Philadelphia on a Budget: Top Free Things To Do

Philadelphia on a Budget: Top Free Things to do

Image via Flickr by lisa cee

Philadelphia might not have the superstar appeal of neighboring New York, but the city has a lot to offer to visitors. In Philadelphia you’ll find iconic historical sites that tell the story of the nation’s earliest days, museums that delight many an art lover, green spaces that offer a quiet refuge from city life, and a refreshingly innovative culinary scene that gourmands will love exploring.

Best of all, it’s easy to enjoy the city even if you’re watching your budget like a hawk. There are several high-value IHG hotels near Midtown Philadelphia, where you can base yourself to explore the first UNESCO World Heritage City in the U.S. From free attractions to discounted museum entries, here’s how to do Philadelphia on a budget.

Liberty Bell

Philadelphia on a Budget: Top Free Things to do

Image via Flickr by pepsiline

Perhaps the most famous landmark in the city, the iconic 2,080-pound copper Liberty Bell is free to visit. At the Liberty Bell Center, you can visit this important symbol of freedom and view exhibits, documents, images, and an informative video. You’ll learn about the Liberty Bell’s significance and how it was adopted by abolitionists and suffragists.

Independence Hall and Congress Hall

Philadelphia on a Budget: Top Free Things to do

Image via Flickr by Ken Lund

Take a free guided tour of Independence Hall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Originally built as the State House of the Province of Pennsylvania, this is where the Declaration of Independence was adopted in 1776. Congress Hall served as home to the U.S. Congress from 1790 to 1800.

Reading Terminal Market

Philadelphia on a Budget: Top Free Things to do

Image via Flickr by Mark Bonica

If you love people-watching and exploring markets like I do, then don’t leave Philadelphia without visiting Reading Terminal Market, the oldest farmers market in the U.S. Browse through fresh produce, watch cooking demonstrations, chat with the friendly merchants, and tuck into famous Philly cheesesteaks and other traditional fare.

Boathouse Row

Philadelphia on a Budget: Top Free Things to do

Image via Flickr by rowensphotography

On the eastern banks of the Schuylkill River, historic Boathouse Row includes 15 century-old buildings that house the country’s oldest rowing clubs. Today, you can head here to watch rowing teams practice or to enjoy illuminated views of the boathouses at night.

Edgar Allan Poe’s Residence

Philadelphia on a Budget: Top Free Things to do

Image via Flickr by RTLibrary

Bookworms will love visiting the three-story brick house where 19th-century author Edgar Allan Poe lived with his family for a year. Here, he penned some of his most well-known works. Visit the home to browse exhibits and see a short informational film. You can take a self-guided tour or join a tour led by a park ranger to gain insight into the life and inspiration of the famous author.

Valley Forge National Historical Park

Philadelphia on a Budget: Top Free Things to do

Image via Flickr by roger4336

A must for history buffs and families Valley Forge National Historical Park is home to monuments, buildings, artifacts, and displays related to the American Revolutionary War. During the British occupation, George Washington led his men here to camp for the winter. Due to the harsh weather conditions and other challenges, however, 2,000 men died. Visit Valley Forge to appreciate the sacrifices that the Founding Fathers made.

Schuylkill River Trail

Philadelphia on a Budget: Top Free Things to do

Image via Flickr by Montgomery County Planning Commission

The 26.5-mile Schuylkill River Trail runs from Philadelphia to Phoenixville through Valley Forge National Historical Park. Here, you’ll find pedestrians, runners, and cyclists of all ages, especially on the weekends. The Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk is a 2,000-foot extension of the trail that connects Locus Street to South Street. It allows visitors to walk over the river and features lookout points where you can enjoy spectacular waterfront views.

Elfreth’s Alley

Philadelphia on a Budget: Top Free Things to do

Image via Flickr by Ken Lund

Wander into a bygone era at Elfreth’s Alley, the country’s oldest inhabited street. In the 18th century, it was home to artisans and tradesmen. Notice the cobbled street and the historic homes. For a fee, you can take a tour of the Museum House and the Chairmaker’s House, which date back to 1755.

Yards Brewing Company

If you’re a beer lover who happens to be in Philadelphia on a weekend, take a free 30-minute tour of Yards Brewing Company. You’ll learn about the brewing and bottling processes as well as the brewery’s history. Don’t miss your chance to try some beers at the end of the tour.

Bartram’s Garden

Philadelphia on a Budget: Top Free Things to do

Image via Flickr by westher

Not just any green space, Bartram’s Garden is the oldest botanical garden in the U.S. It dates back to 1728 and spans 45 acres in West Philadelphia. The 18th-century stone house and farm once served as the residence of botanist John Bartram, who curated more than 200 plants from around North America. Today, the tranquil garden by the Schuylkill River makes for a great spot to spend an afternoon and offers views of Philadelphia’s skyline.

Institute of Contemporary Art

Contemporary art lovers should take advantage of the free admission at the Institute of Contemporary Art. This museum hosts shows and multimedia installations, which are often controversial, by contemporary artists and designers.

 

With so many things to do in Philadelphia, there’s never a dull moment in the city, even when you’re on a budget. Have you visited Philly? What would you add to this list?

This post was presented by InterContinental Hotels Group.

 

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