Philadelphia Culture & history

Our most recommended Philadelphia Culture & history

Philadelphia: Museum of Illusions Timed Entrance Ticket

1. Philadelphia: Museum of Illusions Timed Entrance Ticket

Experience the impossible with an entry ticket to the Museum of Illusions Philadelphia. Immerse yourself in a world where your eyes will be in a constant battle with your brain. Located in the heart of Philadelphia, this brain-boggling museum is a one-of-a-kind destination for optical illusions.  Challenge yourself in more than 60 visual and educational exhibits featuring holograms, stereograms, optical illusions, and immersive rooms designed to tease the senses and trick the mind. Defy gravity, grow and shrink, walk on the ceiling, experience infinite space, and much more. Spend some time in the Smart Playroom with games that will stimulate and challenge your mind. Enjoy some friendly competition with friends and family while simultaneously improving your cognition, problem-solving skills, and memory.  Have fun while learning the mechanics behind each and every illusion you experience. And don't forget your camera or smartphone when you visit as there are eye-fooling photo-ops around every corner.

Philadelphia: Eastern State Penitentiary Admission

2. Philadelphia: Eastern State Penitentiary Admission

Discover the historic building of the Eastern State Penitentiary which stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Learn about how when Eastern State opened more than 180 years ago, it changed the world of prisons and was copied throughout the world. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world's first true "penitentiary," a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of prisoners. Discover how the building itself was an architectural wonder; it had running water and central heat before the White House. Marvel at the vaulted, sky-lit cells which once held many of America's most notorious criminals, including bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton and Al Capone. As you explore the building, listen to 'The Voices of Eastern State' audio tour which is included in your admission price. Narrated by actor Steve Buscemi (known for Boardwalk Empire, Fargo, Armageddon, and Ghost World), this rich, stereo soundscape mixes dozens of voices. Hear the stories of 3 former wardens and 25 guards and inmates which create an atmospheric tour as you stroll through Eastern State's cellblocks and yards. When you arrive, receive an MP3 player and headset that will guide you through the penitentiary complex and explain the prison's history. This audio guide contains a main audio route, plus additional stops for subjects like escapes, riots, sports, sexuality, and more. You are free to tour at your own pace and to listen to (or skip) stops based on your interests. Also discover interactive experiences, history exhibits, and a critically acclaimed series of artist installations.

From New York City: Washington and Philadelphia 1-Day Tour

3. From New York City: Washington and Philadelphia 1-Day Tour

Learn about American history on a tour of Washington DC and Philadelphia, both of which played important roles in the development of democracy in the USA. Visit the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall, Independence Hall, and more on a guided day trip with roundtrip transfers from NYC. Your day will begin with an early morning departure from Times Square in Manhattan, where you’ll be greeted by your bilingual tour guide for the day. After 4-5 hours, your first destination will be the nation's current capital, Washington, DC. Once there, visit the Iwo Jima Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. During the tour, stop for a classic outside view of the White House, home and office of the U.S. President, and the Capitol Building, home of the U.S. Congress. Your visit to Washington concludes with free time for lunch on your own. Your next destination, after a 3-hour journey, will be the first-ever U.S. capital, Philadelphia, PA. Visit its historic Old City neighborhood and the Independence National Historical Park where your guide will lead you on a brief walking tour. Then, ascend to the top of the Rocky Steps before returning to Times Square in Manhattan.

Philadelphia: Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour of Historic Old City

4. Philadelphia: Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour of Historic Old City

Enjoy this private carriage ride through the tree-lined streets of Philadelphia’s Independence National Historic Park, Society Hill, and Old City. Your personal guide will whisk you away on a leisurely ride through historic Philadelphia giving you entertaining insights on the City of Brotherly Love's past and present. Choose the daytime option for picture-perfect views of all the sights or the night option to take in the illuminations when the crowds are gone.

Washington, DC: Full-Day Tour with a Scenic River Cruise

5. Washington, DC: Full-Day Tour with a Scenic River Cruise

Discover all the delights of Washington DC with this day-tour around the city, hitting hotspots such as the White House, the U.S. Capitol Building, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Board your glamourous, climate-controlled, panoramic bus at the U.S. Navy Memorial. Head to all the major highlights of regular sightseeing tours and enjoy a lunch break and an opportunity to travel through the Tidal Basin. Learn about some of the most fascinating landmarks in the USA, including the White House, U.S. Capitol Building, and National Archives, plus breathtaking memorials of Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Roosevelt. After lunch, summer brings the opportunity for a boat ride through Georgetown and the DC Waterfront. In winter, this Washington bus tour culminates with a visit to the Pentagon and several more fascinating war memorials. During your tour learn from your live tour guide who hops off the bus with you to ensure you receive an intimate and personalized experience of each attraction.  Your guide will educate you on the important details of each monument. From March through September, take in the fresh air on a scenic 1-hour cruise along the Potomac River. The full itinerary of this tour includes: • Jefferson Memorial • U.S. