Free things to do in Philadelphia

On a Budget: Free Things to do in Philadelphia

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Free Things to do in Philadelphia

Spend Less, Enjoy More

You’re in luck, I found a whole list of free things to do in Philadelphia! Affordable or free finding things to do when you don’t want to break the bank can be challenging, especially  when you want to please everyone.

Planning a whole new vacation, alone, with friends or family, means your wallet will be able to stretch a little further if you can impliment a free acvtivity and that means more fun! There are so many places to see in the world, but, sometimes, the budget limits us to go where the heart wants.

However, there are budget-friendly cities in the U.S., such as Philadelphia, which are so affordable in terms of accommodation, places to visit, or special street food spots.

In the beautiful city of Philly, there are many venues that also offer visitors free entrance.

The best activities and free things to do in Philadelphia range from the scope of your visit to the types of activities anyone would like to do: from a pleasant walk through the most popular town’s squares, to mesmerizing parks in the area, as well as museums and historic sites, there are lots of free activities to enjoy here.

Moreover, you can have some nice meals at affordable prices, as such, expand your culinary and artistic horizons.

But where to go first? Maybe to the leading collections of art by Pablo Picasso, or maybe to America’s oldest botanical garden? Don’t worry, down below we have organized this information so you can start planning your future affordable and free things to do in Philly.

Free Places to Explore in Philadelphia

From free entrance museums to art collections or historic sites, you can do all these while visiting Philly, without even playing a fee. Here are the must-see attractions in Philadelphia, all free of charge and which we find extremely interesting and unforgettable.

Free Things to do in Philadelphia: Museums

Free Things to do in Philadelphia

Location: 1 Hoffman’s Mill Road, Chadds Ford, PA 19317

This is a totally local museum to visit, and on the first Sunday of the month, from February to November, all the visitors will enjoy free entrance. You can delight yourself looking at the artworks of the local artists, students, as well as other frequent children’s programming.

Location: 2600 Ben Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130

If you are looking for an unforgettable museum experience, don’t miss the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which gathers over 240,000 pieces of original art. The building itself is outstanding, and it is a 100-year building.

You will have the chance to admire sculptures, paintings collections, and many more historic armories and furniture. Will you travel with your kids? Then this museum is the perfect place, as it has special art programs for families.

For instance, the Family Art Cart is a special tour, where children will admire and learn about the masterpieces in this museum. Don’t miss Sundays and Sunday Family Tours.

Usually, the museum will charge an entrance fee, but on the first Sunday of the month from 10 am to 5 pm and every Wednesday night from 5 pm to 8 pm, there is only a pay-what-you-wish price.

Free Things to do in Philadelphia

Location: 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130

The Barnes Foundation is located right in the center of the city’s arts district, and it is the perfect place to develop your art knowledge. Now, the free entrance happens on the first Sunday of every single month and combines art and horticulture.

Interesting, right? More than the free entrance, the museum comes with special programming, and many more interactive features to enjoy.

Location: 147 N 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

One of the most popular museums in Philly, this attraction is perfect for couples, single visitors, but mostly for families with children. If you used to be fascinated by the fireworks job and tools, this museum has them all, mostly fire trucks, which are a must-see.

Start a whole new adventure by admiring a complete collection of fireman’s equipment, from the city’s fire departments’ history. The most interactive part is that the museum will encourage you to play dress-up using the firefighter gear.

Free Things to do in Philadelphia

Location: 2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Are you passionate about sculptures, but don’t want to spend a fortune visiting a museum focused on this creative part of the art? Well, if you are in Philly, then don’t miss the Rodin Museum, which features a wide collection of beautiful artsy work. As such, you will have the unique chance to admire some of the world’s leading sculptures’ works, without paying a lot. Actually, the museum will ask for a pay-what-you-wish fee only.

Location: 1214 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

This is what we call a fancy museum. Do you love fashion and want to find more about textiles and trends? Then you must visit this contemporary museum. There is such a unique experience for future fashionistas. Very creative, colorful, and free of charge, this museum should totally be on your list.

Free Things to do in Philadelphia: Outdoor Activities

Don’t want to spend lots of time indoors? Don’t worry, Philly offers such a wide variety of outdoor activities to fill your time. Here are the most interesting ones to check on your list:

Philadelphia on a weekend

Outdoor Public Art

There is no single place to go for public art, but actually many more, all spilled across the city. If you are not in the mood for museums, or you don’t even like them and you get easily bored, then take a self-guided tour of Philadelphia public art.

Yes, you heard it right. The Association for Public Art has covered the city with unique pieces of art, from the iconic LOVE statue to street graffiti art.

Check the Municipal Services Building as well, right across the City Hall, where you can admire the sculpture’s work of giant game pieces, such as mammoth dice, Bingo tiles, or checkers. You can see the whole list of public art spots in Philly by clicking the link we left above.

Location: 51 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

There is no better way of tasting the local cuisine art than going to the Reading Terminal Market. Here they will find more than 100 vendors in individual stalls, which offer such tasty foods. As such, you will taste from artisan cheeses to some Amish shoo-fly pies.

This outdoor market is 200-year-old, impressive, right? And it is housed right at the bottom floor of what used to be the Reading Railroad Company in Philadelphia. If you go there, please, please do not forget to taste a nice cone of Bassetts ice-cream, which is very famous here, and also the oldest dessert vendor in the whole country.

Free Things to do in Philadelphia

Location: Old Town, 200 North 6th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

One of the most popular outdoor activities you can do is going to Franklin Square. This is one of Philadelphia’s five original squares, which has an easily accessible location, right in the historic part of the city.

This park is so beautiful, and it has a nice fountain to stay close to a torrid day, a colorful carousel, as well as a nice playground, where kids can consume their energy. Do you love golf? Well, you can enjoy playing mini-golf in Franklin Square.

At the end of the day, when the body asks for something sweet, you can spend the afternoon by having old-fashioned ice cream at a couple of blocks nearby.

Location: 210 N 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Right at the midpoint of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the very front of the amazing Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, this is a meeting point very popular in Philadelphia, which celebrates the 10 “sister cities” all across the world.

Now, whether you go alone, in a couple, even with your children, everyone will have something to admire. For instance, children can play around the Children’s Discovery Garden, which has scalable rocks and trickling streams.

Moreover, if they love playing with water, they can go and splash around in the Sister Cities fountain. If they are more daring, they can even try, with their parents, the miniature sailboats, right on the nearby boat pond.

Sister Cities Park has something nice for art lovers too. As such, tourists can admire Robert Indiana’s AMOR sculpture, which was actually presented to commemorate Pope Francis’s historic visit, which happened in 2015.

If your tummy is very hungry, don’t hesitate to grab a bite at Logan Square Cafe, which has nice sandwiches, pizza, soups, and many more.

Free Things to do in Philadelphia

Location: 301 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19106

During May through October, you can join the warm-weather party right at the Spruce Street Harbor Park, which is situated along the Delaware River. There are lots of free activities and features you can enjoy here, including a regular lineup of live musical performances.

If you want to do some activities, you can try ping pong, bocce, and also some shuffleboard courts. If you prefer just to relax, then you can just enjoy one of the highly coveted hammocks and watch the scenery around.

Free Things to do in Philadelphia: History

For those who love history and historical attractions, without spending one dollar, then they should look down below at what we have selected for them:

Liberty Bell & Inddependence Hall

The Liberty Bell

Location: 526 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

One of the most famous attractions in Philly is the Liberty Bell, a famous sight that will stay memorable in your mind. And the best part is that it’s all free. Located right on Market Street, it is impossible not to notice it.

Don’t worry about the time of the year you visit Philly, as the Liberty Bell is open year-round, and it offers visitors a great chance to learn a lot about one of the most iconic moments of history.

