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When I planned our long weekend in Philadelphia, I really didn’t take the time of year into consideration. I typically don’t unless there’s something specific to see at a certain time. Or if it’s hot. Because if there’s a choice to visit somewhere other than when the temps are sky-high…then, yes, please. So, all that to say, I planned our trip in April to celebrate our anniversary. Turns out, the best time to visit Philadelphia happens to be in the spring!
Reasons Spring Is The Best Time To Visit Philadelphia
1. Mild Climate
So, I know an obvious reason is the milder temps. It’s warming up from those harsh winters that Philadelphia can have, but still cool enough before the hot summers hit.
2. Not Overcrowded…yet
It’s also between spring break and the end of the school year. So even though there will still be a good number of visitors, it’s still less than summer, spring break, or any other break in the school year.
Wait, what?? Tulips?? What tulips? There’s no tulip festival in Philly.!
I know this reason came out of left field. I was surprised when I noticed the tulips. And honestly, I only saw a few beds of them here and there. But these tulips captured my attention.
And they were enough for me, at that moment, to think to myself, “I’m so glad I came this month!”
I all but climbed into the tulips beds! Aren’t they beautiful?? 😍
I saw tulips planted sporadically around the city, but these were the backdrop to the Liberty Bell (which you will see in photos later on below). Anytime I think of my time in Philadelphia, I think of these tulips! No, seriously…I really do!
So, even though an unconventional reason as well as an opinionated one, it is why I think spring is the best time to visit Philadelphia!
Philadelphia Resources & Recommendations
- Ritz Carlton Philadelphia– Our hotel, located right in the city center
- TripAdvisor– Read hotel reviews
- Allianz Travel Insurance– Protect yourself and your trip-get a free quote!
- Skyscanner – Compare the best flight deals | best car rental deals
- Supershuttle – Book airport transfers or rides around town. I love their service and they’re super reliable!
A Springtime Itinerary
If you only have a long weekend, this itinerary is for you. Below are 25 things we were able to do from mid-day on a Friday to around mid-day on a Monday.
I decided to start with the obvious. The most popular reason for visiting Philly is its history. It’s no secret it pretty much has this market cornered in the US!
1. Liberty Bell
Of course, you have to see the Liberty Bell! Notice those tulips dancing in the background! 😉
TIP: Entry is free, but get there before it opens to avoid the long lines.
Location: Corner of North 6th Street and Market Street (across from Independence Hall), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
2. Independence Hall
After the Liberty Bell, go across the street to Independence Hall, the birthplace of America, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the Constitution was drafted and signed.
TIP: Admission is via tour only. Certain times of the year require dated timed tickets. Tickets are free if you get them in person at the visitor’s center, but you risk unavailability. I recommend reserving yours ahead of time for $1.50 processing fee (per ticket) which is what I did. You can find out all information here.
Location: 520 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
3. Carpenter’s Hall
Carpenter’s Hall might be a smaller building, but it has a powerful history as it hosted the First Continental Congress in 1774 and was home to the First and Second Banks of the United States!
TIP: Free to enter. I didn’t encounter any lines, but the area you can explore is small so if there is a school or tour group, I could see it getting a little crowded.
Location: 320 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
4. Signer Statue
The Signer Statue was inspired by George Clymer, a Philadelphia statesman, who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.
As it reads on the plaque, the statue “commemorates the courage of those who altered their lives, and ours, by affixing their names to these documents.”
TIP: Free to walk by and see anytime.
Location: In the Signer’s Garden at the corner of 5th and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
5. American Revolution Museum
While the American Revolution Museum’s building itself might only be a year old (and was only 10 days old when I took this photo), it contains a most important part of American history.
I am proud to say that I am a Daughter of the American Revolution!
TIP: General Tickets are good for two days. Anytime Tickets allow immediate entry and do not tie you to a specific time. For all ticket options click here.
Location: 101 South Third Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
6. Benjamin Franklin’s Grave
Benjamin Franklin’s Grave is located in Christ Church Burial ground. Normally, you can see it from the road without having to enter, but when I was there, the site was undergoing restoration for a significant crack in its marker.
The restoration has been completed and it can now be seen from the road where visitors throw a penny onto the grave as an homage to “a penny saved is a penny earned”.
TIP: For a small fee of $3 and $8, self-guided or guided tours can be taken. Click here for more information.
Location: Christ Church Burial Ground at the intersection of 5th and Arch Streets in Old City Philadelphia.
Shopping, Food & Fun
After the serious history tour, take a break and enjoy the lighter side of Philly!
