18 Best Things to Do in Philadelphia County, PA

Philadelphia County, PA
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Philadelphia County is one of the most exciting counties on the East Coast for tourists, with its namesake county seat being called the “City of Brotherly Love.”

Unlike most counties in the United States, Philadelphia County is structured differently due to the Act of Consolidation of 1854.

This law allowed Philadelphia County to unify into just one jurisdiction, that being Philadelphia City.

Previously having several boroughs, townships, and districts, the city still enjoys tons of unique personalities that are distinct from one another.

You’d be hard-pressed to miss out on one of the most iconic cities in the country, so check this list of the best things to do in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.

Tour the Independence Hall

Exterior of the Independence Hall
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If you don’t know yet, Philadelphia is renowned for being the champion of the United States’ independence, so the city is brimming with culture and history.

One of the must-see places in Philly is the Independence Hall, found within Philadelphia’s Center City district.

Here, you can find the ideals of the United States visualized through various historical exhibits and displays.

Assembly room in the Independence Hall
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This is because the Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence was debated and ultimately signed.

It’s one of the most important symbols of the country, so don’t miss out on this amazing place.

Supreme court room in the Independence Hall
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See the Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell facing the Independence hall
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Just across the independence Hall lies the Liberty Bell, another iconic attraction found in Center City.

Liberty Bell is a historic bell that was rung during 1776, when the United States declared independence.

This isn’t some random bell as well—it is huge in size and has a lot of intricate etchings that make it completely unique from typical bells.

There’s also  a giant crack that has some strange debate going behind it, as not many know why it even happened in the first place.

Besides seeing and learning all about Liberty Bell, you’ll also be seeing Franklin Square where it’s situated, letting you hit two birds with one stone.

Close view of the Liberty Bell
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Appreciate Contemporary Art at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

View of the colorful Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
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Another destination found in Center CIty is Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, known for its vibrant art collection.

This art museum is renowned for having lots of mosaics and murals, all of which depict various messages that concern many issues in today’s world.

This is a great place to appreciate Philly’s unique local art while having some amazing photo opportunities as well.

Signage of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
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There’s also a sculpture garden and a maze here that kids will definitely enjoy.

To top it all off, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens also has a scavenger hunt that’s as fun as it is educational.

Details of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
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Take a Serene Stroll at Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center

Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center is just a stone’s throw away from the Please Touch Museum, and it’s a great way to wind down with the family.

It’s also a great place for couples, as the Japanese Zen gardens here are some of the best you’ll find.

Starting from the Koi pond, the intricate wooden structures, to lush cherry blossoms during spring, this place is absolutely gorgeous and serene.

Speaking of cherry blossoms, the Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center also holds the Cherry Blossom Festival here along with other related festivals.

A must for Japanese culture lovers, this cultural center is a fantastic way to relax within the hustle and bustle of Philly.

Take Photos of the Majestic Philadelphia City Hall

Exterior of Philadelphia City Hall
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Few city halls in the world can match the sheer aesthetic beauty and historical significance as that of Philadelphia City Hall.

It's one of the centerpieces of the county, found in Center City just a few minutes from the Independence Hall.

One of the best things to see here is the near 40-ft statue of William Penn—the founding father of Pennsylvania during the Colonial Era.

You can also go inside Philadelphia City Hall and see even more intricate etchings found on its ceilings and walls.

Easily one of the best architectural pieces in the country, don’t miss out on seeing this city hall.

Clock tower of Philadelphia City Hall
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Attend a Concert at The Fillmore Philadelphia

A concert at The Fillmore Philadelphia
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Philadelphia isn’t just known for its history, as they have tons of contemporary and trendy areas like the neighborhood of Northern Liberties.

Easily the central attraction at Northern Liberties is The Fillmore Philadelphia—a live music venue.

Many legendary artists both from the past and present have performed here, so be sure to check what’s brewing on the date of your visit.

The Fillmore Philadelphia has a ton of shows, and the place is known for tight security without sacrificing the fun.

So if you’re big on loud music and a fun time with hordes of people, this is a great way to experience Philly.

Spend a Day at Philadelphia Zoo

Red panda at Philadelphia Zoo
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Another iconic and must-visit district in the county is Fairmount Park, which is the umbrella area where the iconic parks of Philly is located.

Philadelphia Zoo headlines the attractions in Fairmount Park, as it’s one of the top zoos on the East Coast.

It’s a perfect place to bring children—there are tons of different animals here ranging from large mammals to rare reptiles.

Recently, there’s also been an addition of a dinosaur exhibit within the zoo, adding value to your visit.

There are also play areas like a carousel and rope course for the little ones, so it’s a great all-rounder for the family.

Zebra at Philadelphia Zoo
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Relax at Cobbs Creek Park

The touristy areas in Philadelphia such as Center City and Fairmount Park can be taxing, so a great way to take breaks is by diversifying your itinerary.

Located in the neighborhood of Kingsessing in Southwest Philadelphia, Cobbs Creek Park is a perfect place to visit in this regard.

It’s a quiet park that’s several miles away from Center City, allowing you to relax and do some recreational activities.

The aesthetic of this place is praiseworthy—lots of greenery and beautiful landscape accentuate the creek that runs through the neighborhood.

Cobbs Creek Park also has tennis and basketball courts, along with plenty of jogging and biking trails for you.

Bring the Little Ones to Please Touch Museum

Exterior of Please Touch Museum
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Please Touch Museum is easily one of the best museums for children aged 3-12 years old in the country.

Brimming with all sorts of interactive exhibits, this is both fun and educational for the younger ones.

There’s so much to see here, starting from their life-sized buses to their carousel, to their garage area.

