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How to Spend TWO DAYS in Philadelphia: 2-Day Itinerary

How to Spend TWO DAYS in Philadelphia: 2-Day Itinerary

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Philadelphia is one of the most popular cities to visit worldwide, and after our stay, we can see why!

It’s full of history, has a thriving art scene, and is home to some top-notch food including the best Philly cheesesteaks in the country – no surprise there. We fell in love with the culture here, and are already looking forward to our next visit.

There are tons of things to do here from going on food tours to visiting local attractions like the Liberty Bell and Love Park. It can be hard to decide where to begin, and if you only have a couple of days, you’ll want to make the most of it. That’s why we’ve created this blog of our favorite spots to visit if you’ve only got two days in Philly.

Our list includes historical excursions, which bars to check out, and the best sightseeing tours for first-time visitors. We’ve been to all the places below, so you can rest assured that this schedule is totally doable! So, if you’re excited to see all that “The City of Brotherly Love” has to offer, keep reading for our 2-day Philadelphia itinerary.

Don’t have time to read the full article? If you’re only in Philly for two days, you should take full advantage of your time! On day 1, take a historical walking tour, visit the Museum of the American Revolution, and grab a Philly cheesesteak. On day 2, explore Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, sample local bites on a food tour, and drink cocktails at some of the best bars.

Day 1 in Philadelphia

Cafe La Maude (breakfast)

Cafe la Maude meals at brunch
Photo credit: Cafe La Maude
meal at Cafe la Maude
Photo credit: Cafe La Maude

Of course, the best way to start your two-day adventure in Philadelphia is with a hearty meal!

We are still dreaming about our brunch at Cafe La Maude, and it was a perfect start to our morning. They serve French-Lebanese cuisine and have sweet options like Baklawa Pancakes and savory dishes like Shawarma and Brisket Huevos Rancheros (and yes, they are as delicious as they sound).

Having eaten all over the world in famous places like the Chelsea Market in NYC and on a taco tour in Mexico City, we can confidently confirm that Cafe La Maude is well worth your time. Trust us, your stomach will thank you.

If you’re visiting during the winter, the cafe offers a heated patio for guests, which is a nice touch considering just how cold it gets here. I mean, it’s no winter in Edmonton, but as a Canadian, it’s hard to imagine other places being much colder!

As is common among the Philly restaurant scene, there is also an option to BYOB, so you can enjoy a drink (or two) with your brunch. This will help keep prices down if you’re visiting Philadephia on a budget. Just remember that we’ve got a full two days of activities planned, so consume wisely.

Cafe La Maude is located in the Northern Liberties and is open daily from 8 am to 4 pm. They don’t take reservations so we recommend arriving just before they open so you won’t have a long wait. Expect to spend about an hour here, and remember to come hungry!

See the Liberty Bell and tour Independence Hall (morning)

Bailey poses for a photo with liberty bell in Philadelphia on a tour from New York City
The Liberty Bell!
Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, USA
Such a historic bell!

The Liberty Bell

After brunch, it’s a short 5-minute drive to the Liberty Bell.

The Liberty Bell has been a major part of US history since America gained independence from the British in 1776. However, it was created before the revolution in 1751 to mark the 50th anniversary of William Penn’s Charter of Privileges (essentially Pennsylvania’s first constitution).

Known originally as the State House Bell, the Liberty Bell was given its current name in the 1830s during the anti-slavery movement. It was seen as a symbol of equality throughout this important time in history.

For nearly 100 years, this famous bell would mark important occasions like the signing of the US Constitution and the deaths of several leaders such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton (yep, the same guy from the musical).

Surprisingly, no one knows how the bell got its original crack. There are plenty of theories that date back to when the bell first arrived in Philadelphia, but it remains a mystery to this day. We do know that the bell received a damaging blow that severely widened the crack on Presidents Day in 1846 (when it was struck for the final time).

After the final toll, the bell went on tour around the states until 1915 when it was retired to its current position in Liberty Bell Center. This iconic piece of American history is still seen as a symbol of hope and equality and receives over 1 million visitors each year.

