Despite Philadelphia’s bustling urban landscape, there are a variety of relaxing, contemplative ways to enjoy a day in the nation’s first capital. Philly’s diversity and numerous, characteristic suburbs offer residents and visitors a day (or a lifetime) of enjoyment. The activities below are some chill, educational ways to relax in the City of Brotherly Love.
Go on a tour
Philadelphia is an old city, and one of the most historically charged in the nation. With many sites linked to revolution era America, there are plenty of tours worth taking. The following are a few of the most popular tours in Philadelphia.
- Founding Footsteps
Photo courtesy of Founding Footsteps’ website
With several tours available (depending on the season, the historical specialization, and the amount of time you have to spend) Founding Footsteps is a fun way to see Philadelphia and learn about its role in American history. The Philly Phables Walking Tour features a storytelling guide covering famous historic moments, while the BYOB Tour features a trolley ride with a BYOB attitude as you travel to various attractions in the city.
- Philadelphia Urban Adventures
This tour offered by Philadelphia Urban Adventures is designed to introduce you to more than the city’s past. Although history is a big part of Philadelphia’s character, this tour focuses more on the city’s recent past, as well as its vibrant present. This is a great tour for sightseeing, asking questions, and segueing into your next fun activity in the city.
Visit a park
There are many well-shaded parks to visit around Philadelphia and its suburbs, and each has activities for residents of all ages to enjoy.
- Rittenhouse Square
Named after well-known clockmaker and astronomer David Rittenhouse, this urban park is among the largest in the city. Rittenhouse Square features walkways, benches, and scenic green spaces that are perfect for a wide range of activities, such as taking a walk, painting, reading, or picnicking with friends. The park also has a beautiful plaza with a reflecting pool, making it the perfect place to pause and relax during your adventures around town.
Photo courtesy of VisitPhilly.com
- Fairmount Park
Fairmount Park is a green escape in the middle of downtown Philadelphia. With more than 2,000 acres of green space, this park is a great place to spend a day out in nature. Fairmount Park includes several walking trails that traverse the landscape, and include rolling hills, deciduous woods, and a tranquil waterfront. Fairmount Park sits on both sides of the Schuylkill River and is easily accessible from each corner of Philadelphia.
- Franklin Square
At the north end of the Independence National Historical Park, Franklin Square is another city park worth visiting. With a beautiful fountain at its center, this park includes a playground, a carousel, a mini-golf course, and a small burger restaurant.
- Wissahickon Valley Park
Another of the Philadelphia area’s more expansive parks, Wissahickon Valley Park, encompasses 2,042 acres in Philly’s northwest. The park boasts over 50 miles of trails for walking and hiking, as well as scenic views of Wissahickon Creek and the Schuylkill River. Other popular activities at Wissahickon Valley Park include horseback riding, fishing, birdwatching, and picnicking.
Attend a live performance
Being a culturally vibrant city throughout American history, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Philadelphia is home to great art. The city plays host to live productions throughout the year, and offers urban artistry across many mediums. No matter if you’re a music lover, a theatergoer, or a dance enthusiast, Philadelphia has an abundance of entertainment and art to share.
- Arden Theatre Company
Just one of the many live theaters in the Philadelphia area, Arden Theatre Company offers both theatrical and educational productions, as well as programs for theatergoers, students, and artists. The Company operates three theaters throughout Philadelphia. Check out their website for upcoming events and shows.
- Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Also known as the Kimmel Cultural Campus, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is an expansive performing arts venue located along the “Avenue of the Arts” in Center City, Philadelphia. The Kimmel Cultural Campus hosts events in several disciplines, including dance, live theater, opera, and live music across genres. If you’re looking for a relaxing night out, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is one of the best places to start.
Explore for yourself
Philadelphia has a long list of civic attractions to explore on your own time. Rather than go on a tour, you can explore this walkable city on your own, and at your own pace. The following are some popular choices among both tourists and residents.
- Philadelphia Museum of Art
If you’re interested in art, and a tranquil, cool environment during the summer months, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is the place for you. Completed in 1928, the museum now houses over 240,000 works of art from America, Asia, and Europe. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is truly one of the most spectacular collections in the U.S., and visitors can see groundbreaking art in a variety of mediums—including sculpture, painting, photography, and drawings.
- Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell
American history buffs should take a relaxing walk to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. With strong historic significance, the Liberty Bell now sits within a national shrine across the street from Independence Hall, the location at which both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States were created.
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