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One of our favorite stops when touring the USA was the historical city of Philadelphia.
As the sixth largest city in America, it’s no surprise that Philly offers tons of things to do. Before Washington DC took the title, Philadelphia was the nation’s capital, and there are still monuments and tons of patriotic symbolism all around the city.
On top of being a history-lovers dream, Philadelphia is home to some amazing works of art and is the perfect spot for a sightseeing tour. We also had a blast eating the local cuisine on a Philly food tour where we just had to try the iconic Philly cheesesteak (it’s delicious by the way!).
We loved our stay here and discovered so much about Philly that we never knew. That being said, we know it can be stressful planning a trip to a new place – which is why we wrote this blog! We’ve taken care of the guesswork so you can get right to enjoying a fun-filled vacation. So if you’re ready to learn more, keep reading for our top suggestions on how to spend 3 days in Philadelphia.
Don’t have time to read the full article? Three days go by fast, but our top ideas for your Philly itinerary include a city history tour and embracing the art community in South Philly. We also loved trying some of the local cuisine on a food tour and discovering the best cocktail bars during our trip.
- Day 1 in Philadelphia
- Cafe La Maude (breakfast)
- See the Liberty Bell and tour Independence Hall (morning)
- The Liberty Bell
- Independence Hall
- Rittenhouse Square and eat at Parc (lunch)
- Explore the Museum of the American Revolution (afternoon)
- Elfreth’s Alley and Museum (afternoon)
- Head to Gino's or Pat's for a Philly cheesesteak (dinner)
- Day 2 in Philadelphia
- Day 3 in Philadelphia
- Where to Stay in Philadelphia, USA
- Thanks for reading!
- Why We Book Tours with Viator
- Don't get Caught without Travel Insurance!
Day 1 in Philadelphia
Cafe La Maude (breakfast)
Our first stop of our three-day adventure is Cafe La Maude.
We’ve tried food from all over the world from the best restaurants in Sayulita to amazing food tours at Chelsea Market in New York City. If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s where to find a good meal.
Cafe La Maude is a French-Lebanese restaurant that serves incredible dishes like the Mediterranean Burrito, along with sweet options like Berrylicious Pain Perdu and Red Velvet Tiramisu Pancakes. For something more traditional, we recommend getting one of their signature items like the red or green Shakshuka.
Everything we got was delicious and the atmosphere was full of energy. The whole experience made it a great way to start our day and this 3-day itinerary!
This fun brunch spot is also a BYOB establishment, so you can feel free to toast your travels with a bottle of bubbly while you wait for your food. Just remember that we’ve got three whole days of activities planned for you, some of which include cocktails. Pace yourself accordingly!
During the winter, Cafe La Maude has a heated patio as well. Having lived through many winters in Edmonton, it’s hard to imagine comfortably eating outdoors, so I appreciate the sentiment.
Cafe La Maude is located in the Northern Liberties and is open from 8 am to 4 pm every day. We recommend arriving early as they don’t take reservations, and plan to spend about an hour here. Just remember to come hungry!
See the Liberty Bell and tour Independence Hall (morning)
The Liberty Bell
It’s time for a 5-minute drive that will take us to our next destination – the Liberty Bell.
The Liberty Bell was created in 1751 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of William Penn’s Charter of Privileges. Penn was a Quaker who is best known for being the founder of the Providence of Pennsylvania. He’ll come up a few times in this article, so we won’t go too deep into his story just yet.
When America gained independence from Britain in 1776, the Liberty Bell was used as a symbol of hope and freedom to commemorate the occasion. Back then, it was called the State House Bell, but it was renamed during the anti-slavery movement in the 1830s and was used as a symbol to represent equality. It would continue to be used symbolically during events by civil rights leaders and to support women’s suffrage.
For almost 100 years, the Liberty Bell would ring to mark occasions like the signing of the US Constitution and to commemorate fallen leaders like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.
While there is no clear record of how the bell originally cracked, we do know that the crack deepened beyond repair on Presidents’ Day in 1846. After this, the Liberty Bell was taken on tour across America, but it became obvious that the damage was taking a toll (forgive the bell pun).
In 1915, it was retired to Liberty Bell Center, where it remains a shining piece of American history that can be seen by all. In fact, over 1 million people visit the Liberty Bell each year.
