I may be biased, but I think Philadelphia is one American city that you should make it your business to visit at least once. It’s where the foundation of our country was established, where great men put pen to paper and came up with the basis for our way of life in this great nation. It’s the City of Brotherly Love, and it’s well worth any traveler’s time, whether it’s a few hours, or a few days.
If you want to come to Philly but you’re on a budget, you’re in luck! There’s a lot that you can do, while spending very little. So lace up your most comfortable walking shoes, and bring your appetite!
Here are my suggestions for what to see and do in Philadelphia, for cheap:
Explore Independence Mall (Free)
Part of Independence National Historical Park, Independence Mall is situated on 3 blocks downtown and includes museums, the Liberty Bell, and Independence Hall, among other things. If you remember your history lessons, then you’ll recall that Independence Hall is where the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were written. This, and many of the other sites, are free for visitors. Some of the museums do charge admission, but there’s enough to enjoy free of charge, too.
Get Your Picture Taken in Love Park (Free)
Home of the iconic LOVE sculpture. People watch while sitting by the fountain, and ask someone take your picture while standing under the statue. Touristy, yes, but I still think it’s a must. Plus, free souvenir!
Walk Along the Ben Franklin Parkway (Free)
Now that you’ve got your souvenir-worthy photo from LOVE park, start heading towards the parkway for a stroll. It’s lined with flags from hundreds of nations, and it’s fun wandering along and checking out the views. Eventually, you’ll end up at the steps of the Art Museum. This brings me to our next activity…
Run the Rocky Steps (Free)
Unless you’ve been living in the woods for the past 30+ years, you will probably recognize the Art Museum steps as the scene of the iconic Rocky run. Do your best Balboa impression and jog triumphantly up the steps. If you don’t do it, I can guarantee you that there will be someone else who is! Take a picture next to the Rocky statue, once you’ve completed your triumphant run.
Eat a Cheesesteak ($10)
No trip to this fine city would be complete without eating a cheesesteak. Most tourists tend to go to Pat’s and/or Geno’s, but there are lots of far better places to try. I’m not personally a fan of either one, and prefer small local pizza joints. Skip the tourist traps, and step into a pizza shop that looks appealing. Order yourself a “wiz wit” (cheese whiz with fried onions).
I think it’s safe to say that you should bring your appetite and your walking shoes when coming to Philly. It’s an easy place to explore on foot, and there’s a lot to see.
I do recommend budgeting for a museum or two, since there are several excellent ones to choose from. Consider the Franklin Institute, the art museum, The Barnes Foundation, etc. Look for discounts and deals online.
As someone who grew up in the ‘burbs of Philadelphia, I’ve done all of these things, and they never get old. If you’ve never visited Philadelphia, definitely do put it on your travel bucket list!