City guides

Cheap things to do in Philadelphia

Discover affordable attractions in Philadelphia that offer enriching experiences without emptying your wallet.

September 22, 2023
 min read
Last updated:
Jan 15
A view of the Philadelphia skyline, with Philadelphia City Hall in the background.

We know that travel can sometimes be a bit heavy on the pocket, but who says you can't have a fantastic time without breaking the bank? We're here to show you that you can explore the vibrant city of Philadelphia without spending a fortune. So, buckle up and get ready to discover the top 10 affordable attractions in Philly that are sure to leave you enriched, entertained, and empowered!

Independence National Historical Park

Delve deep into the roots of American democracy at the Independence National Historical Park. This iconic location, which doesn't require any admission fee, is home to the renowned Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. As you wander through the park, you're not just walking on any ground; you're treading on the very soil where the foundations of a nation were laid. It's not just a visit; it's a journey back in time, offering a priceless experience that remarkably asks for no monetary exchange.

Bartram's Garden

Step into the tranquil oasis of Bartram's Garden, the oldest surviving botanic garden in North America. Nestled along the Schuylkill River, this 45-acre haven offers a rich tapestry of native and exotic plants, historic structures, and vibrant community events. Wander through lush landscapes, discover the pioneering Bartram family's legacy, or simply enjoy a riverside picnic. With free entry to the gardens and affordable guided tours available, it's a budget-friendly gateway to Philadelphia's botanical history, offering a peaceful retreat in the heart of the city.

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens stand as a brilliant testament to the boundless realms of art and human imagination. Crafted meticulously by Isaiah Zagar, this mosaic masterpiece is more than just a visual treat. Every tile, every shard tells a story, echoing the artist's passion and creativity. While there's a nominal entry fee, the overwhelming sense of wonder and the sparks of inspiration you'll gather from this place are truly invaluable.

Reading Terminal Market

Dive into the heart of Philadelphia's culinary scene at the Reading Terminal Market. This bustling hub is more than just a market; it's an experience. Relish the cacophony of vendors calling out their wares, the delightful samples of local specialties, and the sheer energy that permeates the air. Whether you're a food enthusiast or a curious traveler, this market promises an authentic Philly experience that won't strain your budget.

Mural Arts Philadelphia

Philadelphia wears its heart on its walls, quite literally. The city is adorned with stunning murals, each narrating a unique tale. Embark on a self-guided tour and witness this open-air museum that showcases the city's soul. Every mural is a canvas of emotions, stories, and history. And the cherry on top? This visual journey is absolutely free, making it perfect for those Instagram moments.

Spruce Street Harbor Park

Imagine a serene urban beach nestled by the Delaware River, complete with hammocks swaying gently, lively boardwalk games, and an array of food stalls. That's Spruce Street Harbor Park for you. It's an oasis in the urban jungle, offering a tranquil yet budget-friendly escape right in the city's heart. Whether you're looking to relax, play, or simply people-watch, this park has something for everyone.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Art aficionados, rejoice! The Philadelphia Museum of Art, while not entirely free, extends a special "Pay What You Wish" admission on select days. This initiative allows you to immerse yourself in a world of exquisite art without the burden of a hefty price tag. From classical to contemporary, the museum houses a diverse collection, ensuring that every visitor finds something that resonates with them.

Wissahickon Valley Park

Nature beckons at the Wissahickon Valley Park. Spread over vast expanses, the park boasts more than 50 miles of trails, each offering a unique perspective of Philadelphia's verdant beauty. Whether you're an avid hiker or someone seeking a peaceful retreat, this park promises a rejuvenating experience amidst nature, all without any admission fee.

The First Friday in Old City

Experience the pulsating heart of Philadelphia's art scene during the First Friday in Old City. Every month, galleries throw open their doors, inviting visitors to a vibrant celebration of art, music, and community spirit. It's not just an event; it's a movement, fostering connections and celebrating creativity, all without putting a dent in your wallet.

The Rocky Steps

Embrace your inner movie star and recreate the iconic scene from "Rocky" by sprinting up the famous Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This exhilarating activity is more than just a physical challenge; it's a rite of passage for every Philadelphia visitor. And the best part? It's absolutely free, ensuring fun and memories without any cost.Philadelphia is a city brimming with culture, history, and experiences that don't require a hefty budget. So pack your bags, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to explore Philly without burning a hole in your pocket. Remember, the best things in life are often free (or at least cheap)!

*Prices fluctuate based on season and day of the week.

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