While visiting this attraction, there will be a lot of video presentations, as well as other informative exhibits about the history and the origin of this bell. For instance, you will learn how it cracked, why this bell had such an important role during history, as well as its main significance nowadays.

If you want to have a nice memory from here, you can take a beautiful photo right near the cherished bell itself. Why is it worth visiting? Because it is an iconic sight of the city and it is all free to visit.

Location: 520 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

There are lots of historical sites to look for during your stay in Philly. All free of charge, despite the Liberty Bell, you can go to the Independence Hall as well, which is open to the public.

You just have to procure one of the free tickets right from the Independence Visitors Center. If you want a piece of advice, you should go early, as the number of rockets is limited.

Now, regarding the park, it represents the founding ideals of the nation, while also hosting the national and international symbols of democracy and freedom.

The Independence Hall and the Liberty Hall are right here, in this park. Another interesting fact is that both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were discussed and also signed here, inside the Independence Hall.

Free Museums in Philadelphia

Location: Olde City, 151 N. Independence Mall E, Philadelphia, PA 19106

One of the most important historic sites to visit in the United States Mint. Don’t know if you knew already, but Philadelphia’s mint does not print paper money, but actually stamps coins, summing up millions of dollars per day.

Once you are here, you will enjoy the self-guided tour, which explains the whole process of stamping coins, from the early start to finish. Moreover, the guide will explain the process of making money and how much it has changed during these times.

If you go here with your children, the little ones will have a great time, as they will get to design their very own virtual coins, and see what happens when all the money falls off the conveyor belts.

Location: 1 Boathouse Row, Philadelphia, PA 19130

You got to go here wherever you want, at any time during the day. Visiting the charming row of the 19th-century boathouses which are situated along the Schuylkill River is a must, especially when the sun goes down.

This group of boathouses is very special, as they are carefully lined with little, tiny, perfect glittering lights. Situated just west of the Philadelphia museum, these boathouses illuminate so romantically and their lights reflect off the water during the night. If you want a nice picture of this scenery, don’t forget to bring your camera with you.

Free Things to do in Philadelphia: Art

Free Things to do in Philadelphia

Location: 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130

If you want to admire the greatest art collection of Albert C. Barnes, which was able to amass one of the greatest leading collections of work, which belonged to many of the modernist and impressionist masters such as Pierre-August Renoir, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, or Henri Matisse and Henri Rousseau.

This gallery was founded in 1992, and the initial and still actual purpose of this was to open up a museum free of charge, every first Sunday each month. If you don’t want to pay a lot of money, you can take advantage of the free day and enjoy the pieces of art in the Barnes Foundation.

Location: Historic Old City District

On the first Friday of each month, from 5 pm to 9 pm, you can go to the Old City and browse the streets for over 40 galleries. These galleries will stay open late, in order for everyone to be able to see the latest exhibitions.

Also in the Old City, you can get more fun by serving up some nice food and drinks, by visiting the neighborhood boutiques, or the late-night shops. You will find lots of discounts and good prices.

The beauty of these streets is when they come alive, while they host live music concerts and local artisans that sell wares on the sidewalks. This experience in Philly is mandatory, and one of the best free activities you can get.

Free Museums in Philadelphia

Location: 118 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

This is a small museum to visit, which has quite a big resumé right on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus. The ICA institute has lots of great mounting exhibitions, summing up most of the biggest contemporary artists since its first opening, in 1963.

Since it opened its doors for the very first time, the ICA has presented grand artists, such as Laurie Anderson, Agnes Martin, Glenn Ligon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Lisa Yuskavage, and many more. The best part of this contemporary museum that is all free, so there is no charge at the entrance.

Free Things to do in Philadelphia: Music

Who doesn’t love music? Enjoy some chords of music all free, in all these places in Philly:

Free Things to do in Philadelphia

Location: Avenue Of The Arts – South, 300 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

One of the best places to enjoy a vast array of free concerts in the Kimmel Center, where there are events throughout the year. If you will go here with your children, you can bring your kids and let them enjoy some hands-on demonstrations, as well as some festivals, and showcases. In order to find out about the free events at the Kimmel Center, go to their website at the “free events” section.

