41 Things to Do in Philadelphia in 2023 (By a Local)
👉 Jump to: Best Things to Do | Museums & Culture | Parks & Outdoor Activities | Shopping & Markets | Nightlife
I’m a Philadelphia local and in this guide, I’ll share the absolute best things to do in Philadelphia!
Philly is one of the country’s largest and oldest cities. It holds an important place in U.S. history and has a vibrant arts and culture scene. Great restaurants, urban parks, nightlife attractions, and so much more call Philadelphia home.
In this post, I point first-time visitors to the most popular things to do. But I also share several lesser-known spots that even some locals may not know about! Trust me, you won’t want to miss the niche neighborhood bookstores, my go-to eateries, and other personal favorites.
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41 Best Things to Do in Philadelphia
Reading Terminal Market
Stroll through dozens of mouth-watering food merchants
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 922-2317 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 6 pm daily | 👉 Philadelphia Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Reading Terminal Market is Philadelphia’s famous and historic indoor food market. Located near Jefferson Station in Center City, it’s accessible no matter where you’re coming from.
The market hosts over 80 different merchants, so there is something for everyone at Reading Terminal Market. Try Beiler’s lavish donuts, DiNic’s famous roast pork sandwich, or Amish baked goods.
Reading Terminal Market is a great place to find locally-sourced gifts as well. It’s one of my favorite things to do in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
Marvel at the mosaic murals and sculptures that make up this iconic art installation
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 733-0390 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 6 pm daily, Closed Tuesdays | Entrance: $15 adults, $12 students, $8 ages 6-12, free under 5 | 👉 South Philly Art Tour
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a must-see in Philadelphia! This unique folk art sculpture garden will amaze visitors of all ages. You’ll walk among the winding murals, tunnels, and steps. Tile mosaics and recycled pieces cover every inch of the garden.
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens also has a few indoor exhibits as well. Inside, you can see more art and learn about the history of the venue. Once you’ve visited, you’ll notice the same mosaic style on murals and sidewalks throughout the city. This is one of my favorite things to do in Philadelphia with first-time visitors.
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Visit Philadelphia’s majestic museum of art, home to collections spanning many styles, cultures, and eras
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 763-8100 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Saturday-Thursday, 10 am – 8:45 pm Friday, Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays | Entrance: $25 adults, free under 18 | 👉 Art & Culture Tours in Philadelphia
The gorgeous Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The museum itself is a sight to take in with its majestic architecture. It’s surrounded by a beautiful park, which is part of the Schuylkill River Trail.
Once inside, take in the collections of contemporary art, renaissance art, sculpture, and textile. The Philadelphia Museum of Art boasts new fine arts exhibits regularly so you’ll want to visit more than once.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a great family-friendly destination as well. There are educational programs for all ages and admission is free for kids. After the museum, walk down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to reach City Hall and the famous Love Park.
🛎️ Need a Hotel? Check out Sonder the Queen, a hotel that I feature in my Where to Stay in Philly article!
The Franklin Institute
Discover something new at one of the nation’s oldest science museums
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 448-1200 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $23 adults, $19 under 11
The Franklin Institute hosts interactive science exhibits for all ages. This museum, also along the Ben Franklin Parkway, is one of the oldest science museums in the country! The Franklin Institute developed the concept of hands-on museum learning. It is by far one of the top Philadelphia destinations for kids!
The museum has seasonal exhibits, a planetarium, and daily science demonstrations. While there, make sure to visit the space observatory and the air show where you can sit in a real jet.
Mural Arts Tour
Get to know Philadelphia’s incredible collection of murals on a neighborhood tour
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 685-0750 | Website | 👉 West & “Norf” Philly Murals Tour
Want to know why Philadelphia is the mural capital of the world? Then you’ve got to take a Mural Arts Tour! Mural Arts Philadelphia offers tours throughout the city’s different neighborhoods. They have private tours, walking tours, and even virtual tours.
The city has renowned historic murals documenting Philadelphia’s cultural past. There are also new murals painted each year. Some of my favorites include the Celebration of Community mural in West Philly and the We Are Universal mural in Fishtown.
