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8 BEST Philadelphia by Night Tours + Our Top Choice

8 BEST Philadelphia by Night Tours + Our Top Choice

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Philadelphia is a city full of history and culture, dating back to the earliest days of the United States. If you’re on the East Coast exploring New York or Washington, DC, a few day’s stop in Philly is a must!

I didn’t know too much about Philly before we visited, but there is a lot to learn! I really enjoyed exploring this city, from the iconic Liberty Bell and Independence Hall to the Rocky Steps and the famous Philly cheesesteak sandwich.

What made my experience even better was taking a night tour of Philadelphia. You’ll be able to see many sites in one go, and if you’re only in Philly for a couple of days, it’ll help you maximize your time! Plus, this city is said to be haunted, so I had to check it out for myself on a night tour.

There are a ton of night tours out there, like shockingly gritty historic tours, haunted pub crawls, and even family-friendly ghost tours. And if you’re looking for a traditional sightseeing tour, we’ve got that covered as well! To help you navigate all of these options, we put together this list of the 8 best Philadelphia night tours – including our top choice – so you can simply book your tour and pack your bags! 

Our Top Choice

If you’re ready to book a tour and don’t have time to read this full blog, look no further! Our top choice for Philadelphia night tours is this Dark Philly Adult Night Tour – it’s like none other! This 2-hour walking tour will take you to the spookiest sites in Philly and give an unabridged, raunchy, and witty take on Philadelphia’s dark past. It’s the kind of stuff you won’t find in textbooks.

This hilarious R-rated tour is offered daily for $38-$48 USD, and you can book it online here!

Why Go on a Night Tour in Philadelphia

Independence Hall and the Barry statue at night on a ghost tour in Philadelphia, USA
Independence Hall and the Barry statue during a ghost tour

While there are a ton of tours you can take in Philadelphia, I think that a night tour gives you a totally different perspective of the city! Philly is known for its ghost stories, haunted buildings, and shocking past. As one of the oldest cities in the United States, you better believe there are some haunted places to explore here! 

Daytime Philly sightseeing or history tours are great for the educational side of things, as you see the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and other notable sights. But I would recommend night tours as well because you still see these same sights but with a tour guide who tells a different side of the story. These tours are not only entertaining, but also informative, and make you think about the country’s history in a new way. Plus, you can see the city all lit up!

Night tours are also great if you want to grab some drinks in the process. This Haunted Pub Crawl combines booze and ghost stories, while this secret nightlife tour takes you to some of Philly’s best bars.

Some of the tours are adult-only, like the bar-hopping ones above. This Dark Philly Adult Night Tour is also not suitable for kids due to its R-rated nature. However, a lot of the tours are still kid-friendly! They tell ghost stories, but they’re usually not spooky enough to scare young ones, and kids have a great time.

Overall, night tours can be a nice change of pace if you’ve been visiting lots of historic buildings and they make for a really fun night out!

Related Read: Philly isn’t the only place you’ll find spooky ghost tours. Our guide to NYC sightseeing tours also includes a tour that explores the dark side of the city.

What are the BEST Night Tours in Philadelphia?

1. Dark Philly Adult Night Tour

A guide talks to a group on a night tour in Philadelphia, USA
Learning about the dark past!
Statue of the unmarked graves in Philadelphia at night time
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Philadelphia’s history isn’t as cut and dry as you might have learned in your high school history class. Down these streets, there are stories of dark secrets, torture, executions, and sexcapades that will make your grandmother blush – and this Dark Philly Adult Night Tour is here to expose them all! We took this tour on our last trip to Philadelphia, and let me tell you, it was one of the most entertaining and surprising tours I’ve ever taken!

The tour is led by a university history professor, who has a deep knowledge of Philly’s past. The guide also focuses on making the experience shocking, entertaining, and hilarious for the tourists as you hear an uncut history of Philadelphia. I was so surprised by the things our tour guide was saying and she definitely kept us on our toes. This is certainly not for the faint of heart or those without a sense of humor. 

You’ll visit some of the most notable stops in Philly, such as the Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, The President’s House, and Congress Hall. At each stop, our guide would give the textbook history, then dive into what really went on here – like how the redlight district was right across the street from Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed. 

We also visited some haunted locations, like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Walnut Street Prison, and City Tavern Restaurant.

The tour continues to more haunted locations where you’ll hear wild stories about what went on here. Although the stops were interesting, our tour guide was the star of the show! Her wit and knowledge were astounding and left us with huge smiles on our faces. To learn more, you can read our full review of the Dark Philly Adult Night Tour right here!

Since the content is often R-rated, the tour isn’t suitable for children. However, adults love it, which is obvious from all the rave reviews you can read on Viator.

Another thing I love about this tour is that it’s pretty cheap for how great it is, making this tour one of the best budget activities in Philadelphia! It’s only $38 USD on weekdays, $44 USD on Fridays, and $48 USD on Saturdays. Trust me, it was worth every penny, and I would be thrilled to take this tour again!

The tour starts at 8 pm and lasts for 2 hours. It meets outside the Independence Visitor Center and ends near the Merchant Exchange Building.

You can reserve this Dark Philly Adult Night Tour online here!

2. Philly by Night Double-Decker Bus Tour

Big Bus Philadelphia bus in Philly
The double-decker bus!
City Hall from the street at night in Philadelphia, USA
City Hall!

There is so much culture and history wrapped into the city of Brotherly Love that it’s hard to see it all on a short trip! This Philly by Night Double-Decker Bus Tour is the perfect way to see the top 27 attractions, all from the comfort of a two-story bus. You’ll get epic views of the city as you drive around. 

Now, I know not everyone who comes to Philadelphia is a history buff, which is why I appreciate that this tour focuses on a lot of the city’s cultural elements as well. The most notable stop is the Rocky Steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. You’ll get to hop off the bus and run up the stairs with your fists in the air, just like in the famous Rocky movies!

This night bus makes a 90-minute loop around the city. Besides the Rocky stop, you won’t get off the bus. However, you can see Independence Hall, Penn’s Landing, the Liberty Bell, and more along the way. The local guide makes this all much more valuable, as their commentary will explain the significance of these locations. It’s a great intro to the city, especially if you only have one day to spend in Philadelphia.

But, most importantly, you’ll get to ride a double-decker bus through the brightly lit Philly skyline! This is a fun and unique way to experience the city. Tours start at 8 pm in front of the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown and are offered daily for $39 USD.

This tour is not always offered in colder months, like February and March, and may be canceled due to bad weather. But if that’s the case, you can expect a replacement ticket or a full refund.  

You can reserve this double-decker bus tour of Philly in advance here

3. Philly Ghosts: Phantoms of Philadelphia Tour

Independence Hall at night in Philadelphia
Independence Hall at night

To fully dive into Philly’s spooky history, it’s best to be led by a local guide. This Phantoms of Philadelphia Tour will lead you around the Old City, to some of Philly’s most historic and most haunted buildings. The entire city is full of allegedly haunted places, but I like that this tour takes you to Philly’s oldest neighborhood.

You will meet your guide at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington Square. This memorial is the location of a mass execution by the British during the American Revolution. Legend says that more than 2,000 spirits haunt these grounds!

As you continue through Old City Philly, you’ll see the American Philosophical Society Museum (haunted by Benjamin Franklin), the First Bank of the United States (haunted by Alexander Hamilton), and a few old churches – which are always a little creepy at night! Your guide will give information and spooky stories along the way. Believe me, they do an incredible job setting the scene.

This walking tour lasts for 1.5 hours, and begins at 7 pm or 8 pm, depending on the season. The tour is a small group of 15, which helps you get into the ghost stories even more. Kids are welcome on this tour because while there are some creepy stories, it isn’t too scary for young ones. Most of the time, kids get really into the tales!

The tour is available daily and is priced at $30 USD per person. There’s also an option to extend to a 3-hour tour for $35 USD per person.

You can check availability and reserve this Phantoms of Philadelphia Tour here

4. Philadelphia Small Group Night Tour w/Liberty Bell + Cheesesteak

Old haunted building we visited on a night tour in Philadelphia
You wouldn’t want to walk in this area at night alone!
Daniel with a cheese steak from Pat’s King of Steaks 

I’m not sure what’s more iconically Philly – the Liberty Bell, the Rocky Steps, or a Philly cheesesteak sandwich! Luckily, you won’t have to decide which to experience, because this 3-hour small group tour includes them all. You’ll have a good mixture of history, culture, and food for one of the best night tours of Philadelphia! 

This is a driving tour, so your guide will pick you up from your hotel around 6:30 pm and escort you around the city. It’s a small tour with only 7 people, so you don’t have to fight a large group to hear the guide or see! The guide does a great job of driving by and pointing out certain historic places, and stopping to check out others. That way, you make the most of your time and can stop at the spots you really want to see! 

On the historical front, the guide gives a commentary as you drive by the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Betsy Ross’s House, and more. You’ll then stop at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to admire the Rocky Statue and run up the 72 marble steps as if you were in the film! This is a classic Philly landmark, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, go watch Rocky before you take this tour.

Then, you’ll head to Pat’s King of Steaks to try a Philly cheesesteak sandwich in its home city! If you’ve never had a Philly cheesesteak, it’s thinly sliced ribeye steak, with a bunch of melted provolone cheese, and caramelized onions on a hoagie bun. Pat’s claims to have the best Philly cheesesteaks in town, but you’ll have to try it out for yourself!

This 3-hour tour costs $114 USD, which includes transportation to and from your hotel, your local guide with commentary, and a Philly cheesesteak. This is a fun way to experience Philadelphia by night and is one of the best tours out there because you experience so much!

Be sure to book this tour in advance, as it’s sure to fill up quickly

Related Read: There are also some great Washington, DC sightseeing tours that happen at night! It’s a good way to beat the heat if you’re planning a summer vacation around the US.

5. Haunted Pub Crawl

independence Hall at night in Philadelphia, USA
A beer at the bar of McGillin's Olde Ale House in Philadelphia
We sat at the bar!

I’m always up for a pub crawl and it’s a great way to experience the local side of a city. This Haunted Pub Crawl takes it to the next level as you explore the ghost stories of Philly while sipping on a beer in between stops!

Philadelphia is a very old city, so there are a lot of old pubs and taverns that have been in business for 100 years or more! And in a city that is full of ghosts and haunted buildings, there is surely a haunted pub or two. This 3-hour pub crawl will take you to three different bars. It’s led by a local guide, who not only knows the best drinking spots but also knows the rich history around you!

In addition to stopping at some pubs, you will visit the graves of Benjamin Franklin and Betsy Ross, a witch trial site, and an old burial ground. The tour will stop by Christ Church and explain how grave robbery was a prominent issue in early America. There is a lot of fascinating lore to burial processes – like if someone died prematurely or wasn’t laid to rest properly, they would come back as a ghost!

You’ll learn a lot of ancient tales as you sip on some ale! This also gives you the chance to chat with your fellow pub crawlers and decide which stories you believe. It was quite the debate in our group!

Depending on the date, you can choose from a 1 pm, 5 pm, or 6:30 pm start time. As you plan your Philly itinerary, note that the tour begins at the Independence Visitor Center but ends elsewhere. When we took this tour, it ended at City Tavern Restaurant. Sadly, this historic tavern has since shut down, so you might finish at a different pub than we did. But who knows, maybe those thirsty ghosts will relocate along with you!

This tour is only for those 21 and older and does not include alcoholic beverages. It does include your amazing ghost-story spinning guide and any entrance fees, but you should plan to spend more on those pints. This tour is $50 USD per person on Thursday and Friday and $55 USD per person on Saturday. Also, this tour runs seasonally and is only offered in October and November.

There is limited availability, so be sure to book this pub crawl in advance

6. Ghost Tour of Philadelphia by Candlelight

Independence Hall in Philadelphia at night as seen on night tour
Independence Hall in Philadelphia as seen on a night tour

If you’re short on time, this candlelight ghost tour is for you! In just one hour, you’ll walk to four of Philadelphia’s most significant sites while your knowledgeable guide fills you in on the ghostly happenings at each. 

This tour might be less spooky than others on this list, but it keeps historical accuracy as a top priority! If you value factually correct stories, this tour’s got you covered. You probably won’t get frightened by some embellished details either, so it’s also good if you scare easily!

On this hour-long tour, you’ll visit Philly’s top sites! Of course, you’ll stop at the famous Independence Hall, where security guards have first-hand accounts of supernatural experiences. You’ll also see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Powel House, a haunted colonial mayor’s mansion. And last but not least, keep your eye out for Ben Franklin’s ghost at Library Hall.

This tour meets at Signer’s Garden at 7:30 pm and ends just down the road. It costs $24 USD per person, which includes your local guide. 

You can book this Ghost Tour of Philadelphia by Candlelight online here!

7. Secret Bars and Favorite Spots Walking Tour in Philadelphia

Bailey at Sassafras in Philadelphia, USA
Two cocktails at Sassafras in Philadelphia, USA
Old fashioned cocktails!

Take a break from the ghost stories and see how Philadelphians really party on this secret nightlife tour! Your guide will take you to 5 of Philly’s best bars, where you can sample incredible cocktails. We loved this tour we got a feel for the local bar scene, including some cool speakeasies. And although we love tourism, it was a nice break from traditional sightseeing!

We won’t give away too many surprises… they call it a “Secret Bars” tour for a reason! But I will say that we loved every bar we stopped at. They were the sort of places we probably wouldn’t have found on our own. So if you prefer avoiding tourist traps and getting a taste of local mixology, this nightlife tour is for you! The bartenders were also fantastic and mixed up some delicious drinks.

We also liked that groups were limited to 10 people, so it had an intimate feel. It’s a walking tour in Philadelphia, so wear comfy shoes. You’ll meet your group at Bao Nine at 7 pm to start your adventure. Tours are 3 hours long and run every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. After all, partying on Monday just wouldn’t give you the same experience!

The tour ends at a centrally located speakeasy, which may have been my favorite! It’s also one of the best in the city and just might have live DJs and dancing. So, if you want to stay on and party, you’ve got a built-in crew. If you have two or 3 days in Philadelphia, we highly recommend celebrating with this bar-hopping tour one night! 

This tour costs $35 USD, which includes skip-the-line entry to the bars and a complimentary tequila shot. The rest of the drinks are at your own expense, which I prefer! You can pick and choose the exact cocktails you want to drink. If you need a suggestion, just ask one of the knowledgeable bartenders!

Click here to book this Secret Bars and Favorite Spots Walking Tour today!

8. The Ghosts of Philadelphia Tour

The First Bank in Philadelphia at night as seen on a tour
The First Bank in Philadelphia at night as seen on a tour

Our last night tour of Philadelphia follows the haunted ghost theme, but this one is family-friendly and has a great balance of spookiness and history! This Ghosts of Philadelphia Tour spends 1.5 hours exploring Old City Philly, hitting three main attractions and keeping it entertaining the entire way.

You’ll meet your group at the Old City Tavern by 8 pm before heading out. Your first stop will be the Bishop White House, which is a historical building haunted by Reverend William White, who had an unfortunate encounter with mosquitos that led to his demise.

Next, you’ll visit the American Philosophical Society Museum. It’s said that Benjamin Franklin’s ghost haunts these grounds so keep a lookout! You’ll also learn about Franklin’s life, his love for books, and why people think this is where his ghost resides.  

