Hey there! If you’re based in Philadelphia and looking to shake up your routine, I’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll be exploring some fantastic day trip options that are just a stone’s throw away from the city. Whether you’re in the mood for outdoor adventures, historical explorations, or simply want to take a breather in a charming town, these trips have something for everyone. So buckle up and get ready for some exciting options that will surely add a touch of adventure to your weekends. Sure! If you’re looking for day trips from Philadelphia, you’re in luck. The city and its surrounding areas offer a wide range of attractions and activities that are perfect for a day of exploration. From historic landmarks to charming neighborhoods, iconic museums to scenic riverfronts, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, grab your friends and family, pack a picnic, and get ready to embark on a memorable adventure.
Explore Historic Philadelphia
Independence National Historical Park
Start your day trip with a visit to Independence National Historical Park, located in the heart of Philadelphia. This historic park is home to many significant sites, including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Take a guided tour to learn about the birthplace of the United States and explore the exhibits that bring history to life. Don’t forget to soak in the atmosphere as you walk in the footsteps of our founding fathers.
Liberty Bell Center
Right next to Independence Hall, you’ll find the Liberty Bell Center. This iconic symbol of American independence is a must-see for any history enthusiast. Marvel at the crack in the bell and listen to the stories of its significance in American history. You’ll be inspired by the spirit of freedom that resonates within these walls.
National Constitution Center
Continue your exploration of American history at the National Constitution Center. This interactive museum offers a deep dive into the United States Constitution and its impact on our nation. From multimedia presentations to engaging exhibits, you’ll gain a newfound appreciation for the document that shaped our democracy. Don’t miss the chance to stand in the presence of life-size statues of the Constitution’s signers.
Betsy Ross House
For a glimpse into the life of a revolutionary woman, head to the Betsy Ross House. Known as the birthplace of the American flag, this historic landmark allows visitors to step back in time and learn about Betsy Ross and her contributions to American history. Take a tour of the house, admire the artifacts, and even meet Betsy Ross herself, portrayed by knowledgeable reenactors.
Discover Charming Neighborhoods
Old City District
Located just east of Independence National Historical Park, Old City District is a charming neighborhood filled with cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and a vibrant arts scene. Browse the boutiques, art galleries, and unique shops that line the streets. Grab a bite to eat at one of the many trendy restaurants or enjoy a drink at a local brewery or pub. With its eclectic atmosphere and rich history, Old City District is a hidden gem waiting to be explored.
For a taste of the upscale side of Philadelphia, head to Rittenhouse Square. This beautiful park is surrounded by luxurious high-rise buildings, boutique shops, and fine dining establishments. Take a leisurely stroll around the park, admire the stunning architecture, and people-watch as locals and visitors alike enjoy the vibrant atmosphere. Rittenhouse Square is the perfect place to soak up the sophisticated charm of Philadelphia.
If you’re looking for something a little more eclectic and quirky, South Street is the neighborhood to visit. Known for its bohemian vibe and unique shops, this lively area offers a vibrant mix of restaurants, bars, and live music venues. Indulge in some retail therapy as you explore the independent boutiques and vintage shops. Don’t forget to grab a famous Philly cheesesteak from one of the local eateries before you leave.
Nestled along the banks of the Schuylkill River, Manayunk is a charming neighborhood that seamlessly blends historical charm with a vibrant modern atmosphere. Explore the Main Street area, lined with trendy boutiques, yoga studios, and art galleries. Take a stroll along the canal towpath for breathtaking views of the river and surrounding nature. With its unique blend of urban sophistication and small-town charm, Manayunk is a day trip destination you won’t want to miss.
Visit Iconic Museums
Philadelphia Museum of Art
If you’re an art enthusiast, a visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a must. This world-renowned museum is home to an extensive collection spanning thousands of years and various artistic styles. From ancient artifacts to contemporary masterpieces, you’ll be captivated by the diverse range of exhibitions. Don’t forget to run up the steps, just like Rocky Balboa, for an iconic photo op overlooking the city skyline.