The center is open from 9 am to 5 pm, and there is a security checkpoint that everyone must go through. There are only a limited amount of people let in at a time, so we recommend arriving as early as possible. If you can, try to get there a few minutes before they open. That’s what we did and there was almost no wait.

Inside, you’ll find information boards and exhibits with historical facts about the Liberty Bell. You can even get up close and take a pretty cool photo (check out Bailey above!). If you’re traveling from abroad, the center provides documents with information about the Liberty Bell in different languages, and the entire facility is wheelchair accessible as well.

We’ve been on a lot of amazing tours in Philadelphia, and if you’re interested in learning more about different historical sites in the area, we suggest going on this walking tour. Over two hours, you’ll visit famous places like The President’s House and Congress Hall. The guides are all history majors too, so they have a ton of insight into the timeframe around the Revolution.

Every time we visit a new place we always seek out a walking tour because it’s a great way to learn as much as possible in a short amount of time. Plus, the guides are always super interested in teaching you about their city, so they’re very passionate and love answering questions. This tour does leave daily at 11 am and 2 pm, so you may need to switch up your schedule a bit. However, we think it’s a great option for any history-lover or first-time visitor, and you can reserve your spot for just $29 USD here.

Independence Hall

The outside of Independence Hall in Philadelphia
The outside of Independence Hall!
Inside Independence Hall in Philadelphia on a tour from New York City
The inside of Independence Hall!

Across from the Liberty Bell is our next stop – Independence Hall.

This building is the original White House, having housed the three branches of the colonial government back in the day. It’s also where the Declaration of Independence was signed, so it’s a pretty big deal in American history.

Unlike visiting the Liberty Bell, visiting Independence Hall requires going on a guided tour. These tours are quick, usually lasting less than 30 minutes, so it’s really easy to add to your morning agenda. It was pretty fascinating to learn about how the American government came to be, and we ended up enjoying this short tour more than we thought we would.

We’ve visited other historical areas in the US like Georgetown in Washington, DC, and New York City. It’s always interesting to learn about the origin stories of these pivotal places, and it really adds a layer of appreciation that you can’t get anywhere else.

The best part is these tours are nearly free to enter. You just have to pay a $1 USD administrative fee. We recommend booking this tour online the night before you plan to visit. Tickets go on sale after 5 pm the day before, and there are time slots so you can choose what works best for your schedule.

If you don’t pre-book your tickets, you will need to go to the Visitor Center located across from Independence Hall, and there is a security checkpoint screening as well. Independence Hall is open from 9 am to 5 pm every day of the week, and we recommend arriving around 30 minutes before your tour time to avoid any issues.

The only exception is if you’re visiting in January or February when these tours are open to the public without the need to pre-book. However, this excludes holidays. Also, you should keep in mind that there might be a longer wait during these free months, so bring a warm coat so you don’t freeze!

Elfreth’s Alley and Museum (morning)

Bailey walks through Elfreth's Alley and Museum in Philadelphia, USA
Elfreth’s Alley and Museum in Philadelphia, USA
A cute door at Elfreth's Alley and Museum in Philadelphia, USA
So cute!

Just a short 5-minute drive from Independence Hall is one of the oldest residential streets in the country known as Elfreth’s Alley.

Back in the 18th century, Philadelphia was booming and quickly becoming overcrowded, especially near the ports. Tradesmen needed quicker routes to get to the river, so a few landowners created paths between their properties as a means of travel. This particular path became known as Elfreth’s Alley, named after the blacksmith and land developer, Jeremiah Elfreth.

During the early to mid-1900s, a resident by the name of Dolly Ottey fought alongside her neighbors to ensure this neighborhood would be preserved as a colonial street. Their combined efforts led to the creation of the Elfreth’s Alley Association (EAA) in 1934, and in the 1960s the EAA recognized this alley as a National Historic Landmark.

The houses lining this street were all built between 1720 and 1836, and the coolest part is they are still in use! Walking down this alley is like walking back in time, and it’s just a beautiful place to see in person.

The only houses not lived in are #124 and #126, which operate as the Elfreth’s Alley Museum between April to November. They are open from 12 pm to 4 pm Friday through Sunday, and we encourage you to stop by if you’re visiting during this time. Tickets are just $3 USD on their website, and all proceeds go towards preserving the alley. You can also purchase tickets directly at the museum during open hours.

If you’re visiting outside of the museum season, it’s still worth taking a stroll down Elfreth’s Alley. You can visit any time of day since it’s a public street, and it’s a great place to take photos. It’s clear how much love goes into this charming neighborhood, and it’s another reminder of how the city commemorates its working-class heroes.

Rittenhouse Square and eat at Parc (lunch)

meal at Parc in Philadelphia
Bailey enjoys a coffee at Parc in Philadelphia, USA
Just people-watching!

After your walk back in time, we think you deserve a little break.

Hop in the car for another 5 minutes and head to one of our favorite parks in Philly, Rittenhouse Square. It’s a beautiful spot to sit and get some fresh air.

While it might not be as well known as Central Park, Rittenhouse Square has plenty of charm and is actually the 4th oldest park in the country. There are garden beds, statues, a fountain, and benches so you can enjoy the lush green scenery all around you.

The park occasionally hosts crafts shows and free activities, so you might get lucky and experience these events during your visit. You can always check their website to see what they have in store, but we will say these tend to occur more during the warmer months.

Located across the street from Rittenhouse Square is a lovely French restaurant called Parc. This charming bistro has embraced the Parisian design from its delicious menu to its quaint decor, and they offer outside seating so you can people-watch while enjoying your meal.

We loved our lunch here, and it was surprisingly well-priced. They have classics like Onion Soup Gratinée and Quiche Lorraine, and plenty of sandwiches and salads as well. We got the Smoked Salmon Tartine sandwich and the Pasta Jardiniére, and they were both soooo fresh and delicious!

Related Read: If you’re traveling around this side of the country, you might enjoy a river cruise in Washington, DC. They’ve got options like educational cruises, party boats, and everything in between!

Explore the Museum of the American Revolution (afternoon)

Bailey dressed up at the Revolution Museum in Philadelphia
I got dressed up!
A man on a horse on display at American Revolution Museum, Philadelphia, USA
One of the displays!

With only two days in Phily, it can be overwhelming to decide which museum to visit. Not to worry! After going to a fair amount, our suggestion is to spend a few hours of your afternoon at the Museum of the American Revolution.

So, after a relaxing lunch with park views, it’s time to head to this museum! Luckily, it’ll only take around 10 minutes by car.

The Museum of the American Revolution is a newer museum that opened in 2017, but its modern design doesn’t detract from its historical storytelling.

This museum tells the tale of how America overcame British rule and achieved its independence. It has multiple floors, but we suggest starting on the second one. This level shows the events before, during, and after the Revolutionary War in chronological order so it’s great for visual learners (like myself!).

There are artifacts like weapons, diaries, art pieces, hand-written letters, and even George Washington’s headquarters tent during the war. There’s also a short film showing Washington’s rise in power from a military general to becoming the first president of the United States.

We love how interactive this museum is. From the life-size mannequins to the immersive exhibits, it’s a fun place for both kids and adults. If you are traveling with little ones, make sure to stop at Revolution Place on the lower level. It’s like a hands-on discovery zone where kids can have fun while learning about life in the 1700s. It’s open daily during the summer, but only on weekends from 11 am to 4 pm the remainder of the year.

Word to the wise: This museum gets absolutely packed! To avoid getting turned away or standing in line for hours, we recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time. Tickets are just $24 USD per person, and when you purchase on Viator, you’ll have the option to add on an audio tour available in English, Spanish, and French for just $5 USD more. You’ll be able to choose which time slot works best for you so you can easily plan out the rest of your day.

Display at American Revolution Museum in Philadelphia, USA
It’s very interactive and kids will love it!

