Visiting Philadelphia? There’s no shortage of things to do in Philly – whether you’re on a mission to eat your body weight in the city’s famous cheesesteaks or you want to pose like Rocky, there’s lots to discover.
Philadelphia also has an impressive range of museums and historic attractions to explore by day, and great food and secret cocktail bars to seek out at night.
Here’s the seven absolutely essential things to do in Philadelphia – for both locals and visitors alike…
1. Head to an after-hours event at The Franklin Institute
Science After Hours at The Franklin Institute is a fun, adults-only boozy science evening, where you can explore the museum’s collections hands-on. Each evening showcases a different topic—from cocktail concocting to time traveling, and even Harry Potter themed nights.
2. Run up and down the ‘Rocky Steps’
You can’t visit Philadelphia and not run up the steps at the east entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, aka “The Rocky Steps.” They’ve even been declared the second most famous movie filming location in the world.
Each year, tens of thousands of people recreate the scene from the legendary movie and make the trek up the steps. Just be prepared — those 72 steps don’t climb themselves.
3. Have a foodie feast at Reading Terminal Market
Did you know that Reading Terminal Market is the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmers’ market? With over 80 food vendors, it’s a top pick for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between.
Be sure to try the Apple Dumplings at Dutch Eating Place and a Roast Pork Sandwich at DiNic’s.
4. Visit Philadelphia Art Museum
See world-famous Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works by Renoir, Monet, Manet, Degas, and Cézanne in the museum’s European art galleries, explore the outdoor Sculpture Garden and see Marcel Duchamp’s final masterpiece, Étant donnés, which has been described by the artist Jasper Johns as “the strangest work of art in any museum.
Peep through the old wooden door for the artist’s final masterpiece.
5. Chow down on an authentic Philly cheesesteak
There’s countless places in Philadelphia where you’ll find a super cheesesteak.
Soft bread rolls stuffed with steak, with provolone, Whiz, or American cheese; “wit” fried onions or not – what could be better? You need to try the best of the best though, so check out our guide here.
6. Ride the RiverLink Ferry
Take a ride across the Delaware River on the RiverLink Ferry for beautiful views on the Philadelphia Waterfront like Spruce Street Harbor Park, Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, Washington Avenue Pier, Pier 68, Race Street Pier – and for the first time this summer – the new Cherry Street Pier.
7. Sip beers in the city’s pop-up beer gardens
The popular PHS Pop-Up Gardens set up shop in unused outdoor spaces across the city in the spring, summer and fall. In 2019, the pop-ups return to South Street and uCity Square. Expect beer and food from some of the city’s most popular breweries and restaurants.