Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s largest city, is known for many things: being the “City of Brotherly Love”; the home of the cheesesteak, the first bank, and the Liberty Bell; and the place where “eagles fly.” Home to over one million people and less than a two hour drive from both New York City and Baltimore, it’s probably most know for being the first capitol of America and the location of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. There certainly is a lot of history “preserved” in Philadelphia, but there’s also a ton of other ways to explore the city with kids. Before you head to Philadelphia, check out VisitPhilly.com for tons of recommendations, itineraries, and calendars. The website is well organized and has suggestions organized by neighborhood, season, or family friendly activities. If you’re planning on visiting for a few days, consider purchasing a CityPASS or Philadelphia Pass, both of which offer substantial savings if you visit multiple locations (most of which are on my top 20 list).
While my family could have spent months exploring the various neighborhoods and historical locations, we were a little more limited in time than “months.” Due only to time constraints, there were several spots we didn’t get to explore, and therefore, I did not include in my top 20 list. At first I was disappointed; however, I’ve changed my attitude- we just need to plan a return trip soon! I say this upfront so you’ll know this is not a complete list of every family friendly spot in Philadelphia; it’s a list of places we experienced and enjoyed, organized by location (not rank!). And full disclosure: we actually didn’t get to two of them. However, I researched them so thoroughly ahead of time, I felt comfortable sharing information.
Top 20 Family Friendly Places to Explore in Philly:
1. The US Mint, the largest coin factory in the world, offers free, self guided tours of its facility during the week. Visitors can learn all about the history of the Mint and its four facilities, built in 1792, 1833, 1901 and 1969. The Mint can produce over one million coins in just 30 minutes. The third floor exhibit takes visitors through the seven step process of coin production: artistic design, die making, blanking, annealing and upsetting, striking, inspecting, and bagging. There are tons of hands on ways for kids to understand all elements of coin production.
Kids Will Love a replica of “Peter” the eagle who perched on top of the 1st Mint building, a design-your-own coin opportunity on a touchscreen, the guess-the-coin blind touch game, the interactive touch screens that explains the machines on the production floor, and the treasure hunt at the end of the tour, where visitors must find images on enlarged coin replicas.
Adults Will Love the display of collector’s coins in the lobby, a six minute video on the history of the Mint on the 2nd floor, the 3rd floor windows that let visitors “spy” on the production floor below, and learning about the “Mules” aka coining errors such as striking flaws.
Traveling with Kids: The US Mint is open weekdays except during federal holidays. Bring the stroller for little ones, although they may love the site of the very long hallway on the 3rd floor. There are spots to visit on all three floors, with escalators, stairs, and an elevator available. Restrooms and a gift shop are located on the main lobby floor. Grab a handbook for the self guided tour. Photos are not allowed inside the building (hence my lack of photographs). Plan to spend 60-90 minutes for the self guided tour.
2. The Federal Reserve Bank’s Money in Motion exhibit is open for free, self guided tours during the week. We missed the chance to visit while we were in town, but have heard good things about visiting.
Kids Will Love seeing the 25 foot tower of shredded money totaling $100 million dollars.
Adults Will Love looking at the first coins and paper money used in circulation, taking a quiz to identify counterfeit money, and competing against others in the quiz show game about the history of the Fed and Philadelphia.
Traveling with Kids: The Fed is open weekdays, with very limited hours during the winter. The exhibit is handicap accessible. Plan to spend one hour exploring the exhibit.
3. The Wells Fargo Bank Museum is located inside a 1928 Beaux-Arts bank building on South Broad Street. The bank also has history museums located in 11 other cities across America.
Kids Will Love the massive, larger than life cuddly ponies stationed throughout the museum (there are a few stuffed ponies children can actually snuggle), the chance to snap photos and then take them home as print and digital souvenirs (one photo opt is printing a face on money and one photo opt is inside the replica stagecoach), dressing up in period clothes, pretending to send morse code, using a mechanical adding machine, and pretending to “drive” a stagecoach.
