Updated: Jul 24, 2022
Growing up right outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has definitely given me the opportunity to explore some of the cool places right in my own backyard. Between mission trips, school field trips, and day trips with friends, Philly has always offered me a unique experience with so much to do! I will do a separate post just on historical sights go Philadelphia (my personal favorites), so if you don't see something on here, it might be on that post. Obviously, I haven't been everywhere in the city, but these are some places that I recommend seeing if you find yourself in the City of Brotherly Love!
Eastern State Penitentiary
Eastern State Penitentiary used to be one of the most famous prisons, and the world's first true penitentiary, but now is a historic ruin with abandoned cells, guard towers, etc. At the time, this prison held some notorious criminals, such as Al Capone and "Slick Willie" Sutton. Eastern State is known now for being one of the most haunted places in America and has even been featured on shows like Ghost Adventures. Nowadays, Eastern State is open for touring and has several different exhibits throughout the prison. Eastern State is located at 22nd Street and Fairmont Ave. and is open Fri-Sun from 10:00am - 5:00pm. My personal favorite time to visit Eastern State is during the Fall when they turn the ruin into a haunted attraction complete with actors, walkthroughs and more! These nighttime tours start at 6:00pm, after the penitentiary is closed for daytime tours. Tickets cost $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, $11 for students (with student ID), $11 for children 7-12, and free for children under 11 years old. Unfortunately, Eastern State does not have their own parking lot, but they do have a neighboring parking lot for under $10, there is also free parallel parking in the street bordering the penitentiary, but it fills up quick! I definitely recommend stopping by for a tour here if you find yourself in Philly, especially a nighttime tour in the Fall!
Reading Terminal Market
Another neat spot, Reading Terminal Market is an enclosed public market that offers a large variety of locally grown produce, locally sourced meat, cheeses, baked goods, and more. This market has been around since the late 1800's and is a must see if you're around the area. The market is located at 51 North 12th Street, and directions from several different routes can be found on their website. The market is open Monday-Saturday from 8:00am-6:00pm.
The Franklin Institute
This is probably one of my favorite places to visit in Philly, and although I don't go every time I'm in the city, I have been here several times, especially for school field trips. The Franklin Institute is a science museum with 12 permanent exhibits, and several traveling exhibits. This is a museum great for people of all ages, and interests, there truly is something for everybody here! My personal favorite exhibits here are the giant walkthrough heart, and the sports-zone. The Franklin Institute is currently open Wednesday - Sunday from 10:00am - 6:00pm, and tickets cost $23 for adults, $19 for children, $21 for seniors and military personnel. Some special exhibits also require an additional cost...any special exhibits are listed on their website. The Franklin Institute is located in Center City, Philadelphia at the intersection of 20th Street and the Ben Franklin Parkway. They have their own parking garage, which is located at 271 North 21st Street Philadelphia, PA 19103.
Rittenhouse Square Park
Rittenhouse Square Park is a park located in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Center City, Philadelphia that is surrounded by beautiful high rises and luxury apartments. Surrounding the park there is several fine dining, and luxury retail options. Almost every time I'm in Philly, I stop here and sit in one of the large grassy areas under a tree and enjoy my lunch. It's an excellent place to walk, catch up with friends, read, paint, etc., and there are two main walkways that lead you throughout the park. Also located in the park is a reflection pool, and several sculptures throughout. There are also several different events held here depending on the season. A complete guide of these events can be found on their website. The park is free, and I believe there is street parking around the park...I'm not 100% sure on parking, as whenever I visit Philly I take the train into Center City and walk around from there.
A quick landmark that I suggest stopping by is the famous "LOVE" sculpture located in Love Park. This sculpture was installed in 1976 and has been there ever since (it was once removed in 1978 but brought back by public demand). The sculpture is located in John F. Kennedy Plaza at 15th Street and JFK Blvd. While there is not much to the whole thing, it is just neat to see it, as it basically is the symbol of Philadelphia!
There is so much to do at Penn's Landing, especially during the summer time. However, year round, Penn's Landing hosts a variety of classes, events, entertainment, attractions and more. Two of the seasonal parks found here are Spruce Street Harbor during the summer (definitely recommend stopping by and hanging out in one of the hammocks here) and BlueCross RiverRink Winterfest ( a giant outdoor ice skating rink) during the winter! Penn's Landing is located at 101 N. Columbus Blvd and spans Front Street to the Delaware River from Spring Garden to Washington Ave. This is definitely one of my absolute must-sees if you are in Philly!
Boathouse Row is actually somewhere I have never been, but my dad suggested I include it on my list. While there is not much to actually do here, it definitely is a sight to see, especially at night. Located along the Schuylkill River (West of the Philadelphia Art Museum) there are several 19th century boathouses that line the waterfront. At nighttime lights outline the boathouses, and it is a neat sight to see if you are in the area!
Of course there is so much more to do in the city of Philadelphia, these are personally just some of my favorite spots I try to hit whenever I'm in the city. Walking around the city of Philadelphia is an experience in itself, and there are so many random parks and several retail and food options throughout the city. Thanks for reading, and remember, there's always more to be explored!