Locations: Rittenhouse, 1726 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

From October to May, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday you can go to the Curtis Institute of Music for listening to free concerts. Space holds 250-seats, and there are somewhere around 200 performances each year.

The Curtis Institute is very popular in Philly, as it offers the chance to music students to perform for the public as part of their education process. Moreover, this place is also the perfect opportunity for the public to listen to some of the most talented musicians, without having to pay lots of money on concert tickets. The selection of concerts includes opera, family shows, orchestra concerts, and many more contemporary music performances.

Best Instagram Spots in Philadelphia

When you go on a trip or to a very new place you have never visited before, it is normal to want to capture some of the best moments and places you have seen. Luckily, Philadelphia has lots of photo opportunities and Instagrammable spots you have to go to.

Here is our selection, so you can fill your feed with lots of love and beautiful sceneries.

Free Things to do in Philadelphia

Location: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Also known as the “Rocky Steps”, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is the perfect opportunity to take some original photoshoots. You can start by taking a selfie with Rocky, then start climbing the 72-step run which is legendary.

Once you will be reaching the top, take a moment to admire the city view. It will be breathtaking, we ensure you. If you want to enjoy more, go to the beautiful Philadelphia Museum of Art and you will see lots of masterpieces inside.

Location: 121 N. Columbus Blvd,  Philadelphia, PA 19106

One of the most beautiful outdoor spaces is the Race Street Pier and Cherry Street Pier, which not only will offer a relaxing space, but also a photogenic spot to upload on Instagram or Facebook.

Right in the shadow of Benjamin Franklin, these spots are a must to see and photograph.

Philadelphia Instagram spots

Location: 1727-29 Mt. Vernon Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

One of the most Instagrammable spots in Philly is Mural Mile, which is actually gathering more than 4,000 great murals around the city. Everything started in 1984 when the leaders of the city started to remove all the unwanted drawings on the buildings.

What remained are the nowadays drawings, which can be admired once taking the self-guided walking tours.

Addison Street

Location: Rittenhouse, 100 Block of Addison Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146

Have a walk on Addison Street by night and you will be able to admire all the illuminated trees here. The lines of trees, right at the Rittenhouse Square side street are nicely twinkling during the night, all year round. Take a nice picture here and don’t miss the breathtaking view.

Free Things to do in Philadelphia

Location: LOVE Park, Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

One of the most popular spots in the city and also really Instagrammable is the LOVE landmark, which is actually the Robert Indiana sculpture, and it was restored and repainted in 2018. There is another sculpture to photograph, the AMORE one and it is displayed in the Sister Cities Park, at just a walk distance from Love Park.

Location: University City, Spruce Hill Neighborhood, West Philadelphia, PA 19104

If you want to have it all, go to Spruce Hill. You will meet a great combination of historic architecture, with amazing street food and community gatherings. Moreover, the leafy Spruce Hill is a visual delight, so you can take as many beautiful pictures as you wish, from The Woodlands, which is right at the entrance, to Clark Park and Baltimore Avenue.

Free Things to do in Philadelphia

Location: 126 Elfreth’s Alley, Philadelphia, PA 19106

One of the most beautiful and colorful streets in Philly, this is also the home of 18th-century artisans and tradespeople. This alley preserves a good part of the history of three centuries of evolution, and it is also a great place to take amazing pictures while walking down the city.

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Free Things to do in Philadelphia

Last Thoughts

Traveling with little money is not impossible, as long as you will do active planning first. As you might have seen already, Philadelphia is that kind of destination which offers many traveling opportunities without paying lots of fees.

If you are looking for a city break, maybe one week with your family away from home, Philly is definitely a budget-friendly location, eager to host its travelers.