It’s also nice that they change their exhibits every now and then, so your visit here can be a special one.

So if you’re bringing a toddler with you, try giving them a treat and visit the Please Touch Museum.

Watch a Sports Game at Wells Fargo Center

Exterior of Wells Fargo Center
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While Southwest Philly is known for its quaint neighborhoods, Southeast Philadelphia is all things sports.

Wells Fargo Center spearheads the lineup, as it’s home to some of the world’s most iconic teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers (basketball), Flyers (ice hockey) and Wings (lacrosse).

The 76ers are particularly a crowd favorite here, as they’ve been consistently competitive in the NBA.

Interior of Wells Fargo Center
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The fans are also wild and lively at Wells Fargo Center—it’s truly an experience for sports fans.

Wells Fargo Center is consistently ranked as a top 10 sports arena in the U.S., so don’t miss out on booking a ticket if you love sports.

Aerial view of Wells Fargo Center
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Watch the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park

Exterior of Citizens Bank Park
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If baseball is more of your sport, Citizens Bank Park is a no-brainer to visit.

One of the top baseball stadiums in the world, this is home to the Philadelphia Phillies.

It’s also a perfect way to see other iconic baseball teams in the country, such as the New York Yankees and the New York Mets.

Besides attending a game, Citizens Bank Park’s surroundings are also filled with plenty of photo opportunities.

From statues to landmark walls, you can see a lot of little nuances that make this stadium stand out.

The field of Citizens Bank Park
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Experience the Schuylkill River at Bartram’s Gardens

Philadelphia is known for having the Schuylkill River run through it, and Bartram’s Gardens is a great place to appreciate it.

It’s located in Kingsessing, giving it a quaint appeal that’s different from Center City’s vibe.

While the gardens and the river itself are phenomenal, you can also do a lot of history learning at Bartram’s Gardens.

Spanning 50 acres, you can also do plenty of activities here, with kayaking as being some of the most popular.

A great way to clear your headspace, Bartram’s Gardens is a neat addition to your itinerary.

Do Recreational Activities at FDR Park

Gazebo at FDR Park
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If there’s one park in the county that’s known for all sorts of activities, it’s FDR Park.

Also found in Southwest Philadelphia, FDR Park is known for its lakes, picnic grounds, skate park, and golf course.

It also doubles as a ballpark, as there are plenty of courts here for pickleball and tennis.

If you’re into lake activities, there are fishing spots here along with boat rentals for you to appreciate the waters firsthand.

FDR Park also houses the American Swedish Historical Museum, a place full of rich architecture and art.

A building at FDR Park
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Explore Wissahickon Valley Park

Trail at Wissahickon Valley Park
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Wissahickon Valley Park is located in Northwest Philadelphia, within the Roxborough neighborhood.

This is one of the primary natural wonders in the county, as it comprises over 50 miles’ worth of nature trails.

It’s a haven for any tourist who’s looking to be in tune with nature, as the ecosystems here are diverse.

While you can relax here via its scenic creeks and ponds, Wissahickon Valley Park is best experienced on a mountain bike.

The experience is rewarding once you’ve covered a lot of ground, especially if you do it with friends or family members.

A bird at Wissahickon Valley Park
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Go Sightseeing at Fairmount Water Works

Daytime view of Fairmount Water Works
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Another beautiful neighborhood in Philly is Fairmount, known for the Fairmount Water Works.

Situated by the Schuylkill River, Fairmount Water Works takes you to the historical significance of the waterways in Philadelphia.

Lots of history is found here, most especially about the Civil Rights Movement.

Tons of historic architecture can also be found, blending beautifully with the Schuylkill River.

One of the climaxes seeing Fairmount Water Works is the historic dam that’s a haven for photographers.

A gazebo at Fairmount Water Works
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Visit the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

Located in the trendy area of Poplar, Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site is a great addition for literature enthusiasts.

This place is the iconic novelist’s former home, and has now been converted into a museum.

There are guided tours here that will take you to the life and career of Edgar Allan Poe, along with various exhibits inside.

If you’re not a big fan, you could simply roam on your own and see the remnants of the past inside.

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site is a neat museum, and its location in Poplar means you get to explore the trendy and artsy neighborhood at the same time.

Immerse in History and Art at Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exterior of Philadelphia Museum of Art
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Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the most popular attractions in the county, found in Philly’s Fairmount area.

It’s a huge art museum that houses a ton of pieces that go as far back as centuries ago.

One of the leading styles here is impressionism, but there are a lot more beyond that.

Philadelphia Museum of Art also has a beautiful facade with gorgeous interiors.

So, whether you’re into art or not, this is such a beautiful landmark in Philly that you can’t afford to miss out on it, especially since it’s free at certain times of the week.

Interior of Philadelphia Museum of Art
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Check Out the Animals at Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion

Interior of Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion
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Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion is a haven for insect and critter lovers.

It’s home to a ton of butterflies and other various bugs that you can see up close in its intricate gardens.

The place also has some creepy crawlies like scorpions and tarantulas.

Beyond the insects, Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion also has cool animals like armadillos and iguanas.

Great for kids and adults, you can find this in the neighborhood of Holmesburg in the northeastern area of Philadelphia.

Final Thoughts

Philadelphia is without question one of the top tourist destinations in America, brimming with significant history that’s translated into a myriad of museums.

It’s teeming with all sorts of personality as well because of the consolidation of its townships and districts—each area has something unique to offer.

Whether you’re here to appreciate art, learn history and science, or get entertained, Philly has it all.

The City of Brotherly Love can take a whole month to explore—let this list of the best things to do in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania be your ultimate guide!

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