Also, if you don’t get to see everything you wanted on day one, no worries! You can come back and explore the next day for no additional charge since the ticket is valid for two consecutive days. Quite the perk if you ask us!

The Museum of the American Revolution is open from 10 am to 5 pm every day. Even if you only have one day in Philadelphia, we recommend coming here. It’s perfect for first-time visitors, history buffs, and families.

If you want to learn as much as possible while touring the museum, we think you’ll love this early entry tour. This includes 1 hour of in-depth facts about life in the period surrounding the Revolutionary War from an expert guide. You’ll be able to ask questions and get real-time feedback. It’s kind of like a history course, but I doubt you’ll get any class credit… sorry!

Tours are only available Friday to Sunday at 9 am, so keep that in mind before booking since you’ll need to alter your schedule a bit. This tour is $50 USD and it’s a small group of up to 14 people, so it’s a nice way to avoid the huge crowds and get some inside information. If this sounds like your cup of tea, you can book your VIP museum tour tickets right here.

See the Rocky Steps and Statue (afternoon)

Bailey poses like Rocky at the top of the Rocky steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Bailey and Daniel pose for a photo with he Rocky Statue in Philadelphia
A classic!

It’s time to hop in the car and drive about 15 minutes northwest until you reach the ever-popular Rocky Steps.

You’ll only need about 10 minutes here, but it’s an iconic part of Philly and a must for first-time visitors, even if you haven’t seen the Rocky movies.

Technically, these steps are the Philadelphia Museum of Art Steps, but many call them the Rocky Steps instead. You’ll often see tourists doing their best impression of Rocky Balboa running to the top, holding their fists high, and maybe even chanting a lyric from The Eye of the Tiger. If you can’t tell from the photo above, we were these tourists, and we regret nothing.

There’s even a statue of Rocky at the bottom of the steps, so you’ll have plenty of epic photo opportunities during your quick stop here.

The steps are free to visit, and in a big city, you know we’re going to take advantage of as many free things as possible.

If you want to see even more movie and TV locations around Philly, we suggest going on this private walking tour. Your guide will show you around the city, showing filming locations of movies like The Happening and National Treasure. You’ll also learn some fun facts about Philly (say that five times fast) while you’re on the tour, so it’s a good mix of historical and cinematic information.

Since this is a private tour, you’ll be able to choose your preferred time after booking, and the tour lasts around 2 hours. Tickets are $70 USD per person, and you can experience this private walking tour by clicking here.

Head to Gino’s or Pat’s for a Philly cheesesteak (dinner)

Daniel out the front of Pats steaks during our segway food tour in Philadelphia, USA
Pat’s is the home of the Philly cheesesteak!
Bailey bites into a Philly Cheese Steak during a food tour in Philadelphia

After doing your best Rocky impersonation, it’s time for dinner!

Another 15-minute drive will take you south of the city center, where you’ll get to try an authentic Philly cheesesteak. For curious minds, a Philly cheesesteak is a big hoagie roll, filled with thin slices of beefsteak, melted cheese (although cheese wasn’t added until the 1940s), and occasionally additional toppings. The cheesesteak is to Philly, as a slice of pizza is to New York, and eating a Philly cheesesteak is almost like a right of passage.

After our stay in Philadelphia, we found some of the best spots to get a Philly cheesesteak. However, we’re only going to touch on two of these places below. Otherwise, you might get some serious analysis paralysis!

Head to Pat’s King of Steaks if you want to try the original Philly cheesesteak. Located in South Philly, Pat’s has been open since 1930, and they pride themselves on inventing this iconic dish. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so it’s easy to add this stop to your agenda.

Located just 200 feet (61 meters) away is Geno’s Steaks, which is also open 24/7. While Geno’s might not hold the title of being the original cheesesteak inventor, they claim to be the best. If it’s not apparent, these two shops are sworn enemies.

Whether the rivalry is legitimate or just for show, well, we’ll leave that up to you to decide. Either way, both places have yummy food and offer a classic Philly cheesesteak experience. However, there are a few things you need to know before you go.

