Fun and Free: Philly on a Budget

The Philadelphia city skyline on a clear day.
There’s plenty to do in Philadelphia if you’re counting your pennies. Photo © Steven Vona.

You don’t have to be rich to have fun in Philly. All of the following sights and activities are free—yes, you heard right, free.

Free Philadelphia Sights

With the exception of the National Constitution Center, all the sights operated by Independence National Historical Park are free, including the Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, Franklin Court, Carpenters’ Hall, Bishop White House, the U.S. Mint, and the Edgar Allan Poe House. The Independence Visitor Center also has a free mini-museum and film to help visitors get acquainted with the area.

Most of the historic cathedrals and places of worship throughout the city are open to the public free of charge, including Arch Street Friends Meeting House, Old Pine Street Presbyterian, and Mother Bethel A.M.E.

On the Avenue of the Arts, free themed tours are offered of the Kimmel Center and the Academy of Music, two of the city’s most beautiful theaters, and the Kimmel Center offers free performances.

Free Philadelphia Museums

Pay whatever you wish (zero is a number too) at the Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, including the Perelman Building, on the first Sunday of each month.

The University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is free during the last hour of each day, and the Fairmount Waterworks Interpretive Center and the Institute of Contemporary Art are always free. At the Rodin Museum, an $8 donation is suggested but not required.

Free Philadelphia Galleries

Most of the city’s art galleries are free, including the Morris Gallery and ground floor of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, which presents rotating exhibitions of regional artists. The best time to visit the smaller galleries, mostly located in Old City and Northern Liberties, is on the First Friday of the month, when they are open to the public, many with the added lure of snacks and wine, which are also free.

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