Free Things To Do In Philadelphia: Historic Sites, Museums, and Tours

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Visiting Philly can be a fun and educational experience at any age. Families will find there’s an especially large amount of things to do in Philadelphia, and not all of them will break the bank. There are quite a few free things to do in Philadelphia. Here are some terrific options for kids, those who are kids-at-heart, and their families. Locals and tourists will appreciate the option to enjoy Philly without spending a fortune.

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Free Things To Do In Philadelphia: Historic Sites

Free Things To Do In Philadelphia
Photo by: Sharon Rigney

Philadelphia has no shortage of historic sites. When you’d like to see a lot but don’t have an unlimited budget (and really, who does?), free attractions are a blessing. Fortunately, there are many sites in Philadelphia that are both historic as well as free of charge. 

Liberty Bell

Yes, the Liberty Bell is free to see! It is part of Independence National Historic Park and managed by the National Park Service. Park Rangers are often out and about giving talks about our nation’s most famous bell.  Snap a photo of with the family and be sure to watch the 10-minute video inside the Visitor Center as well. 

Independence Hall

Independence Hall is part of Independence National Historic Park. It is quite moving to visit the site where our forefathers fought so passionately for our new nation. Although free, be sure to head to the Visitor’s Center to obtain a ticket to tour the hall. Independence Hall has guides and quite a bit to see, including an original copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

Benjamin Franklin’s Grave 

The famous Philadelphian’s grave is available for viewing without entering the graveyard it is contained in. You can even toss a penny onto it like other tourist’s do. It is amazing to be able to see some remnant of the incredible man whose name it bears.

Christ Church and Burial Grounds

The Christ Church and Burial Grounds is home to the graves of some of the oldest and most famous people in Philadelphia. It is humbling and serene to walk through and see their grave markers.

Elfreth’s Alley

Elfreth’s Alley is a quaint and poetic little avenue. It is also America’s oldest continuously inhabited residential street. It is worth a stroll down this street to remember a time when the colonists lived here.

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site is another spot you won’t want to miss. Edgar’s time in Philadelphia was some of his most prolific. Stop by his former home and see where the famous author lived while he published some of his most well-known works.

Wanamaker Organ

The Wanamaker Organ is the world’s largest functional pipe organ. It is located in Macy’s, which is also home to a famous holiday light show during late November and December. Be sure to see both if you’re able.

For other great ideas, check out Exploring Philadelphia With Kids – Historical Sites and Great Museums.

Look for amazing deals on family-friendly hotels in Philadelphia.

Free Things To Do In Philadelphia: Outdoor Sites

Free Things To Do in Philadelphia
Photo by: Sharon Rigney

Seeing a city should certainly not just be an inside job. There are many wonderful free things to do in Philadelphia in the great outdoors. When the weather is willing to cooperate, these may be some of the best sites you’ll see. Stop by some of these iconic Philadelphia hotspots and be sure to bring your camera.

Boathouse Row

See Boathouse Row at its best from across the Schuylkill River when it is lit up at night. It’s quite a sight to behold with the twinkling lights reflecting off of the water.

Schuylkill River Trail

Bikers, walkers, hikers, joggers, runners and more will love the fantastic scenery along the Schuylkill River Trail. It’s hard to believe you’re still in the city, as you (happily) feel miles and miles away.

Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing

At Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing you can walk by the water, watch boats sailing by, see the Battleship New Jersey, and relish the sunshine. Be sure to enjoy the seasonal pop-up parks where you may catch musicians playing and experience special events.

Fairmount Park

There’s so much to do in this great expanse of land. Play a game of frisbee, let the pup run around, stop by some of the mansions in the area, or visit the famous whispering bench by Memorial Hall.

LOVE Statue

It’s iconic and Instagram-worthy. Stop by the LOVE statue and grab a picture in front of Robert Indiana’s famous art structure for the ultimate Philadelphia keepsake. 

Rocky Statue and Art Museum Steps

Made famous by the iconic Sylvester Stallone movie, many people’s visit to the city is not complete without a run up the steps and a picture by the statue. Since they’re in the same location, it’s easy to do both!

Smith Memorial Playground

Smith Memorial Playground is a favorite spot among children. Little ones will love the chance to run and play at this wonderful, huge, free city playground.

Historic Bartram’s Garden

Historic Bartram’s Garden is the oldest botanical garden in the US. It also features wonderful views of the city skyline.

Philadelphia’s Boardwalk (Schuylkill River Banks) 

This is the newest addition to the city’s landscape. It offers visitors a wonderful skyline view and the ability to walk, jog, run, bike, or simply sit and enjoy the views. It connects the Schuylkill River Trail from Locust Street to the South Street Bridge and beyond.

Explore other options for Philadelphia fun: Top 10 Things for Families to do in Philadelphia

Find deals on hotels in Philadelphia.

Free Things To Do In Philadelphia: Indoor Sites and Offbeat Ideas

Free Things To Do in Philadelphia
Photo by: Sharon Rigney

Looking for something a bit different to do? If you’ve visited the city before, you may be in the mood for something unique. All of these sites offer an experience that’s a little different, yet interesting at the same time. 

United States Mint 

Ever wonder how money is made? You can find out at the United States Mint! Kids will love the chance to see that money doesn’t grow on trees; it’s made here.

Kimmel Center

Take a tour of this fantastic acoustical wonder where many great concerts, shows, and performances are held annually to truly appreciate its function and beauty.

Dream Garden Glass Mural at the Curtis Center 

Hidden in the Curtis Center, this amazing glass mural is worth a visit as it is unrivaled in its splendor. It is made of Tiffany Glass and was the first official “historical object” in the city. 

Fireman’s Hall Museum

Got a firefighter in your group or know someone who appreciates them? The Fireman’s Hall Museum offers an opportunity to trace the profession through the years and has firefighting equipment from days gone by.

TUSPM Shoe Museum

A shoe museum? Yep. TUSPM Shoe Museum contains shoes from all walks of life and from countries far and wide. It even features some awesome celebrity footwear from the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Joan Rivers, and Sally Struthers. Visits are free, although they must be scheduled.

Reading Terminal Market

The Reading Terminal Market is one of the most interesting and delicious places in the entire city. This culinary center looks, smells, sounds, and tastes like nothing you’ve experienced before. A must-see on a visit to Philadelphia, even if you purchase nothing.

Cathedral of St. Peter & Paul

What’s a visit to a major city without a stop into a church? This one doesn’t wow upon first glance, but step inside or take the free audio tour on their website and you’re in for a true treat.

See reviews by Trekaroo families on free Philadelphia sights to see.

Look for the best hotel prices in Philadelphia.

Free Things To Do In Philadelphia
Photo by: Sharon Rigney

Lead image by Bigstock.

About the author

Sharon Rigney (aka msrigs) is one of Trekaroo's Travel Experts located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She's a mother to a daughter and two sons, ages 10-16. She and her family welcome the opportunity to travel and try new things, sometimes close to home and sometimes just a little out of their comfort zone just to shake things up. Her kids are so used to her reviewer's eye, that their first question when something notable happens on vacation is usually "so are you going to write about that"?

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