Adults Will Love reading the biographies of Henry Wells and James Fargo, examining the authentic Concord stagecoach in the main lobby display, learning about the history of Wells Fargo as the nation’s first transcontinental express company, seeing authentic solid gold nuggets from the California Gold Rush, and pretending to “drive” the stagecoach.
Traveling with Kids: The museum is open during bank hours (weekdays only) and is free to explore. The museum is located to the right of the bank branch, but definitely check out the beautiful (still in operation) bank and stagecoach display inside the main portion of the bank. The museum is handicap accessible and is small enough that you won’t need the stroller. There are no public restrooms. Plan to spend 45-60 minutes exploring the museum.
4. The Benjamin Franklin Museum is in the middle of Franklin Court and is accessible via Market Street or Chestnut Street. The museum is located below ground on the property where Franklin’s original three story home from 1765-1812 once stood. Today two steel frames ghost the outline of home, with the original foundation directly below. Franklin was one of 17 children from a Boston tradesmen family. He was an apprentice to his brother at the age of 12 and learned how to set type and print newspapers. The Franklin Court complex, where the museum is located, also includes a print shop (check out various demonstrations each day), an archeology exhibit, and the still operational B. Free Franklin Post Office.
Kids Will Love Skuggs the Squirrel, a mascot located throughout the museum, dozens of interactive touch screens; and the chance to create static electricity by rubbing a glass tube with clothes.
Adults Will Love the collection of proverbs from Poor Richard’s Almanac attributed to Franklin, figuring out how to solve the Magic Squares game, and learning about all the ways Franklin bettered the world through inventions such as the bifocals or the glass harmonica.
Traveling with Kids: The Museum, part of Independence National Historic Park, is overseen by the National Park Service, so be sure to collect all four passport stamps in the gift shop. The museum is very kid friendly (take note of all the signs that say “please touch!”) and there is no need to bring a stroller as the museum is located all on one lower level floor. There is an elevator for handicap accessibility. Restrooms are located on the museum level and a gift shop is located on the main level. Plan to spend 30-45 minutes exploring the lower level museum and another 10-20 minutes in the print shop and outdoor courtyard.
5. The National Constitution Center opened in 2003 and is the spot to learn about the writing and writers of The Constitution. Begin your visit with the 17 minute “Freedom Rising” immersive performance with live actors in the Kimmel Theatre. Self guided tours continue on the second floor exhibit hall, Signers’ Hall, and George H.W. Bush Gallery. Make sure to leave time to explore the Presidential Portrait Gallery in the main lobby and the Hamilton Exhibit on the first floor.
Kids Will Love the history trivia game on a giant carpet board in the main lobby, Election Central where visitors can vote in former elections, and Signers Hall, where visitors can (literally) walk amongst and stand next to 42 bronze statues of delegates from the Constitutional Convention. Grab a “Supreme Court Justice Training Manual” and Exhibit Guide to fill out while exploring the museum.
Adults Will Love The Story of We the People where visitors can read the full Constitution etched in glass placards high above the exhibits, and the replicas of famous buildings like the Capitol, White House, and Supreme Court.
Traveling with Kids: A coat check, gift shop, restrooms, a Starbucks cafe and Delegates Cafe (open from 11am-2pm each day) are all located on the main floor before the admissions desk. The entire museum is handicap accessible and strollers are allowed. There are various programs offered everyday check here. Admission tickets are good for two consecutive days and you can leave and return in the same day. Plan to spend two hours to fully explore the center and watch the Freedom Rising experience.
6. Independence National Historic Park is run by the National Park Service and includes over 12 locations and several gardens visited by over one million people each year. Several of the homes and gardens are seasonal, so check online for schedules and hours. Check out a full list of locations here. I recommend making time for at least a visit to the Visitor Center and these four stops:
- Liberty Bell Center is home to (arguably) the world’s most famous bell, a symbol of freedom. It was first hung in the State House in 1753 and now is on display in an enclosed building in between the Visitor’s Center and Independence Square.