There will be a line at both locations, but the line moves quickly. This is a fast-paced environment, so look at the menu and make sure you know what you want to order. If you dilly-dally at the window, they will send you to the back of the line (seriously). Make sure to specify if you want onions, what type of cheese, and any additional toppings, and have your money ready so you can start enjoying your meal as soon as possible.

Philly cheesesteaks usually cost between $12-$16 USD, and they are filling! They might not be the healthiest option, but with all that walking around you’ll be doing, we think you deserve it. They are all over the city, so if you can’t make it to Pat’s or Geno’s, chances are there’s a food stand nearby where you can pick one up.

Alternatively, you can take a tour of Philadelphia that includes both sightseeing and cheesesteaks. We like this night tour, which takes you to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Love Park, and the Rocky Statue among other sites. If you want to save time or missed some of these famous landmarks during the day, here’s another chance to visit them! Of course, you’ll also stop by Pat’s to try a Philly cheesesteak, which is included in the price.

The experience starts at 6:30 pm and lasts 3 hours. You can book this tour for $114 USD a person, and it’s a great way to complete your first day in Philly! But get a good night’s rest afterward because we have another fun-filled day ahead.

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.

Day 2 in Philadelphia

Green Eggs Café (breakfast)

banana french toast stacked with ice cream from Green Eggs Cafe
How delicious?! Photo Credit: Green Eggs Café
a red cake pastry stacked with fruit and cream on the patio at Green Eggs Cafe
It looks almost too good to eat! Photo Credit: Green Eggs Café

Welcome to day 2 of our fun Philly adventure! But before we hit the town, let’s get something to eat.

For a quick and delicious brunch, we recommend eating at Green Eggs Café.

This cafe is nothing short of adorable, and they have a big menu with HUGE portions, so it’s great for sharing. We recommend ordering The Kitchen Sink and you can’t go wrong with any of their Benedict options either. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, try the Apple Pie French Toast (it’s so yummy). There’s also a good selection of coffee and cocktails, so feel free to start your day with a Megamosa if you want – you’re on vacation after all!

We also loved the cheery atmosphere here. Even though they were super busy, the staff were so friendly and really helped make this a memorable experience.

Green Eggs Café is open from 9 am to 3 pm during the week and stays open until 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday. We arrived right as they opened and there was already a line forming. Luckily it was a short wait, but we recommend getting here a few minutes before 9 am because the line was even longer when we left. Prices are very reasonable and you’ll spend between $20-$30 USD per meal, but honestly, the portions are so large that you can probably share a dish and still be full.

Another thing worth noting is that this restaurant is cash only, but if you don’t have any money on hand, they have an ATM inside. There are multiple locations around Philly, but we went to the one in Midtown Village near City Hall, which just so happens to be our next stop.

Visit City Hall and Love Park (morning)

The William Penn statue on top of City Hall in Philadelphia, USA
The William Penn statue on top of City Hall in Philadelphia, USA
City Hall in Philadelphia sits in the distance with the famous statue on top
City Hall is stunning!

After a filling brunch, it’s a very short drive to get to City Hall. Or, if you’re trying to get your steps in, it should take about 8 minutes to walk there.

Another stunning piece of historical architecture is Philadelphia City Hall. It took over 30 years to construct and was finally finished in 1901. For decades it was the tallest building in the city at 548 feet (167 meters), with a statue of Pennsylvania’s founder, William Penn, displayed on top.

But that record was overtaken by One Liberty Place in 1986, meaning William Penn was no longer the tallest point on the Philly skyline, which many people believed cursed Philadelphia’s sports teams. Fortunately, the “curse of Billy Penn” was lifted in 2008 when the Phillies won the World Series.

While City Hall is no longer the tallest building in Philly, the 37-foot (11.2-meter) statue of William Penn still holds the record for being the tallest statue on top of a building in the world.

