The City of Brotherly Love is the biggest in Pennsylvania and one of the most important in the eastern United States. It's a city rich in history, and it played an especially important part in the Revolutionary War that saw the colonies of the United States separate from Britain. In fact, Philadelphia was even the capital of the new nation of the United States until 1800.
But for all Philly's historical importance, the city has more going for it than just a glorious past. Its many universities and colleges have made it an educational hub and an important place for research. It has more outdoor sculptures and murals than any other US city. And its mixture of historic and modern attractions pull in over forty million tourists per year. Whether it's your first visit to Philadelphia or your hundredth, you'll find plenty to do in this unique and vibrant city.
8 Best Ways to Experience Philadelphia in 2023
With historic attractions and cutting–edge tourist sites, the City of Brotherly Love offers visitors plenty to do. But if you want to immerse yourself in the city more fully and experience everything it has to offer, the following companies can help. Drop off your unneeded luggage at a Bounce storage locker in Philadelphia and get ready for an unforgettable experience in the city.
Best local tour — See My Philadelphia
There’s a big difference between seeing a city as a tourist and seeing it as a local. If you want to get a glimpse of how Philadelphians see their city, contact See My Philadelphia. A knowledgeable local guide will take you to parts of the city most tourists never reach. Tours can take up to three hours, giving you an immersive experience. You’ll see the hidden parts of the city that make it what it is today. Contact them at email@example.com or 1 215.828.9008.
Best beer tour — Philly Brew Tours
Philly's craft beer scene is something no beer enthusiast should miss. Over the last few decades, the city has become home to some of the region's top breweries. A tour with Philly Brew Tours will take you to both bars and breweries so you can sample the best of the local products. These fun and informative tours give you a crash course in the city's brewing culture and are a great way to mingle with other travelers. You can book a tour by contacting them at Philly@brewtours.us or 1 215-866-2337.
Best bus tour — Philadelphia Trolley Works
If you prefer to relax on your vacation while still seeing what the city has to offer, bus tours can be a useful way to get around. This company offers seven different tours which are given in a variety of different languages so that everyone can learn a little more about the city. The knowledgeable guides will fill you in on the city's history and current cultural highlights. You can also take a night tour to see the city lit up. Contact them at 76Carriage@phillytour.com or 12153898687.
Best Segway tour — Without A Cue
This quirky company makes use of Segways to see more of the city without getting tired. Piloting these two-wheeled vehicles is always fun, and it helps you cover a lot more ground. The company also offers walking and driving tours, but the Segway is a much more fun way to get around. As you travel, the guide will explain more about the city’s history and culture and make sure you see all the best sites on your journey. Contact them firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 267-994-1056.
Best food tour — StrEATS of Philly Food Tours
Philadelphia is a city with a thriving culinary scene, and foodies will want to explore everything the city’s eateries have to offer. That’s where this company comes in. They offer a Taste of the Italian Market Tour, a Comfort Food Tour of East Passyunk Ave, and a South Philly Italian Family Dinner so you can eat like a local. Whether you want to explore Philadelphia’s rich Italian heritage or learn about what’s new and exciting on the local scene, this company is the one to call. Reach out to them at email@example.com or 1 610-506-6120.
Best history tour — Beyond the Bell Tours
Philadelphia is a city with some of the richest history in the United States. In fact, it’s hard to miss the influence of the past as you tour the city today. If you want to immerse yourself deeper in the story of Philadelphia, Beyond the Bell can help. They offer a variety of different tours, including the Badass Women’s History Tour and an LGBTQ Tour to give you a different perspective of Philadelphia. The tours are also limited to a maximum of 15 people, so you can be sure you won’t get lost in the crowd. You can book tours online or by contacting Beyond the Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 (484) 416 0140.
Best ghost tour – Grim Philly Twilight Tours
In a city with as long a history as Philadelphia has, you'd expect there to be a few ghosts and legends. And there are. Let Grim Philly take you on a two-hour tour of the city by night where you'll learn about dark chapters in Philadelphia’s history. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, these tours are a fun way to learn more about the kind of history you often don’t read about in school. You can contact the company at email@example.com or 1 856-829-3100.
