Philadelphia is one of the most exciting and interesting cities in the US to visit. There is always something going on during any season and you will find more historic sites than are offered in nearly any other place in the United States. This is a city that is at the heart of the history of the US and you can see this easily when you choose to visit Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell Center, or other national historic landmark sites around the city. You might be worried that your short visit to Philadelphia will cheat you out of getting to see all the sites and experience all the things that this city has to offer, but don't worry! This guide will help you to make the most of your 3 days in Philadelphia so that you won't miss out on a single thing that you wanted to do or see.
The first thing that you need to do when you get to Philadelphia is to make sure that you are not dragging luggage around with you the whole time. You won't have much fun during your 3 days in Philadelphia if you have to deal with your suitcases getting in the way. You will want to put your bags in secure storage in Philadelphia with Bounce for the peace of mind needed to have a great time. Once you have taken care of your bags, you will be ready to go make the most of your trip to this lovely city!
3 Days in Philadelphia
There are so many amazing things to do and see in this city. You should be sure that you have many museum locations on your radar as well as places like Chinatown. This is a very historical city that has been at the heart of the creation of the US and everything that it is today. There's no shortage of attractions that relate to United States history here and those who enjoy history will be in for a treat around nearly every corner. If you love shopping or yummy food, Philly has this covered as well.
Our well-thought-out itinerary will help you to make the most of your stay and ensure you get in all the different experiences that you don't want to miss.
Philadelphia itinerary - Day 1
This first day in the city should be spent seeing the old city and the revolutionary landmarks that are so central to the identity of Philadelphia. Independence Hall should be your first stop so that you can stand where the Declaration of Independence was signed and also where the constitution was put into effect. This rather humble building is one of the key centers of the city because of the vast amount of history that it has witnessed. There's something really special about standing in the place where people like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin helped to create the United States that we know and love today.
Consider taking the Founding Fathers Walking Tour to get the most out of your time in the area of Independence Hall. There are lots of other sites to see here like the Independence National Historical Park and some of the other key Philadelphia museum locations are near this spot as well. You can choose to wander and enjoy the various offerings on your own schedule but a tour guide can help you get an expert's take on everything and a little local flavor.
Grab some lunch at one of the Independence Hall area food vendors, which serve some of the best street food in Philadelphia, or you can head to fun places like the Bourse Food Hall for a delicious meal.
Start off your afternoon with a visit to the Liberty Bell Center. The bell itself has become one of the key items that represents the search and pursuit of liberty that the founding fathers were hoping to impart to all citizens of the US, and the bell itself is very interesting with the famous crack that led to it being retired.
Wander from here over to the presidential home of George Washing and John Adams during their tenures in charge of the US during its early years as a republic. The White House had not been built at this time, so presidents were installed much more locally. The original building has long since been demolished but you can still get a tour of the area and learn about the way that this part of the city looked when the first presidents resided here.
Head from here to Christ Church which is relevant in its own right but also for the Christ Church burial ground, where Benjamin Franklin is buried. Take part in the tradition of leaving a penny on Ben's grave in reference to his saying, "A penny saved is a penny earned."
The day would not be complete without visiting Betsy Ross House. This is a unique Philadelphia museum that tells the story of Betsy Ross and the flag, as well as provides information about the social situation at the time of Betsy's efforts to create the symbol of America. You will learn some more about the way that women spent their days in Philadelphia during this period as well.
Your first night in the city should be really adventurous and you can head to the Blue Cross RiverRink to ice skate and ride the Ferris wheel, or you might head to Spruce Street Harbor Park for a fun "beach" evening complete with some amazing street food and time spent wandering the streets and seeing the sights.
On the other hand, if you're tuckered out, you could easily grab some yummy food to go from the Independence Hall area and head to bed. No matter which way you choose to spend the evening, either in your hotel room or in the old city, you will have so much to talk about from your day of sightseeing.
Philadelphia itinerary - Day 2
Grab some quick breakfast and then head out to see some of the Philadelphia museum locations that you have not visited yet. You should consider the Mutter Museum for your first stop. This is a unique display of anatomical specimens that date primarily from the 19th and 20th centuries, but some are as old as the 7th century BCE. This might be a bit macabre for some but it is a really interesting look at the early efforts of doctors to discover how the human body and health worked.
Jump from this experience to Chinatown which is full of hustle and bustle and color. You can shop, eat, and enjoy all kinds of fun experiences here. The Chinatown Gate is beautiful and very noticeable and you will not be far from other key areas of the city that you might want to visit when you head to Chinatown. City Hall is close to this location as is Center City with its historical buildings. If you are visiting in the winter months, don't let the cold weather deter you from heading to this part of the city. The lights and festive feeling in Chinatown and the City Hall and Center City areas are lovely and will put you in the Christmas mood for sure!
If you have worked up an appetite by now, one of the most enjoyable things to do Philly is city is a food tour. This is the perfect day to meet up with your food tour guide and get to try all kinds of cuisines from all over the world. You will be treated to local favorites as well as cuisines that you might never have tried before.
When your food tour is done, head to Reading Terminal Market. This market has its roots in markets that were located nearby in the 1700s, and today this spot is one of the most unique outdoor markets that you can find anywhere in the US. You will feel like you have been transported to Europe when you step into Reading Terminal Market and you can buy souvenirs, get a snack, or just wander and see everything housed under the umbrella of the terminal market.
During one of your nights in the city, you need to make time to see Benjamin Franklin Parkway with all of the lights on. This is a huge and sweeping bridge that is lovely at night and you will want to take some pictures of it before moving on to dinner plans. The historic center of the city is a great choice for your dinner plans after you've checked out the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
There are many cafes and bars in this area and you can find the right dinner or drink options for you and your group with ease in this part of the city. You might also want to check out Rittenhouse Square before you settle down for your meal. This is the part of the city with some of the oldest architecture and you will feel transported back in time in the picturesque square during your Philadelphia weekend trip.
Philadelphia itinerary - Day 3
This is the day to visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art. You can spend hours here checking out the various collections that are on display. This is one of the best art museums in the US and you will love getting to wander through the collections housed here.
If you want to see more art museums, you can head to the nearby Barnes Foundation building which houses both historical and art displays. Learn about founding fathers Benjamin Franklin and George Washington here and also about the history of the local area.
Spend the first part of your afternoon at the Franklin Institute. This is a very immersive and fancy science museum that offers you interactive museum exhibits as well as a large and fascinating planetarium. You will enjoy everything about your time at the Franklin Institute and this is a great option to entertain your kids if they are getting bored with art museums.
When you are done here, head to the Eastern State Penitentiary. This was once the site of the most infamous of prisons in the country and today it stands as a landmark and museum that tells the complex and sometimes sad story of incarceration in the US. Al Capone was once housed here and there are even tales of more bizarre prisoners like a dog that was kept in a cell. This is a sobering but very interesting museum location to visit.
Consider taking the Independence After Hours tour on your last night in the city. You will be treated to actors who will tell you all about the history of Independence Hall and the founding fathers and you will be taken to areas of the building that are not open to the public during the day. You can opt instead to take the very fun and engaging Tippler's Tour which is a fun pub crawl with some historical experts in costume.
If you were worried about missing out because you only have 3 days in Philadelphia, this guide should have put your mind at ease. You can pack a lot of fun things into a few days in this city because most of the exciting things to do are located right in the heart of the city and close together. You will be able to make the most of your short time in Philly and create memories that will last a lifetime.
No matter what your other plans are for your weekend in Philly, make sure that you take the time to get your bags securely stored before you start having fun!