Philadelphia City Hall is the seat of the municipal government and houses more than 250 sculptures as well, so it’s a must-see for anyone who loves history or art. This iconic building has also been featured in films like Limitless and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

You’re free to explore City Hall’s exterior grounds on your own, but if you want to get inside, you’ll have to sign up for a tour. You can book them through the Visitor Center’s website and tours typically last around 2 hours. They generally let you book up to a couple of weeks in advance.

This guided tour visits rooms like the City Council Caucus Room and explores the outdoor areas to discuss the art, architecture, and history of this building. It also includes the Tower Tour which is bookable on its own as well.

The City Hall Tower tour includes a ride on a 100-year-old elevator to get to the top of the building, located just underneath the William Penn statue. Here, you’ll get panoramic views of the city from an observation deck, and even get small glimpses of the bronze statue through slats in the ceiling. After visiting the best observation decks in NYC, we can attest to how amazing the views are, so we’re always looking for these sightseeing opportunities in a new city.

The elevator is small, so only 4 people can use it at a time, making it quite a unique experience. It’s also worth noting that since the elevator is old, there are times when the Tower tour is unavailable due to maintenance.

The 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.

Bailey poses for a photo with the Love Park sign at Love Park in Philadelphia
Bailey poses for a photo with the Love sign at Love Park in Philadelphia

After you visit City Hall, we recommend taking a short walk over to Love Park.

It’s a quick stop, but we loved taking a photo under the cute Love sign. Since it’s so close to City Hall, it’s super easy to fit into your plans.

Also, it’s a pretty iconic Philly thing to do – so we say take the selfie! Or better yet, ask a polite stranger to take the photo so you can get the whole sign in the picture.

You might even get lucky and stumble across a fun event in the plaza. There are food trucks and pop-ups nearby, and if you’re hearing wedding bells, that’s because you can get married at Love Park for cheap on Wedding Wednesdays!

See Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (morning)

Bailey walks through Philadelphia's Magic Gardens in Philadelphia, USA
Bailey walks through Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
A statue at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens in Philadelphia, USA
So cool!

If you’re looking for a fun way to round out your morning, we loved walking around Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. It’s about a 5-minute drive from Love Park, so it’s super convenient to get to.

Located on South Street, this multi-tiered indoor-outdoor space is a testament to the importance of celebrating local art in the community. Before Isaiah Zagar created the Philadelphia Magic Gardens (PMG), this area was a collection of run-down abandoned lots. He used mixed-media and mosaics to create sculptures and colorful displays out of discarded objects like tiles, bottles, bike tires, and mirrors.

His objective was to tell his life story through art, all while beautifying this forgotten space. Having fought many battles with land owners and investors, community members came to Zagar’s aid and supported his vision, effectively turning his artwork into a protected zone so it couldn’t be demolished.

In 2008, PMG was officially opened to the public and now operates as a nonprofit organization that supports local artists by providing workshops, concerts, and other interactive experiences for the community.

You won’t need too much time here, but it’s worth checking out. Walking around this place is like a feast for the eyes because there are so many fun, quirky things to see. This is definitely the place to take some unique photos for everyone who’s following your social media back home. Plus, you’ll be supporting PMG’s vision of connecting people through art.

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens are open from 11 am to 6 pm daily, except Tuesdays. This is another popular place for tourists and locals, so we recommend booking tickets beforehand on PMG’s website. Tickets are only $15 USD for adults, and you can purchase them up to a month in advance. We got our tickets the night before without issue, but they do get busier on holidays and weekends.

With over 3,800 murals throughout this city, the art scene in Philly is next level. If you want a closer look at some of these pieces, we suggest taking this South Philly art tour. This is a walking tour in Philly that includes two hours of visiting public works of art, led by a really friendly guide who does a great job of connecting the meaning behind the art with the city’s historical background. You’ll also get to pop into local shops and the whole experience is just a fun way to feel embraced in the South Philly art culture.

