Philadelphia has numerous free attractions, such as Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell Center, and the Old City and Society Hill Walking Tour. The city is great for budget-conscious tourists and families looking to save some money. Some attractions are free only on certain days – please check before you go.
1.The Franklin Institute
© The Franklin Institute
The Franklin Institute, located in the city of Philadelphia, offers Community Nights for both visitors and local residents alike of all ages. There is no admission charge for the events that take place on specific nights throughout the year beginning at five in the evening. Community Night is a fun-filled and educational science event that includes the well-known permanent exhibits of the Franklin Institute, hands-on activities, and special programs. Guests register for the event on-site, no pre-registration necessary. Permanent exhibits that children in particular can explore include the SportsZone, Your Brain, Changing Earth, Space Command, and several others.
222 North 20th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103, Phone: 215-448-1200
2.The Science History Institute
© J Fusco for Visit Philadelphia
The Science History Institute takes guests on an adventure through the wonderful and weird world of materials and matter. The free museum is open to the public from 10:00am until 5:00pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Visitors can explore both the permanent collection and rotating exhibitions as well as free special programs on weekends (check website event calendar for details).
315 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-925-2222
The Barnes Foundation’s mission is to promote "the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture." As part of that mission, the foundation offers a special event known as PECO Free First Sunday Family Day. This a free event that takes place on the first Sunday of the month for families that have kids who under eighteen years of age. Tickets for the PECO Free First Sunday Family Day are available at the museum beginning at 10:00am. Visitors can also explore the special exhibition and collection for free on this day.
2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130, Phone: 215-278-7000
4.Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts
© Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts
The Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts offers a “Pay-As-You-Wish” admission to view its permanent collection while preparing their next special exhibition. The facility is open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00am until 5:00pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00am until 5:00pm. With admission to the Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts, guests can also join one of the free public tours that in the Historic Landmark Building’s lobby at 1:00pm and 2:00pm on Wednesdays, Fridays, and on Saturdays. The Philadelphia Academy showcases work by talented artists in the region, a permanent collection, and special exhibitions.
118-128 North Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102, Phone: 215-972-7600
5.Philadelphia Museum of Art
© Dave Newman/stock.adobe.com
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays from 10:00am until 5:00pm, and open on Wednesdays and Fridays to 8:45pm. The museum is closed on most Mondays. “Pay What You Wish” admission is offered on the first Sunday of each month, as well as on all Wednesdays. Highlights of the collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art include the most important and largest collection of Marcel Duchamp’s works, the finest sculpture collection by Constantin Brancusi anywhere outside of Europe, and one of the country’s best collections of sculpture by Auguste Rodin.
2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130, Phone: 215-763-8100
6.Fireman’s Hall Museum
© Fireman’s Hall Museum
The Fireman’s Hall Museum in the city of Philadelphia is situated inside of a renovated firehouse built in 1902. It is known as one of the premier fire museums anywhere in the United States and is dedicated to the preservation of the fire history of Philadelphia, as well as the promotion of fire safety. The city is the birthplace of the country’s first volunteer fire companies. The Fireman’s Hall Museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00am until 4:00pm. It’s open until 9:00pm on the first Friday of every month. Admission to the museum is free.
147 N. 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-923-1438
Independence Hall is one of the most famous sites in Philadelphia. It is the birthplace of the nation, the site where both the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were discussed and signed. There is no fee for admission, however, visitors must get a timed ticket to explore the site during a tour between the months of March and December. Timed tickets aren’t needed during January to February. There is a limited number of free tickets, which are offered on a basis of first come, first serve. Tickets are available at the Independence Visitor Center.
520 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-965-2305
8.Liberty Bell Center
The famous Liberty Bell is displayed within the Liberty Bell Center inside of a glass chamber with the Indepence Hall set in the backdrop. In addition to viewing the original Liberty Bell, visitors can watch a ten-minute video presentation about the iconic bell and explore exhibits related to one of the country’s symbols of liberty. Various exhibits are on display along the left side of the Liberty Bell Center’s hallway. The Liberty Bell originally rang in Independence Hall, which was formerly the Pennsylvania State House, in the year 1753. It has been on display in the Liberty Bell Center since 2003.
526 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-965-2305
© Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
Carpenters’ Hall was the site in 1774 of the First Continental Congress, as well as home to the First and Second Banks of the United States, The American Philosophical Society, and Benjamin Franklin’s Library Company. It is a historic treasure of the city that is open to the public to visit with no admission fee. The building is open from 10:00am until 4:00pm and is closed on Mondays throughout the year, along with Tuesdays in the months of January and February. There are numerous different things of historical importance on display within Carpenter’s Hall.
320 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA, 19106, Phone: 215-925-0167
10.Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
© Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site today isn’t your typical historic house museum. Rather than furnished rooms, there are illustrations displayed along the walls that show how the home’s rooms may have once been furnished when Edgar Allan Poe lived there. Visitors can explore the historic home of Poe in Philadelphia during a tour that last around thirty to forty-five minutes, or choose to just to do their own self-guided tour through the house. Guests who feel a bit daring can go down to the home’s basement that has a rather striking similarity to the basement described by Poe in “The Black Cat.”
