thumb|220px|Rocky statue outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art

42 things to do

All Places United States Pennsylvania

Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse

Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse opened its doors in East Fairmount Park in 1899. Funded by Richard and Sarah Smith, the site was dedicated to the memory of their adult son, Stanfield. Smith’s beautiful, 16,000 square foot Playhouse was designed solely as a play space for children by one of Philadelphia’s most prominent late 19th century architects, James H. Windrim. The Playground is situated on its original historic landscape – 6 1/2 acres of open fields, wooded terrain, and sloped hills – and is home to the century old Ann Newman Giant Wooden Slide, a treasured play experience for generations of Philadelphia’s children, as well as other unique pieces of play equipment. Smith strives to be Philadelphia’s foremost resource for play by providing opportunities for unstructured creative play for children 10 and younger. Smith contributes to the development of healthy children, strong families, and safe communities by: 1) maintaining a proud tradition of free family admission; 2) partnering with community-based organizations to reach a diverse audience; and 3) advocating for the importance of play.

Rittenhouse Square

One (southwest) of William Penn's original "five squares" of public, open space in the city, Rittenhouse Square sits among classic and classy Rittenhouse hotels and residences and attracts people from around the world. It is named after David Rittenhouse, a clockmaker and astronomer. Today, you can find Rittenhouse Row, where there are tons of places nearby to eat, stay and take in the arts and culture of Philadelphia. Some places to eat are: gelato and sorbetti shop Capogiro, Starr restaurant Continental and the Marathon Grill. Lodging includes the Four Seasons Hotel, AKA Rittenhouse Square, Rittenhouse Hotel, and the Ritz-Carlton. Cultural hot spots are the Kimmel Center, Wilma Theater, Prince Music Theater and the Philadelphia Horticultural Society. Another activity that one can take part in when in Rittenhouse is shopping. Some places include Barnes & Noble Booksellers (with a Starbucks Cafe inside on the 3rd floor), Armani Exchange, Philadelphia Runner, Guess, and just a few blocks away is the Liberty Place.

SEE   —  Map

Fairmount Park

Technically, Fairmount Park covers all of the city parks in Philadelphia such as Pennypack Park in the northeast and Wissahickon Valley Park in the northwest, but the name also refers more specifically to the large park on both sides of the Schuykill River northwest of Center City. East Fairmount Park is home to the Smith Memorial Playground, Dell East Concerts, and a driving range. West Fairmount Park, much of which has been renamed The Centennial District, includes the Mann Music Center (where The Philadelphia Orchestra plays in summer), the Japanese TeaHouse, Please Touch Museum for kids in a restored Memorial Hall (from the nation's Centennial celebration). Wisshickon Valley is just that, with many hiking trails, the Valley Green Inn (a picturesque place to eat), and a walking/biking, horseback riding trail known as the Forbidden Drive.

SEE   —  Map

The Philadelphia Zoo

The Philadelphia Zoo was the first zoo in the United States and is located just across the Schuylkill River. Due to open on March 1859, the zoo's opening was delayed fifteen years because of the Civil War, finally opening for business July 1, 1874, with costs of only twenty-five cents for adults and ten cents for children, and opening to more than 3,000 guests. The Zoo welcomed nearly 1.2 million visitors in 2010, and remains a popular and prosperous tourist and local attraction. Physician, Dr. William Camac is credited with being the Zoo's founding father, along with many other historical landmarks in Philadelphia. Upon its opening the Philadelphia Zoo housed up to a thousand animals and wildlife, which has rose to nearly fifteen hundred today, and has become a large institution for breeding and housing various animals in captivity.

SEE   —  +1-215-243-1100 —  Map

Villanova Wildcats

Villanova University (often called "Nova"), a Catholic school located in the Main Line suburb of Villanova, has arguably the city's highest-profile college basketball program. It is usually a strong contender in the rugged Big East Conference. Since the current Big East does not sponsor football, Nova plays that sport in the second-level Division I FCS as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). Most of Villanova's venues are on campus, most notably The Pavilion (basketball) and Villanova Stadium (football). However, high-profile basketball games are often played at the Wells Fargo Center.