For an art experience unlike any other, head to the Barnes Foundation. This unique museum showcases the extensive art collection of Dr. Albert C. Barnes, featuring works by renowned artists such as Renoir, Cézanne, and Matisse. The innovative display method, known as the “salon-style hanging,” allows visitors to appreciate the interplay of colors and themes. Prepare to be inspired and moved by the incredible artworks on display.
The Franklin Institute
If science and innovation spark your interest, a visit to The Franklin Institute is a must. This interactive science museum offers hands-on exhibits that educate and entertain visitors of all ages. From exploring the human body in the Giant Heart exhibit to marveling at the wonders of space in the Fels Planetarium, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Don’t miss the chance to walk through a giant model of the human brain in the Your Brain exhibit.
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
For a deeper dive into the world of fine arts, make sure to include the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in your day trip itinerary. This museum and art school houses an extensive collection of American art, including works by local Philadelphia artists and renowned figures such as Thomas Eakins and Mary Cassatt. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of American art and gain a deeper appreciation for its influence on the world stage.
Explore the Outdoors
Valley Forge National Historical Park
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in nature at Valley Forge National Historical Park. This historic site played a crucial role in the American Revolutionary War as the winter encampment of the Continental Army. Explore the trails that wind through the picturesque landscape, visit the reconstructed huts, and learn about the hardships endured by the soldiers. With its natural beauty and historical significance, Valley Forge is a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
For a truly enchanting outdoor experience, head to Longwood Gardens. This sprawling botanical garden covers over 1,000 acres and features a stunning array of flowers, trees, and landscapes. Explore the various themed gardens, including the famous Longwood Conservatory, known for its breathtaking displays of orchids and exotic plants. With its tranquil atmosphere and beautiful scenery, Longwood Gardens offers a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Wissahickon Valley Park
Nature lovers will want to make a stop at Wissahickon Valley Park. Located just a short drive from the city, this urban oasis offers miles of hiking and biking trails that wind through a beautiful wooded valley. Follow the meandering Wissahickon Creek and discover hidden waterfalls and historic landmarks along the way. Immerse yourself in the serenity of nature as you escape from the noise of the city.
For a peaceful retreat into nature, visit Tyler Arboretum. Spanning over 600 acres, this living museum boasts an impressive collection of trees, plants, and flowers from around the world. Take a leisurely stroll through the various gardens and woodland trails, and keep an eye out for the captivating sculptures hidden among the foliage. With its serene atmosphere and diverse plant life, Tyler Arboretum is a perfect destination for nature lovers and garden enthusiasts.
Experience Amusement and Theme Parks
For a day of family fun, head to Sesame Place. Located just outside of Philadelphia, this theme park is based on the beloved Sesame Street characters. From exhilarating rides to interactive shows, there’s something for kids of all ages to enjoy. Meet Elmo, Big Bird, and the gang, and make magical memories that will last a lifetime.
Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom
For a thrilling day of roller coasters and water slides, visit Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom. This amusement and water park offers a wide range of attractions and entertainment options for all ages. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker looking for adrenaline-pumping rides or prefer to lounge by the pool, Dorney Park has you covered. Don’t forget to try the famous funnel cake for a sweet treat before you leave.
Indulge your sweet tooth with a day trip to Hersheypark. Located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, this amusement park is a chocolate lover’s paradise. With over 70 rides and attractions, including roller coasters, water slides, and live shows, there’s never a dull moment at Hersheypark. Plus, you can’t leave without trying some of the delicious chocolate treats that the town is famous for.
Six Flags Great Adventure
For the ultimate thrill-seekers, Six Flags Great Adventure is the place to be. Located in Jackson, New Jersey, just a short drive from Philadelphia, this massive amusement park offers a wide range of adrenaline-pumping rides and attractions. From towering roller coasters to water rides and live entertainment, there’s something for everyone at Six Flags Great Adventure. Brace yourself for a day of excitement and fun.
Discover Quaint Towns and Countryside
For a charming day trip destination, head to Peddler’s Village in Bucks County. This picturesque village is reminiscent of a bygone era, with its colonial-style buildings, charming shops, and beautiful gardens. Browse the unique stores that offer everything from local crafts to gourmet food. Be sure to visit during one of the many festivals held throughout the year, such as the Strawberry Festival or the Christmas Festival, for an extra special experience.
Nestled along the banks of the Delaware River, New Hope is a quaint town that oozes with charm. Stroll along the main street and explore the unique shops, art galleries, and antique stores. Take a leisurely boat ride on the river or enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many restaurants with outdoor seating. With its relaxed atmosphere and scenic beauty, New Hope is the perfect destination for a leisurely day trip.
Embark on a journey to the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country with a trip to Lancaster County. Experience the simplicity and beauty of the Amish way of life as you explore the rolling countryside, picturesque farms, and charming small towns. Visit the Amish Village for an up-close look at Amish culture and traditions, and don’t forget to indulge in some Pennsylvania Dutch delicacies, such as shoofly pie and chicken pot pie.
For a day trip that combines history, art, and natural beauty, head to the Brandywine Valley. This scenic region is home to the Brandywine River Museum of Art, where you can admire the works of the Wyeth family and other renowned artists. Take a leisurely drive through the countryside, stopping at the many historic sites and gardens that dot the landscape. With its idyllic scenery and rich cultural heritage, the Brandywine Valley is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered.
Explore the Revolutionary War Sites
Washington Crossing Historic Park
Step back in time and relive a pivotal moment in American history at Washington Crossing Historic Park. This site commemorates George Washington’s daring crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas night in 1776, which marked a turning point in the Revolutionary War. Explore the visitor center, watch a reenactment of the crossing, and wander through the tranquil park grounds. Immerse yourself in the stories of bravery and sacrifice that shaped our nation.
Brandywine Battlefield Park
For another glimpse into the Revolutionary War, visit Brandywine Battlefield Park. This historic site marks the location of the Battle of Brandywine, one of the largest and most significant battles of the war. Take a guided tour or explore the park’s trails and monuments on your own. Learn about the strategies employed by General Washington and his troops and gain a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made for the cause of independence.
As mentioned earlier, Valley Forge National Historical Park is not only a beautiful outdoor destination but also an important Revolutionary War site. Visit the encampment where George Washington and his troops endured a harsh winter during the war. Explore the reconstructed huts, visit the Washington’s Headquarters replica, and learn about the challenges faced by the Continental Army. Valley Forge offers a unique opportunity to connect with the past and gain a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices made for our freedom.
Indulge in Culinary Adventures
Philadelphia Food Tour
If you’re a foodie, a Philadelphia food tour is a must-do. Explore the diverse culinary scene of the city as you venture through various neighborhoods and sample the local specialties. From cheesesteaks to soft pretzels and everything in between, you’ll satisfy your taste buds while learning about the history and culture behind these iconic dishes. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert – a famous Philly-style cannoli or a decadent butter cake are not to be missed.
Reading Terminal Market
For a food experience like no other, head to Reading Terminal Market. This bustling food hall is a paradise for food lovers, offering a wide range of cuisines and fresh produce. Explore the aisles filled with vendors selling everything from authentic Amish dishes to international delicacies. Grab a seat at one of the communal tables and enjoy a delicious meal surrounded by the sights and sounds of this vibrant marketplace.
Immerse yourself in the flavors of Italy at the Italian Market in South Philadelphia. This historic market is one of the oldest and largest open-air markets in the United States, offering a wide array of Italian specialties, fresh produce, and gourmet ingredients. Stroll along the vibrant streets, browse the stalls, and let your senses be overwhelmed by the aromas and tastes of authentic Italian cuisine. Don’t forget to grab a fresh cannoli or a slice of pizza to complete your culinary adventure.
