I was born and raised in the city of Philadelphia, and I can promise you there is no shortage of awesome activities. In fact, there are well over 21 free things to do in Philadelphia on any given day! Many people tend to think that visiting a major city has to be expensive, but that just isn’t the case.
If you’re looking for free things to do in Philadelphia, you’ve come to the right place. It’s absolutely possible to visit a busy city for the day or even a long weekend getaway, and do some amazing activities without having to spend a dime.
With all the money you save, you might be able to plan a second fun adventure somewhere else to explore! If you’re open to trying new activities and experiences, you can be certain that the city of Philadelphia won’t let you down.
What can you do in Philadelphia for a day?
There is so much you can see and do in Philadelphia, even if you are only visiting for one day.
Everything from going to museums, historical landmarks, food tours (all the cheesesteaks), festivals and so much more.
Do you know that you could spend the day in Philly having fun, exploring and visiting attractions for free? People are often surprised to hear that, but it’s true.
Much like these 100 ways to save money when traveling, free travel is even better.
While you are planning your Philly getaway, make sure to sign up for my newsletter (at the bottom of this post), to be instantly directed to a free travel resource page.
Then you can download an incredible travel / packing checklist, which is perfect for any type of trip.
21 Free Things to do in Philadelphia
It’s no joke that you can plan an entire trip to Philadelphia and never have to worry about running out of free things to do!
1. Visit Edgar Allen Poe’s House
Did you know that Edgar Allen Poe lived in Philadelphia for 6 years?
Now open to the public, you have the chance to visit his house and see where he spent some of his years gathering possible inspiration for his writings.
2. Go Ice Skating
There’s nothing better than skating around a real rink and working on your skills.
3. See the Liberty Bell
No trip to Philadelphia would be complete without going to see the Liberty Bell. It’s an important piece of history that doesn’t cost any money to visit and view.
4. Play at Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse
Smith Memorial Playground has some of the best unstructured free play for kids of all ages (and adults, too if you’re really just a big kid at heart).
5. Locate all 13 “Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches“
The race is on to see who can find all 13 Storytelling Benches first. Do you have what it takes?
This is a fun way to see various parts of this historic city while having a sort of scavenger hunt to see if you can locate all the benches.
Visit all 13 Storytelling Benches and receive a free Parx Liberty Carousel ride!
6. Run up the Rocky Steps
Everyone knows that iconic scene from the Rocky movie, right?
Well, now it’s your turn to see if you can run up those steps without stopping and while also humming that famous tune.
Definitely don’t forget to take a selfie with the Rocky statue at the top as well!
7. Show the City a Little LOVE
Philadelphia is known as the city of brotherly love, so it’s a must to find the iconic LOVE statue when visiting.
You’ll recognize it immediately so make certain that your camera is handy for this perfect photo opportunity.
8. Visit Valley Forge National Historical Park
If you like to hike, be outdoors or just see the splendor and beauty of nature, a visit to this National Park needs to be on your radar.
The park honors and celebrates the ability of citizens to pull together and overcome adversity during extraordinary times.
You can easily spend all day exploring.
9. Walk on the boardwalk at Spruce Street Harbor Park
There’s nothing quite like taking a walk along the waterfront at Spruce Street Harbor Park.
No matter what time of day it is, there is always something wonderful happening at this hammock filled haven.
10. Take a peek at Franklin’s Square
While the square might have a lot of shops that cost money scattered all around, it’s still a wonderful place to take a walk around with your family and friends.
11. Tour the United States Mint
Do you know that a lot of our coins are actually made in Philadelphia right at the United States Mint?
There are no reservations needed for these self-guided tours, which take about 45 minutes. You can even download a free handbook before you go to use as a tour guide.
12. Visit the Museum without Walls
This is a place where you will love viewing the outdoor sculptures while also getting to take in some fresh air.
The Museum without Walls offers the unique histories of Philadelphia’s preeminent collection of public art for free by cell phone, mobile app, audio download, or via the web.
13. Search for Street Art
Street art has become increasingly more popular pretty much anywhere you go in the world, and Philadelphia is no exception.
Head to Philly, like my 9 year old daughter and I did one day, to search for and find some free, unique, beautiful and meaningful wall murals.
Are The Museums in Philly Free?
Now there are many museums in Philly that do charge an admission fee, but did you know several museums are included in this list of free things to do in Philadelphia during various times of the week?
Make sure to do your research before just showing up because the “free slots” are strict and adhered to!
14. Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts
During the summer months, the Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) offers free courses and classes that are fun for families to join in on!
Bring the whole family to PAFA on Sunday afternoons from 2 – 4 p.m. to meet local artists, learn new skills, and make a different project every week. There is no registration required.
15. Independence Hall
Take a tour of history by visiting Independence Hall. See the room where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were both signed. It’s such a wonderful way to learn more about our country.
Admission is by tour only. Timed entry tickets are required March – December. No tickets are required in January – February, or after 5 p.m. during summer hours.
16. Science History Institute
Have you ever wondered how plastics are made? Where crayons get their colors? Do you want to find out how the DNA code was cracked? Or how to measure oxygen on Mars?
Do you have a fascination with all things science? You’re going to want to make a plan to visit the Science History Institute and explore!
17. Polish American Central Cultural Museum
Taking the time to learn a little bit about the Polish heritage and culture is a great thing to do in Philadelphia.
This museum allows thousands of tourists to experience Polish history, culture and pride.
18. SEPTA Transit Museum
If you have a fascination with trains and trolleys, you’ll love taking a tour of this free museum/gift store.
The SEPTA Transit Museum features special train displays; a transit exhibit chronicling the 100 Years of the Market-Frankford Line; Trolleys in Philadelphia; and also a hands-on Thomas the Tank play table for children.
19. Temple University Shoe Museum
With over 900 pairs of shoes, 250 of which are displayed on the sixth floor of the museum, you’re certain to find a pair or two that would fit you. Now that’s a lot of shoes!
20. Fireman’s Hall Museum
If you have kids, I’m sure they’ll love seeing all the firetrucks and other items in the Fireman’s Hall Museum, which is a renovated 1902 firehouse.
The Fireman’s Hall Museum is one of the nation’s premier fire museums. Their focus is on the preservation of Philly fire history and promoting fire safety.
21. The Fabric Workshop and Museum
Come see all the various cloth and other items on display!
Plus, they are some fun exhibits to learn about as well. You never know what you’ll see at The Fabric Workshop and Museum.
Have you visited Philly before?
Can you believe how many free things to do in Philadelphia there are?
You could easily spend an entire week in the city and still not see or experience everything on this list!
While these 21 options are great, don’t forget to do your research on all the other free activities as well.