If you've decided to plan a romantic trip or a family weekend getaway after reading 25 Best Things to Do in Philadelphia, go on one of these exciting tours to get an insider's view of the city. From scenic cruises, movie-inspired itineraries and historical tours to photography, food and bike tours, there are many great options. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia
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Take a mile and a quarter leisurely stroll through the Independence National Historical Park area and enjoy the journey through the past of the birthplace of America. Visit the places where the Constitution of the United States and The Declaration of Independence were drafted. The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia invites you to take a 75-minutes Guided Tour and see about 20 of the most significant historic sites in Philadelphia.
If you are the independent type, purchase an Audio Tour that you can listen to on your iPod and enjoy the tour at your own pace, listening to the entertaining narrative with sound effects and appropriate music. Specialized walking tours are also available for school or corporate groups, or you can take a private VIP tour and get the full attention of your guide. (Phone: 215-525-1776)
More vacation ideas: 25 Best Tours for Getting to Know New York City.
© Spirit Cruises
Spirit of Philadelphia provides one of the best opportunities in the city for visitors to dine, dance, sightsee, and experience Philly straight from the waters. Spirit cruises offer lunch, dinner, moonlight, and holiday cruises, plus dozens of specialty cruises for visitors to enjoy. Some of the specialty cruises include the Philadelphia Eat, Drink, and B. Mary Lunch/ Brunch Cruise, a Gospel Lunch Cruise, and an Old School Moonlight Cruise that lets visitors dance the night away.
Visitors can look forward to great dining and dancing in the cruise ship, which is fitted with modern LED lighting, plasma TVs, renovated décor, three climate-controlled interior decks with panoramic windows, a floating rooftop lounge, and an interactive dance floor with a live DJ. (Phone: 866-455-3866)
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3.Philadelphia Movie Sites Tour
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Philadelphia Movie Sites Tour will take you to the scenes and sites of the world of making movies in Philadelphia and reveal many unknown details behind the scenes. The tour will guide you to about fifty sites where 30 movies and popular TV shows were filmed. This two and half hour tour is guided by knowledgeable guides who are certified by the Greater Philadelphia Film Office.
While going from one site to the other in a luxury tour bus, you will watch clips from the movies filmed in Philly on a large screen. Movie buffs will truly enjoy recognizing buildings and streets from their favorite block-busters such as The Sixth Sense, 12 Monkeys, Beloved, Blowout, National Treasure, Philadelphia, Cold Case, Trading Places, Rocky, and so many others. (Phone: 215-625-7980)
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4.Philadelphia Tours: Philly Bike Tour Co.
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Let the breeze sweep through your hair and cool your body while you pedal through the most exciting sites of Philadelphia. Philly Bike Tour Co. will provide you with a comfortable 21 speed hybrid bike with wide tires, a helmet, a bottle of water, and a knowledgeable and fun guide who will take you through the city markets, hidden alleys, shady parks, and unique neighborhoods.
Go for a four-hour Classic City Tour to see the Rocky Steps and Liberty Bell, the three-hour Fairmount Park Historical Tour that will take you to the Philadelphia Zoo, Boathouse Row, and the Japanese Tea House, the two-hour River Loop Tour along the Schuylkill River, or the three-hour Art is All Around Us Tour of the city’s Art Museum District, many free sculptures and streets covered in murals, and so much more. Fairmount Park tour is moderately difficult, while all others are easy and relaxed. (Phone: 267-521-2150)
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5.Taste of Philly Food Tour
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Would you like to learn about Philadelphia Cream Cheese and where it really comes from? Or do you want to know the best way to order a Philly cheesesteak? What George Washington liked to eat? Who is Milton Hershey and how did he invent Hershey’s Kisses? All this and so much more is what your guide will tell you or show you on the fun 75-minute walking Taste of Philly Food Tour. He or she will reveal the true story behind Philly cheesesteaks, pretzels, hoagies, scrapple, sticky buns, and Goldenberg Peanut chews.
You will learn about the fascinating history of the historic Reading Terminal Market where all of these delicious goodies are sold. Most of the 80-minutes tour takes place inside the market. While you will get to taste some samples of the Philly favorite foods, it will not be enough to satisfy the appetite that the smells, sights, and colors of the market will inevitably raise, so plan to stay longer after the tour and go for your personal favorites.
(Phone: 215-545-8007, ext. 3)
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6.Urban Adventures Philadelphia
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Philadelphia is more than just a compilation of historic sites linked to the birth of the nation and the city’s colonial glory. It is a vibrant modern city that Urban Adventures wants to introduce to visitors one tour at a time. You will get the feel of the city by strolling through the colorful neighborhoods and lively markets, exploring public art and street music, visiting some great pubs and restaurants, and learning about the magnificent city architecture.