Your final stop is at Independence Hall. This place has deep historical significance, but some people also believe the second floor is haunted by those who were oppressed. It’s thought that these ghosts were denied their freedoms from the deals struck in that room.

The accuracy of these legends might be up for debate. However, the tour guide does a great job of keeping the historical facts on track! I love how this tour covers both elements of Philly’s past – the hard facts and all the mysterious ghost stories.

I also appreciate that this tour only has 3 stops, and spends more time at each so it doesn’t feel as rushed. It’s a quick tour, which is great for kids with a short attention span but who will still enjoy the ghost stories of Philly!

This tour lasts 1.5 hours and costs $25 USD per person. It’s available daily, making it super easy to fit into your Philly itinerary!

You can reserve this ghost tour of Philly online here!

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

Are Night Tours in Philadelphia Worth It?

Yes, night tours of Philadelphia are certainly worth it! Philly is such an important city, culturally and historically, so there are a lot of cool ways to experience it. Night tours in Philadelphia are a unique way to see the city and experience its history differently than most people get to. Plus, the large ghost and haunting culture can’t be missed, and the only way to dive into it is by taking a night tour!

We love that there are a variety of night tours available, so you can pick the best one for you!

If you’re looking for an adult-only, hilarious, and shocking tour, the Dark Philly Adult Night Tour won’t disappoint. Foodies can dive into Philly’s culinary scene on this Cheesesteak night tour or hit up some speakeasies on this secret nightlife tour. And for a more traditional sightseeing excursion, hop aboard this night bus!

Related Read: If you’ll be visiting more cities on the East Coast, be sure to read our guide to the best Niagra Falls tours from NYC.

Where to Stay in Philadelphia, USA

Element Philadelphia Downtown room with a view
Photo credit: Element Philadelphia Downtown

Philadelphia is a big city, and deciding where to stay can be overwhelming. Luckily, we’ve narrowed it down to our top choices for each budget range. So keep reading to find the best accommodations for you!

The Rittenhouse Hotel – $$$

The Rittenhouse Hotel is a centrally located, award-winning accommodation. It has that old-school Philadelphia feel with modern amenities. They offer a gym, an indoor heated pool, a sun terrace, and a fabulous restaurant. You can also enjoy British tea and cocktails in their tea room, which is connected to a gorgeous garden.

Prices range from $350 – $1,000 USD depending on the type of room and your dates. You can check prices and availability online here.

Element Philadelphia Downtown – $$

The Element Philadelphia Downtown is just a block from City Hall. It has a fitness center, an on-site restaurant, a shared lounge, and free bikes. The place has modern, well-equipped rooms, friendly staff, and a decent continental breakfast. Request a room higher up for an awesome city view.

This place is a great value for money, with prices starting as low as $160 USD when you book in advance.

Apple Hostels of Philadelphia – $

Apple Hostels of Philadelphia is my favorite budget accommodation in Philadelphia. It’s located in the Old City. This hostel has it all, including a shared kitchen, laundry, pool table, foosball, Xbox, computers/iPads, guitars, and a TV area. You won’t have any trouble socializing, and they even offer free drinks and dinner sometimes. It’s clean, comfortable, and has a great vibe.

Shared rooms start at $34 USD, and private rooms begin at $85 USD. You can book your stay on or through Hostelworld.

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey at the top of the City Hall Tower in Philadelphia, USA
Thanks for reading!

A night tour of Philly lets you see a different side of the city. We recommend taking one even if you’ve already seen some of the sights during the day. Night tours are also the best way to see the spooky version of the city or enjoy its nightlife! Of course, there are so many different night tours that you can pick the one that’s perfect for you!

If you’re exploring more of the country during your travels, you can read our blogs about the United States here. We’ve also spent a lot of time traveling all over the world and written about many other destinations. You can get started by reading one of the blogs linked below.

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