Philadelphia or “Philly” as the locals call it is the largest city in Pennsylvania and one of the largest cities in the U.S. Philadelphia is one of the most important cities in the US history as it served as an important centre during the American Revolution and also later as a meeting place for the founding fathers. The city is rich with history and is home to many “firsts” in the country such as the first hospital, stock exchange, library and zoo. The city of Philadelphia is large and home to many people who come from all over the world to settle here and on top of that tourism is at an all-time high. If you’re travelling on a budget and are looking for the best things to do for free in Philadelphia, here are some of the unique ones.
1. Take a picture with the Rocky statue
Feel like a champion and take your picture with the legendary Rocky Balboa. It’s undeniable that the Rocky steps are one of Philadelphia’s biggest tourist attractions with dozens of people every day acting out the scene from the first movie where Rocky climbs the steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Rocky Statue used to sit at the top of the steps but has since been removed and placed at the bottom. Take a selfie with the champ.
Address: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway at Kelly Drive . Philadelphia, PA 19130
Opening hours: 24/7
2. Learn the coin-making process at the United States Mint
Watch and learn how money gets made. The founding fathers decided that the newly made Government of USA needed a way to establish a national identity and thus in 1792, they created the US Mint. All tours at the US Mint are free and self-guided and if you do feel like spending some money, there is a gift shop on site, so you can add to your coin collection.
United States Mint
Address: 151 N Independence Mall E, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA
Website: United States Mint
Opening hours: 9am - 4:30pm (closed on Federal holiays)
3. Check out the art galleries at First Friday
First Friday is an amazing Philly tradition. On the first Friday of every month for the whole year, studios, shops, art galleries, and restaurants open their doors for the public. Walk along the streets and check out some of the best things Philadelphia has to offer. Art galleries are free so you can just walk along and browse some of the finest works the city has to offer. Shop some sales and just indulge in what the city has to offer.
Address: All throughout the city
Website: First Friday
4. Indulge in a lawn game at Spruce Street Harbor Park
Known as one of the best urban beaches in the country, Street Harbor Park has been an oasis in the concrete jungle for over five years. Since opening in the summer of 2014, Street Harbor Park is a beloved new area of the city where people can hang out by Delaware River and enjoy some seasonal Philly treats. Eat some delicious food on a floating barge, cool off with a locally made craft beer in a beer tent or enjoy a free game of bocce ball or shuffleboard.
Spruce Street Harbor Park
Address: Spruce Street & S. Columbus Boulevard. Philadelphia, PA 19106
Website: Spruce Street Harbor Park
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 4pm - 11pm; Fri: 4pm - 1am; Sat: 11am - 1am; Sun: 11am - 11pm
5. Visit the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
Edgar Allan Poe lived in a few places in Philadelphia but this red brick house is the only remaining one. Poe lived at this location with his then-wife Virginia and his mother-in-law Maria Clemm for a little over a year. But despite his somewhat short stay in this house, he penned some of his best work here including “The Black Cat”. Visitors can tour the homes three floors while listening to a tour guide recount the daily life of Poe.
Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
Address: 532 N. 7th Street. Philadelphia, PA 19123
Opening hours: Fri - Sun: 9am - 12pm, 1pm - 5pm (closed from Mon - Thu)
6. Tour the Independence Hall
Independence Hall is one of the city’s most iconic buildings and one of the most important buildings in the US history. It’s here where the declaration of independence was signed and the constitution was formed. Guests can walk around the hall and learn about the formation of the country for free with a guided tour. As a bonus, there are lots of other historic artefacts in the area like the Liberty Bell.
Address: Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA
Website: Independance Hall
Opening hours: 9am - 7pm (daily)
7. Admire the ancient architecture of Episcopal Christ Church
Located in the Old City area of Philadelphia the Christ Church is older than the country it is in. Built in 1695, the beautifully preserved building is a wonderful example of Georgian Colonial architecture. The building is still in use today as church services are still offered and tours of it are free.
Address: 20 N American St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA
Website: Christ Church
Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)
8. Hear stories at Once Upon A Nation storytelling benches
Once Upon A Nation storytelling benches are scattered throughout the city’s historic districts and offer some cool stories by uniformed professionals giving out history lessons for free. There are about 13 benches around the area each telling a story about 3 to 5 minutes long. A fun way to get some exercise and perfect for the kids.
Once Upon A Nation
Address: 600 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA
Website: Once Upon A Nation
Opening hours: 11am - 4pm (check website for the dates)
9. Stroll through Bartram's Garden
Bartram’s Garden is the oldest surviving botanical garden in North America. The historic garden and arboretum was built in 1728 and was designated a National Historic Site in 1960. The garden hosts special events throughout the year and is home to some truly unique species of plants, flowers and trees.
Address: 5400 Lindbergh Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19143, USA
Website: Bartram’s Garden
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 4pm; Sat - Sun: 10am - 6pm
Philadelphia is an amazing city full of culture and history and luckily much of it is free to explore. See some of the best parts of Philly that make it great while also saving some money.
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