👉 Pro Tip: Check the Mural Arts website before your trip to book a tour ahead of time!
Independence National Historical Park
Immerse yourself in our nation’s history at this National Historic Landmark
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 965-2305 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily | 👉 Old City Historic Walking Tour
Found in Old City, Independence National Historical Park is a great destination for U.S. history lovers and families. This National Historic Landmark encompasses Independence Mall. These three blocks consist of the visitor center, the National Constitution Center, and the Liberty Bell Center.
Independence National Historical Park also includes Independence Hall. The signing of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution took place here. There are regular tours of Independence Hall with no reservation required.
Nicknamed “”America’s most historic square mile,” Independence National Historical Park is a must-see destination — and affordable as well!
👉 Pro Tip: Stop inside The Bourse Food Hall for lunch at 111 S Independence Mall.
African American Museum in Philadelphia
Learn about Black history, heritage, and culture from the 18th century to the present
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 574-0380 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Thursday-Sunday, Closed Monday-Wednesday | Entrance: $14 adults, $10 under 12 | 👉 African-American History Walking Tour
The African American Museum is in Center City. The museum has permanent and seasonal exhibits on Black history, Black culture, and works by Black artists.
Audacious Freedom is one of the museum’s most prominent permanent exhibits. It highlights the history and contributions of Black people in Philadelphia from 1776-1876.
Exhibits vary widely in their themes from historical to present-day arts and culture. The museum is one way to learn about Philadelphia’s rich Black history and culture. Both are foundational to this city.
Explore the wonderland of this historic garden
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 729-5281 | Website | Entrance: Free
Bartram’s Garden is one of my absolute favorite things to do in Philadelphia! This 50-acre location in Southwest Philly includes the nation’s oldest botanic garden. Bartram’s Garden is also home to the Sankofa Community Farm. The farm centers around the African Diaspora experience and promotes food sovereignty.
This public garden is home to beautiful plants, wildlife, and trails. There is also a community boathouse offering free boating on Saturdays from summer to fall. This is one of the best things to do in Philadelphia in the summer with young kids.
Bartram’s Garden often has events as well such as classes on beekeeping and herbalism. I’ve gone to countless art exhibits here, plus movie showings and the annual bee festival. Any time I have a visitor from out of town, I make sure to bring them to this attraction!
🌻 Love Botanic Gardens? Don’t miss the nearby Longwood Gardens, one of the best day trips from Philadelphia!
Eat your heart out at this historic outdoor market
📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 10 am – 4 pm Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am – 3 pm Sunday, Closed Monday | 👉 Chef-led Taste of the Italian Market Food Tour
The Italian Market is a quintessential, historic outdoor market in South Philadelphia. The market stretches about 10 city blocks. At over 100 years old, it’s one of the nation’s oldest outdoor markets!
At the Italian Market, you can find fresh vegetables at great prices, meats, fish, and spices. There are excellent restaurants, hoagie shops, and ice cream shops sprinkled throughout the market, too.
While the market has Italian roots, the area now has great restaurants serving food from around the world. Some of my favorites are Fiorella for pasta and Taqueria La Veracruzana for Mexican.
Expand your mind at one of the many boundary-breaking performances
📍 Multiple Locations | Phone: (215) 413-9006 | Website
The Philadelphia Fringe Festival takes place in September each year. It comprises hundreds of theater and art performances across the city. Many different independent artists, curated by FringeArts, make up the festival.
The main Fringe Arts building is by the Race Street pier and Benjamin Franklin bridge. Performances take place across the city in dozens of indoor and outdoor venues. The Fringe Festival has something to appeal to all audiences.
The festival includes theater, comedy, film, experimental art, immersive art, and more. Make sure to check out the schedule if you are visiting Philly next fall!
Philadelphia Museums & Culture
Wander the halls of fine art and contemporary art
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 278-7000 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm Thursday-Monday, Closed Tuesday & Wednesday | Entrance: $25 adults, $5 ages 13-18 | 👉 Art & Culture Tours in Philadelphia
The Barnes Foundation is unique among the Philadelphia museums. Dr. Albert C. Barnes’ personal collection makes up the bulk of the museum. It contains impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modern paintings.
