Philadelphia on a Budget
Find cheap things to do in Philadelphia alongside other must-see attractions
Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly of Love, is filled with historic landmarks like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. But it also has cool, trendy hot spots where locals and tourists mingle. Before you take off for Philadelphia, review our travel guide below to find popular attractions and cheap things to do in Philadelphia. Then, create a budget for your Philadelphia trip and open a checking account online to set aside your vacation funds. You may also want to download our mobile banking app to manage your finances while you travel.
Top 5 free things to do in Philadelphia
From walking where our forefathers walked to taking in some modern art, we've compiled a list of the top five free things to do in Philadelphia. Whether you're on a budget or just trying to save a little so you can spend more on other activities, these are some of the don't-miss spots for your Philly trip - and they won't cost you a thing!
- Liberty Bell, Independence Hall & Carpenters' Hall. The Liberty Bell is located on Market Street between 5th and 6th streets. It's open year round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Learn about its origins and snap a photo with the international icon of freedom. Across the street from the Liberty Bell is Independence Hall, where National Park Rangers lead guided tours to see George Washington's 'rising sun' chair in the Assembly room as it was arranged during the Constitutional Convention. Pick up free tickets at the Independence Visitor Center early on the day of your visit. Then, head around the block to Carpenters' Hall, which hosted the First Continental Congress in 1774 and was also home to Franklin's Library Company, The American Philosophical Society, and the First and Second Banks of the United States.
- The United States Mint. The Coinage Act of 1792 was championed by Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, and called for a national currency and the construction of the U.S. Mint, the first federal building built under the new constitution. You can tour the original Mint and learn about its history and the current state of coin manufacturing.
- Edgar Allan Poe's House. Best known for the poem, 'The Raven,' Poe is an iconic American writer and poet. He lived in a red brick home in Philadelphia with his wife Virginia and his mother-in-law, Maria Clemm, for one year. It was during this time he wrote the 'The Black Cat.' Tour the cellar and rooms of his three-story home, see exhibits on Poe, and watch an informative eight-minute short film.
- Franklin Square. This area was originally laid out by William Penn but has been renovated throughout the years. Visit Franklin Square during the winter holidays and you'll be treated to Franklin Square's Electrical Spectacle: A Holiday Light Show, which features a 10-foot-tall kite made of lights. The 30-minute show runs (weather permitting) from November 14 to December 31, between 4:30 and 8 p.m. The show is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas day.
- Institute of Contemporary Art & Free Sundays at the Barnes Foundation. Take a self-guided tour of the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at the University of Pennsylvania. Founded in 1963 by Holmes Perkins, Dean of the School of Architecture, ICA is a non-collecting museum, showcasing under-recognized artists to the world. The Barnes Foundation was established by Albert C. Barnes in 1922 with the mission of promoting the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the first Sunday of the month, visitors enjoy family entertainment and informative seminars.
Don't miss these Philadelphia attractions
You won't always be able to find cheap activities in Philadelphia, but many of the must-see attractions are worth the price. After you've visited some of the free exhibits and attractions, you can take the funds you've saved and indulge your inner tourist with the activities below:
- Citizens Bank Park. Spend the day at Citizens Bank Park, a 43,651-seat baseball park, and see the Phillies. The ball park is part of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex and referred to by locals as 'The Bank' or 'CBP.'
- Philadelphia Museum of Art. One of the largest in the U.S., the art museum houses over 227,000 objects, including American and European paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures and more. If you visit on the first Sunday of the month or any Wednesday after 5 p.m., you can pay what you feel is appropriate for admission.
- Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's Steaks. 'Whiz wit' or 'witout'? Both establishments have become a tradition in Philadelphia, though Pat's lays claim to being the first. Try steak sandwiches from both Pat's and Geno's, and decide which cheesesteak you like the best.
- Longwood Gardens. Known for its legacy, innovation, and stewardship, Longwood Gardens is an expression of what founder Pierre S. du Pont found inspiring. Visit the gardens and you'll see intricate fountain systems, brilliant architecture, and vibrant flower beds. A new discovery awaits you at every turn.
- National Constitution Center. The purpose of the National Constitution Center is to provide information about the United States Constitution and increase awareness and understanding among the American people. Check out the various exhibits, original documents, seminars, theatrical performances, digital material, and more. Learn more about America's constitution and history with a visit to the National Constitution Center.
Open a checking account online with Citizens Bank before you travel to Philadelphia
While there are plenty of cheap or free things to do in Philadelphia, it's also important to set aside travel funds for some of the city's most popular attractions that cost a bit more - including museums and restaurants. To make traveling around Philadelphia easier, open a Citizens Bank One Deposit Checking account online. Make one deposit per month and the monthly maintenance fee is waived. Plus, after your opening deposit, no minimum balance is required. Then, when you've set aside the funds you need for your trip, download our mobile banking app to keep track of your finances while you travel to Philadelphia. You can locate ATMs, check your daily balance, pay bills on the go and transfer funds as needed so you can enjoy the city without worrying about your money.