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The Best Family Philadelphia City Guide

Philadelphia City Guide has done ALL the hard work so you don’t have to by creating the ULTIMATE family guide to visiting Philadelphia, to read, print & use



25 Oct | read

Welcome to the birthplace of the USA! That's right, we're in the City of Brotherly Love, also known as Philadelphia in the stunning state of Pennsylvania. We love this city so much, we couldn't wait to share with you our "Top 9 Family Attractions" that you can enjoy as a family, in the breathtakingly historic city of Philadelphia! There are so many fun things to do with kids in Philadelphia, make sure you keep reading to see what you might like to include when you next visit this unique and wonderful city.

In addition to our favorites museums, gardens and parks, in this Philadelphia city guide we'll share some great things to do with kids for FREE in Philadelphia, and if that isn't enough, we'll let you know the best ways to get around and see this great city, as well as some fun facts you can share with all your friends. Fancy a day trip from Philadelphia? We have you covered there too (hint, it's delicious!), and we even check out some famous faces that hail from this historic city. We want to make sure you don’t miss out on anything on your famiily day out to the iconic city of Philadelphia.

So whether this is your first trip to "the City of Brotherly Love", or perhaps you've lived here for years but just not explored it throughly, and you think "I wonder what is there is to do near me", then keep reading, because we have the top things to do in Philadelphia with kids, just for you!

The written history of Philadelphia actuall dates back to 1682, when the city was founded by William Penn (on land gifted to him by King Charles II). Prior to that, the land was inhabited by the Lenape people.

By the 1750s, Philadelphia was turning into a major city, and Independence Hall was built. Schools, theatres and libraries were founded, and in 1776, it was in this city that the Declaration of Independence was signed.  Philadelphia soon grew to be an important Colonial city, and after the American Revolution it was actually chosen to be the temporary capital of the USA for 10 years, starting in 1790.

Following the Civil War, the cities population grew rapidly, and with the expansion of the Philadelphia Railroad, the city was able to keep up with the domesic commerce in New York.  Today, tourism is one of the city's main industries, with Philadelphia landing 8th place in the most visited cities in the USA in 2018.

There are so many things to do in Philadelphia with kids, you really will find that your days are filled with rich experiences you won't forget. Just the history alone in the city will amaze you. Attractions such as Franklin Square, and the iconic Liberty Bell. Don't forget about Independence Hall - it's only where the Declaration of Independence was signed! Take a tour at the Eastern State Penitentiary for another side of the cities history.

With so much to do and see in this amazing Pennsylvania city, you certainly won't be short of things to do with the family! So keep reading to find out exactly how YOU can spend your next family day out in the City of Brotherly Love!

Getting around Philadelphia couldn't be easier! Whether you want to explore the city on foot, by bike, or by bus, the city is very much a friendly city to navigate. Did you know that Philadelphia is rated as one of the best walking cities in the country? Take advantage and stroll the historic streets, really taking in what the city has to offer. Curb cut outs also make the city very stroller and wheelchair friendly. 

Philadelphia has also become one of the most bike friendly cities in the USA too, with over 140 bike rental stations across the city, dedicatd bike lanes and over 300 miles of bike trails and counting!

If you'd rather catch the bus, the best way to see some of the city’s top attractions is aboard the Philadelphia PHLASH Downtown Loop. Single rides are just $2 per person or $5 for an all-day pass. Children 4 and under, seniors and SEPTA pass and key card holders ride FREE. Note this service is seasonal. 

Source and Image Credit: More information here: Visit Philly

Philadelphia is filled with history, and during the day there is SO much to see, and so many people to meet. But with so much history, a city such as Philadelphia comes with a whole other group of "residents" that come out at night! City Ghost Tours is one of the newer tour companies in the city, and they not only offer adult tours, but family friendly tours too. Visit huanted buildings, historic cemetaries, and even locations shown on popular TV series such as Ghost Hunters!

Image Credit & Website: City Ghost Tours

Our Top 9 Fun Things To Do With The Kids In Philadelphia

Our Top 9 Fun Things To Do With The Kids In Philadelphia

Take a step back into the 18th century, at THE very birthplace of the American Flag! Yes, the stars and stripes have a birthplace, thanks to Betsy Ross who sewed the very first American flag as we know it. 

There is 300 years of history to learn about, and it's a great addition to your Philadelphia stay as the city is all about the birthplace of the USA. Please note due to the historic nature of the house though, it's not accessible.

Image Credit: Historic Philadelphia / Betsy Ross House

Philadelphia isn't just about history - if you love wildlife, then it's also the city for you! Animals from all over the world can be found at the popular Philadelphia Zoo, from the coolest of mammals, kings of the jungle, colorful feathred wonders and the smallest of amphibians. 

They also offer other fun experinces and things to entertain and educate, such as scavenger hunts and events, and they are also very passionate about conservation, so kids can really gain a deep understanding of why it's important to look after our planet!

Image Credit: Philadelphia Zoo

Paintings, sculptures, photography...classic American art, modern art, history, will be exposed to so many wonderful works of art from all around the globe at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, it really is one of the "must dos" when in the city.

If you can spend your family day out learning, AND being inspired, then it's a big tick from us! Don't miss the chance to enjoy one of the talks too, check the online calendar before you visit so you can coordinate.

Image Credit: Philadelphia Museum of Art

There are so many great museums in Philadelphia, but why not also take your kids to one that was created FOR them? The Please Touch Museum is great for those curious, adventurous, and imaginative kids as all of the exhibits are geared towards education AND fun.

Great for the older kids, down to the tots, it's a fun addition to any Family Day Out in the great city of Brotherly Love!

Image Credit: Please Touch Museum

Are you ready to visit the birthplace of the United States? Indepdent National Historical Park is often the reason families travel to Philadelphia in the first place. Here, history is all around you - you can feel it in the air!

Visit Independence Hall where the Declaration of Indepepdence was signed, and see the actual Liberty Bell - crack and all! You can also stand in the very spot that Abraham Lincoln stood when he raised the American flag!

Image CreditNPS

Franklin Square is centered around a beautiful 100 year old fountain, which really sets the tone of your amazing (and must-do!) park experience! Franklin Square is as much a piece of history as it is a park. The Parx Liberty Carousel is always a favorite for kids, as is the one-of-a-kind Philly mini golf course!

Whilst the entrance to the park is free, the attractions require admission. Check to see if the Fountain Show is running when you visit too, that's worth seeing!

Image Credit: Historic Philadelphia

Adventure Aquarium might be just over the bridge in New Jersey, but it's super close to Philadelphia and a great experience for the little ones! This popular aquarium is where creatures who roam our waters can come face to face with, well, YOU!

In addition to some beautiful, intriguing and curious creatures, kids can also enjoy more of an education experience with behind-the-scenes tours, talks and more. The aquarium is also great for kids to learn about conservation too! Time to make a SPLASH!

Image Credit: Adventure Aquarium

Get high amoung the treetops and challenge yourselves physically and mentally at TreeTop Quest Philly! Swing, climb and maneuver from tree to tree, through fun exhilarating zip lines and challenging yet fun obstacles. Don't worry, there are always staff present to teach you how to operate equipment and help you through the course.

Your ticket allows you 2.5 hours in the park, and you can swing through each course as many times as you like! Located in Fairmount Park, it's a fun way to spend the day with the family. It's great to be in nature, great for kids to get that important exercise, and they might even make new friends too!

Image Credit: Treetop Quest Philly

One for the pre-teens and older (although you might have younger children who might enjoy it), a slice out of Philadelphia history is the 200 year old Eastern State Penitentiary - a penitentiary that was once the most famous and expensive in the entire world! Today, the empty cell blocks and ruined guard towers make for a fascinating tour, where you can learn all about the rich history and notable inmates of yesteryear - have you ever heard of Al Capone?

One of our favorite things to do with kids in Philadelphia.

Image Credit: Eastern State Penitentiary

Famous Philadelphians

 Family Days Out: City Guide

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant began his basketball career joining the NBA straight out of high school. He was most known for playing 20 seasons with the LA Lakers, and will always be known as one of the most great basketball players in NBA history. 

Image Copyright: Keith Allison

 Family Days Out: City Guide

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly was one of the most popular actresses of the 1950s, and remains one of the most iconic to date. Her most famous film was Hitchcock's "Dial M for Murder", before her retirement at aged 26 to become Princess of Monaco.

Image Copyright: Public Domain

5 Fun Philadelphia Facts

5 Fun Philadelphia Facts

Impress your friends with your amazing Philadelphia knowledge!

  • The city has a nickname "City of Brotherly Love", as it's name is dervied from the combiation of the Greek words for love (phileo) and brother (adelphos)
  • It was one of the first cities in the world to guarentee religious freedom! That was passed all the way back in 1682!
  • Did you know the Liberty Bell wasn't actually known as the Liberty Bell until the 1800s?
  • The city is home to the largest landscaped garden in the world! (That's Fairmont Park, sitting at 9,200 acres!)
  • The world's first electric computer was built in the city in 1946!

