, while being taught a thing or two about local architecture, history, and culture along the way. Your taste buds will be tickled with new foods, some beloved classics, and some that can only be found in Philly. Whatever your age or fitness level, you won't want to miss this showcase of Philly's finest culinary food artisans and famous specialties. The restaurants being visited are family owned and many have been serving up tasty creations to the locals for decades, so Chew Philly Food Tours can guarantee your experience is truly unique. Walk, talk, chew, and make new friends while we show you why some people call Philly the City of Brotherly Grub.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Food, fun and facts. Combine them together and this tour is a sure-fire win for all kinds of folks.

Sharon's expert tip: Don't be afraid to try one of these tours even if you're a local to the area, as there's always room for food and a good cultural experience in anyone's life.

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The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia

Billed as a "revolutionary new way" to experience Philadelphia's historic side, this walking tour leads travelers past many of the city's most important sites, including the Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, City Tavern, Elfreth's Alley and the Betsy Ross House. See where key figures such as John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington met to lay out the blueprints of the new republic. In addition to more than 30 historic sites, the easy-to-follow route passes by several restaurants and shops that are perfect to grab a bite to eat or pick up a souvenir. Guided tours meet at the Independence Visitor Center and take around 75 minutes to see 15 sites.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: This wonderful walking tour offers patrons a behind-the-scenes view of some of Philadelphia's most important sights.

Sharon's expert tip: Tours run April through November, so enjoy them when visiting during this timeframe.

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Philadelphia Urban Adventures
Photo courtesy of Sharon Rigney

Whatever your interests may be, Philadelphia Urban Adventures has a walking tour that is sure to fit the bill. The classic River to River tour lets patrons follow in the footsteps of our Founding Fathers, while the 9th Street Italian Market adventure takes participants through one of the oldest neighborhoods in the country. Beer lovers especially enjoy the Philly On Tap tour, which ventures through the streets of Center City to sample Philadelphia's favorite local brews. Peruse their offerings to find the one that will be of most interest to that special someone and let the staff here do the rest.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: With a variety of topics and tours to choose from this company offers a fun way to get informed about the city of Philadelphia.

Sharon's expert tip: These tours often sample food and beverages, but perhaps scope out an eatery at the start or end the tour for an added treat.

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Meet Sharon Nolan

Sharon is a native to the Philadelphia area, but loves to wander from its familiar borders. She has traveled to more than 30 countries, trekked five continents, ventured out with family,...  More About Sharon