At the museum, paintings from different cultures and eras neighbor each other on every wall. The arrangement is particular to the vision of Dr. Barnes himself. The Barnes Foundation also has an educational focus. It offers classes for all ages, discounts for students, and tours.
The particular curation at the Barnes is unlike other museums. It sparks interesting conversation each time I’m there. I recommend a visit with ticket reservations made ahead of time. It’s just down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Take in the exquisite sculpture of Auguste Rodin at this museum and garden
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 763-8100 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Friday-Monday, Closed Tuesday-Thursday | Entrance: $12 adults, free under 18
The Rodin Museum is also along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. It contains one of the world’s largest collections of sculptures by the acclaimed artist Auguste Rodin. The impressive Gates of Hell greet you at the museum entrance.
The museum is relatively small so you can take your time viewing the entire collection. Don’t miss the gorgeous public sculpture garden outside the museum as well.
Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History
Learn about Jewish history at the only museum of its kind in the nation
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 923-3811 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Friday-Sunday, 5 am – 7 pm Wednesday, Closed Monday, Tuesday, & Thursday | Entrance: Free
The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History seeks to educate people of all backgrounds on the Jewish experience in America. It is one of a kind as it’s the only museum in the country dedicated only to American Jewish life.
The exhibits cover a comprehensive history of Jews in America since the 17th century. The five floors are full of primary artifacts, rich history, and video storytelling. There are educational events and activities available for all ages as well.
This museum is accessible right down the street from Independence Hall and is free for all!
Eastern State Penitentiary
Visit a historic penitentiary and its many exhibits
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 236-3300 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $17 adults, $13 under 12 (not recommended for children under 7) | 👉 Half-Day Private Philadelphia Driving Tour
The Eastern State Penitentiary is both a preserved prison and an important museum. It was one of the world’s first prisons built as a panopticon. A panopticon is an institutional building created for mass surveillance. A single central guard tower can survey all the prisoners at once. At the same time, the prisoners are unable to tell if they are being watched.
The best way to visit the Penitentiary is with an audio-guided tour. This way, you can walk through the building and its exhibits at your own pace. You’ll leave with an understanding of the institution’s dark history. You’ll also learn about its connection to prisons today.
Eastern State Penitentiary also hosts art exhibits. They highlight issues such as the detention of immigrants, solitary confinement, and death row. Though these are heavy topics, I recommend a visit. The museum does a great job of educating the public on the injustices of our nation’s prison system.
Institute of Contemporary Art
Explore innovative contemporary art — for free!
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 898-5911 | Website | Entrance: Free
The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is one of my favorite museums in Philadelphia! The exhibits change each season and never disappoint. The museum is dedicated to showcasing underrepresented artists. You are always sure to see something you’ve never seen before.
Some of my favorite past exhibits included a solo show by Cary “Candyass” Leibowitz. Her art depicts the gay and Jewish experience through colorful, comical paintings. I also loved the textile exhibit by Cecilia Vicuna. It dealt with themes of reclaiming ancestral tradition and political resistance.
If you are an art aficionado, you will love the ICA!
See a show or catch a spooky film in this historic building
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (267) 519-9651 | Website
You’d think a 19th-century mausoleum showroom is an odd place for a poetry reading, but that’s how we do it in Philly. PhilaMOCA hosts hundreds of performances, events, and film showings every year. It specializes in highlighting underground, alternative, and DIY artists.
Make sure to check out the schedule ahead of time to see what piques your interest. They often have poetry slams or cult classic films you won’t find elsewhere.
PhilaMOCA is located north of Chinatown. You have plenty of options for delicious food before or after a performance. This historic yet humble venue is one of Philly’s gems.
Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden
See, touch, smell, and taste at this eclectic public art space
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (267) 850-5445 | Website
The Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden is a public art wonderland in North Philadelphia. The artist Pedro Ospina created it. The location opened in 2015. The vision is to unite people around eating and making food outdoors.
There is actually a working outdoor kitchen in the garden. There are also sculptures, raised vegetable beds, flowering plants, a firepit, and stages for events.