- Independence Square was built as the Pennsylvania State House and is one of the most important sites of the American Revolution in the summer of 1776. You’ll need (free) timed tickets from March 1-January 1st (pick them up from the Visitor’s Center) to visit the spot where both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were debated and signed. There are three spots within the complex: Independence Hall (there are 20 minute timed ranger-led tours), Great Essentials (where copies of the Declaration and Constitution are on rotating display) and Congress Hall (which housed the Capitol of the United States until 1800). Congress Hall is impressive to see; the House of Representatives Chamber is located on the first floor and the Senate Chambers and Senate meeting rooms are located on the second floor. Congress Hall is not handicap accessible and the stairs are old and steep.
- Franklin Court is the site of Ben Franklin’s original home (see #4), a print shop and post office still in operation, and an archeological exhibit.
- President’s House Site and Declaration House are important sites where Washington and Adams had offices and Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence respectively. The President’s House Site is an outdoor structure.
Traveling with Kids: Make sure to begin in the Visitor’s Center to pick up a Junior Ranger booklet (kids can earn a badge and other prizes!) There are also over a dozen National Parks passport stamps. Most locations will have visitors go through metal detectors and security, including taking off coats, so be prepared. All locations are free to visit. There is an underground parking garage and restrooms are located in the Visitor Center. I recommend going to the Liberty Bell or Independence Hall first thing in the morning to avoid long waits.
7. The Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site, operated by the National Park Service, is located in the Spring Garden District of Philadelphia. Poe and his wife lived in five places in six years in Philadelphia in the 1840s and the home on this site is the only house to survive. Poe wrote some of his most famous pieces while living here, including Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell Tale Heart, Black Cat, and The Pit and the Pendulum.
Kids Will Love completing the Junior Ranger booklet and watching the 7 minute introductory video.
Adults Will Love reading some of Poe’s poems written for his wife Virginia; reading the dual timelines of Poe’s Life with American cultural, political, and social context; touring six rooms and the basement of the original home. There is no furniture in the home but artist’s renderings help visitors imagine what the home would have looked like when Poe lived there.
Traveling with Kids: The site is only open Friday- Sunday. There is no handicap accessibility in the home and stairs are very steep. There is a restroom on the lower level. Plan to spend 30-45 minutes exploring the site. Make sure to get your National Parks passport stamps.
8. The Museum of the American Revolution is Philadelphia’s newest museum opening on April 19, 2017, the anniversary of the date of the first battle of the war. There are three floors of exhibits, organized into four chronological galleries, and several immersion videos and touch screens located on all floors.
Kids Will Love Revolution Place on the lower level (pretend to be a soldier living in a military camp, choose an object and place it on a massive tablet to find it’s county of origin, and pretend to be a minister reading a sermon to pews of church goers); seeing a massive replica Liberty Elm tree from Boston (the symbol of resistance to British tyranny); climbing aboard a 45 foot replica cargo ship to retrace the steps of a 14 year old African American abolitionist
Adults will Love Washington’s War tent; the displays of British weapons, including spontoons, fusils, bayonets, and hangers; the first political ad in American history; the exhibit on “Forgotten Allies” about the Oneida Indian Nation.
Traveling with Kids: The entire museum is handicap accessible and strollers are allowed. Restrooms, lockers, and a large gift shop are located on the main floor. Visitors may leave and return same day, and admission tickets are valid for two consecutive days. Revolution Place has limited hours and closes before the main exhibits, so take note when you visit. There are also tons of special events and family programs (we had just missed “Smelladelphia”). Check here for a full list.
9. The African American Museum was the first museum “built to preserve, interpret, and exhibit the heritage of and culture of African Americans”. Opened in 1976, it has several exhibits focused on art, culture, and history as it directly relates to Philadelphia.
Kids Will Love Kids Corner, an interactive experience that provides an authentic daily life experience and video projectors of 18th century Philadelphian figures who explain their causes and plights in Philadelphian history.
Adults Will Love the life size, interactive, century long timeline of cultural history and rotating photographic exhibits.
Traveling with Kids: The museum is closed on Monday and Tuesday and has limited hours on Sunday. The entire museum is handicap and stroller accessible. Restrooms are located on all three floors of the museum and a gift shop is located in the lobby. Children will want to visit on Macy’s Family Fundays for special programming. Plan to spend 60-90 minutes exploring the museum, more for special programs.
10. The Fireman’s Hall Museum preserves the history of firefighting in Philadelphia through several displays, with a special tribute to firemen who served the country during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. There are six authentic fire vehicles on display: a cannot Wagon (1903), Hand Drawn Horse Cart (1854), Steam Fire Engine (1858), Metro Type Pumper (1907), American LaFrance (1926), and 45 foot Aerial Ladder (1896). The museum is located in a 1902 restored firehouse.
Kids Will Love the fire trucks, practicing how to call 911 (there’s a simulation of what to do and what to say) and pretending to steer “The Independence”, one of two Philadelphian marine fireboats.
Adults Will Love the fire trucks, and the collections of custom built model fire trucks and unit patches.
Traveling with Kids: The museum is open Tuesday- Sunday and is free to visit. The exhibits cover two floors and there is an elevator. No need for a stroller. There is a restroom on the main level. Plan to spend 30-45 minutes to explore the museum.
11. The Betsy Ross House wasn’t actually owned by Betsy Ross or any of her three husbands (she rented rooms from a widow) but it is the spot where Washington called upon her to create a flag for “the new nation.” She needed to make the flag in secrecy as making flags for a new nation was considered an act of treason by Great Britain. The house became a museum in 1898.
Kids Will Love the interactive exhibit Women at Work with Ross’ washwoman (live actors) and the kitchen (try cooking without a refrigerator, stove, or oven- Ross cooked on the hearth, the area in front of the fireplace).
Adults Will Love the actress portraying Ross and answering questions about her Quaker family (she was the 8th of 17 children) and her career as a seamstress (she sewed hundreds of flags, dating as far back as May 1777)
Traveling with Kids: The museum is not handicap accessible and does not allow strollers. There are restrooms on a lower level and gift shop on the main level. Tours are self guided with an audio tour option, and visitors must walk through an outdoor path to the home.
12. The Franklin Institute’s mission is to inspire a passion for learning about science and technology and the 12 exhibit halls definitely exemplify that mission. There are tons of hands on exhibits and experiments, an IMAX theater, and Planetarium. Read our full post about the museum here.
Kids Will Love the Sports Zone and Sir Isaac’s Loft on the 3rd floor, The Giant Heart and Your Brain on the 2nd floor, and The Train Factory on the first floor.
Adults Will Love Space Command on the 1st floor, Amazing Machines and Changing Earth on the 2nd floor, and the Pendulum Staircase.
Traveling with Kids: The entire museum of handicap accessible with elevators and ramps. I would bring the stroller- the museum is massive! There is a parking garage attached to the museum. Restrooms are located on each floor and a coat check is available on the ground level. The main floor includes a Sci-Store gift shop and a Cafe which sells snacks and drinks. The FoodWorks Cafe on the 2nd floor offers a more extensive menu. Plan to spend at least 3-4 hours at the Institute, longer if you view an IMAX or Planetarium show. Check daily programming here.
13. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is the oldest natural science museum in the country, founded in 1812 and contains more than 18 million preserved specimens. The museum displayed the world’s first mounted dinosaur skeleton in 1868.
