11 things to do when you visit Philadelphia at night, U.S.A.

The best 12 things to do when you visit Philadelphia

Anyone who calls America home or is even visiting for the first time should seriously consider a trip to Philadelphia to learn about how American democracy was born and evolved into what it is today. It’s admittedly a must-see for history buffs, but it’s also a modern and dynamic city that’s full of exciting festivals and green spaces that are refreshing and beautiful.

Philadelphia was nicknamed the “city of brotherly love” by William Penn because it was founded as a place for friendship, freedom, and acceptance. The city still holds these values and is an incredibly friendly place to visit at any time of year.

Here are some of the top things to do when you visit Philadelphia, and there are many great accommodations available once you’ve decided on your travel dates!

Liberty Bell.

Liberty Bell Liberty Bell.

Liberty Bell and Independence Hall

Probably the most iconic landmark in Philadelphia is the Liberty Bell, so a trip to see it is a must when you are in town. The bell was once used to summon city leaders to meetings, but it was later adopted as a symbol of freedom by everyone from abolitionists to protesters to Native Americans. You can visit the bell, which is part of Independence National Historical Park. Also in the park is Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed. It is a world heritage site and most people start their visit at the visitor center.

Chinese Lantern Festival.

Chinese Lantern Festival Chinese Lantern Festival

Chinese Lantern Festival

There are many festivals in Philadelphia, but one of the most memorable is the Chinese Lantern Festival. It takes place in April and June and has a 200-foot-long Chinese dragon as the centerpiece. Past festivals have featured a three-story pagoda, illuminated lanterns that illuminate the night sky, and even animal lanterns that are interesting to see during the day or night. Artisans from China build the lanterns, and there are live performances with acrobatics and dancing every night.

Spruce Street Harbor Park.

Spruce Street Harbor Park Spruce Street Harbor Park

Spruce Street Harbor Park.

This is a stunning urban beach area with a floating restaurant, beer garden, games like ping pong and shuffleboard, and a scenic promenade on the waterfront. New restaurants are constantly popping up here, and the park is illuminated at night by LED lights hanging from the treetops. This waterfront oasis is free in the summer and makes for a romantic evening. Check the park calendar for the dates you’ll be visiting to see if there are any musical performances, yoga classes or other events that will be taking place.

Valley Forge National Historical Park

Valley Forge National Historical Park Valley Forge National Historical Park

Valley Forge National Historical Park

Take a tour and get ready for a display of history when you visit this park in Philadelphia. It was here that the Continental Army camped during the Revolutionary War in 1777-1778, and today it honors the sacrifices soldiers made to secure freedom in the United States. Take a self-guided tour of the park to see the encampment sites. The fee for an adult tour is $17.50, or you can drive yourself to the nine major tourist stops along the 10-mile route, which takes anywhere from a half-hour to two hours, depending on your interest.

Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market Reading Terminal Market

America’s oldest farmer’s market

Farmer’s markets have become popular in towns and cities across America, but the oldest in the country is in Philadelphia. Reading Terminal Market is the main attraction here and has some amazing produce, cheeses, sandwiches and desserts. At least six million people visit this market every year! You can take a tour of the Taste of Philadelphia market on Wednesdays or Saturdays to learn more about its history, or take a cooking class with a local chef for Sunday brunch.

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Rittenhouse Square

Rittenhouse Square Rittenhouse Square

Rittenhouse Square

An elegant and elegant neighborhood in Philadelphia is Rittenhouse Square, which you wouldn’t guess was once a cattle pasture! Today, it’s a great place to find expensive stores and trendy restaurants to celebrate something special. Or visit the neighborhood for free, take a picnic and enjoy the park that sits along Walnut Street between North 18th and 19th Streets.

Market Village

Shopping Village Shopping Village

Shopping Village

Another interesting neighborhood for walking and shopping near Philadelphia is Peddlers Village. It’s a great place to catch a glimpse of Colonial-style charm, just an hour’s drive from downtown. Here you can visit specialty stores, dine at quaint restaurants and attend family-friendly festivals. For more than 50 years, visitors have come to this part of Bucks County to escape the daily grind and experience a simpler time of life. Don’t miss Giggleberry Fair for some wholesome family fun and consider staying at the Golden Plow Inn if you plan to stay in the area for a couple of days.

Franklin Square

Franklin Square Franklin Square

Franklin Square.

When William Penn began developing the city, he had five original squares in the city plan. One of them was Franklin Square, which is now a popular destination for families visiting Philadelphia. It’s a theme park with miniature golf, a carousel, horses and a playground. Even if you’re not traveling with kids, it’s a fun place to relive your childhood and treat yourself to fries and milkshakes.

