Philadelphia is a vibrant city filled with endless opportunities for family fun. From exploring the historic sites to immersing yourselves in the local culture, the city offers a plethora of activities that cater to all ages. Whether you want to visit the famous Philadelphia Zoo, take a stroll through Fairmount Park, or indulge in a classic Philly cheesesteak, this article will guide you through some of the best family-friendly activities in the City of Brotherly Love. Philadelphia is a vibrant city with plenty of family-friendly activities to enjoy. Whether you’re interested in exploring museums, parks, historic sites, amusement and entertainment options, sports and recreation, educational centers, family-friendly restaurants, seasonal events, or the performing arts, Philadelphia has something for everyone. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top attractions in each category.
1.1 Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a must-visit for art enthusiasts and families alike. Its extensive collection includes works from around the world, spanning various periods and styles. Be sure to snap a photo on the iconic steps made famous by the movie “Rocky”!
1.2 Franklin Institute
The Franklin Institute is an exciting museum that combines science, technology, and history. It features interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and even a planetarium. Kids will love exploring the different exhibits and learning through play.
1.3 Please Touch Museum
The Please Touch Museum is a paradise for children aged 1-7. This interactive museum encourages hands-on learning and imaginative play. From the Alice in Wonderland exhibit to the water play area, there’s no shortage of fun-filled activities for the little ones.
1.4 Academy of Natural Sciences
If your family has a love for all things nature and science, the Academy of Natural Sciences is the perfect place to explore. Discover dinosaur fossils, learn about ecosystems, and get up close with live animals. The museum offers a range of exhibits and educational programs for all ages.
1.5 Mütter Museum
For those seeking something a little different, the Mütter Museum is a one-of-a-kind experience. This medical museum showcases an intriguing collection of anatomical specimens, medical oddities, and historical artifacts. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it offers a unique educational experience for older kids and adults.
2. Parks and Outdoor Spaces
2.1 Fairmount Park
Fairmount Park is a sprawling green oasis in the heart of Philadelphia. Spanning over 2,000 acres, it’s one of the largest urban park systems in the country. Take a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, or rent bikes to explore the park’s scenic trails and picturesque landscapes.
2.2 Franklin Square
Franklin Square is a charming park located in the Historic District. Kids will love the whimsical carousel, while adults can enjoy a round of mini-golf or a picnic. The square also hosts various events throughout the year, including a popular holiday light show during the winter months.
2.3 Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse
Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse is a haven for children to unleash their energy and imagination. With a massive playground, multiple play areas, and a 16,000 square foot playhouse, there’s something for kids of all ages and abilities.
2.4 Morris Arboretum
If you’re looking for a tranquil outdoor escape, Morris Arboretum is the place to be. This 92-acre botanical garden is filled with scenic paths, lush gardens, and unique plant collections. The Tree Adventure exhibit, featuring a giant walk-in bird’s nest, is particularly popular with families.
2.5 Philadelphia Zoo
The Philadelphia Zoo is the oldest zoo in the United States and offers a fantastic opportunity for families to get up close with a wide variety of animals. From big cats to primates and rare species, the zoo is dedicated to conservation and education. Don’t miss the chance to feed the giraffes or take a ride on the zoo’s carousel.
3. Historic Sites
3.1 Liberty Bell Center
No visit to Philadelphia is complete without a visit to the Liberty Bell Center. Learn about the iconic bell’s significance in American history and see firsthand this powerful symbol of freedom and independence.
3.2 Independence National Historical Park
Located in the heart of Philadelphia, Independence National Historical Park showcases some of the most important sites in American history, including Independence Hall and the Benjamin Franklin Museum. Take a guided tour or explore the park on your own to immerse yourself in the birthplace of American democracy.
3.3 Eastern State Penitentiary
For a unique historical experience, visit Eastern State Penitentiary. This eerie former prison offers guided tours that provide insight into the life of inmates during the 19th and 20th centuries. Explore the crumbling cellblocks and learn about the prison’s notorious inhabitants, including famous gangster Al Capone.
3.4 Betsy Ross House
Step back in time at the Betsy Ross House, the purported birthplace of the American flag. Take a guided tour and learn about the life of Betsy Ross, an influential figure in American history, and see the room where the first flag may have been sewn.
3.5 Elfreth’s Alley
Elfreth’s Alley is the oldest residential street in the United States and offers a glimpse into Philadelphia’s colonial past. Take a stroll down this cobblestone street, lined with beautifully preserved historic homes, and imagine life in the 18th century.
4. Amusement and Entertainment
4.1 Sesame Place
Families with young children will delight in a visit to Sesame Place. This theme park is entirely based on the beloved children’s show “Sesame Street” and offers a range of rides, live shows, and character meet and greets. It’s a magical place where kids can meet Elmo, Big Bird, and all their favorite Sesame Street characters.
4.2 Philadelphia Magic Gardens
The Philadelphia Magic Gardens is an immersive art installation created by mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar. Explore the captivating outdoor exhibit, featuring intricate mosaics, sculptures, and hidden surprises around every corner. Kids will love the vibrant and whimsical atmosphere of this hidden gem.
4.3 Dave & Buster’s
For a fun-filled day of games and entertainment, head to Dave & Buster’s. This entertainment complex offers a wide range of arcade games, virtual reality experiences, and delicious food. It’s the perfect place for some friendly competition and family bonding.
4.4 Franklin Square Carousel
In addition to its mini-golf course, Franklin Square is also home to a beautiful carousel. Hop on a colorful horse and take a ride on this classic attraction that brings joy to the young and young at heart. It’s a picture-perfect moment waiting to happen.
4.5 Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion
Discover the fascinating world of insects and butterflies at the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion. Get up close with thousands of exotic bugs, explore interactive exhibits, and even hold a tarantula if you dare. This unique attraction offers a fun and educational experience for the whole family.
5. Sports and Recreation
5.1 Philadelphia Phillies
Catch a baseball game at Citizens Bank Park and cheer on the Philadelphia Phillies. Enjoy the lively atmosphere of America’s pastime and indulge in classic ballpark snacks while watching the game. It’s a great way to spend a sunny day with the family.
5.2 Philadelphia Eagles
For football fans, a trip to Lincoln Financial Field to watch the Philadelphia Eagles is a must. Join in the excitement of game day and experience the passion of Philadelphia sports fans firsthand. The electric atmosphere and thrilling plays will create lifelong memories for your family.
5.3 Philadelphia Flyers
If hockey is more your style, make sure to catch a Philadelphia Flyers game at the Wells Fargo Center. Witness the speed and skill of professional ice hockey and join in the chants and cheers of the crowd. It’s a thrilling experience for fans of all ages.
5.4 Philadelphia 76ers
Basketball enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the chance to see the Philadelphia 76ers in action at the Wells Fargo Center. Watch as the team showcases their skills on the court and immerse yourself in the energy of the game. Whether you’re a die-hard basketball fan or just getting into the sport, it’s a great outing for the whole family.
5.5 FDR Park
FDR Park is a hidden gem in South Philadelphia. With its scenic lake, walking trails, and large open spaces, it’s the perfect spot for a family picnic or outdoor activities like frisbee or kite flying. The park also offers a variety of recreational facilities, including playgrounds and sports fields.
6. Educational Centers
6.1 The Barnes Foundation
The Barnes Foundation is a world-renowned art collection that offers a rich cultural experience for all ages. Explore the impressive galleries filled with masterpieces by renowned artists such as Renoir, Cézanne, and Van Gogh. The museum also offers special programs and activities tailored for families.
6.2 National Constitution Center
Delve into the history and significance of the United States Constitution at the National Constitution Center. Interactive exhibits, multimedia presentations, and engaging programs educate visitors about the Constitution and its ongoing impact. It’s a great educational experience that promotes a deeper understanding of American democracy.
6.3 The Franklin Institute
As mentioned earlier, The Franklin Institute is not just a museum but also an educational center. From hands-on experiments to interactive exhibits, this institution sparks curiosity and fosters learning in a fun and engaging way. Explore the world of science, technology, and innovation with your family.
6.4 Philadelphia Science Festival
If you happen to be in Philadelphia during the Philadelphia Science Festival, you’re in for a treat. This annual event celebrates science and technology through a series of interactive exhibits, workshops, and demonstrations. It’s a fantastic opportunity to engage with the local scientific community and ignite a passion for STEM in your children.
6.5 Philly Art Center
The Philly Art Center offers a range of classes, workshops, and camps to inspire creativity in children of all ages. From painting and drawing to pottery and sculpture, kids can explore various art forms and express themselves in a supportive and nurturing environment. It’s a great place to let imaginations run wild and develop artistic skills.
7. Family-friendly Restaurants
7.1 Reading Terminal Market
Reading Terminal Market is a food lover’s paradise, offering a wide variety of cuisines and culinary delights. Take your pick from the diverse selection of vendors and enjoy a delicious meal with your family. From authentic Philly cheesesteaks to handmade Amish pretzels, there’s something to satisfy every palate.
7.2 The Pop Shop
The Pop Shop is a family-friendly diner that specializes in comfort food and, of course, an extensive selection of ice cream and milkshakes. From burgers and macaroni and cheese to grilled cheese sandwiches and pancakes, the menu caters to both kids and adults. Be sure to save room for dessert!
7.3 Sabrina’s Cafe
Sabrina’s Cafe is a popular brunch spot that has gained a reputation for its delicious food and cozy atmosphere. The menu offers a range of options, including creative twists on classic breakfast dishes. It’s a great place to enjoy a leisurely meal with your family and fuel up for a day of adventures.