532 N 7th St, Philadelphia, PA 19123, Phone: 215-965-2305
Visitors can learn quite a bit about Auguste Rodin at the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, along with viewing a large collection of his works. The Rodin Museum provides an intimate, verdant setting for guests to discover and appreciate some of the most renowned sculpture masterpieces in the world. The museum is open from 10:00am until 5:00pm on Wednesdays through Mondays, and is closed on Tuesdays. It is also closed on Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Admission is “Pay What You Wish” for the Rodin Museum and the garden has no admission fee throughout the entire year.
2151 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130, Phone: 215-763-8100
12.The Fabric Workshop and Museum
© The Fabric Workshop and Museum
Established in 1977, the Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) was founded with the purpose of stimulating “experimentation among leading contemporary artists and to share the process of creating works of art with the public.” The museum, open seven days a week except major holidays, and workshop provides studio facilities, expert technicians, and equipment. FWM is an art museum focused on contemporary art and is the only institution devoted to creating works of art in new media and new materials in collaboration with various artists from diverse artistic backgrounds. While admission to the museum is free, donations are suggested and appreciated.
1214 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19107, Phone: 215-561-8888
13.Brandywine River Museum of Art
© Brandywine River Museum of Art
The Brandywine River Museum of Art is open seven days a week from 9:30am until 5:00pm. Visitors can explore the art museum with no admission cost on the first Sunday of each month between the months of February and November. Free admission is available for kids who are age five or under every day. The Brandywine River Museum of Art is known for its collection of works by the Wyeth artist family, featuring galleries that showcase the artwork created by Jamie Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and N.C. Wyeth. There is also a collection of American art, with a focuse on Brandywine Valley.
1 Hoffman's Mill Rd, Chadds Ford, PA 19317, Phone: 610-388-2700
14.Temple University Shoe Museum
© Nathanael Asaro/stock.adobe.com
The Temple University Shoe Museum is home to approximately nine hundred different pairs of shoes, 250 of these can be seen in the TUSPM main building on the sixth floor. While there is no entrance fee for the Temple University Shoe Museum, visits need to be scheduled in advance. The museum was established in the year 1976 during the country’s bicentennial as an additional attraction for those visiting Independence Park and the Liberty Bell, as the two are located just two block away from Temple University. Most of the collection is from the nineteenth century and twentieth century, along with older footwear.
148 N. 8th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107, Phone: 215-625-5353
15.Old City and Society Hill Walking Tour
A large portion of the Philadelphia of the eighteenth century is showcased in just three blocks of the city just to the south from Carpenters’ Hall., including historic churches, houses, and other historic sites. Visitors can follow the direction provided on the website of Carpenters’ Hall to explore this self-guided walking tour through Society Hill and Old City. The walking tour of the three historic blocks typically takes around an hour to complete. Sites along the walking tour include Carpenters’ Hall, Old St. Joseph’s Church, the home of Thomas Nevell, and the Merchants’ Exchange among several other historic homes and sites.
Elfreth’s Alley is named after Jeremiah Elfreth, a property-owner and blacksmith of Philadelphia. The alley was home to many trades-people and artisans during the eighteenth century who served as colonial Philadelphia’s backbone. Most businesses during the eighteenth century operated out of artisans’ own private residences. Tailors, carpenters, shoemakers, grocers, and several others did their work out of the home’s first floor along Elfreth’s Alley. More than three hundred years later, thirty-two historic homes still line the street today, while the city has grown around it. The tiny cobblestone alley is also designated as one of the nation’s National Historic Landmark.
126 Elfreth’s Alley, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-574-0560
17.Spruce Street Harbor Park
The Spruce Street Harbor Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is considered to be one of the country’s best urban beaches. The park has been an oasis along the Delaware River Waterfront since the summer season of 2014. The seasonal beloved park also provides guests with an opportunity to relax in one of many colorful hammocks, cool off from the summer heat with a craft brew at the beer garden, try some Philly-inspired bites on the floating barges, or enjoy some games along the waterfront boardwalk. The Spruce Street Harbor Park is open to visitors during the springs, summer, and fall seasons.
Spruce Street & S. Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-922-2386
Franklin Square is one of the five public squares that William Penn laid out in the original plan for the city of Philadelphia. Providing a refreshing green space in an urban setting, the square offers a wide range of fun activities throughout its eight acres. The public square was named after Benjamin Franklin back in 1825. The park now includes a number of family-friendly attractions, such as Philly Mini Golf, the Philadelphia Parx Liberty Carousel, and the Once Upon a Nation storytelling bench. Franklin Square’s centerpiece is the marble Franklin Square Fountain that was built in the year 1838.
200 N. 6th St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-629-4026
© Brandon Seidel/stock.adobe.com
The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation dives into the paradox of freedom and slavery at the location of the first executive mansion of the United States of America. Both President George Washington and President John Adams lived in the executive mansion during their presidential terms. It is also the site where nine enslaved men and women lived and served the first president. The President’s House is a 24-hour open-air historic site that offers a space for reflection. There is also a glass area where guests can see archaeological fragments.