Inside the center, you’ll find information boards and exhibits, and it’s kind of like a small museum. You can also take a photo right next to the Liberty Bell which makes for a fun keepsake. We had to wait a few minutes for our photo, but luckily it was pretty quick since there are only a limited amount of people allowed in at one time.
Liberty Bell Center is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm and is free to visit. There is a security checkpoint, so we recommend arriving as early as possible to avoid waiting in a long line. The facility is wheelchair accessible and there are pamphlets with information about the Liberty Bell written in different languages as well.
We’ve been fortunate enough to go on some amazing tours in Philadelphia, and if you’re looking to see as many historical sites in the area as possible, we think you’ll love this walking history tour. You’ll visit ten different places like Congress Hall and the New Hall Military Museum which was the location of America’s original Pentagon. And of course, this tour also stops at the famous Liberty Bell and passes by Independence Hall.
The guides are all history majors, so they are great resources for any questions you might have. This 2-hour tour leaves daily at either 11 am or 2 pm, but we suggest the earlier option so you can stay on track with this itinerary! This tour has great reviews and is fantastic for first-time visitors and history enthusiasts, and it only costs $29 USD! If you’re up for it, you can reserve your ticket right here.
We’re just going across the street to Independence Hall for our next stop.
Independence Hall used to house the three branches of the colonial government way back when. Both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed here, so I guess you could say it’s a big deal.
If you want to see inside the building, you will need to go on a tour. These tours are basically free (there’s a $1 USD processing fee), and they last less than 30 minutes, so it’s super easy to fit into your agenda. We recommend booking this tour online the night before you visit, that way you can choose your preferred time slot. Tickets go on sale at 5 pm the day before, or you can purchase them at the Visitor Center across from Independence Hall.
We’ve visited other prominent places in America like Georgetown in Washington, DC, and New York City, and it’s always interesting to learn about the pivotal roles these areas played in history. We enjoyed this short tour of Independence Hall and it was definitely time well spent as we learned a bit more about Philadelphia’s history.
Independence Hall is open from 9 am to 5 pm every day. There is a security screening as you enter, so we highly recommend showing up at least 20 minutes before your tour time to avoid any issues.
For those visiting in January or February, good news! There’s no need to book tours during these two months except for holiday weekends. Just keep in mind that they still limit the amount of people allowed in, so you might have a longer wait.
Rittenhouse Square and eat at Parc (lunch)
After your busy morning, it’s time for a little break.
It’ll take you just 10 minutes by car to reach one of our favorite parks in Philly, Rittenhouse Square.
Rittenhouse Square is one of five public squares that William Penn outlined in his plans for Philadelphia. It also happens to be the 4th oldest park in the country. And while it might not be as recognizable as Central Park, we still think it’s a charming place to get away.
There are garden beds, statues, and plenty of trees to stroll by. Or, feel free to take a seat and relax on the grass or one of the benches. This is a favorite spot for locals who work in the area and families as well.
The park hosts events throughout the year like art shows and a Spring Festival, and if you’re visiting towards the end of the year, you might get lucky and see the Rittenhouse Square Christmas Tree Lighting. We suggest checking their website to see if any events align with your visit.
On the edge of Rittenhouse Square is a delightful restaurant aptly named, Parc. We loved this French bistro from its Parisian decor to its amazing menu, and the food was surprisingly well-priced given that this neighborhood is on the ritzier side. So, if you’re visiting Philadelphia on a budget, we think Parc still makes the cut!
We got a seat outside and people-watched, all while enjoying our delicious meals. The Smoked Salmon Tartine and Pasta Jardiniére were out of this world! The ingredients were so fresh and it made for a wonderful mid-day break.
Explore the Museum of the American Revolution (afternoon)
It can be overwhelming to pick which museum to see when you’re visiting a new place (believe us, we get it). During our stay in New York City, we were fortunate enough to walk around a handful of them, including the 9/11 Memorial and Museum where we ended up spending hours. While we highly recommend going there if you’re ever in the Big Apple, we think the best option in Philadelphia is the Museum of the American Revolution.
Opened in 2017, the Museum of the American Revolution tells the story of how America overcame British rule. It does this through a series of displays and art exhibits, making the history super easy to follow.
We recommend starting on the 2nd floor. From here, you can follow the events surrounding the Revolutionary War in chronological order. Each room tells part of this tale, and there are several artifacts like letters, diaries, weapons, and art pieces that contribute to understanding this period in history.