DO   —  Map

Philadelphia Phillies

The city's hometown baseball team. Founded in 1883, they are the oldest one name, one city franchise in all of professional sports. Since 2004 the team has played at Citizens Bank Park, a new $350 million baseball-only facility in South Philadelphia that is among the best in the big leagues. The park is easily accessible on the subway and tickets start at $18. The food at the park was named as Best Ballpark Food in a survey of Food Network viewers in 2007. Keep your eye out for Dollar Dog Nights, where hot dogs are only $1.

DO   —  Map

Penn Quakers

The Ivy League's Philadelphia outpost, the University of Pennsylvania, also enjoys a rich athletic tradition, especially in men's basketball. Historically, Penn and Princeton have dominated the league in that sport, though other schools have emerged as contenders in recent years. Penn boasts two of the most historic venues in American sports—the Palestra (basketball) and Franklin Field (football and track). The latter is also home to the historic Penn Relays track meet.

DO   —  Map

The Palestra

Philadelphia is known for its rich college basketball history, and the Palestra, located on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, is a museum of the Philadelphia Big 5 programs (La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph's, Temple, and Villanova). The arena serves as the home court for the Penn Quakers basketball team and is the court for many basketball games between the city's colleges.

SEE   —  Map

Drexel Dragons

Drexel University, a private but secular institution, is something of an "odd man out" in the Philly sports landscape. Despite being literally next door to Penn, it is not part of the Big 5. The Dragons are members of the CAA, and like Villanova and Saint Joe's have no football team. Basketball games are played on campus at the Daskalaskis Athletic Center, often called "The DAC".

DO   —  Map

Saint Joseph's Hawks

Saint Joseph's University, like Villanova a Catholic institution, plays in the Atlantic 10 Conference (A10). Basketball is the hot-button sport on campus—"Saint Joe's" has no football team. Basketball games are played on campus at Hagan Arena. While a part of the Big 5, it has an especially strong rivalry with Villanova, with their matchup locally called the "Holy War".

DO   —  Map

Temple Owls

The sports teams of Temple University, currently in the American Athletic Conference. The football team, the city's only top-level NCAA Division I FBS program, shares Lincoln Financial Field with the Eagles. Temple men's basketball is a regular contender for conference honors. The school's best-known venue is the on-campus Liacouras Center, home to basketball.

DO   —  Map

Rare Book Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia

If you're into rare books at all, take the free tour, offered at 11AM M-F, of the Philadelphia Free Library's amazing rare book collection. Besides the Gutenberg Bible, highlights include medieval manuscripts, children's book illustrations, and the stuffed body of Charles Dickens's pet raven Grip, the raven who indirectly inspired Poe's "The Raven."

SEE   —  Map

Eastern State Penitentiary

"America's Most Historic Prison." It is also the site of an annual Bastille Day recreation. In October, the notoriously haunted penitentiary is home to one of the city's most popular Halloween attraction: the "Terror Behind the Walls" haunted house. This site is accessible by subway (Fairmount stop) as well as the 33 or 48 bus from Center City.

Philadelphia Union

The 16th team in Major League Soccer, Union are now playing their fourth season in the league. Unlike Philly's other teams in the four biggest sports in North America, however, they are not located in South Philly; home games are played at Talen Energy Stadium, their soccer-specific stadium on the waterfront in the nearby suburb of Chester.

DO   —  Map

Yard's Brewing

Produces a variety of beers, though notably Philadelphia Pale Ale, ESA (especially if you find this in cask format), and the ales of the revolution. Historically certified beers from recipes tied to Ben Franklin, Jefferson, and a porter named after Gen. Washington. Accessible via the Spring Garden Station on the Market Frankford el.

DRINK   —  Map

Apple Hostels of Philadelphia

Less than 3 blocks from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, free wireless Internet (for travelers with laptops), free bed linens, no curfews, no lockouts. Affordable, clean hostel with loads of free activities, friendly & knowledgeable staff and plenty of outside tours you can book at the reception desk that's open 24 hours.


Provides service from NYC, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Pittsburgh, State College, Harrisburg, Toronto, Buffalo, Boston, Richmond, and Hampton; fares start at $1 when ordered far enough in advance. Buses arrive and depart from the north side of John F. Kennedy Blvd., just west of 30th St. near 30th St. Station.

OTHER   —  Map

Independence National Historic Park

Philadelphia's signature historic site in Old City features the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Constitution Hall (home of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution). It also features historic buildings from the city's revolutionary past, approximately 20 of which are open to the public.

SEE   —  Map


A square near City Hall, known for its Robert Indiana "LOVE" sculpture and for attracting skateboarders from around the world (despite a ban on skating in the park). Since 2002, this ban has been rigorously enforced. Free wireless access is now available in the park.

SEE   —  Map

Philadelphia Passion

Philadelphia has played in the Legends Football League, originally the Lingerie Football League, since the league's formation in 2009. The rules of the NFL and the LFL are slightly different; the LFL plays 7 on 7 rather than 11.

DO   —  Map


Provides service from NYC, Newark, and Boston; fares start at $1 when ordered far enough in advance. Free wifi. Buses arrive and depart from 30th and Market Sts., near 30th St. Station.

OTHER   —  Map

La Salle Explorers

La Salle University is another Catholic institution in the A10. Like Saint Joe's, it also has no football team. Basketball games are played on-campus at Tom Gola Arena.

DO   —  Map

HI — Chamounix Mansion Hostel

On a scenic bluff above the Schuylkill River and 45 minutes to downtown Philadelphia's cultural and historic attractions. Associated with Hostelling International

Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia's NFL team has played at Lincoln Financial Field, next door to Citizens Bank Park, since 2003. Games routinely sell out.

DO   —  Map

Bieber Tours

Provides roundtrip service from Philadelphia Bus Terminal to Allentown and other eastern Pennsylvania locations.

OTHER   —  Map

Today's Bus

The NYC stop is at 28 Allen St. The stop for Philadelphia is on 121 N 11th St. No advance purchase is required.

OTHER   —  Map

Apex Bus

The NYC stop is at 88 E Broadway. The stop for Philadelphia is on 121 N 11th St. The ride is about 1 1/2 hr.

OTHER   —  Map

Philadelphia 76ers

The city's NBA team, playing at Wells Fargo Center, in the immediate vicinity of the two major stadiums.

DO   —  Map

Philadelphia Flyers

Hockey fans can also enjoy the city's NHL team, which shares Wells Fargo Center with the Sixers.

DO   —  Map

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

This museum houses an impressive collection of Egyptian and Greco-Roman artifacts.

Clark Park

Clark Park is an outdoor music and arts festival area in West Philadelphia.

SEE   —  43rd & Chester

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

The former home of the famous American author of mystery and the macabre.

SEE   —  Map

Fairmount Water Works

Features information on local watersheds as well as interpretive art.

SEE   —  Map

About Philadelphia

Philadelphia, often called the "Birthplace of America", is the birthplace of the country's modern democracy. Phily was founded by William Penn in 1681, and assumed its present-day shape and size in 1784 when Montgomery County was split off from Philadelphia. The city's name translates to "City of Brotherly Love" and it has been a seat of freedom since its inception; originally founded by Quakers, the colony promoted religious freedom among its residents in stark contrast to the England of the time.

Note that the definition of "Philadelphia" changed in 1854. Prior to that time, the term "Philadelphia" referred to what is today called "Center City", and what we today call "Philadelphia" was referred to as "Philadelphia County" (that term is still used today, but it's extremely uncommon outside of legal and administrative contexts). For clarity's sake we will use modern terminology, though be aware that many people will refer to Center City as "Philadelphia" when referring to pre-1854 periods.

Source: wikivoyage