The last stop is at PMG, so you’ll still get to experience this space as well (entry is included). Tours are usually no more than 12 people, so this is another good idea for anyone looking to avoid the crowds. Tours run Wednesday through Sunday and start at 2 pm, so you might need to rearrange today’s schedule if you choose to do this tour. You can purchase tickets for $49 USD here, and a percentage will go to local artisan organizations.

Related Read: For another unique adventure, check out our favorite helicopter tours over Manhattan. It could be a great way to celebrate a special occasion!

Go on a food tour (afternoon)

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie with their fresh pretzels during a food tour in Philadelphia, USA
Fresh pretzels!
Bailey bites into a doughnut during our food tour in Philadelphia

After a jam-packed morning filled with sightseeing, we think you should take advantage of the epic cuisine here by going on a food tour in Philadelphia.

We’ve been all over the world enjoying food tours in Toronto and Lima, Peru, and it is truly one of the best ways to experience the culture first-hand. We knew we wanted to try all the local favorites so we joined this Flavors of Philly food tour during our stay.

Other than the aforementioned cheesesteak, Philly is also known for their Cheese Whiz fries, tomato pie (which is surprisingly delicious), desserts, and soft pretzels. Fun fact: Philadelphians consume 12 times as many pretzels than the average American each year.

We had a blast on this tour and it was a great way to try some staples. Just look how happy we are with our pretzels in the photo above! Tours start at Liberty Place, which is just a 10-minute drive from the Magic Gardens. We ended the tour at Reading Terminal Market, which is a foodie paradise and worth a visit. Our guide was really funny too, so all in all, this was a great experience that we’d recommend over and over.

The same food tour we did is available every day and starts around 12 pm or 1:30 pm. It costs $65-$75 USD per person, lasts about 2.5 hours, and includes all your food! It’s well worth it in our opinion and after all that walking around in the morning, you’ll probably have quite the appetite by the afternoon. You can reserve this Philly food tour right here.

McGillin’s Old Ale House (afternoon)

The front of McGillin's Olde Ale House in Philadelphia
The stories these walls could tell!
A beer at the bar of McGillin's Olde Ale House in Philadelphia
We sat at the bar!

We’re always on the lookout for unique bars when we’re traveling, and Philly is home to one of the oldest taverns in the country, McGillin’s Old Ale House. If you love history and craft beer like we do, this is an essential thing to do in Philly!

From the Reading Terminal Market, it’s about a 5-minute drive to get to McGillin’s. This pub has been operating since 1860 which just so happens to be the year Abraham Lincoln was elected president, so it’s definitely earned its keep.

It was started by two Irish immigrants, Catherine and William McGillin, who raised their 13 children in the rooms upstairs. Over its lifespan, this bar survived huge events like the Prohibition, the Great Depression, and the COVID-19 pandemic and has adorned its walls with a collection of signs from Philly stores that have since closed like Woolworth and J.E. Caldwell.

Other than being Philadelphia’s oldest bar, McGillin’s has also been recognized as being one of the best Irish pubs in the country, and claims that more couples have met here than anywhere else in the city. In 2020, 3 couples got engaged here on Leap Day alone!

McGillin’s is a super relaxed place to grab a drink and watch the game, and heck, maybe even meet your soulmate. Prices are very reasonable and they have daily specials like $4 USD pints of McGillin’s 1860 IPA on Mondays and $3 USD tacos on Wednesdays. It’s open daily from 11 am – 2 am, so you should have no issues popping by for a pint!

Night ghost/adult tour (night)

Our guide of our Dark Side of Philly tour talks to our tour group
This was a fun tour!
A statue at Washington Square at night on a tour in Philadelphia
Learn about the dark side of Philly!

Another 5 minutes up the road is the meeting place for our next adventure – an adult-only ghost tour.

We were surprised to learn how dark Philadelphia’s history really is, but this tour ended up being both educational and hilarious. This is exactly why it’s one of the best night tours in Philadelphia!

Our guide was amazing, and her comedic timing was incredible. She told us stories about ghosts, vampires, and even pirates, none of which were on our bingo card for Philadelphia history. Go figure!