Rock Statue and Steps

Rocky statue and steps Rocky statue and steps

Rocky statue and steps.

Another thing Philadelphia is famous for is rocky movies, and rocky steps and statues are some of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Take some pictures of the statue and then run to the top of the stairs on your first trip to Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is the third largest art museum in the country and has become even more famous for being immortalized by rocky movies. There are a couple hundred galleries and hundreds of thousands of works of art, including paintings, sculptures, textiles and more.

Murals and Graffiti

Murals and Graffiti Murals and Graffiti

Murals and Graffiti

You might not know it if you’ve never been here before, but Philadelphia has an exciting street art scene full of skilled graffiti and colorful murals. The city’s art mural program began in 1984, when the Anti-Graffiti Network worked with graffiti artists to turn their talents into beautiful murals. There are thousands of murals celebrating everything from LGBT rights to women’s empowerment to the city’s history. You can even take a tour of the murals if you want to learn more about the artists who created them.

Fillet of Cheese

Fillet of Cheese Fillet of Cheese.

Try the local cuisine.

Not only is Philadelphia considered the birthplace of democracy, but one of America’s most beloved traditional foods also originated here: cheese steak! Philly cheesesteaks can be found in restaurants all over the city, but don’t stop there in your culinary exploration. Philadelphia is a wonderful city for foodies, and every neighborhood in the city offers something a little different. Explore different neighborhoods to try Italian restaurants, mini bars, Polish supermarkets and more.

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Best 20 things to do in Philadelphia

As America’s birthplace, it’s only natural that Philadelphia is best known for its rich history. But the City of Brotherly Love is also home to plenty of interesting places to explore, exciting attractions and unique entertainment that you can only taste in Philadelphia. Yes, some things are historic, but others discover the city’s lively food and beer scene, immerse you in the world of art or invite you to play outdoors.

Climb the “Rocky Steps” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

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It’s a Philadelphia rite of passage: pay tribute to fictional outsider Rocky Balboa by jogging up all 72 steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and pumping your fist at the top, just like in the movie. (Go ahead and strike a pose for the photo; locals won’t judge.) The 9-foot bronze statue of Rocky, located to the right of the museum entrance at the intersection of Kelly Dr. and Martin Luther King, Jr. was commissioned and donated by Sylvester Sam Stallone.

02 of 20

Walk along the Schuylkill River and boathouse

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Boathouse Row National Historic Site consists of 10 19th-century boathouses along the eastern banks of the Schuylkill River, just west of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Local boat clubs with Olympic alumni still occupy and take pride in these charming buildings. To view the splendor, take a walk along Kelly Drive; consider walking at night when the glowing lights outline the houses and reflect beautifully on the river, creating gorgeous photos.

03 of 20.

Sample beers at several (of many) craft breweries

Even Philadelphia’s beer scene boasts an untapped history. Taverns started popping up all over the city during the American Revolution; by the mid-20th century, there were about 100 breweries in Philadelphia. Prohibition ended the brewery boom, but it returned in the ’80s, and today the local Philly beer scene is one of the largest and best in the country and the world.

Start your own sipping adventure at Yards on Spring Garden Brewery, which offers English ales, a cornhole and a tour of modern amenities. Fishtown’s Evil Genius Beer Co. offers a fun atmosphere and eclectic excitement, such as Purple Monkey Dishwasher. Stay north and then head to Urban Village for full beer specials and delicious flatbread pizza.

04 of 20.

Take a cool cooking class at COOK

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Treat your significant other and share an evening of winemaking, dining and culinary education. Grab one of 16 seats in COOK’s state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen, where you’ll watch and learn how to make food from one of Philly’s top chefs, enjoy cocktails, and then, of course, enjoy decadent cuisine. The classes change every season, and there’s a theme for every palate, such as Veggie Comfort Foods, Open Sea Brunch, cider and cheese combinations, and more. Sessions sell out fast, so check the schedule and register early.

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Drink at Skyline The view from the rooftop bar

For the best views of Philadelphia, take a step back, or rather, up. The city’s growing number of rooftop bars take you to new heights and offer an outdoor respite from the hustle and bustle below. The Continental Mid-city Hotel’s rooftop lounge and patio are retro-inspired and partially enclosed for year-round relaxation. The Assembly Rooftop Lounge offers sparkling cocktails in a sophisticated space atop the Logan Hotel, nine stories above Philadelphia’s Museum District. South Philly’s beloved local restaurant Bok Bar transforms into a pop-up bar every spring (Wednesday-Sunday) serving cocktails and light bites.