Top 5 FREE Things To Do With Kids In Philadelphia

Visit Franklin Square

Visit Franklin Square

Franklin Square is centered around a beautiful 100 year old fountain, which really sets the tone of your amazing (and must-do!) park experience! Franklin Square is as much a piece of history as it is a park. The Parx Liberty Carousel is always a favorite for kids, as is the one-of-a-kind Philly mini golf course!

Whilst the entrance to the park is free, the attractions require admission. Check to see if the Fountain Show is running when you visit too, that's worth seeing!

Image Credit: Historic Philadelphia

Liberty Bell Center

Liberty Bell Center

Back in 1753, the Liberty Bell originally rang in the tower of Independence Hall (which was originally known as Pennsylvania State House!) However, since 2003 the Liberty Bell has been on display to visitors at the Liberty Bell Center in a building in front of the hall.

With the Independence Hall in the background, it's quite impressive to see it in its full glory with it's original location proudly standing in the distance. Admission is free, with admission on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Check to see if the Fountain Show is running when you visit too, that's worth seeing!

Image Credit: Independence Visitor Center

Visit the Rocky Statue and Steps

Visit the Rocky Statue and Steps

We all see that image of Sylvester Stallone running up those steps, arms in the air, grey track suit, those famous musical notes pounding....and now in Philadelphia, you can do the same!

Sylvester Stallone actually commissed the statue for Rocky III, which now stands in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, adjacent to those famous steps.  Online you can pick up collectible statues too, as well as posters. 

They are free to visit, and the photo opportunities are priceless! 

Image Credit: Rocky Statue

Stroll historic Elfreth's Alley

Stroll historic Elfreth's Alley

Elfreth's Alley is 300 years of history, on one residential street! The street itself is free to explore, take photos and really just imagine all the history that the walls must hold - in fact, it's a National Historic Landmark!

There is a small museum which has a fee, and tours are available to purchase but strolling the street is a very budget friendly experience. Elfreth’s Alley is an “exceptional example of early American structures built between 1720 and 1830” and is a wonderful insight into early Philadelphia life!

Image Credit: Elfreth's Alley

Valley Forge National Historical Park

Valley Forge National Historical Park

About 35 minutes outside of Philadelphia centre is Forge Valley National Historical Park. It's FREE to enter, and it's well worth a visit! Valley Forge is the location of the 1777-1778 winter encampment of the Continental Army under General George Washington. Many regard Valley Forge as the birthplace of the American army.

It's a wonderfully historic learning experince for the kids, with re-enactments, and if you wanted to purchase a tour for more information, there is that option too. History comes alives at Valley Forge - where kids can learn about those who lived on the land prior to the battle too!

Image Credit: Valley Forge National Historical Park

Philadelphia Walking Tour!

A Fun Day Trip From Philadelphia!

Love chocolate? Then you might want to take the 100 minute drive to Hershey, and enjoy a fun day trip from Philadelphia. Hersey is one of the most popular day trips from the city of Brotherly Love, and we weren't kidding about the chocolate either! 

Hershey is great for history lovers, and great for nature lovers. The city is great for families and definitely fun for kids. Theme parks, museums, amazing food and wonderful energy (and parents, great breweries too!) - it is, after all, "the sweetest place on Earth!"

Hershey is really best known for The Hershey Company, which was founded by Candy Magnate Milton S Hershey. In fact, the actual town was founded by Hershey for the workers at The Hershey Company back in 1903. Imagine, a whole town for staff!

From the early days of the town's incorporation, the homes had electricity, central heating and indoor plumbing - quite the modern amenities for a town just incorporated. The purpose was to build "the perfect American town", with public trolley system, free education for children of the employees, and even a free vocational school for orphaned or unprivilidged boys. 

With such wonderful and unique start to life, Hershey is definitely a place to visit on any day trip from Philadelphia! Enjoy the chocolate, kids! 

Image Credit: Hershey Official

Here’s our top 4 Hershey attractions to visit:

We hope you found this content useful! Please share with your friends, and if you have any comments, or want to let us know what we can do to further help you find fun days out with the family, then just email our team at [email protected]!

Let's get the family adventure started!

Lisa Written by

Lisa has been a content writer for Family Days Out for nearly 10 years, and a keen travel writer for nearly 20. She loves experiencing the best of a city, discovering the many things to do and immersing herself in the culture, and sharing these experiences with others through her writing.

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