Best cultural tour — The Black Journey Philadelphia Walking Tour
Every Saturday during summer, this one-and-a-half-hour tour explores Philadelphia through the lens of African American history. The contributions of the black community to the city go back to its earliest colonial days, and the vibrant community that exists today is well worth exploring. Get a deeper understanding of the forces that have shaped the city on this fascinating tour. You can book online or call 1-267-702-3479 to make a reservation.
A weekend in Philadelphia
There's lots to explore in Philadelphia, but a weekend may be just enough to give you a taste of the city. Drop off your heavy bags at a Philadelphia bag storage and set out to explore what this historic town has to offer.
- Get a classic Philadelphia photo in front of the Liberty Bell. This cracked bell has become a symbol of liberty and freedom throughout the United States, and is a must-visit on any trip to the city.
- See where the United States was born at Independence Hall. This impressive building was a meeting place for the founding fathers, and the Declaration of Independence was signed inside. The framework for the U.S. Constitution was also laid down here. As a result, this is a crucial building in American history.
- Check out the revitalized waterfront along the Delaware River. In recent years, this has become one of the most interesting neighborhoods in the city. With gorgeous views, exciting bars and restaurants, and plenty of fun activities, a stroll along the waterfront is a perfect way to spend a Philadelphia evening.
As one of the oldest towns in the United States, Philadelphia's historic core is more walkable than most. Often, exploring on foot is the best way to enjoy what Philly has to offer. You can make things easier on yourself by dropping off your bags at a luggage locker in Philadelphia before you explore. Many of the city's museums and historic sites don't allow large bags inside, so leave your belongings safely behind until you're ready to pick them up again.
Off the beaten path in Philadelphia
Philadelphia can sometimes seem overrun with tourists, especially at the more significant historical sites. If you dig a little deeper, you'll find some places most tourists never discover. And often, these places can give you a deeper understanding of the real life of this famous city.
- Get some fresh air at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. The first urban wildlife refuge in the country, this park feels a long way from the city. Home to dozens of species of birds, it's a great place to reconnect with nature.
- Visit a uniquely fascinating science museum at Wagner Free Institute of Science. Dating back to 1855, this museum houses the natural history collection of William Wagner and is a great place to learn something while you avoid the crowds. Drop off your unneeded bags at a Philadelphia luggage locker before you visit.
- Check out an artist village at Cherry Street. Only recently renovated, the pier boasts an outdoor garden and over a dozen artist studios where you can meet some of the leading lights of the city's cultural scene. Buy a painting or just enjoy the views of the Delaware Bridge in this unique neighborhood.
What to do alone in Philadelphia
Packed with museums, galleries, and other cultural attractions, Philly is a great place to visit solo. Whether you find yourself in town for business or for vacation, there's no end of ways to spend some time in this impressive city.
- Check out the museums along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Home to the Franklin Institute, the Rodin Museum, and the stunning Philadelphia Museum of Art, you could spend days on this single street exploring all the cultural jewels it has to offer. Many of the institutions don't allow large bags, so make sure you drop yours off at a Philadelphia luggage storage service before you go.
- Dive into Philadelphia's cultural scene at Reading Terminal Market. Locals and tourists alike come here for produce, and there are great restaurants inside the market. There's much more to Philly's food scene than cheesesteak, and you'll be able to try some of its best offerings here.
- Learn more about the complicated history of Philadelphia with a small group tour. Context tours are for groups of no more than six people and are led by genuine scholars, so they can give you a far deeper understanding of the sights of the city.
The best souvenirs in Philadelphia
Philadelphia is a great place to shop. If you're looking for a quirky memento of the town, pick up a Phillies Fanatic puppet. Majestic Clubhouse Store is the place to get all your Phillies branded gear. Or you could get a limited-edition coin from the US Mint, which was first established in the city in 1792. Collector's editions of coins make great souvenirs and can even increase in value as the years go by. Or for something a little tastier, visit Marcie Blaine artisanal chocolates. The handcrafted treats here look almost as good as they taste, and the hardest part will be making sure they make it all the way home with you.