The city of Philadelphia, also known as Philly, is the main city in the state of Pennsylvania and the fifth largest city in the United States. Thanks to its location, the excursion to Philadelphia from New York has become one of the most desired activities by tourists, because at a low cost and in a one-day tour, with all the comforts, you can meet one of the largest historical centers in the nation, after Washington DC, and witness its cultural and artistic appeal.
The city of brotherly love is a highly welcoming destination with all the advantages of today, this and its past full of history has made Philadelphia part of the list of cities not to miss in the United States.
This city has the ability to offer plans for all tastes and ages. That is why today we have taken the time to specify to you 9 of the free activities that you can do when you come to Philly. Whether you do the day trip to Philadelphia from NYC or you come on your own. Let´s begin:
1. National Museum of American Jewish History
This is a space dedicated to celebrating the life and achievements of 19 famous Jewish-Americans who have changed part of world history, for example you can see the pipe used by the theoretical physicist Albert Einstein or the famous Super 8 camera by filmmaker Steven Spielberg. Admission is free, however it is ideal that before attending the place you check the opening times and dates.
2. Once Upon a Nation
“Once upon a time a nation” is a social space where real stories of historical events are told by expert narrators, completely free. The tour brings together 13 stories, told in 13 different settings, around the Historic District, where there are chairs arranged to sit and listen carefully. Each story lasts from 3 to 5 minutes and in each narration spot they allow the kids to collect a story flag and a star from each storyteller, these gifts can be kept as reminders or redeemed for a History Hero certificate plus a carousel ride at the Parx Liberty Carousel in Franklin Square.
Storytellers are often found around Valley Forge National Park, specifically at:
- Independence Visitor Center
- Independence Square, behind the Independence Hall.
- Signer’s Garden
- Carpenters room
- Museum of the American Revolution
- The Powel House
- Elfreth’s Alley
- Franklin Court
- The church of Christ
- Betsy Ross House
- Arch Street Meeting House
- The Lincoln Financial Storytelling Bank at the National Constitution Center
- Franklin Square
3. United States Mint
For free, you can learn about the coins production at the US Mint by touring the factory floor and the first coin minting press from 40 feet up. The tour is self-guided, so wherever you go there are posters and screens that tell a little about the history of the place and the manufacture of commemorative coins and medals. This is a purely cultural visit and is of great interest to collectors.
4. Valley Forge National Historical Park
Valley Forge National Historical Park is one of those commemorative spaces that you must visit. It shows a little of what the War of Independence was by having structures from the time that gave rise to the encampment site of General George Washington and his army in the winter of 1777 and 1778. The most important monuments of the place are the National Memorial Arch and the Barracks used by General Washington.
You can visit the park by car or bicycle, although if you prefer to hear some of the history, you can visit it on foot and obtain a telephone guide by calling (484) 396-1018.
5. Mummers Museum
Although it is not a completely free tour, at the exit of the Mummers Museum you must give a voluntary contribution to help maintain the place and the works that are exhibited there. The aim of the museum is to present collections of costumes and pieces brought by Swedish settlers before the year 1900, since one of the traditions that the Swedes of South Philadelphia positioned is to celebrate the New Year with an event full of dance, pantomime and flashy outfits, so the Mummers Museum has taken it upon itself to preserve memories, explain customs and relive the iconic parade to its visitors on any day of the year.
6. Science History Institute
It is a museum created in an old building that houses an old bank during the Civil War. There are objects created from the 18th century to the 20th century; objects full of history that helped change the world, because among them there are stories of successes, failures and scientific discoveries full of surprises.
7. Barnes Foundation
If you are an art lover, on the first Sunday of each month the Barnes Foundation allows free admission to adults and children to appreciate the different most important art collections in the world, about impressionism, post-impressionism and modernism. It even offers an hour of art stories, ideal for children between the ages of 2 and 5.
8. The Fabric Workshop and Museum
It is a museum of avant-garde and contemporary art that dedicates its installations to artists who create new works on canvas or other materials. The FWM is the only museum in the world that has permanent collections by renowned artists such as Robet Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, Robert Morris, Carrie Mae Weems, among others. Throughout the year they present exhibitions on specific artists or themes, making their installations always remain fresh and dynamic.
The recommendation is to take advantage of the visit to tour the studios where the resident artists work, attend lectures about working on canvas or watch a couple of video presentations. In addition, the museum has its own gift shop where you will find simple pieces such as ties, napkins, canvas bags or umbrellas, with pieces made by the artists.
9. Curtis Institute of Music
It is an ideal space for those passionate about music, there you can see free presentations or solo recitals on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights.
Actually, the list goes on and on, because in Philly you can enjoy activities and public exhibitions throughout the year, which although not all are free, can be very low cost, up to $5 per ticket.
However, to be able to see them in their entirety you will need a couple of days to be worth it. Now, if you do not have much time to visit this wonderful destination, we recommend you take the one-day excursion to Philadelphia from New York, where, joined by an expert guide, you will get to know the most important places in the city. Well, even if you decide not to stay there, walking through its streets and monuments will make your day.