We visited areas that were used as execution sites and the original red light district. We also heard about people seeing images of ghosts and visions among other haunted tales.

It ended up being a super fun addition to our night, and we’re so glad we went. We even wrote a full review of the Dark Philly Adult Night Tour here!

This tour runs from 8 pm – 10 pm and costs between $38 and $48 USD depending on the day you go. It’s a great option if you’re visiting in the summer since you’ll avoid the heat, but it also runs during the winter, so bundle up! It ends at the Merchant Exchange Building, which is super convenient for our next activity – going for cocktails!

If you want to learn about Philly’s dark side, you can sign up for this Philadelphia night tour right here.

Related Read: If you’re visiting the East Coast, we’ve got a list of some of the best things to do in New York City during the summer. From tours to baseball games, there’s something for everyone!

Go for cocktails (night)

Bailey at Sassafras in Philadelphia, USA
Bailey at Sassafras in Philadelphia, USA
Two cocktails at Sassafras in Philadelphia, USA
Two cocktails at Sassafras in Philadelphia, USA

We can’t think of a better way to end our stay than by kicking up our feet and enjoying a drink at one of Philly’s renowned cocktail bars.

Down the street from the ghost tour, is our favorite bar, Sassafras. This cozy neighborhood bar is a local favorite in Old City, and it features a big cocktail menu as well. They have classics like the Margarita and specials like a Sassafras Gimlet and a French Drip Cocktail which contains absinthe. We really enjoyed Sassafras and are looking forward to our next visit.

If you’re searching for other bars in Old City, we recommend Cuba Libre and Vista Peru, which are just a few doors down from Sassafras. Both have decor to match their respective titles, and a nice bar where you can toast to your travels.

Another favorite of ours is the Ranstead Room. This speakeasy keeps the tradition alive and is only recognizable by the “RR” written above a black door on Ranstead Street. This location is a 15-minute drive from the Merchant Exchange Building where the ghost tours ends. There’s also a strict one-in, one-out policy, so you might have a wait, but we promise it’s worth it!

Just around the corner is 1 Tippling Place, another classy joint with a vintage vibe. However, it’s usually easier to get into so it’s a solid option if the wait at the Ranstead Room is too long.

If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind cocktails, head over to Andra Hem on 16th Street. This innovative cocktail bar has a luxurious, Scandinavian-inspired interior, and includes drinks with unique ingredients like horseradish coconut cream and beet-infused mezcal. They have classic cocktails as well, so you’ll be able to choose your favorites if you’re not ready to leave your comfort zone.

If you want to try a variety of Philly’s best bars, then hey, we like your style! This walking tour will take you to some of the top cocktail bars in the city. You’ll visit 4 or 5 secret bars that are often only locally known, so it’s a great way to meet new people and try out places that are off the beaten path.

Tours are offered Thursday to Saturday nights and start at 7 pm, so you’ll have to choose between this or the ghost tour (or turn your 2-day trip into a 3-day Philadelphia adventure!). The tour costs $35 USD, which includes skip-the-line entry and a complimentary tequila shot. All other drinks are at your own expense, and you’ll spend around 30 minutes at each location. If you’re ready for a night on the town at Philly’s best-kept secret bars, you can book this cocktail bar walking tour here.

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, 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.

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 take a selfie at th American Revolution Museum in Philadelphia, USA
Thanks for reading!

If you made it this far, we just want to say thank you for reading our blog. Philly is such a fun, historical city, filled with tons of things to do. And if you’ve got two days to spend here, we hope this itinerary proves useful! We loved our time in this city and we’re happy to help you plan your own Philadelphia adventure.

If you enjoyed this blog, we hope you’ll read some of our others. We’ve detailed our adventures across the United States as well as Canada and Mexico. We’ve linked to a few articles below that we think might come in handy.

10 BEST Sightseeing Tours in New York City

How to Spend 2 Days in Toronto – For First Timers

The BEST 2 Days in Washington, DC: A 2-Day Itinerary

BEST New York City Attraction Pass – Comparison of the Best NYC Passes