Recycled materials like old tires make up much of the Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden. The venue hosts more events in the warmer seasons, but you can explore it year-round by just walking in. I recommend a visit, especially for families with adventurous young kids.
Enjoy the beauty of classical music in a majestic setting
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 893-1900 | Website
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s main stage is at the Kimmel Center in Center City, not far from City Hall. In the summer, performances are often at the Mann Center for Performing Arts in Fairmount Park.
The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the nation’s premiere orchestras. It’s a traditional symphony orchestra performing over 100 concerts each year. Each season, they perform a selection of classical symphonies, concertos, and modern compositions.
Tickets for performances at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon stage vary. The orchestra also has a free neighborhood summer concert series across Philly.
Asian Arts Initiative
Immerse yourself in visual art, performance, film, and more
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 557-0455 | Website | Hours: 2 pm – 6 pm Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Saturdays, plus event hours | Entrance: Free gallery, event prices vary
Asian Arts Initiative is a non-profit dedicated to the performing and visual arts. They host art exhibits, performances, festivals, and film screenings. I have been to countless events here over the years and they never disappoint.
Asian Arts Initiative is located just north of Chinatown. They have gallery space on the first floor open to the public. There is event space throughout the building. Many of the events there center around the Asian and Asian-American experience.
Take in several floors of contemporary art
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 238-1236 | Website | Hours: 12 pm – 6 pm Friday-Sunday, Closed Monday-Thursday | Entrance: Free
Vox Populi is a contemporary art space and artist collective. It’s located between Chinatown and Callowhill. For over thirty years, Vox Populi has hosted exhibits from a diverse range of local artists in the city.
First Fridays are always free and open to the public. They occur every first Friday of the month from 6 pm – 10 pm. During these events, you’ll see all new exhibits at the space and likely some performances as well.
I’ve gone to First Fridays at Vox countless times over my years in Philly. It’s one of my favorite casual Friday evening activities with friends!
Parks & Outdoor Activities in Philly
Spruce Street Harbor Park
Take a spin around the riverrink or float on a river barge
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 922-2386 | Website | 👉 Spirit of Philadelphia Dinner Cruise
Spruce Street Harbor Park is a lively boardwalk area. It is along the Delaware River waterfront in Old City.
Year-round, Spruce Street Harbor Park is sure to be a great time! In the summer, you can roller skate and rent rowboats to go out on the Delaware River. Come winter, enjoy ice skating at the Independence Blue Cross RiverRink.
There are restaurants, bars, and food carts along the boardwalk. You’ll also find barges on the river that offer dinner cruise tours!
This park has something for everyone, kids included. They’ll love the free outdoor games such as massive Jenga. There’s even a small arcade. My favorite feature of the park is the outdoor hammock seating under a canopy of lights.
Cherry Street Pier
Browse the marketplace or attend an art event in a historic pier building
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 923-0818 | Website | Hours: 12 pm – 8 pm daily | Entrance: Free | 👉 Guided Outdoor Activities in Philadelphia
Cherry Street Pier is a unique mixed-use space along the Delaware River waterfront. Organizers host music performances, film screenings, a market, and more here year-round.
The building is a historic shipping pier right on the water. It has been repurposed as offices and a massive event space. Look up to the original steel framing and masonry to get a sense of the building’s history.
Make sure to visit the Cherry Street Pier website ahead of time to check out their upcoming events.
Walk among creatures of all shapes and sizes
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 243-1100 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 3 pm & 5 pm – 9 pm daily, Closed Monday & Tuesday | Entrance: $16 adults & children, free under 2
The Philadelphia Zoo is home to more than 1,700 animals and is the nation’s oldest zoo. This zoo is an expert in conservation, education, and animal care. It was the first zoo to use Zoo360, a system of see-through treetop trails that connect habitats. This gives animals more space to explore. It also gives visitors a chance to walk right beneath a tiger crossing overhead!
You and your family will have the chance to visit big cats, birds of all colors, animals of the outback, and penguins! The zoo is also home to many rare and endangered species. Some of those include the red-capped mangabey or the two-toed sloth.