Beer and Brewery Tours
If you’re a beer lover, Philadelphia has you covered. Embark on a brewery tour and explore the city’s thriving craft beer scene. Visit local breweries, taste a variety of unique brews, and learn about the brewing process from the experts. Whether you prefer hoppy IPAs, rich stouts, or crisp lagers, you’ll find a beer that suits your palate. Cheers to a day of delicious drinks and unforgettable experiences.
Experience Scenic Riverfronts
Schuylkill River Trail
For a picturesque stroll along the river, head to the Schuylkill River Trail. This multi-use trail offers breathtaking views of the river and the Philadelphia skyline. Walk, jog, bike, or rollerblade along the path and soak in the beauty of the surrounding nature. With various access points and miles of trails to explore, the Schuylkill River Trail is a wonderful way to escape the city and connect with the great outdoors.
Delaware River Waterfront
For a day by the water, visit the Delaware River Waterfront. This vibrant area offers stunning views of the river and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Take a leisurely walk along the promenade, rent a kayak, or hop on a river cruise for a unique perspective of the city. If you’re visiting during the summer months, don’t miss the chance to relax at Spruce Street Harbor Park, an eclectic oasis featuring hammocks, colorful lights, and delicious food vendors.
Cooper River Park
Located in Camden County, New Jersey, just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, Cooper River Park is a hidden gem for nature lovers. This expansive park offers a peaceful retreat with its walking paths, picnic areas, and beautiful lake. Take a leisurely bike ride, go for a jog, or simply relax by the water as you soak in the tranquility of the surroundings. Cooper River Park is the perfect destination for a day of outdoor relaxation and recreation.
For a scenic bike ride or hike, head to the Perkiomen Trail. This 20-mile trail follows the path of the Perkiomen Creek and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Immerse yourself in nature as you explore the woodlands, cross over historic bridges, and discover hidden waterfalls along the way. With its diverse wildlife and serene atmosphere, the Perkiomen Trail is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts.
Explore Unique Attractions
Eastern State Penitentiary
Step into the eerie world of Eastern State Penitentiary, one of the most famous and haunted prisons in the United States. This former prison, now a museum, offers a chilling glimpse into the harsh realities of life behind bars in the 19th and 20th centuries. Take a self-guided audio tour and explore the cellblocks, exercise yards, and cellblocks that housed famous inmates such as Al Capone. Whether you’re a history buff or a lover of the paranormal, Eastern State Penitentiary is a must-visit attraction in Philadelphia.
Please Touch Museum
For a day of fun and learning for the little ones, visit the Please Touch Museum. Located in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, this hands-on children’s museum offers interactive exhibits designed to stimulate curiosity and creativity. From exploring the whimsical Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland exhibit to getting hands-on with science experiments in the City Capers section, children will have a blast as they learn and play.
Blue Cross RiverRink
If you’re visiting Philadelphia during the winter months, make sure to check out Blue Cross RiverRink. Located on the Delaware River waterfront, this seasonal ice skating rink offers a picturesque setting for a day of winter fun. Lace up your skates and glide across the ice as you take in the stunning views of the river and the city skyline. Warm up with a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy the festive atmosphere.
Philadelphia Magic Gardens
Immerse yourself in the whimsical world of mosaics at the Philadelphia Magic Gardens. Created by artist Isaiah Zagar, this unique art installation covers an entire city block and features intricate mosaics, sculptures, and found objects. Explore the indoor galleries and the outdoor sculpture garden, and be inspired by Zagar’s vibrant and expressive artwork. The Philadelphia Magic Gardens is a true testament to the power of art to transform spaces and create a sense of wonder.
With so many attractions and activities to choose from, there’s no shortage of day trips from Philadelphia that are bound to leave you with unforgettable memories. From exploring the city’s rich history to indulging in culinary delights and immersing yourself in nature, each destination offers a unique experience that will satisfy your curiosity and feed your adventurous spirit. So, pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to embark on an incredible journey through the history, culture, and natural beauty of Philadelphia and its surrounding areas.