There’s even a section that showcases George Washington’s war tent, along with a short film that portrays his rise in power from the war to becoming the first president of the United States.
This museum is filled with immersive exhibits and life-size mannequins, and there’s even a discovery zone for kids on the lower level. If you’re traveling with little ones, make sure to check out the Revolution Place while you’re here. It’s open daily during the summer and on weekends from 11 am to 4 pm the rest of the year.
Another thing we want to mention is that this museum is extremely popular. We don’t want to steer you wrong, so it’s best to purchase your ticket in advance.
Tickets are $24 USD per adult, and you can add on an audio tour in English, Spanish, or French for just $5 USD more when you purchase on Viator. Plus, since you’re only in Philadelphia for 3 days, it makes sense to get these tickets beforehand. This way, you won’t miss out on any of the other fun plans we have in store.
We recommend setting aside at least 2 hours to explore this museum, but if you just can’t get enough, you can come back the next day for free! The ticket is valid for two consecutive days, so as long as you have two days in Philly, you can really soak up all that revolutionary history.
The Museum of the American Revolution is open from 10 am to 5 pm every day, and we think it’s a must-see for your first time in Philly.
If you want to learn as much as possible at the museum, we think you’ll like this early entry tour. You’ll be with a small group of no more than 14 people and an expert guide. Your guide will share little-known facts about sections of the museum. It’s the sort of stuff you won’t read on plaques.
If history or social studies was your favorite subject in school, this is the tour for you. It starts at 9 am so you’ll have to adjust the schedule a bit, and it includes one hour of open forum discussions about the Revolutionary War with your guide (while getting a personalized tour around the museum). This option costs $50 USD and you can book this VIP experience right here.
Related Read: If you make it to New York, be sure to read our guide on the comparisons of the best NYC Attraction Passes. It’ll save you money when visiting famous places like the Empire State Building and local museums.
Elfreth’s Alley and Museum (afternoon)
Another mile (1.6 km) up the road is Elfreth’s Alley.
During the 18th century, most business happened near the ports. Unfortunately, Philly was becoming overcrowded and many people were building properties on or near the port, making it difficult for tradesmen to buy and sell their wares.
To create a better means of travel, landowners would create paths between their properties. One of these became known as Elfreth’s Alley, named after the land developer and blacksmith, Jeremiah Elfreth.
Years later, to preserve this colonial street, a former resident by the name of Dolly Ottey fought alongside her neighbors and the local community to create the Elfreth’s Alley Association (EAA). The EAA became official in 1934 and has played a vital role in maintaining this street’s charm. Their efforts also proved worthwhile because the EAA formally recognized this alley as a National Historic Landmark in the 1960s.
The houses lining the street were built between 1720 and 1836, and are still in use today! Elfreth’s Alley remains the oldest continuously inhabited residential street in the country. How cool is that?!
The only houses that are not residences are #124 and #126, which operate as the Elfreth’s Alley Museum. This museum is open between April to November from 12 pm to 4 pm on weekends (Friday – Sunday). We encourage you to stop by if you’re visiting during this time. Tickets are just $3 USD on their website, or you can purchase tickets at the museum directly, and all proceeds go towards preserving the alley.
Since this is a public street, you can take a stroll down Elfreth’s Alley whenever you like. It’s a great place to take photos of the colonial architecture and cobblestone street, and it’s clear how much love and care go into keeping this alleyway beautiful. Elfreth’s Alley is also a stop on some of the best history tours in Philly, so you can sign up for one if you’d like to learn even more.
If you’re visiting on the first Saturday in December, the residents host an event called “Deck the Alley,” where they open their historical homes for public viewings and have carolers and baked goods to ring in the holiday season. We weren’t visiting Philly during this time of year, otherwise, we would have been singing with the crowd while drinking hot cider. You can check out any upcoming events on the Elfreth’s Alley website to learn more.
Head to Gino’s or Pat’s for a Philly cheesesteak (dinner)
For our last stop of the night, we’re headed to South Philly which is less than a 15-minute car ride away.
That’s right, it’s dinner time. We traveled around this city finding the best places to get a Philly cheesesteak, and we’re going to highlight two of our favorites right now.
For those unfamiliar, a Philly cheesesteak is a long hoagie roll, filled with thinly sliced beefsteak, cheese, and the occasional assorted toppings like mushrooms and peppers. Eating a cheesesteak in Philly is like grabbing a slice of pizza in New York, so naturally, we added it to this itinerary. We wouldn’t anyone to miss out on a Philly staple after all, even if they’re only in Philadelphia for one day!
If you want to try the original Philly cheesesteak, head to Pat’s in South Philly. Pat’s King of Steaks has been open since 1930, and they have the official title of inventing this famous dish. They even wrote a book on the creation of the cheesesteak, titled “The Philadelphia Legacy.”
Another option is going to Geno’s Steaks, which is located just 200 feet (61 meters) down the street. While they may not have the title of creating the original cheesesteak, they claim to be the best. They even partnered with Lays to create a cheesesteak-flavored potato chip a few years back.
While it’s common practice for competing restaurants to open in the same area, these two places have quite the rivalry. The owners even went on national TV to see if Dr. Phil could help sort things out. While the feud is probably more for show nowadays, the national stint did create a spike in sales, so it appears being enemies has worked out for both of them.
Both stops are open 24/7 so it’s super easy to fit into your schedule. We will warn you, there are a few things to know before you order.
Expect to wait at both Pat’s and Geno’s, but don’t worry, the line moves quickly. Make sure you look at the menu before you get in line too. If you’re too indecisive when it’s time to order, both places have been known to kick people to the back of the line… Philly cheesesteaks mean business.
Also, it’s a good idea to have your money ready before you reach the window. As we said, this is a fast-paced environment so it’s best to be prepared.
Philly cheesesteaks typically cost between $12-$16 USD which is a pretty good price considering just how filling they are. If you can’t make it to Pat’s or Geno’s, you can find cheesesteaks all around the city. The odds are high that there’s a cheesesteak stand close to where you’re staying, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to try this local treat.
Day 2 in Philadelphia
Green Eggs Café (breakfast)
We’ve made it to day 2 in Philadelphia, and naturally, we’re going to start with a scrumptious meal. So head on over to Green Eggs Café for the first stop of the day.
This adorable cafe is a fan favorite and after eating here, we get the hype! Let us start by saying that the portions here are HUGE, so this is a great place for sharing a meal. We noticed a few tables around us ordering The Kitchen Sink, which ended up being a small mountain of food, but boy did it look tasty. They have some unique options like Red Velvet Pancakes and Short Rib Benedict, and if you like variety, they offer boards with a combo of their house favorites.
If you like cocktails, try the Orange Dreamsickle – it tastes just like it sounds and is unbelievably good. Everything was delicious, but if we’re being honest, we couldn’t finish our entire meal. Trust us when we say this place does not skimp on the portions.
Our server was amazing, and even though the place was packed the entire time, she checked in on us frequently and was so sweet. Our food came out super fast too! I don’t know what magic they are using, but it’s working.
Because this is such a popular brunch spot, we recommend arriving early. We showed up just before they opened, and there was already a small line forming. For the amount you get, prices are extremely reasonable and most meals cost under $20 USD before tax.
This restaurant is cash only, so be sure to bring some bills when you visit. If you don’t have cash, all locations have an ATM in the restaurant, but there will probably be a small fee.
Green Eggs Café is open from 9 am to 3 pm Monday through Friday and closes at 4 pm on the weekends. There are multiple locations around Philly, but we visited the one in Midtown Village since it was close to our next destination – City Hall.
Visit City Hall and Love Park (morning)
After brunch, it’s a quick 3-minute drive (or an 8-minute walk) to get to Philadelphia City Hall.
This architectural achievement is a National Historic Landmark that took over 30 years to construct until it was finally completed in 1901. It cost over $24 million USD to build and is still the largest municipal building in America. It’s taller and has more rooms than the US Capitol Building, and it holds the record of being the tallest masonry structure in the world.
At 548 feet (167 meters), City Hall was the tallest building in Philadelphia for almost 100 years. This height included a 37-foot (11.2-meter) statue of William Penn on top of the building, which city developers agreed no building should surpass in a long-standing gentleman’s agreement.
However, in 1986, this record was overtaken by the creation of One Liberty Place. Many locals attributed the fact that Penn was no longer the highest point in the city to jinxing Philadelphia sports teams. “The curse of Billy Penn” wasn’t broken until 2008, when the Phillies won the World Series.
While it might not be the tallest building any longer, Philadelphia City Hall remains an important part of the city’s history. It houses the branches of the local government and has upwards of 700 rooms. Over 250 sculptures adorn the building, and it’s even been featured in movies like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Limitless.
You can explore the exterior of City Hall on your own, but the only way to see inside is on a guided tour. Tours are bookable on the Visitor Center website and last around 2 hours.
This tour includes the history, architecture, and artwork of City Hall, and lets you walk through some of the grand rooms. You’ll learn about many of the sculptures that were made by Alexander Milne Calder while admiring the grounds, and have the opportunity to ask questions with the guide.
One of the coolest parts of this tour is going up City Hall Tower. You’ll take an elevator ride up to the highest floor, and get out to see 360-degree views of the whole city on an observation deck. You’ll also get glimpses of the Penn statue from here, so it’s a unique chance to see this “up close.” After visiting some of NYC’s best observation decks, we can promise you these views are always worth it.
The complete City Hall tours are wheelchair accessible and run Monday to Friday at either 10 am or 12 pm. They start at $26 USD, but rates may fluctuate depending on the time of year.
If you are only interested in taking the Tower Tour for epic views, you can book this separately on the website. Tickets are $15 USD and you’ll get about 15 to 30 minutes on the deck. You’ll want to book ahead of time as these tours are limited to small groups. Mind you, the elevator is 100 years old, so there are times when the Tower Tour isn’t available due to maintenance.
After admiring Philadelphia City Hall, we suggest taking a quick stop to visit nearby Love Park.
This is where the Love sculpture is, so it’s a great place to take a photo. I mean, how cute is this sign?!
Other than being another iconic Philly thing to do, this plaza usually hosts events and typically has a food truck around, so you can grab a snack or a beverage before your next stop.
Another fun activity is Wedding Wednesdays, where you can get married in front of the Love sign for cheap! Signing up is first-come, first-served, but hey – when in Philly, right?
See Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (morning)
We can’t think of a better way to top off your morning than with a visit to Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. It’s such a unique part of Philadelphia, and it’s only a 5-minute drive from Love Park.
This indoor-outdoor space is located on South Street and is a true testament to the perseverance of the local art community. Before officially becoming Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG), artist and resident, Isaiah Zagar, used discarded items like bottles, tires, and mirrors to create sculptures and mosaics to decorate run-down, abandoned lots.
Zagar’s message of using art to depict his life in these forgotten spaces was supported by the community when several landowners sought to destroy his work. Fortunately, their combined efforts led to the creation of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens in 2008, effectively making this a protected area where the art community could thrive.
Now, PMG operates as a nonprofit organization and supports local artists by providing public workshops, concerts, and other interactive experiences such as “Make-and-Take” activities.
We suggest spending about 30 minutes here so you can walk around and take pictures of all the quirky and fun pieces. This is such a colorful place, and by sharing your photos, you’ll be continuing PMG’s vision of inspiring others through art.
PMG is open every day except Tuesdays, from 11 am to 6 pm. This is a popular place, and workshops can sell out weeks in advance, so we recommend booking your tickets beforehand on PMG’s website. General admission tickets are $15 USD for adults and are available a month in advance. We got our tickets the night before as we only wanted to walk around, but they do get busier on holidays and weekends.
Philly is known as the “Mural Capital of the World,” so celebrating the art scene here is a must! For an insider’s look at some of these pieces, we recommend going on this South Philly art tour. You’ll spend two hours walking around this part of town, where your guide will explain the significance behind the art and how it relates to Philly’s history. They’ll also take you to look around unique shops and to see nearby gardens, and you’ll conclude this tour with a visit to PMG (entry ticket included!). It’s one of the best Philly walking tours out there!
These are small group tours that don’t exceed 12 people, so it’s a great option if want to ask questions without feeling overwhelmed. Tickets are $49 USD each and they run Wednesday through Sunday at 2 pm, so you might need to rearrange today’s schedule a little. Each ticket purchased gives back to the community by donating to local art organizations, and you can book this tour right 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.
- 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.
Go on a food tour (afternoon)
After a busy morning full of sightseeing, it’s time to embrace all the local food by going on a Philadelphia food tour.
One of our favorite ways to dive into the local culture is by eating their cuisine. We’ve enjoyed food tours in Toronto and taco tours in Cancun, so we’re always looking for the best options to share. We tried several guided tours and were so happy with this Flavors of Philly tour!