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06 of 20

Scare at East State Penitentiary

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This 19th-century American prison was the world’s first true “penitentiary,” designed to inspire true regret in prisoners with strict discipline. Today, the historic site stands in beautiful architectural ruins with its grandiose ceilings and hauntingly empty cells, some of which housed infamous convicts like Slick Willie Sutton and Al Capone (you can actually peek into his cell on the tour). For a historical but creepy (in a good way) experience, take a day tour of the cellblocks, which includes an audio and hands-on history guide as well as acclaimed artist installations.

07 of 20.

Eat your way around the Terminal Reading Market

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Downtown Reading Terminal is home to America’s largest and oldest public market, which has been around since 1893. It’s a true foodie utopia, with vendors offering a wide variety of local produce and poultry, unique dishes, gourmet seafood, delicious baked goods, and more.

Come with an empty stomach (trust us) and stroll down the sprawling aisles, ordering appetizers like pretzel dogs at Miller’s Twist, or full meals at Falafel Kamala, and definitely save room for Beiler’s Donut.

The market is open year-round, except on national holidays (and Dutch markets are closed on Sundays).

08 of 20.

Immerse yourself in mummy culture

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Perhaps Philadelphia’s quirkiest tradition, the annual Mummers Parade is America’s oldest folk festival, with thousands of energetically dressed Philadelphians strolling the streets on New Year’s Day. The 118-year-old celebration is truly a quirky, one-of-a-kind experience in Philadelphia; So much so that in 1985, the city opened the Mummers Museum, dedicated to all things Mummery. Take a tour and immerse yourself in a world of ornate fanfare, colorful outfits (which you can try on), video archives, stories and enjoyable music. Be sure to visit the exhibit that teaches you the official “Mummer’s Stand.”

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Peruse Galleries on First Friday.

Philadelphia’s historic Old Town neighborhood has a thriving local art scene. On the first Friday of every month, the neighborhood comes alive in the form of a collaborative open house: more than 40 galleries and studios open late and invite the public to immerse themselves in unique art and cultural exhibitions (free, year-round ). From 5 to 9 p.m., crowds of art lovers take to the streets and enjoy free drinks, live entertainment, local artisan workshops, wonderful people watching, and fantastic food at restaurants that also participate in the fun. The densest network of events is between Front and Third streets and Market and Vine streets.

10 out of 20.

Hit the museum after dark

Philadelphia is full of museums, and there’s something to interest everyone from art to history, science and folklore. Many museums entertain and entertain after-dark learning with special evening events: the Franklin Institute’s “Science After Hours” series (21+) discusses a different topic each month: experiments, demonstrations, games, hands-on exhibitions, and more.

Rosenbach, the Rare Book Museum, holds a series of “Bibliottables” (approx.) on the second Friday of every month, which is full of discussions and libations on a literary theme.

There’s also Dinos After Dark at the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University; browse the galleries and special exhibitions, and enjoy animal presentations and a pop-up beer garden, all for an optional fee.

11 of 20.

Take a tour of the Magic Gardens

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If you’re walking down South Street, you can’t miss Isaiah Zagar’s mosaic masterpiece, which spans half the block. The 3,000-square-foot Magic Gardens consists of indoor galleries and a large outdoor maze made from found objects like bicycle wheels, mirrors and porcelain plates; on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m., you can take a tour and learn about the history and community values behind the nonprofit space. The Magic Gardens also offers educational programs, performances, tours, mosaic workshops and a schedule of warm-weather outdoor events.

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12 of 20.

Attend a professional Philly sports game

Philly sports fans have a reputation for being crazy, but there’s no doubt that their passion for their teams and city is unmatched. Even if the Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies, Flyers, or 76ers are not your hometown team, you can buy tickets to a soccer game at Lincoln Financial Field, play baseball at Citizens Bank Park, or play hockey or basketball at Wells Fargo Center. Before the game, you’ll definitely want to get started with Xfinity Live !, a one-stop food, drink and entertainment center right across from the stadiums (all the other fans will be there).

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Eat authentic Cheesesteak filet.

No trip to Philadelphia is without a meal of cheesesteak, which is more than just a ribeye and melted cheese sandwich – it’s a cultural icon and a local obsession. “Pat’s vs. Geno’s” is still a controversial cheese joint (the famous dueling walks are across the street from each other), but these eateries are also tourist traps.

Avoid the long lines and get good, authentic steaks where the locals go. Dalessandro’s is beloved for their super-soft rolls, fried onions and cheesy soft serve. Jimmy G’s Steaks is known for its quality ingredients and toppings (they’re open until 4 a.m. on weekends). North Philly also has Max Cheese Steak, which starred in the movie Credo. their 20-inch sandwiches and full daiquiri bar.