Kids Will Love the seven full dinosaur skeletons on display in Dinosaur Hall, digging for fossils in “The Big Dig” on the 2nd floor, attempting science experiments in the Naturally Awesome exhibit, pretending to walk like a crocodile, and exploring the “Outside In” exhibit on the 2rd floor where they can read books, pretend to hunt for fossil shark teeth in a pond and on the beach, and pet live animals like bunnies.
Adults Will Love checking out more than 30 dioramas of various animals and reading the placards of each animal’s background, the Fossil Prep Lab, and the Butterfly Conservatory (watch out for “hitchhikers” when you leave).
Traveling with Kids: Pick up a visitor’s guide which has themed itineraries and suggested timelines. There are restrooms located on each floor and the entire museum is handicap accessible with elevators. Bring the stroller for little ones. The Academy Shop gift shop is located to the left of the admission desk. Plan to spend 2-3 hours exploring all the exhibits.
14. The Barnes Foundation, which opened in its current location in downtown Philadelphia in 2012, has 23 galleries of art on display, with a collection that includes 1500 paintings, and numerous pieces of furniture, metal works, ceramics, and sculptures. The painting collection includes almost 200 Renoir, 69 Cezanne, 59 Matisse, 46 Picasso, and 7 van Cogh paintings. Dr. Albert C. Barnes assembled the collection over the course of almost a half century. Each gallery, arranged according to light, line, color, and space, includes a program guide with detailed descriptions and background information on every piece. There are gallery talks each day- check here for the schedule. The Reflections Cafe offers on the go prepared foods and snacks with some seating options; the more formal Garden Restaurant is a full service restaurant.
Traveling with Kids: The museum is closed on Tuesdays. I would not recommend just touring the museum for younger children; many of the furniture pieces and the paintings are within the reach of little hands. However, the museum does have special programming for families on the first Sunday of the month and weekly events geared towards specific ages- check here for the calendar. Older children will enjoy completing the Gallery Kit for Kids. Coats and bags must be checked on the lower level. Single strollers are allowed. A museum shop, coffee bar, restrooms, and a library are located on the main floor. Check here for information on discounted tickets and promotions and special events. Parking information can be found here.
15. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is an “immersive mixed media art environment completely covered in mosaics.” It’s one of the most unique, creative, downright cool things we have ever seen! It was created by mosaic mural artist Isaiah Zagar, who was inspired by his three years of service with the Peace Corps in Peru. He began work on a vacant lot in 1991 and the museum was formally incorporated as a nonprofit in 2002 by the local neighborhood art community. The museum spans a half block on South Street and includes immersive indoor and outdoor galleries.
Everyone will Love all of the nooks and crannies, allys, and stairs- it will be difficult to pick a “favorite” mosaic.
Traveling with Kids: Make reservations ahead of time for a guided gallery tour- tours fill up quickly! Magic Gardens is closed on Tuesday. Strollers are allowed, but there are some restricts areas where strollers will not fit. Make sure you are wearing sneakers and walk carefully- the mosaics cover the walls, ceilings, and even floors and there is uneven footing in some spots. Pay attention when you walk as some of the paths are uneven, have low ceilings, and have objects protruding out. It’s tempting to take hundreds of photos (and you should!) but make sure you’re paying attention when you move from space to space. Keep little children close by. I recommend visiting with children for Peco Family Jams, free monthly hands on sessions with tons of family friendly activities. Restrooms are located in the back of the indoor gallery and there is small gift shop space next to the admissions desk. Plan to spend 60-90 minutes exploring the museum.
16. The Please Touch Museum is one of the most popular spots for kids of all ages in Philadelphia. Up to 5,000 people visit each (busy) day! The Museum is located inside Memorial Hall, site of Art Gallery for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition celebrating America’s 100th birthday, and has over 60,000 square feet of exhibits. The museum is best for ages ten and under, but there are some exhibits even older children will enjoy. The best part? Visitors are encouraged to “touch” everything! Read our full blog post about the museum here.
Younger Kids Will Love riding the carousel (additional fee applies), WordsWorth Cottage for quiet story time, Fairytale Gardens for nursery rhyme reenactments, the Frobel System of Kindergarten for train tables and block building, and the replica Shop Rite for grocery shopping.
Older Kids Will Love Imagination Playground for foam construction, Alice in Wonderland for mazes, the Centennial Exhibition for learning about the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, Cents and Sensibility for learning about money and investments, and the Rocket Room for rocket launching.
Traveling with Kids: There is a parking lot next to the museum ($13 for non members) but free street parking is available if you get there early in the day. The entire museum is handicap accessible with ramps and an elevator. You can bring a stroller but I doubt any child will want to stay in the stroller for very long. The museum participates in the Association of Children’s Museums reciprocity program. Restrooms are located on both floors and there is a coat check on the main floor, to the right of the admissions desk. There is a cafe serving hot and cold lunches and snacks and plenty of drink options. Visitors are allowed to bring in food and there are tables and chairs in the main lobby as well as the cafe. Visitors may leave and return same day. Check for daily programs here and check online for hours (the museum if often closed on Mondays). Plan to spend 2-3 hours to fully explore the museum.
17. Independence Seaport Museum is a massive maritime museum located right on the Delaware Waterfront. In nice weather, spend time walking along the waterfront- there are plenty of space to picnic and soak in the sun. The museum boasts an impressive collection of antique and modern boats to explore.
Kids Will Love dressing up and acting out a scene in the River Highway Theater, climbing aboard the replica schooner “Diligence”, and conducting experiments and creating water channels in the Fisharium exhibit. Make sure to leave time to walk over to the USS Olympia, which became a museum in 1950s. Visitors can explore most areas of the ship, including the gally (kitchen) surgery, dispensary, laundry room, “sick bay” and barbershop. Visitors can also explore the WWII submarine Becuna.
Adults Will Love comparing the historical timelines from 1771-1823 of Great Britain, America, and the Barbary States; checking out over 20 boats on display, including the New Jersey Catboat “Myth” built in 1889; watching model ship builders in the Ship Model Shack; and playing nautical themed corn hole.
Traveling with Kids: There is discounted parking for the lot directly in front of the museum and in the Hilton Hotel lot nearby. Guests are allowed to leave and return same day. Bring the stroller for the museum and to walk from the museum to the ships, but strollers aren’t allowed on the ships. Restrooms are located in the main museum and in the Operations Center building near the ships. Plan on spending 60-90 minutes in the main museum and then another hour walking to and exploring the Olympia and Becuna. Be careful with little ones on the ship; there are only thin wire barriers, tight quarters below deck, and very uneven flooring and footing.
18. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the country’s largest art museums, displaying over 2,000 years of art. The collection also includes the Perelman Building, located behind the main building, that displays a textile collection. The 200 galleries include American, Asian, and European art, prints and drawings, and photography, and rotating showcases.
Kid Will Love running up the 72 steps and impersonating Sylvester Stallone a la Rocky (you might as well pose in front of the statue to the right of the museum). Kids will also be impressed by the collection of armor from the 1300s.
Adults Will Love a reception hall with 34 foot ceilings from the Ming Dynasty, one of the only ones in existence outside of China, van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”, and Augustus Saint Gaudens’s 13 foot gilded statue of the goddess Diana.
Traveling with Kids: The museum is usually closed on Mondays. Admission tickets are valid for two consecutive days and children 12 and under are free. The entire museum is handicap accessible and there is a parking garage at the main building. There are several dining options at both buildings, including cafes for grab and go prepared meals and snacks and Stir, a full service restaurant open for lunch. Both buildings also have museum stores and multiple restrooms are located on all three floors. Plan to spend 2-3 hours in each of the museum buildings.
