Philadelphia is the biggest city in Pennsylvania and is the fifth most popular city in the United States. Of course just because it’s popular doesn’t mean you have to spend an arm and a leg in the big city. In fact, there are tons of free things to do in Philadelphia as well. You can visit almost any kind of museum you can think of in Philly. No joke!
59 Free Things to do in Philadelphia
One of the best ways to save money on the paid attraction is with the Philadelphia CityPASS. You can read our experience with the Atlanta CityPASS. We highly recommend it! So for one low price is here what you will get to visit (plus your pick of as many of the free things below as you want!) You will visit The Franklin Institute, Big Bus Company and Philadelphia Trolley Works, One Liberty Observation Deck, and the Adventure Aquarium OR Philadelphia Zoo. Plus you will save 45% over regular ticket prices!
Now on to the freebies!
The Liberty Bell Center – One of the most popular places in Philadelphia and it's free! Learn about the historical background including myths and legends about the Liberty Bell. Stand in front of it for a great photo opp. Tip: This is one f te most popular free things to do in Philadelphia so get there first thing in the morning. It's nothing to have to wait in line for an hour or more!
Ice Skating at a Public Skating Rink – If you have your own ice skates in the winter you can ice skate for free at many of the public rinks!
Mount Moriah Cemetery – This old cemetery was unclaimed for an extended period. While now clean up efforts are under way you can still take in much of the cemetery as one with nature.
Edgar Allen Poe House – This poet's house is free to visit, but I suggest going early as parking was difficult to find!
Visit the Dream Garden – One of Philadelphia's most beautiful public art pieces. It is made from over 100,000 pieces of Tiffany glass!
Fireman’s Hall Museum – Admission is free in to the Fireman’s Hall Museum where you can delve into the firefighting history in Philly. Play games with the kids to learn about fire safety and explore the rich history of the first fire station. This is one of my husbands favorite free things to do in Philadelphia.
Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial Sculpture Garden – 17 different sculptures to take in and browse showcasing American life, along with the gardens.
Kimmel Center – Tour one of the most beautiful concert centers for free every day at 1 pm!
Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse – This is a 6 1/2 acre playground for kids ages 10 and under and is 100% free. They have over 50 pieces for your children to play on. As you can get, this gets the kids votes for one of the best free things to do in Philadelphia.
Independence Hall and Congress Hall – This is both the birthplace of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Though this is always free to the public, you must pick up your tickets at the Independence Visitor Center.
Jefferson’s Walking Tour of Philadelphia – See Philadelphia though Thomas Jefferson's Eyes with this free walking tour.
Carpenter’s Hall – Carpenter’s Hall is one of Philadelphia’s most historic buildings. It was the site of the First Continental Congress in 1774, a Revolutionary War hospital, the 1st and 2nd banks of America, and Benjamin Franklin’s first library. WOW!
John Heinz Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum – 100% free to visit each day. Make sure to stop by the visitor center and get info on what to see during your visit!
Spruce Street Harbor Park – When visiting a big city, you can find yourself needing a little breather from time to time. Spruce Street Harbor Park is the perfect place to get a little R&R on a nice relaxing hammock.
Tours of Philadelphia Brewing Company – Great free tours on how beer is made on Saturday from noon – 3 pm!
Awbury Arboretum – This used to be the home of Quaker family, but no the grounds are free to stroll and take in!
Institute of Contemporary Art – With a new show every month just about there is always plenty to see!
Schuylkill River and Boardwalk – Take a walk across the river on a scenic path from Locust to South Street. With the best skyline views around, you won’t want to miss this free walk through Philly.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art – On Wednesdays, you get to pay what you want at the Philly Art Museum. This means if you want to pay nothing, you can. You can even revitalize your mind with free Yoga outside the museum.
US Mint – Take a tour of the US Mint. I suggest going to during the week so you can see money being made in progress. When we went, they weren't actively making anything, but it was still great to see in person. This was by far one of my favorite free things to do in Philadelphia.
TUSPM Shoe Museum – YES! A museum of shoes. Ladies sorry you can't buy them!
Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum – If you like science, you will love the CHF. From rare books, modern journals, and oral histories to fine art, photographs, and ancient objects, the CHF is free to the public to explore.
Opera on the Mall – Independence National Park hosts beautiful free, big screen broadcasts of some of the best operas. If you want an inexpensive date night, the free nights at Opera on the Mall is a perfect place to go.
Congress Hall – This is where the House of Representatives and the Senate met from 1790-1800, and it holds too much history!!
Sugar Express – Everyone knows getting around an unfamiliar city is challenging. Hop on the Sugar Express for a free tour around the city. Of course, it’s just to take you to the Casino, but it goes right through Philly for a scenic ride.