14 of 20.

Spend an afternoon at the Philadelphia Zoo

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The Philadelphia Zoo is America’s first zoo and a great place to spend an afternoon with the whole family. It is home to 1,300 animals from around the world – from primates to big cats to amphibians – many of which are rare and endangered.

This zoo is known for its unique exploratory trail system, which gives animals more room to roam and offers visitors a three-dimensional, immersive viewing experience. In addition to animal exhibits, the zoo offers many interactive activities such as special keeper presentations and an aviary where you hand-feed exotic birds. There is also a carousel, swan boat rides and a 42-acre Victorian garden for walking.

15 of 20

Lounge and Play at Spruce Street Harbour Park

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In spring, summer and fall, Spruce Street Harbour Park is a favorite destination for locals and visitors. The pop-up urban oasis sits on the Delaware waterfront and boasts endless opportunities for entertainment: arcades, sidewalk bocce, floating gardens, sparkling hanging lights, an abundance of food vendors and an award-winning beer garden. You can also just relax and enjoy the picturesque atmosphere in one of the 50 vibrant hammocks.

16 of 20

Train ride with a love letter

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Philly holds the title for being the mural capital of the world, with more than 3,800 pieces of public art on display throughout the city. Mural Arts Philadelphia offers a closer and more intimate look at Stephen Powers’ famous Love Letter mural project. On this 90-minute guided tour, you’ll board the Market-Frankford elevated train and ride through West Philadelphia, making stops along the way to learn the unique history of the series’ 50 scenic masterpieces.

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Tours run weekly and begin at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), Hamilton Building (128 N Broad Street); enter the building’s front lobby from the Broad Street side. You will then take a short walk to the train, so wear comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate clothing.

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Eat your way through Philadelphia on an urban food tour

Want to get a real taste of Philadelphia? City Food Tours invites you to choose your own adventure on a gastronomic tour of this culinary-centric city. Each two- to three-hour guided walking tour takes you where the locals eat and has a different theme, from popular Philly flavors to foodie tastings, ethnic dishes with a hidden gem and spicy food at some of Philadelphia’s best restaurants. Leave room for architectural tours and in-depth history lessons served between each stop. Start locations vary depending on the tour you choose.

18 of 20.

See the show at the Mann Center

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The Mann Center is a magnificent nonprofit performing arts center located in historic West Fairmount Park, which originally served as the summer home for the Philadelphia Orchestra. During the warmer months, the two-stage outdoor concert venue has a packed schedule with all types of shows and world-class artists – from pop, rock and jazz concerts to dance shows and musicals. Many people choose Great Lawn ticket options so they can catch a show from a blanket in the grass overlooking the skyline.

The arena is easily accessible by public transportation (Mann Center Loop bus from SEPTA); there are plenty of well-marked parking spaces for $25.

19 out of 20.

Hang out in Philadelphia Park.

Among the city’s tall buildings and landmarks, you’ll also find plenty of open spaces and parks to visit. John F. Kennedy Plaza (better known as LOVE Park) is home to the famous Robert Indiana LOVE statue and serves as the main entrance to Benjamin Franklin Boulevard; it just underwent a two-year renovation, bringing a new fountain, benches and lush greenery.

Franklin Square is one of William Penn’s five original plazas. Located downtown (between North 6th and 7th Streets and between Race St and the Vine St Expressway), the eight-acre park includes a Philly-themed miniature golf course, a nostalgic carousel, and a variety of food and drink options at SquareBurger.

Since its debut in June 2018, Rail Park, which was once the site of Reading’s original railroad, has been open to the public as an urban elevated greenway. Phase I of the quarter-mile of abandoned paths includes lush trees, seating, metalwork and huge swings. To enter Rail Park, walk to one of three entrances located at Wide and Noble Streets, 13th and Noble Streets or Callowhill Street between 11th and 12th Streets.

20 of 20.

“Sneak” into Independence Hall after hours

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If you’re going to take a realistic journey back in time to 1776 and watch the birth of our nation unfold, Philadelphia is the only city that does. On the exclusive Independence After Hours walking tour, you’ll begin your evening with an 18th-century style dinner at the city’s tavern; then you’ll head to Independence Hall and “eavesdrop” on Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and John Adams as they discuss the Declaration of Independence right in front of you. Tours depart from the Museum of the American Revolution (101 S. 3rd St.). Tickets are $85 each; advance reservations are highly recommended.

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