On this tour, we got to try some seriously tasty items. Other than the crowd-favorite cheesesteak, Philly is also known for their soft pretzels and holds the record for consuming the most pretzels per capita nationwide. After eating some Philly pretzels, we can confirm that they are, in fact, delicious.
Philly is also known for their Cheese Whiz fries, tomato pie (we’ll talk more about this below), and different desserts. The last stop of the tour took us to the famous Reading Terminal Market where we got desserts like warm donuts that melt in your mouth. While Reading Terminal Market might not be as well known as the Chelsea Market in NYC, it’s still worth a visit to this foodie heaven.
If you’re interested in joining the same food tour that we took, it costs $65-$75 USD per person with options to go around 12 pm or 1:30 pm. In total, it’ll last about 2.5 hours and we think it’s one of the best tours in Philadelphia. Just remember to bring your appetite! This food tour does sell out fast, but you can book it here with free cancellation up to 24 hours before!
Night ghost/adult tour (night)
One of the most unique things we did in Philly was go on this adult-only ghost tour.
It turns out that Philly has quite the dark past, and this tour ended up being as haunting as it was hilarious. We thought going on this Philly night tour was totally worth it!
Our guide (pictured above with red hair) was so funny and it was obvious she really enjoyed story-telling. She told us about ghost sightings when we visited the original red light district and former execution sites. We learned about brothels, mass grave excavations, and how the nation’s leaders were flawed, to say the least.
This ended up being a very informative tour, and we absolutely loved it, which is why we consider it one of the best night tours in Philadelphia. However, we want to reiterate that this is an adult-only activity, so please be aware that children are not allowed. Some of the info can be quite raunchy and out there!
Many companies offer similar experiences, but we thought our tour was excellent which is a shared opinion given the high reviews. It costs between $38 and $48 USD depending on the day and usually starts at 8 pm, so it’s a great way to avoid the heat if you’re visiting in the summer. To check out Philly’s dark history, you can book this night tour right here.
Go for cocktails (night)
After a full day, we think the best way to celebrate is by going to one of Philly’s distinguished cocktail bars.
If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind drinks, we suggest trying Andra Hem off of 16th Street. This bar just makes you feel like a VIP. The lush interior has a Swedish-inspired design and the drinks are just as bold. You can get classics or get out of your comfort zone and try originals like Fig Around, made with olive oil-washed vodka, fig, lemon, and black pepper. Andra Hem is open from 4 pm to 12 am, Wednesday – Saturday.
There’s also a fair amount of speakeasies nearby. One of our favorites is the Ranstead Room, whose location is only marked by the letters “RR” written above a black door on Ranstead Street. There might be a wait as they adhere to a strict one-in, one-out policy, but it’s worth it to see this candle-lit lounge that takes you back in time. They’re open Wednesday – Saturday from 7 pm to 2 am.
Across the street is another speakeasy, 1 Tippling Place. This bar will give you similar vintage vibes, but it’s usually a little easier to get into than the Ranstead Room. This cocktail bar is open from 5 pm to 10 pm, Tuesday through Thursday, and stays open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Old City is another neighborhood with some great cocktail bars. Our favorite is Sassafras, which is a cozy, neighborhood bar with a large cocktail menu. Specials include the Sassafras Gimlet and the French Drip Cocktail which contains absinthe.
Of course, there’s always the option of seeing some of Philly’s top cocktail bars on a tour. For example, this walking tour will take you to 4 or 5 “secret” bars that are frequented by locals. It’s a great way to discover some new places that you might not have heard of.
This tour costs $35 USD which includes a complimentary tequila shot and allows you VIP entry so you can skip the line at each bar. All drinks are at your own expense, and you’ll spend around 30 minutes at each location. This tour starts at 7 pm so you’ll have to decide between this or the ghost tour, but you’ve got options because you still have one more day in Philly! If you want to visit some of Philly’s most popular bars that are off the beaten path, click here to reserve this walking tour (with an option to pay later!).
Day 3 in Philadelphia
Wander the Italian Market (morning)
Welcome to our final day in Philly – now let’s have some fun!
This market has been open since the 1880s and is the oldest outdoor market in the nation. It started as a boarding house for Italian immigrants that was opened by Antonio Palumbo and quickly became a market with food vendors that continue to provide services to the local community.