7.4 Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat
For a taste of Southern comfort food, head to Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat. This cozy diner serves up hearty dishes like biscuits and gravy, chicken and waffles, and homemade pies. The relaxed ambiance and friendly service make it a welcoming spot for families.
If you’re in the mood for Mexican cuisine, Distrito is the place to be. This vibrant restaurant offers a modern take on traditional Mexican dishes, with a lively atmosphere and colorful decor that will captivate kids and adults alike. From tacos to margaritas, you’ll savor every bite.
8. Seasonal Events
8.1 Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival
The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival is a mesmerizing event held at Franklin Square during the summer months. Marvel at the stunning illuminated lantern displays, enjoy live performances, and immerse yourself in Chinese culture. It’s a magical experience that the whole family can enjoy.
8.2 Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade
The Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade is a cherished tradition that captivates audiences with its colorful floats, marching bands, and larger-than-life balloons. Join thousands of spectators as you line the streets to watch this lively event that marks the start of the holiday season.
8.3 Holiday Light Show at Macy’s
During the holiday season, Macy’s in Center City hosts a spectacular light show that illuminates the grand Wanamaker building. Enjoy the festive music and dazzling lights as you and your family experience the magic of the holiday season. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the famous Macy’s Santaland!
8.4 Philadelphia Flower Show
The Philadelphia Flower Show is the nation’s largest and oldest indoor flower show, held annually at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Immerse yourself in an enchanting world of exquisite floral displays, stunning landscapes, and educational exhibits. It’s a sensory experience that is sure to delight the whole family.
8.5 Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest is a winter wonderland located at Penn’s Landing. Lace up your ice skates and glide across the outdoor rink, enjoy cozy fire pits, and indulge in seasonal treats at the lodge-like Winterfest Hall. It’s a perfect place to create lasting memories during the holiday season.
9. Performing Arts
9.1 Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is a cultural hub that hosts a wide range of performances, including Broadway shows, concerts, ballet, and more. Treat your family to an unforgettable evening of music, dance, or theater in one of the Kimmel Center’s stunning venues.
9.2 Walnut Street Theatre
For over 200 years, the Walnut Street Theatre has been entertaining audiences with stellar productions. Known for its exceptional performances and beautiful historic building, this theater offers family-friendly shows suitable for all ages. Catch a musical, play, or children’s production for a delightful theater experience.
9.3 The Met Philadelphia
The Met Philadelphia is a newly restored concert venue that hosts a variety of performances, including concerts by renowned artists and touring Broadway shows. Enjoy a night of music, comedy, or theater and witness the grandeur of this historic space.
9.4 Arden Theatre Company
The Arden Theatre Company is a premier theater in Philadelphia that specializes in family-friendly productions. From imaginative children’s theater to thought-provoking plays for adults, the Arden Theatre offers a diverse range of performances that will captivate audiences of all ages.
9.5 Philadelphia Orchestra
For music lovers, the Philadelphia Orchestra is a world-class ensemble that delivers breathtaking performances year-round. Experience the power and beauty of live orchestral music at one of the orchestra’s concerts or family events. It’s a truly immersive auditory experience that you won’t want to miss.
10. Family-friendly Accommodations
10.1 Embassy Suites by Hilton Philadelphia Center City
The Embassy Suites by Hilton Philadelphia Center City is a family-friendly hotel located in the heart of the city. With spacious rooms, complimentary breakfast, and a range of amenities, it’s a comfortable and convenient option for families visiting Philadelphia.
10.2 Homewood Suites by Hilton Philadelphia-City Avenue
Homewood Suites by Hilton Philadelphia-City Avenue offers all the comforts of home, including spacious suites with fully equipped kitchens. The hotel also provides complimentary breakfast and an on-site convenience store. Its location provides easy access to many of Philadelphia’s top attractions.
10.3 The Logan Philadelphia, Curio Collection by Hilton
The Logan Philadelphia, Curio Collection by Hilton is a luxury hotel that caters to families with its spacious rooms and kid-friendly amenities. With its rooftop pool, on-site dining options, and central location, it’s an ideal base for exploring all that Philadelphia has to offer.
10.4 Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel
The Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel offers comfortable accommodations and convenient amenities for families. With its indoor pool, fitness center, and on-site restaurant, it provides a relaxing retreat after a day of sightseeing. Its location near the historic district and other popular attractions is an added bonus.
10.5 Residence Inn by Marriott Philadelphia Center City
The Residence Inn by Marriott Philadelphia Center City is a great option for families looking for the comforts of a home away from home. Its spacious suites, complimentary breakfast, and convenient location make it an excellent choice for a family stay in Philadelphia.
With these family-friendly activities in mind, you’re sure to have an amazing time exploring Philadelphia with your loved ones. From engaging museums and beautiful parks to historic sites and thrilling entertainment options, there’s always something exciting to discover in the City of Brotherly Love. So pack your bags, grab your family, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Philadelphia!