19. A former prison may not be on every tourist’s list of must see places, but the Eastern State Penitentiary isn’t just any old jail. The world’s most expensive prison at one point, the penitentiary had running water and central heat in its original seven cellblocks before the White House had those same features! The prison was “home” to many notorious criminals over its almost 150 years in operation.
Kids Will Love learning how to unlock and open the front gate and filling out the scavenger hunt.
Adults Will Love the sound of Steve Buscemi narrating the audio tour and Al Capone’s recreated cell
Traveling with Kids: There are nearby parking lots if visitors choose to drive. Strollers are allowed. Restrooms and a gift shop are located near the entrance. There aren’t any food options on site, but there are some outdoor picnic tables if visitors choose to bring food. Plan to spend two hours for a tour and exploration.
20. Take a tour of a sports venue. Philadelphians loves their sports teams and are proud of the 16 championships their teams have won. Visitors can tour:
- Citizen’s Bank, home of the Phillies, a MLB baseball team. Tours are offered every day during baseball season (April-October) and a few days a week during off season. Tours include visits to the dugout, Hall of Fame, and Broadcast Booth. Find out more information here.
- Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles, a NFL football team. Public tours are usually offered Monday/Wednesday/Friday/Saturday and tickets need to be purchased ahead of time on Ticketmaster. Tour stops include the field, locker room, press box, and a suite, and information about the team’s Go Green program. Find out more information here.
- Wells Fargo Center, home of the Philadelphia 76ers, a NBA basketball team AND the Philadelphia Flyers, a NFL hockey team. The tour includes stops in a luxury suite, Flyers Hat Trick display, Spectrum Wall, a press box, and a chance to see how the venue can hold a basketball game and hockey in the SAME day! Tours include a commemorative photo and frame.
Eating Locally: There are literally hundreds of places to eat downtown. We didn’t get through even 1/4 of the recommendations I had gathered from readers, followers, friends, and locals. This list does not do Philly justice- and blasphemy, we didn’t even get a cheesesteak from Geno’s,or Pat’s– but we did find some good spots:
1. Reading Market Terminal is one of the country’s largest and oldest’s public markets with 80 distinct vendors. There are full service restaurants, produce and meat markets, many ethnic food options, and tons of bakeries and chocolatiers. There is seating at some of the restaurants and a large seating area in the middle. Some of the restaurants even offer family meal deals for take out. It’s open from 8am-6pm every day.
2. The Bourse Food Hall opened in late 2018 and has almost 30 places to eat, offering every type of food imaginable. Vendors fill the perimeter and there is one giant open area for seating in the middle. The 100+ year old building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Restrooms are located inside the building. The Bourse stays open until 10pm weeknights and midnights on the weekends, and opens by 7am most days, so there are plenty of opportunities to visit. Adults will definitely want to check out the distillery and Taps Fill Station.
3. City Tavern, which opened in 1773, has hosted many famous guests, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Ben Franklin. Staff still greet guests in period attire and cook 18th century recipes- make sure to try the sweet potato pecan biscuits and all the other baked goodies brought to each table.
4. Marathon, which has a few locations in Philadelphia, feels like an upscale diner with an extensive menu (score- breakfast items available at dinnertime!) and good options for kids.
5. Iron Hill Brewery has several locations, including one downtown Philly. This was one of our favorite spots: very good food, great beers, kids menu with options for two sides or a side and dessert, and very attentive service.
6. Pizzeria Vetri is our favorite spot from the trip! Sit at the counter and watch your handmade pizza cook inside the brick oven. Get the larger pizzas (it’s thin crust pizza so you’ll be hungry for more slices) and definitely try a salad. It’s located right across from the Barnes Foundation.
Read about all the places we love in Pennsylvania here, our top 10 FREE things to do in Philly here and follow along on our adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Check out our other City Guides here.
Disclaimer: My family was provided a media pass from VisitPhilly to visit many of these locations. All opinions expressed are my own.