You might recognize this market after appearing in Rocky when Stallone’s character runs down the vendor-lined street. Honestly, this street still looks more or less the same as it did in 1976 when this movie was made.
Nowadays, there are a ton of international influences in this market, and it’s still a great place to pick up meat, cheese, seafood, and tons of other goods. So if you’re staying in a place with a kitchen, this is a great place to pick up some fresh produce for cooking.
If you’re after some authentic pasta, head over to Villa di Roma. This is one of the best Italian restaurants in the city, and they take reservations every day except Saturday. While you’re there, be sure to pick up a bottle of their house sauce – trust us, you’re going to want to make room in your luggage for this.
We also went to Anthony’s Italian Coffee and Chocolate House for some sweets. The chocolate here is amazing, and the coffee is strong, so it’s a great way start to your day. If you’re like us and enjoy chocolate and coffee, you have to try the cappuccino truffles.
For the ultimate market experience, try this food tour of the Italian Market. It’s run by a local chef who will guide you to the best stalls in the area where you’ll try cheeses, pasta, pizza, and more! You can also BYOB or purchase drinks on-site. It’s a great tour and a fun way to eat around the market. It costs $90 USD per person, and we recommend booking the 10:30 am tour so you can sleep in after your night out.
Eat a “Philly” pie (lunch)
Remember how we mentioned tomato pie earlier? Well, now we’re going to tell you all about it – as promised!
A tomato pie (aka Philly pie) is essentially a cheese-less pizza. Wait! Hear us out! We love cheese, and we would never betray it. But, the tomato pie is a staple in Philly’s food history, and it’s surprisingly delicious as well.
Back in the 19th and 20th centuries, Italian immigrants were fleeing to Philadelphia. They often had little to no money, so would make tomato pie as a means to feed a family without breaking the bank. This dish originated in Southern Italy, where dairy products were not as common as tomatoes and olives. Also, cheese was an additional expense, so it makes sense that these folks would stick to bread and tomatoes.
This legacy is still around today, and the secret is using an outstanding marinara sauce. If the sauce is packed with flavor, then you won’t even miss the cheese.
About ten minutes by car from the Italian Market is The Angelo Pizza which has an excellent tomato pie that we loved. It’s located in Old City, and it’s our top choice if you’re trying tomato pie for the first time.
If you’re in the city center, we recommend checking out Joe’s Pizza. Tomato pie isn’t technically on the menu, but more often than not they have it available at the window, so it’s worth trying to get a slice if you’re nearby.
Either way, Philly’s tomato pie is steeped in tradition, so we encourage you to try a piece. You can always pick up some cheese at the Italian Market beforehand, just to balance it out.
See the Rocky Steps and Statue (afternoon)
While the Italian Market may have been the street Rocky ran down, nothing is more iconic than the steps Rocky ran up.
A quick drive over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art is where you can find these steps. This is just a quick stop, so you won’t need to spend more than 15 minutes here.
While you’re here, do as the Romans do. Or rather, do as the Philadelphians do. Whether you run or walk up the Rocky Steps, we encourage you to celebrate reaching the top by pumping your fists in the air just like Rocky Balboa. Granted, it’s probably only tourists that do this, but still, it’s a fun moment.
The view from the top is beautiful, and afterward, you can also take a picture with the Rocky Statue at the bottom.
We’re always looking for free activities when traveling, and hiking these steps while humming “Eye of the Tiger” definitely makes the cut for fun and free things to do in Philly.
For all the movie buffs out there, there are a ton of filming locations in the city. You can sign up for this movie and TV walking tour to visit these famous places. The tour lasts about 2 hours and your guide will take you to locations where they filmed movies like Trading Places and TV shows like Cold Case.
This is also a private tour, so you’ll be able to choose your preferred time. Tickets cost $70 USD per person, and you can book this TV and movie tour by clicking here.
Macy’s Organ concert (afternoon)
Another short drive back toward the center of Philly will take you to the Macy’s located in the Wanamaker Building. That’s right – we’re taking you to a department store.
But instead of shopping (which you are more than welcome to do), we want to highlight the famous Wanamaker Organ that’s located in the Grand Court of the store.
With more than 28,750 pipes, this is the largest fully functioning pipe organ in the world. It’s also a National Historic Landmark and is estimated to be worth $79 million USD. This massive instrument weighs a ton – 287 tons (260.3 tonnes) to be exact.
