9 Free Things To Do in Philadelphia
Put your wallet away — these nine activities aren’t just some of the best in Philly, they’re also all free. These spots prove that you don’t need to break the budget to have a blast when visiting one of our country’s original cities.
The Liberty Bell
One of Philly’s most famous historical landmarks, the notoriously cracked Liberty Bell remains on display. Admission to the Liberty Bell Center is free and does not require tickets, and an adjacent exhibition area provides additional information — including a video presentation — on this important U.S. artifact.
At one point in time, Philly was the leading beer city in the Western Hemisphere — and though it no longer has this same claim to fame, it is home to a growing (not to mention award-winning) craft brewing scene. Yards Brewing Company, Philadelphia Brewing Company, St. Benjamin Brewery, Victory Brewing Company and more all offer free brewery tours — most of which include beer tastings.
The President’s House
A stunningly unique piece of architecture, The President’s House was once the original “White House,” where presidents George Washington and John Adams resided from 1790 to 1800. The current site, open 24-hours a day to visitors for free, is an open-air exhibit built within the remains of the original structure. Illustrations, video presentations, and story panels help bring the story of the home’s history to life, while the “President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation” exhibit highlights the plight of the slaves that served this residence.
The most famous of Philly’s various squares, Rittenhouse is an urban park featuring grassy lawns, trees, a gazebo, water features, statues, and benches. The square hosts a Saturday farmers market, and is known as a great place for families, dogs, picnics, or just relaxing and taking in the city.
While this series of 72 stone steps actually belong to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, they’re best known for their notorious appearance in the Rocky series of films — including the most recent release, “Creed.” A symbol for the conquering underdog, the Rocky steps attract people who want to celebrate a victory, get engaged or married, or get inspiration for a task ahead. It may be cheesy, but it’s undeniably a feel-good destination worth the visit for the good (and free) vibes.
Many of our country’s most important and defining events took place in Philadelphia — two of which took place at Independence Hall. This historic landmark was the location for the debate and adoption of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Guests can access the hall, the centerpiece of the National Historic Park, by picking up tickets in person from the walk-up visitor center. Tickets often run out, especially during the busy season — so if you want to guarantee a spot, timed tickets can be reserved online or via phone for a nominal fee ($1.50 each).
Known as the oldest continuously inhabited residential street in the U.S., Elfreth’s Alley is composed of 32 buildings constructed between the 1720s and 1830s. Visitors can take a walk in our forefathers’ footsteps for free, though access to the Elfreth’s Alley museum does cost $5. The quaint cobblestone streets, shutters, and classic architecture help preserve the street’s history, which today provides respite from the modern world.
The oldest surviving botanic garden in North America, Bartram’s Garden is located on the bank of the Schuylkill River. The 46-acre property features the Bartram House, an 18th-century farmstead, a historic garden, barn, various notable trees, a medicinal garden, welcome center and more. A picturesque destination, the landmark also offers performances, river activities, family programs and gardening DIY workshops.
United States Mint
See where your pocket change originated at the United States Mint. Guests can take a free 45-minute self-guided tour of the facility, which features video and audio stations throughout. Those touring the Mint get a firsthand look at coining production, the original coining press, the resident glass mosaic art installations, and more. Guests can also meet Peter the Mint Eagle, a real bald eagle (read: badass symbol of independence) that the Mint artists use as a model for designs.
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