Your guides will be friendly Philadelphians with passion for their city and for sharing trivia, important facts, and folklore with visitors. The Essence of South Philly will show you the city’s bohemian side while the 9th Street Italian Market tour will let you taste, smell and touch the foods in the city’s oldest market. History buffs should not miss a full day Philadelphia River to River tour. Whatever tour you choose, you are sure to come out of it with more knowledge, appreciation, and affection for the “city of brotherly love.”
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7.Free Tours by Foot Philadelphia
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Free Tours by Foot is a free tour of Philadelphia’s most iconic sites. Free means that the local, highly knowledgeable guides are not paid for sharing their love for the city with you, so you do not have to pay anything in advance. It does not mean that you should not give a generous tip if you find the tour was a very pleasant and valuable learning experience.
You name the price, depending on the value you got. And you can expect high value from these enthusiastic Philadelphians who will take you on a walking tour of Philly’s most important spots. Independence Mall Tour is the best for first time city visitors, and it explores Philadelphia’s and America’s most important historic district. Foodies will love exploring the Italian Market and Chinatown in the Philadelphia food tours. If you are fond of the macabre, you will enjoy crawling through the city’s cobblestoned streets at night during the Philadelphia Ghost Tour.
8.City Food Tours Philadelphia
© City Food Tours Philadelphia
Who has not heard of Philly cheesesteaks? Or soft pretzels? Philadelphia is known for its riches of culinary offerings, but sometimes we like to go off the beaten tourist path and sneak into the narrow alleys to discover hidden gems only the locals are familiar with. City Food Tours offer a range of tours that are guided by Philly residents who are not only passionate foodies but also great storytellers and entertainers. For trendsetters, they have Highlights of East Passyunk Tour of the hottest spots in the city.
For first-timers, Flavors of Philly Tour visits all the most iconic eateries. Beer aficionados should not miss Craft Beer & Artisanal Cheese Tasting. Ethnic Eats Tour will show you the rich diversity of cultures in the city through a range of ethnic restaurants and markets. And for those who want only the best, there is the Decadent Gourmet Tour.
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9.Awfully Nice Tours
© Awfully Nice Tours
If you are in Philly for a short time and would like to see as much as possible without pounding the pavement, Awfully Nice Tours can organize a personalized and pre-planned driving tour of Philadelphia and its surroundings. Whether you are alone, with the kids, or with a group of colleagues, they will personalize the tour to your liking and needs to ensure that your experience will be enjoyable, informative, and fun. You can choose to explore the city in two hours or during a half-day or full day.
Visit the Amish and Lancaster County, the Brandywine Valley, or Valley Forge. Drive along the Delaware River to Washington Crossing State Park, Trenton, or the towns of Lambertville or New Hope. If you would rather stay in the city, you can focus on the South Philly neighborhood, or take a tour of sites where some of the famous blockbuster movies were filmed. There is a tour for every taste, interest, and timeframe – all you have to do is ask, and you will get your own awfully nice tour.
10.Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours
© Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours
The Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours and Transportation Inc. is a family owned business that delivers safe, accurate, and entertaining tours of the city. Visitors can choose from a number of tours on double-decker buses or trolleys. The tour company also has fun night tours perfect for night owls or for those wanting to get to know Philly after hours.
The tours include some of Philadelphia’s most iconic destinations such as Independence Hall, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter, and of course, the Liberty Bell. Popular spots such as the Mutter Museum, the Penn Museum, the National Constitution Center, and the Eastern State Penitentiary are also on the itineraries.
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11.Armond Scavo Photography
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Armond Scavo Photography offers two and a half hour photography adventures that visitors can personalize. They are able to pick the sites they want to visit, whether it be cityscapes, people, or architecture. Some popular locations include the Eastern State Penitentiary, Rittenhouse Square, Historic Philadelphia, Penn’s Landing, and the Convention Center District.
The photographer/ tour guide personalizes the tour to include the sites chosen, all while giving helpful photography tips on composition, lighting, and camera options to take better, more precise, photographs. An opportunity to experience the City of Brotherly Love from a local’s point of view, Armond Scavo Photography will give visitors exactly what they need to capture Philly’s beauty in an image.
12.Chew Philly Food Tours
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Visitors to Philadelphia can’t leave without indulging in the mouth-watering variety of cuisine available. Philly is known for hoagies, soft pretzels, and the iconic Philly cheesesteak – and with Chew Philly Food Tours, visitors can experience all of these and much more with owner Elyse’s refined walking tours.