1. Reading Terminal Market
Duck into Reading Terminal Market, one of the nation’s largest, oldest public markets for eclectic shopping and fabulous eats! For more food options, here are 5 unique places I had incredible eats in Philadelphia!
2. Anthropologie at Rittenhouse Square
Strange, I know…but hear me out!
I read that one Anthropologie, located in the city center’s most expensive and exclusive neighborhood of Rittenhouse Square, was different and it really was!
I went in search of this dome and it definitely was beautiful!
Then, I noticed the spiral staircase and decided to climb to the top. This was my view when looking down! So intriguing!
And yes, I was the only one taking pictures while everyone else around me was shopping. However, no employee or shopper even looked twice at me taking photos which leads me to believe this is a common occurrence.
TIP: This makes a great rainy day activity OR if it’s nice outside, go across the street afterwards and walk through Rittenhouse Square Park!
Location: 1801 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103
3. The Rocky Steps and Statue
Yes, those steps. The 72 steps leading up to the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art made famous by Rocky. About that…
This is what blocked me from seeing both the steps and the statue. They were blocked for a month which I know really upset bigtime Rocky fans visiting during that timeframe.
No worries, we had a tradeoff that more than made up for it. We had been given 15th-row seats in the theater to watch the draft! Score!
TIP: Normally you can walk up these steps, take photos of the view from the top as well as with the statue anytime.
Location: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway at Kelly Drive, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19130
There are lots of things to do around the water since Philadelphia sits right on the Delaware River.
1. Penn’s Landing
Walk around Penn’s Landing. It got its name because this is where William Penn landed in Philadelphia in 1682!
Walk the water’s edge and look at the old warships
such as the Cruiser Olympia and the Submarine Becuna, both part of the Independence Seaport Museum.
TIP: Spend a lazy morning or afternoon just wandering around. There’s so much to do and see. Also a great place for a run or to walk the dog!
Location: 101 North Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
2. Race Street Pier
Walk over to Race Street Pier where you can walk out onto the river,
relax on the benches, run, do yoga, or work on your tan!
TIP: Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the views of the water and the Ben Franklin Bridge!
Location: Race Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
3. Ben Franklin Bridge
Easily, one of my favorite things about Philly, the Ben Franklin Bridge connects Philadelphia with Camden, New Jersey.
It is a footbridge so definitely walk across it and don’t forget to look back at the city when you do!
Interstate views are pretty cool too!
But my absolute favorite view of the Ben Franklin Bridge is at night! This was taken from the Race Street Pier area.
TIP: If you don’t want to walk the Bridge, drive over to Camden, NJ and back to get the views. Also, if you want to walk across it at night or take the night photo from Race Street Pier, don’t go alone.
Location: To WALK: Access the South Walkway Entrance from Race Street and North 5th Street. You have to walk a little ways on a cobblestone path and then you will see the Bridge entrance. To DRIVE: Access the Bridge (I-676) from either Race and North 6th Streets or Race and North 5th Streets.
You might also like: 5 UNIQUE RESTAURANTS IN PHILADELPHIA
The Oldest Firsts
For all the “oldests” and “the firsts” in town!
1. Elfreth’s Alley
Dating back to 1702, Elfreth’s Alley is considered the nation’s oldest residential street. There are currently 32 Federal and Georgian residences.
TIP: Keep in mind these are privately owned residences so don’t go knocking on the doors wanting to see inside. 😉 There’s a Museum located on the Alley if you’re curious.
Location: 124-126 Elfreth’s Alley, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19106
2. Betsy Ross House
Even though historians aren’t entirely sure about the validity, Betsy Ross is widely known as the maker of the first American flag
You can tour her home, believed to be where she lived when she sewed the first flag.
TIP: If you don’t have a lot of time, do the self-guided tour. If you have longer, try the audio tour. Both are minimal cost at $5-$7 and all information can be found here.
Location: 239 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
3. B. Free Franklin Post Office
Considered the first Post Office in the United States, the B. Free Franklin Post Office is the only active post office that doesn’t fly the American flag. This is because when it was established in 1775, the United States wasn’t yet a nation.
Ben Franklin was the first Postmaster General and he always signed his envelopes “B. Free Franklin” as a protest to British rule. This “postmark” is still used today to cancel stamps!
TIP: Bring your own postcards or buy some there and mail them back to yourself with this unique postmark! Afterwards, visit the Ben Franklin Museum in the courtyard directly behind the post office.
