Top 10 Free Things to Do
Ten ways to see the City of Brotherly Love that are light on the wallet and fun for all!
Wanna have fun in Philadelphia — with a touch of frugal? No problem. Check off all 10 items on our “Free in Philadelphia” list, and you won’t have spent a dime. Have fun!
1. Independence Hall
2. Congress Hall and Old City Hall
These are the two buildings that flank Independence Hall. Congress Hall was the original home to the newly formed U.S. Congress. Built in 1791 Old City Hall was the second official government structure for the city of Philadelphia. Self-guided tours of these two structures are optional after the Independence Hall tour. They cannot be visited independently.
3. The Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell Center is located across the street from Independence Hall. Resting in its new home, encased in glass &mdash making the Bell visible from Chestnut Street — you can get an up-close-and-personal look, crack and all, while interactive displays tell the story of this national treasure.
Tickets are not required for entry and the Center is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., with extended hours in the summer.
4. Carpenters’ Hall
Carpenters’ Hall played host to the First Continental Congress in 1774 and was home to Benjamin Franklin’s Library Company, The American Philosophical Society, and the First and Second Banks of the United States. Now it’s open to visitors Tuesday through Sunday.
5. Franklin Court
Explore the former site of Benjamin and Deborah Franklin’s Old City home. Okay, you can’t actually see it — the long-ago-demolished home is recreated via a “ghost” structure that the inventor in Mr. Franklin would have been quite impressed by. Don’t miss the underground museum, replica print shop and working U.S. post office that operates just as it did in Franklin’s day.
Admission is free, although donations are accepted.
6. Elfreth’s Alley
Elfreth’s Alley is the nation’s oldest continually occupied residential street. Named after Jeremiah Elfreth, this tiny thoroughfare was once home to artisans and tradespeople. Strolling down the alley is free, while guided tours of the two-house museum are available for just $5 for adults.
7. Fireman’s Hall Museum
The Fireman’s Hall Museum is dedicated to the art and science of firefighting through the last three centuries. Kids love the old fire engines and replica firefighter dressing rooms. Open Tuesday through Saturday, admission is free.
8. Edgar Allan Poe House
The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site was once home to the macabre poet, and it was here that he penned his famous (and terrifying) stories A Tell-Tale Heart and The Fall of the House of Usher. The house is open Wednesday through Sunday and admission is absolutely free.
9. Institute of Contemporary Art
Head up to University City to expand your mind at this time-honored contemporary art showcase. Having displayed the first museum shows for Andy Warhol, Laurie Anderson, Agnes Martin, Robert Indiana and other influential artists, the Institute of Contemporary Art now offers free admission thanks to a generous grant.
10. Franklin Square
There are countless reasons to love Philadelphia’s most family-friendly square. And while most of them have a price tag (only a buck or two) — including the carousel, mini golf and SquareBurger, the Stephen Starr burger-and-fries outpost installed last summer — hanging out in the Square is free. It makes for a nice resting point while walking around America’s most historic neighborhood.