Chew Philly Food Tours helps visitors connect with diverse culinary concoctions that the neighborhood offers – each of the locations are researched by the company prior to adding them to the tour. Visitors will enjoy delicious food from family-owned delis, bakeries, and specialty shops while walking along the scenic Schuylkill River.
13.Big Bus Tours Philadelphia
© Big Bus Tours Philadelphia
Experience Philadelphia from the top of an authentic London double-decker bus as it cruises through the city on perfectly laid out streets that were established when the city was founded in 1682. Visitors get an understanding of Philly’s unique history from our fully trained guides with fascinating facts and fun stories.
The bus stops at 27 different stops, and visitors can tour Philly at their own pace by hopping on and off at any of the points; this makes it easy for visits to the Liberty Bell, City Hall, Elfreth’s Alley, the ‘LOVE’ sculpture, Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House, and Carpenters’ Hall, among others.
14.Philadelphia Tours: Ride the Ducks
© Ride the Ducks
Duck tours are a great way to get to know a city, and Ride the Ducks: Philadelphia offers a tour of Philly like no other. The tour takes visitors through the most historic square mile in America, through Philly’s famous museum district, and straight into the Delaware. Going directly from land to water, the Duck vehicle resembles a WWII DUKW and was built under the supervision of the Coast Guard.
Visitors will see over a hundred landmarks such as Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Chinatown, the Rocky Statue, the USS Olympia, Adventure Aquarium, and so much more. Mixing history, music, and humor, Ride the Duck offers an interactive and engaging sightseeing experience to those visiting Philadelphia. (Phone: 678-456-5328)
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15.76 Carriage Company
© 76 Carriage Company
For over 30 years, the 76 Carriage Company has provided superior tours and transportation services to those visiting the Philadelphia region. Having grown to include the Philadelphia Trolley Works, the Big Bus Company, and Connective Tours, it is now the largest provider of sightseeing tours and specialty transportation in Philly.
The combined group of companies now offers visitors double decker bus tours, historic trolley tours, and carriage rides, allowing them to experience Philadelphia in the utmost luxury. They also offer a Philly by Night tour for visitors to experience Philly under a starry night sky. All of the tours are narrated by knowledgeable, friendly tour guides who take visitors to a number of sites including South Street, Independence Hall, the Ben Franklin Parkway, and Avenue of the Arts. (Phone: 215-389-8687)
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16.City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
© City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
The City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program offers visitors one of the world’s largest collections of outdoor public art. It was created with the intention of “transforming places, individuals, communities, and institutions by empowering artists to be change agents.”
Visitors can see the beautiful displays by various means such as walking, biking, Segway, train, trolley, self-guided tour, or in a group. All tours take visitors through the artistic process, giving details about the murals, the artists behind them, and the history of the diverse community that houses this art form. (Phone: 215-925-3633)
17.Philly Brew Tours
© Philly Brew Tours
Featuring delicious food and artisan beers, the tour takes visitors through top breweries, brewpubs, and beer bars in an all-inclusive beer-focused tasting and tour experience.
Visitors are guaranteed to enjoy at least 15 different craft beers during the tour, a beer pairing lunch or dinner, a VIP visit to at least 3 breweries, and round-trip transportation from downtown Philadelphia so that visitors can drink without worrying about driving. Some of the tour stops include the Yards Brewing Company, Saint Benjamin Brewing Company, the 2nd Story Brewing Company, and the Dock Street Brewery.
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18.City Running Tours
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Missing out on your regular exercise routine while on vacation? With City Running Tours visitors can now combine healthy activity and entertainment with a “sweat and sightsee” style running tour.
These unique tours not only offer personalized runs, group runs, and organized runs through one of the most historic cities in America, but also a great cultural experience that can’t be found on any other tour. Tours sometimes jog straight to the most delicious cheesesteaks or straight up to where Rocky Balboa ran and stood. They also offer unique beer-themed runs so visitors can grab a pint and then work it off. (Phone: 877-415-0058)
19.The Yo Philly! Rocky Film Tour
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What’s a visit to Philadelphia without touring all the places the great Rocky Balboa visited – what could make it better? A Rocky Balboa film tour with a Rocky Balboa impersonator. Each tour takes small groups of visitors on a 3 to 4 hour tour through Rocky’s world.