💜 Leave a reply below with more free or Budget savy Things to do in Philadelphia💜 

Things to do, Places to go, Fun in Philadelhia

Ultimate Guide to The Best of Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Where to eat in Philly:

Maybe you will not get some food for free, but at least you can choose some good restaurants, with nice menus and affordable prices. Look what we got for you:

Yards Brewing Company

Club District, 500 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123

Yards Brewing Company

Also known as “Philly’s Hometown Brewery”, this local has offered small-batch brews ever since 1994. Yes, you heard it right. So any guest who is more than 21 years old is welcome to try a free tour of this brewery each Saturday or Sunday, between noon and 4 pm.

Cheesesteak Central Pat's vs Geno's

1219 South 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Pat's and Geno's

If you don’t know yet, cheesesteaks in Philly are an iconic meal, so every visitor should have one. The cheesesteak from Geno’s is one of a kind, so this should be a hot spot in your map, mandatory to visit. Try the most beloved recipe, the sandwich’s signature city, or Philly’s own cheesesteak and you will not regret it.

John's Roast Pork

14 Snyder Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

John's Roast Pork

Whether you will choose a juicy cheesesteak or the roast pork sandwich, go to John’s restaurant, in South Philly. The program is very friendly, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you are also looking for the best place to have breakfast, come here.

Stargazy

1838 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

Stargazy

Right on East Passyunk Avenue, you will find this cozy place, a little British pie shop, that prepares traditional savory pies. You can go for a classic pie, with beef and onion or go wilder, for the day’s special treat from the chef-owner Sam Jacobson. If you go with kids, the menu also has sweets and sausage rolls too.

Essen Bakery

1437 East Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Essen Bakery

This is a Jewish bakery that does not only have the usual chocolate cookies, but also rugelach, and also challah with a versatile menu of lunch sandwiches and breakfast delicacies. The prices are very affordable, as such, for only $5.50, you can have a nice avocado toast, with pickles or hard-boiled eggs and za’atar croissant.

Places to stay in Philly:

Dreaming about a comfy room in Philly, without paying a lot of money? Well, here is a list of some of the most affordable accommodations in Philadelphia:

Penn's View Hotel

Location: Old City, 14 N. Front St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. This is a riverside affordable hotel, that has a school glamorous plus, which gives to your stay a unique vibe. You will have all the features needed, from free wifi to the fitness room. If you get hungry, the onsite Italian restaurant will make your tummy happy again. Moreover, if you want to get out of the hotel, you have plenty of options around it. For instance, the Liberty Bell is only ten minutes away.

Morris House Hotel

Location: between Locust and St. James Sts, 225 S. 8th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106. A hotel filled with lots of history, the Morris House Hotel is dating back to 1787, and it is a colonial boutique hotel with a great history behind. Close to Washington Square Park, this hotel has a grand sense of grand past. Without paying a huge amount of money, you will enjoy a romantic courtyard, as well as the hotel’s elegant restaurant.

Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District

Location: Olde City, 400 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106 Located in the Historic Old City, this Wyndham accommodation is one of the most affordable, yet accessible for the sightseeing travelers. This is a very chic location to stay at, and ideal for those who want to enjoy some important features, without having to pay a lot. You have a gym, in-room desks, as well as a modern restaurant, in a location that is close to the Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House, or the National Constitution Center.

City House Hostels Philadelphia

Location: Elfreth's Alley, 17 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106 Instead of paying lots of money for your accommodation, you’d better save them for sightseeing. The City House Hostels in Philly are really affordable, and they are situated in a beautiful 19th-century townhouse. Very close to the main attraction in town, the hostel is also only a 15-minutes driveway from the Philadelphia International Airport. The rooms are very clean, and the conditions more than decent. You also have free wifi, to upload your fav photos from here or keep in touch with your family home.

Apple Hostels of Philadelphia

If you don’t want to leave all your wallet for an accommodation, then choose some hostels. The Apple Hostels are newly renovated, have private rooms, as well as female, male, and coed dorms. Moreover, you will enjoy a private living area, as well as other spaces in the hostel in case you want to have private time with your family. Moreover, the location is very close to

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