600 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-965-2305
20.Blue Cross RiverRink
The Blue Cross RiverRink is the first outdoor roller rink in the city of Philadelphia and has become a seasonal favorite among locals. During the winter, the site is home to the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, but with warmer weather it turns into the Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest. Summerfest include the roller rink, a children’s play area, drinks and food, carnival fun, and a boathouse style lodge. Summerfest has no admission fee and typically begins on the weekends in mid-May before moving to seven days a week. The Blue Cross RiverRink overlooks the nearby Delaware River.
101 N. Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-925-7465
21.Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches
© Bill Chizek/stock.adobe.com
The Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches of Philadelphia can be found throughout the Historic District of the city. Visitors and locals alike can learn about the true stories of the nation’s past at one of the thirteen storytelling benches scattered throughout the historic area at the places where the events actually took place. These secret stories and historic tales last around three to five minutes, are free to listen to, and are told by professional, uniformed storytellers. While many people have heard about Betsy Ross and the first flag, few known that she was also a munitions maker and an entrepreneur for example.
22.First Friday ArtWalk
The First Friday ArtWalk is an open house each money for art galleries in the city of Philadelphia. During the first Friday evening of each month, art gallery owners throughout Old City open their doors to the public for a fun and lively night of free refreshments and new exhibitions. The thriving local arts scene in Philadelphia get a special recognition during this monthly event. Locals and visitors alike can view various art exhibits, enjoy drink and food deals, listen to live music, shop special sales, and more throughout the city in shops, studios, galleries, and restaurants.
All tours of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are self-guided and free of charge. These self-guided tours generally last around forty-five minutes and no reservations are needed. There may be a short line to enter the U.S. Mint during the spring and summer months. The tour includes the chance to view the coin operations from approximately forty feet above. Visitors can see the country’s first coining press that was used to create America’s first coins back in 1792 among other historical artifacts. Guests can also meet a real Bald Eagle at the U.S. Mint, Peter the Mint Eagle.
151 N Independence Mall E, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-408-0112
24.Second Bank of the United States
A large punch is packed into a rather small space at the Second Bank of the United States, home to an outstanding collection of portraits from the eighteenth century. Modeled after the famous Parthenon, the building that housed the Second Bank is also a treasure when it comes to architecture. It served as a standard-bearer for numerous bank buildings that followed the Second Bank in America. The Second Bank of the United States holds a collection of portraits that depict several of the women and men who were vital to the development of eighteenth century America, such as Marquis de Lafayette and Alexander Hamilton.
420 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-965-2305
25.American Philosophical Society Museum
© American Philosophical Society Museum
The American Philosophical Society Museum is open free of charge to visitors from the middle of April until the month of December on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Guests can explore the museum from 10:00am to 4:00pm normally, but hours change to 10:00am to 5:00pm from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. The museum is closed on major holidays. The American Philosophical Society Museum features a historically significant repository of around three thousand different fine art objects and artifacts, including Founding Father portraits, invention models, scientific instruments, and personal belongings of Benjamin Franklin.
104 South Fifth St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, Phone: 215-440-3440
25 Best Free Things to Do in Philadelphia Year Round
- The Franklin Institute, Photo: The Franklin Institute
- The Science History Institute, Photo: J Fusco for Visit Philadelphia
- Barnes Foundation, Photo: joscelynm/stock.adobe.com
- Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts, Photo: Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts
- Philadelphia Museum of Art, Photo: Dave Newman/stock.adobe.com
- Fireman’s Hall Museum, Photo: Fireman’s Hall Museum
- Independence Hall, Photo: diegograndi/stock.adobe.com
- Liberty Bell Center, Photo: f11photo/stock.adobe.com
- Carpenters' Hall, Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
- Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site, Photo: Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
- Rodin Museum, Photo: demerzel21/stock.adobe.com
- The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Photo: The Fabric Workshop and Museum
- Brandywine River Museum of Art, Photo: Brandywine River Museum of Art
- Temple University Shoe Museum, Photo: Nathanael Asaro/stock.adobe.com
- Old City and Society Hill Walking Tour, Photo: Tupungato/stock.adobe.com
- Elfreth’s Alley, Photo: Elisa/stock.adobe.com
- Spruce Street Harbor Park, Photo: Zhi/stock.adobe.com
- Franklin Square, Photo: R.Babakin/stock.adobe.com
- President's House, Photo: Brandon Seidel/stock.adobe.com
- Blue Cross RiverRink, Photo: aphotostory/stock.adobe.com
- Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches, Photo: Bill Chizek/stock.adobe.com
- First Friday ArtWalk, Photo: Rawpixel.com/stock.adobe.com
- U.S. Mint, Photo: R.Babakin/stock.adobe.com
- Second Bank of the United States, Photo: pabrady63/stock.adobe.com
- American Philosophical Society Museum, Photo: American Philosophical Society Museum
- Cover Photo: jonbilous/stock.adobe.com