Schuylkill River Trail
Enjoy a stroll or bike ride along the water
The Schuylkill River Trail stretches from Southwest Philly and continues north. The trail extends 120 miles all the way to the town of Frackville. There are many entrances to the trail throughout Philly. The most picturesque is behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The trail is a fantastic area to ride bikes, take a walk with your pup, or skateboard at Paines Park. There are benches all along the river and grassy areas for stretching out on a blanket. During the warmer seasons, there are often pop-up beer gardens with hammocks set up.
🍺 Love Beer? Check out the Best Pub Crawl in Philly!
A center of activity in West Philly
📍 Google Maps | Website
On almost any Saturday, Clark Park is a bustling hub of West Philly neighborhood activity. The park has beautiful trees and grassy areas surrounded by benches. You’ll often see volleyball games and kids “LARPing” (live-action role playing).
The park also has a playground, basketball court, and a huge bowl perfect for sledding. There are free film screenings throughout the summer. The local farmer’s market is every Saturday, with an ever-growing clothing and art market alongside it. A few times a year, the park is home to the Uhuru festival and flea market as well.
John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge
Hike through a nature reserve within city limits
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 365-3118 | Website | Hours: 6 am – 6 pm daily | Entrance: Free
The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge is a 1,000-acre wildlife reserve. Surprisingly, it’s very close to the Philadelphia airport. It is difficult to access by public transport, but is only a 20 to 25-minute drive from Center City.
The refuge has protected marshlands, ponds, and woodlands. It is home to many animals, plant life, and trees. Trails are clearly marked for hiking. There are also wildlife observation stations throughout the refuge.
This is one of my favorite nature spots in Philadelphia. To this day, it’s the only place I’ve ever seen a sunbathing snapping turtle!
Wissahickon Valley Park
Walk the trails of one of the largest urban parks in the country
📍Google Maps | Phone: (215) 247-0417 | Website | Hours: 6 am – 6 pm daily
Wissahickon Valley Park has more than 50 miles of beautiful hiking trails. The park stretches across Northwest Philly. Covering 1,800 acres, it is one of the largest urban green spaces in the country. The park is so huge that you can visit a new section each time you’re there.
Wissahickon is popular for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The main trail is along Forbidden Drive. From there, you can choose to explore smaller trails of varying difficulty levels. One of my favorite spots is Marjoree Dam. You can access it from Forbidden Drive and dip your toes in the water on a hot summer day.
Explore a natural oasis with many hidden gems
📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: 6 am – 6 pm daily
Fairmount Park is Philadelphia’s largest park at more than 2,000 acres. The park is a mixture of natural landscapes, historic mansions, and public sculpture. As opposed to the Wissahickon, which is woodland, Fairmount Park is a true urban park.
Some of the park’s highlights include the Pavilion in the Trees on the west side and the Smith Memorial Playground for children. I’ve gone ziplining in Fairmount Park, bike riding, and watched the sunset at Belmont Plateau. You’ll make endless discoveries as you explore the park.
👉 Pro Tip: If you’re traveling with kids, check out the Please Touch Museum right in Fairmount Park!
A quintessential city park with sports fields and a pond
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 683-3600 | Website | Hours: 6 am – 9 pm daily
FDR Park is in South Philly near Citizens Bank Park and the Eagles stadium. I recommend taking public transportation there. It is next to the NRG station stop on the Broad Street line and parking can be difficult.
My favorite attraction at FDR Park is the Southeast Asian market. It’s open on weekends from April to November. The market has dozens of food vendors serving up delicious treats at reasonable prices.
There is also an iconic skate park in FDR park with ramps for all skill levels. Beginners and kids tend to skate in the morning. More experienced skaters arrive by midday.
The Farm at Awbury Arboretum
Meet the goat residents of Germantown
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 849-2855 | Website | Hours: Dawn to dusk daily | Entrance: Free | 👉 Old City Historic Walking Tour
The Farm at Awbury Arboretum is open to the public every day, free of charge. It’s located in Germantown and is within walking distance of the Washington Lane regional rail stop. There is also free street parking for those driving.