Some of the sites include Rocky’s apartment from the first movie, the Lucky 7 Tavern, Mickey’s Gym, the Italian Market, and numerous sites and streets that Rocky ran through. Visitors can also hire the tour guide, Mike Kunda, and national Rocky lookalike contest winner for events and celebrations. (theyorockyfilmtour.net)
20.Philadelphia Tours: Patriot Harbor Lines
© Patriot Harbor Lines
The Patriot Harbor Lines offers a number of cruises down the Delaware River or the Schuylkill River, allowing visitors to experience stunning panoramic views of Philly’s beauty. There’s something for everyone as they make the experience even more unique with themes such as the Booze and Party Cruise, Sunset Cruise, Ghost Ship Terror Cruise, or Cocktail Cruise.
Visitors will also see many historic sights on the river such as the historic vessels of Penn’s Landing, the Ben Franklin Bridge, Campbell’s Field, and the S.S. United States, the largest ocean liner constructed in the United States. (Phone: 267-908-3076)
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21.Philly Photo Safari
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Capture that perfect vacation photo to show your friends and family with Philly Photo Safari. Photographer and tour guide Jim Murphy takes visitors on an interactive, walking, workshop that allows them to get up close and personal with Philly’s history while photographing famous scenes from a new perspective.
Visitors may even learn a thing or two about photography with the locally famed guide/ photographer. Photography is only a part of the tour though – other than taking beautiful pictures, visitors also learn the ins and outs of a city from a local perspective. (Phone: 484-252-8182)
22.Spirits of '76 Ghost Tour
© Spirits of '76 Ghost Tour
You do not believe in ghosts? Let passionate Philadelphia historians guide you through some of Philly’s most haunted and scary sites. You just might change your mind. The Constitutional Walking Tour, Philadelphia's most respected walking tour operator, developed the Spirits of ’76 Ghost Tour. This walking outdoor adventure will take you to over twenty of Philadelphia’s scariest spots.
Your guides will recount some really chilling stories, point you to the sites of some gruesome happenings, and share with you the night spirit of old, cobblestoned Philly. You will pass by the former home of the Master of the Macabre Edgar Allan Poe and hear about the ghost that roamed Independence Hall, the statue of Benjamin Franklin that occasionally dances through Library Hall, and all the various scary happenings on Pine Street. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, be prepared to be scared.
23.Big Red Pedal Tours
© Big Red Pedal Tours
Big Red Pedal Tours offers Philly visitors just that: a tour on a 15-passenger bike with big red pedals. The pedicycle is an open-air type “bus” that has two rows of seats for riders to work together and pedal around Philly.
The tour stops at many historic sites during its day tour and immerses visitors in Philly’s vibrant nightlife with a night tour that stops at popular pubs around the city. The knowledgeable guides, who double as drivers by steering the pedicycle, ensure that visitors have a great time while getting a little exercise. (Phone: 215-625-2509)
25 Best Tours for Getting to Know Philadelphia
- The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia, Photo: Courtesy of Tomov - Fotolia.compixs sell
- Spirit Cruises, Photo: Spirit Cruises
- Philadelphia Movie Sites Tour, Photo: Courtesy of Dave Newman - Fotolia.com
- Philadelphia Tours: Philly Bike Tour Co., Photo: Courtesy of ehaurylik - Fotolia.com
- Taste of Philly Food Tour, Photo: Courtesy of Top Photo Group - Fotolia.com
- Urban Adventures Philadelphia, Photo: Courtesy of finkandreas - Fotolia.com
- Free Tours by Foot Philadelphia, Photo: Courtesy ehaurylik - Fotolia.com
- City Food Tours Philadelphia, Photo: City Food Tours Philadelphia
- Awfully Nice Tours, Photo: Awfully Nice Tours
- Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours, Photo: Philadelphia Sightseeing Tours
- Armond Scavo Photography, Photo: Courtesy of f11photo - Fotolia.com
- Chew Philly Food Tours, Photo: Courtesy of Brent Hofacker - Fotolia.com
- Big Bus Tours Philadelphia, Photo: Big Bus Tours Philadelphia
- Philadelphia Tours: Ride the Ducks, Photo: Ride the Ducks
- 76 Carriage Company, Photo: 76 Carriage Company
- City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Photo: City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
- Philly Brew Tours, Photo: Philly Brew Tours
- City Running Tours, Photo: Courtesy of joscelynm - Fotolia.com
- The Yo Philly! Rocky Film Tour, Photo: Courtesy Tryfonov - Fotolia.com
- Philadelphia Tours: Patriot Harbor Lines, Photo: Patriot Harbor Lines
- Philly Photo Safari, Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
- Spirits of '76 Ghost Tour, Photo: Spirits of '76 Ghost Tour
- Big Red Pedal Tours, Photo: Big Red Pedal Tours
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Oleksandr Dibrova - Seattle
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