Location: 316 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
The Sites and The Sights
All about the views and the architecture of Philadelphia!
1. City Hall
High on the list for both architecture and views is City Hall. Located in the middle of the city center, it is the seat of the government of Philadelphia.
The largest municipal building in the United States was decorated for the NFL Draft which was in town the weekend we visited!
My favorite part by far is the tower!
TIP: Take the City Hall Tower Tour and see Philly from 548 feet up!
Location: 1401 John F Kennedy Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
2. Masonic Temple
One of the coolest buildings for architecture in Philly is the Masonic Temple. The Temple serves as the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, Free and Accepted Masons.
TIP: Go right before or after City Hall since it’s located right across the street!
Location: 1 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
3. One Liberty Observation Deck
Don’t leave One Liberty Observation Deck off your list.
See Philly From The Top. The 360-degree views 883 feet up on the 57th floor are arguably the most spectacular!
TIP: Go mid-to-late afternoon (depending on the season) to see the views during the daytime and then stay to watch the sunset! Ticket information can be found here.
Location: 1650 Market Street #5700, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103
The friendly and welcoming side of the City of Brotherly Love!
1. Chinese Friendship Gate
The Chinese Friendship Gate or Arch is 40 feet tall and marks the entrance to Philly’s Chinatown.
TIP: Go to get some fantastic cuisine-Thai, Chinese, Korean, you name it!
Location: Arch Street and North 10th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
2. AMOR Sculpture
So, there is a LOVE sign, but it had temporarily been removed for construction when we were there. However, this AMOR sculpture was in plain view. I was ecstatic to find this since I didn’t know it was there before arriving in Philly.
Me encanta este signo! If you don’t already know from reading my blog, Spanish is my second language and I’m working on a top bucket list item of mine-becoming fluent. I’m getting there! 🙌
TIP: No big tips here, just go see it!
Location: 210 North 18th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103
3. American Jewish History Museum
Founded in 1976, America’s bicentennial year, I love the American Jewish History Museum‘s sign welcoming visitors in many different languages! I just noticed when writing this post that the first language is Spanish…Bienvenidos!
TIP: It’s located very close to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Also, they are closed on Mondays (except for these).
Location: 101 South Independence Mall E, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
Unique & Quirky
1. Magic Gardens
If you like color…or art…or all things eclectic…then Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, created by Isaiah Zagar, is where you want to be!
I was fascinated by all the different objects I saw…
objects when put together made beautiful walls of endless mazes which piqued my interest and kept my camera quite busy!
TIP: Get tickets at least 1-2 days in advance and earlier if you are wanting a certain time or it’s peak season. For a less crowded time, go first thing when they open or get one of the last time slots of the day. For ticket information, click here.
Location: 1020 South Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19147
2. Eastern State Penitentiary
I could’ve listed the Eastern State Penitentiary under historical, architecture or here in unique and quirky. Quirky won out.
There are rumors that the prison, once the world’s most famous and most expensive, is haunted. While I’m not sure either way on that one, I do know that it is eerie yet one of the coolest places I’ve ever been!
TIP: We went on a Sunday morning in April and didn’t have large crowds. Also, we walked from the city center and then Ubered back to save time. Given the uphill walk to the prison, I’d recommend doing that walk in reverse as it’s pretty, but easier going downhill!
Location: 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19130
3. Atlas of Tomorrow
Take a turn at the Atlas of Tomorrow: A Device for Philosophical Reflection.
It’s an interactive mural that invites visitors to think of a question in their life to which they are seeking answers and then spin the dial to see which of the 64 stories on the wall it directs you to for clarity.
TIP: Visit this before or after you go to the Magic Gardens as they are located close to each other.
Location: 533 South Juniper Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19147
4. Macy’s Wanamaker Organ
Would you believe that the largest, fully functioning pipe organ in the world is located in Macy’s in Philadelphia??
Well, believe it because it’s true! Head into Macy’s to hear the beautiful sounds of the Wanamaker Organ. If you run into this Eagle, you’re in the right spot!
TIP: Make sure to view the daily playing schedule before you visit!
Location: Enter at 1300 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107. The Organ is located in the women’s shoe department. Meet at the Eagle!
Now you know when the best time to visit Philadelphia is, where to go, and how much time it takes!
Here’s a little recap…
And here’s a peek at Philly through my Instagram Stories!
Have you been to Philadelphia? Have anything to add to my list or know a time equally as good to go? Would love to hear your ideas! And if you use this itinerary, be sure to let me know how it goes!
‘Til next time…