Though you can visit the farm and goats any time, Sundays are farmers market days. From spring to fall, there is a farmers market with fresh produce, food demonstrations, and staff on site.
The farm often has free educational programming for kids of all ages. There is also an edible orchard and beehives on site.
Shopping & Markets in Philadelphia
Venture down one of Philly’s quirkiest shopping districts
South Street is a must-see Philly destination, especially for first-time visitors. It’s not far from Old City and Independence Hall.
South Street is vibrant any time of day or night. If you enjoy a city stroll, I recommend you explore the area between Broad and Front Street. There, you’ll find lots of weird shops, thrift stores, cheap eats, and bars.
There is a lot to explore right off the main strip as well. My favorite shopping spot is Retrospect Vintage. I also love Tattooed Mom for the great bar food and fun decor. Check out Golden Triangle, a delicious Thai Malaysian restaurant on 5th street. Or, wander the racks at Philly Aids Thrift just down the block.
A beautiful park in an upscale neighborhood
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Philadelphia Segway Tour
Rittenhouse Square is a picturesque town square in the heart of Philadelphia. High-rise apartment buildings surround the park. It’s a popular spot for lounging by the fountain, sprawling out in the grass, or taking a daytime stroll.
Rittenhouse Square is almost always busy with people from all walks of life. On weekends, you might find a farmer’s market, art market, or plants for sale. There are high-end restaurants and luxury shopping options a short walk away.
Satisfy your appetite in this foodie haven
📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Chef-Led East Passyunk Comfort Foods Tour
East Passyunk is a bustling neighborhood in South Philly. The neighborhood is jam-packed with incredible restaurants serving cuisine from around the world.
Most of the action happens right along East Passyunk Ave. Neighborhood bars like the Triangle Tavern and classy restaurants line the main avenue. For special occasions, one of my favorites is Perla, which serves incredible Filipino food.
Stray a bit farther from the main strip and you’ll find cheap, mouth-watering gems. I swear by Ramayana for their large platters of Indonesian food.
East Passyunk is also a great area for gift shopping. There are independent gift shops and plant stores sprinkled throughout.
👉 Don’t Miss: Best of Philadelphia Food Tour
Phila Flea Markets
Shop ‘til you drop — every season is flea market season in Philly
📍 Multiple Locations | Phone: (215) 625-3532 | Website
Phila Flea Markets is a conglomeration of year-round flea markets across the city. The largest outdoor flea market runs from April to November. It’s at the Roosevelt Mall on Cottman Ave in North Philly.
There are also outdoor markets from spring to fall throughout the city. All the markets focus on vintage items and antiques, so you never know what you’ll find.
If you’re an antique enthusiast visiting Philly in winter, don’t fret! There is an indoor weekend flea market that runs from November to April at Penn’s Landing in South Philly. Check the website for details as it’s not every weekend.
Explore Philly’s neighborhoods and their niche bookstores
📍 Multiple Locations
In Philly, independent, curated bookstores are plentiful. The recently-established Making Worlds bookstore is in West Philly on 45th and Walnut St. Its focus is on liberation movements and organizing.
The famous Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books is in Germantown. It has a large selection of books by Black, Indigenous, and immigrant authors. Namely, it aims to reach underserved communities with books.
There is also Giovanni’s Room in Philly’s Gayborhood. It focuses on LGBT subjects and authors, selling both new and used books. And there are countless more! The list includes Harriet’s Bookshop, Big Blue Marble, Hakim’s Bookstore & Gifts, and others.
Lose yourself among racks of vintage and thrifted clothing!
📍 Multiple Locations | 👉 Vintage Thrift Quest Walking Tour
Philly also has a great assortment of thrift stores throughout the city. The most well-known is Philly Aids Thrift on 5th Street. This is your classic thrift store. It’s filled with everything from $1 clothing bins to vintage gowns.
The city’s other thrifting highlights include Circle Thrift and Thunderbird Salvage in Fishtown, and Second Mile in West Philly. Retrospect Vintage on South Street is more vintage than thrift, but worth a look! Thrifting is one of my favorite things to do in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Nightlife Attractions
Light up your night with Philly’s finest burlesque
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 203-0202 | Website | Hours: 6:30 pm – 2 am Friday-Sunday, Closed Monday-Thursday | Entrance: $30 – $75 | 👉 Philly By Night Bus Tour
Looking for dinner and a show? This stunning repurposed warehouse in Fishtown is the spot! At Fabrika, you’ll experience burlesque and drag like never before.