Polish American Cultural Center Museum – Learn about the Polish culture and history.
Sedgley Woods Disc Golf Course – The oldest remain disc golf course in the country. The courses are free to use but you must provide your own equipment.
The Rocky Steps – The 72 steps were made famous in the movie Rocky. Get some exercise and see the famous steps.
Benjamin Franklin's Grave – The grave yard that holds Ben Franklin's grave does charge to enter to view the graves. (don't get me started on how wrong I think that is). But you can see Ben Franklins grave from the street, right across from Mint.
Self-Guided Mural Mile Tour – Pilly has over 3,600 murals around the city and this self-guided tour lets you see some pretty mazing ones!
The Love Sign – Located in love park s picture with this sign is on a lot of bucket lists so get yours in! This is one the free things to do in Philadelphia that is on people's bucket lists just for the pictures!
Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial – Named a hero in the Revolutionary war he was visited by many people here including Thomas Jefferson. Kids can also get a Junior Ranger book and badge at this NPS site.
SEPTA Transit Museum – Located at the SEPTA store at the 13th street station see the history from the last 100 years of Philly's public transportation.
Christ Church – Opened in 1695 this is the church George Washington attended and you can even see where he would sit for church.
Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier – Located in Washington Square this monument was completed in 1957 to mark the grave site.
Thomas Mill Covered Bridge – Located in Fairmont Park this is Philadelphia's only remain covered bridge.
Tour Yards Brewery – Another brew tour that seems to be one of the favorites.
Bartram’s Garden – This is the oldest surviving botanical garden in the country. Take in the 46 acres that are perfect for pictures!
Elfreth’s Alley– While you can't drive down the street you can get out and walk the oldest residential street still around in the country!
Take a Stroll Through Chinatown – Yes even Philly has a China town! The sights and smells will leave you with something to talk about!
Second Bank of the United States – Check out the building that held the 2nd bank in the US. It is now an art museum.
Check Out Philly’s Squares – Much like the squares in Savannah GA they are a perfect hideaway in the city and great for people watching.
Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul – Often called the most beautiful church in the US this curch located on Logan Square is something to see!
Laurel Hill Cemetery – Laurel Hill is one of the few cemeteries to be marked a National Historic site. There are many influential people buried here, including Thomas McKean, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and 42 Civil War Generals.
Wanamaker Organ – Located in the middle of Macy's Department store. This is the WORLDS largest and functional pipe organ.
Pizza Brain – This is the home to the largets collection of all things pizza-related, and it's free to check out.
Wissahickon Environmental Center – Miles of hiking trails, and perfect for bird watchers. There is also a children's library and a 200-gallon aquarium and many events some that require a fee.
Dr. and Mrs. Edwin Weaver III Historical Dental Museum – I was joking when I said Philly as any kind of museum you want to check out! This one is a dental museum.
Self-Guided Philadelphia in the Movies Tour – Philly has been home to many movies and in this self-guides tour, you will find many areas that look familiar from movies like the Sith Sense, Trading Places, Rocky and more.
Declaration House – Stop by a see where Thomas Jefferson actually wrote the constitution in the summer of 1755. The house is now a museum.
The Thinker Statue and Rodin Museum Garden – There is a fee to get inside but the gardens outside are free, and they hold some fo the most famous pieces like the ‘Thinker Statue.”
Philadelphia’s War Memorials – There ate several war museums around the city and are a great tribute to the men and women who served. Stop by and check them out.
The Comcast Experience HD Video Wall – Located in the Comcast Center in downtown Philly this is a must see or any techie. The screen is the largest four-millimeter LED screen in the world and is 2,100-square feet. The clarity is something I can't even describe you just need to see it. This location is extra popular around Christmas. This is one of the perfect free things to do in Philadelphia for any techie!
Boathouse Row – This is a row of boathouses (duh) that are over 100 years old. Take in all 15 boathouses.
Franklin Court – This is where Benjamin Franklin's House once stood. The museum associated with it does require a fee, but you can see a metal frame where the house stood and glass boxes that show down to the original foundation.
Free Yoga – There is free Yoga every day on there is free yoga every day on Race Street Pier.
National Museum of American Jewish History – Visit the National Museum of American Jewish History & Congregation Mikveh Israel, 101 South Independence Mall East.
Free Tuesday Movie Nights – The Dell Music Center’s Free Tuesday Movie Nights are a must see. Doors pen at 6 pm and they show a different movie each night.
With so many free museums and things to do in Philly, it’s the perfect place to find family activities or come for a visit. What other free things to do in Philadelphia that I missed? Let me know in the comments!