There are recitals where shoppers can listen to 45 minutes of music every Monday through Saturday, at 12 pm and 5:30 pm. Oh, did we mention it’s free? I told you we love sharing free things to do.
This organ has consistently been played twice a day, except Sunday, since 1911. Talk about tradition! So after your busy day, take a break at Macy’s to listen to some organ music. You don’t need to stay here long, but it’s a fun way to honor another Philadelphia legacy.
Del Frisco’s (dinner)
After three full days exploring Philadelphia, we think you deserve to treat yourself. So put on your best outfit and head over to Del Frisco’s.
This is a fancy steakhouse, so it’s great for celebrating a special occasion, like the end of an epic trip to Philadelphia!
Del Frisco’s is housed inside a historic landmark that was once the First Pennsylvania Bank. Its impressive architecture will give you something to admire while you order. They kept some of the original decor like the iron gate, the marble columns, and the vault (which is the location of the private dining rooms).
There’s also a large wine tower that covers three levels in the middle of the restaurant which is quite the sight. While this restaurant is known primarily for its steak and seafood, they have also won awards for their wine selection.
You can order a la carte, but they also run dinner-for-two specials (usually during holiday weeks). These are typically a set menu that includes starters, an entree, and a dessert for around $300 USD.
Because this is an upscale steakhouse, we suggest making a reservation. There is also an enforced dress code. But, we made sure to leave plenty of time on your agenda so you don’t have to rush to get ready. This is your last night in Philly after all, and after dinner, there’s just one stop to go!
Related Read: For another luxurious dining experience, we loved this Bateaux Dinner Cruise in NYC!
McGillin’s Old Ale House (night)
After your fancy dinner, let’s finish up this 3-day itinerary by visiting one of the oldest bars in the country, McGillin’s Old Ale House.
McGillin’s is located on the other side of Broad Street, so it’s a short distance from Del Frisco’s. We’re always on the lookout for the best pubs when traveling, so visiting the city’s oldest tavern makes our list of the best things to do in Philadelphia.
This historical taproom has been operating since Lincoln was elected president in 1860! Catherine and William McGillin, admiringly called Ma and Pa, were Irish immigrants who opened the Bell in Hand Tavern which became widely known as McGillin’s by the bar’s regulars. The bar grew to include the space next door and a house upstairs where Ma and Pa raised 13 children.
They survived Prohibition by hiring a chef to prepare food and ice cream to sell. Occasionally tea would be served, which may or may not have contained alcohol inside the cup. Over its 160-year lifespan, McGillin’s has collected signs from local stores that have come and gone, and these signs continue to decorate the pub walls.
On top of being the oldest pub, McGillin’s also claims to be one of the most romantic places in Philadelphia, stating that more couples have met here than anywhere else in the city. So hey, if you’re looking for love, get a drink at McGillin’s.
McGillin’s has been recognized over the years as being one of the best Irish pubs in the country, and it’s a great place to relax, grab a beer, and watch a game. They also have daily specials like $3 USD tacos on Wednesdays and $0.50 USD wings on Tuesdays.
Overall, it’s the perfect place to relax and reminisce about your 3 days in Philly. So grab a beer or two and cheers to a great vacation in this historic city!
Where to Stay in Philadelphia, USA
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, within walking distance of the Liberty Bell and Center 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.
Don’t get Caught without Travel Insurance!
We never travel without travel insurance! We’ve had a few instances during our travels when one of us has ended up in the hospital, and travel insurance has saved us thousands of dollars over the years!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance, we both have policies with them whenever we travel.
They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!)The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!) While most travel insurance companies left people stranded, SafetyWing fully reimbursed us for our last-minute, pricey flights!
Also, because it is so affordable, there really is no excuse not to take out a policy. Check prices and get a quote online here with SafetyWing (you can even take out a policy if you’re already traveling!)
Thanks for reading!
Well, there you have it! A full three days of adventures in Philadelphia. We loved our time here, from the colorful murals and stunning architecture to the city’s lavish history and funky food scene. Philadelphia is a fantastic place full of charm and we hope you have so much fun when you visit!
If you found this 3-day Philadelphia itinerary helpful, we’re so glad! We’ve been all across the USA and Canada, and we love sharing what we’ve learned. There are a few blogs that we think you might enjoy below.