Fabrika hosts brunch and evening performances paired with delicious Mediterranean food. There are inventive dinner theater shows each week from Thursday to Saturday. The show includes cabaret, drag, acrobatics, and circus performers. One thing is for sure: a night at Fabrika will not disappoint!
Warehouse on Watts
Find your party vibe and dance the night away
📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: Varies | Entrance: Varies by event
Warehouse on Watts in a party and music venue off of North Broad Street in North Philly. Its parties run the gamut from disco to techno and house. You’ll find all kinds of crowds at W.O.W. – it depends on the night!
W.O.W. hosts both local and out-of-town DJs, dance parties in all styles, and daytime events. The venue has two floors with the main bar on the first floor. I recommend checking the schedule ahead of time to see what might pique your interest!
Enjoy live jazz any night of the week
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 496-9001 | Website | Hours: 6 pm – 10 pm Tuesday-Thursday & Sunday, 5:30 pm – 2 am Friday & Saturday, Closed Monday | Entrance: Varies by show
Time is one of the best spots in Philly to hear live jazz any night of the week. The food and cocktails at this restaurant and whiskey bar are excellent as well. A favorite of mine is the Time signature old fashioned.
There are a few different rooms at Time, all with an intimate feel. There’s no need to get tickets, as this is a spot for a casual listen while you dine.
👉 Pro Tip: For a standard jazz club with fantastic performances five nights a week, walk 3 minutes down Sansom Street over to Chris’s Jazz Cafe!
Come for the bar, stay for the drag!
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 735-0735 | Website | Hours: 5 pm – 2 am Wednesday-Sunday, Closed Monday & Tuesday
Franky Bradley’s is my go-to spot in Philly’s Gayborhood for drag performances! They’ve got dance parties, burlesque, drag, and more almost every night of the week. My chosen drag show is Snatcherella 3000, a drag series on the search for Philly’s next biggest performer.
Food, drink, and ticket prices at Franky Bradley’s are reasonable. They have a classic bar menu along with happy hour from 5-7 pm. And, of course, don’t forget to tip your bartenders, drag queens and kings!
Belt out your best tune at karaoke
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (215) 923-8088 | Website | Hours: 4 pm – 12 am Tuesday-Thursday, 11:30 am – 1 am Friday-Sunday, Closed Monday
Yakitori Boy is so much more than just a delectable sushi restaurant — it’s a karaoke bar, too! Yakitori Boy is right in Chinatown, so it’s a great place to start or end your night. They serve sushi alongside a great beer and sake list.
There is a typical restaurant on the first floor with indoor and outdoor seating. Karaoke is on the second floor. At this karaoke lounge, you can book a room for an hour at a time. Food and drinks are brought to the private lounge room while you sing your heart out with 5 (or 20!) or your best friends.
FAQs About What to Do in Philadelphia
Is Philly worth visiting?
Philly is absolutely worth visiting. There is so much to do in this city that you’ll want to plan several visits! Explore important historical sites, such as Independence Hall where the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence were both signed. Visit gorgeous museums, parks, fantastic restaurants, and more in the neighborhoods across the city.
What is Philadelphia famous for?
Philadelphia is famous for its important place in U.S. history, and for its many firsts. The city is home to the Liberty Bell and Betsy Ross House. It’s the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence. Also, the nation’s first museum dedicated to Black history is right here in Philly.
What is the most popular part of Philadelphia?
Center City and Old City are the most popular parts of Philadelphia for first-time visitors. Both are well worth a visit. Once you’ve explored these areas, make sure to venture out to some of Philly’s other neighborhoods. There, you’ll find wonderful food, art, parks, and other attractions!
If you’ve reached this conclusion, then you know there are endless things to do in Philadelphia. I hope this article has helped you plan out your trip. Let me know some of your favorite Philly highlights in the comments!
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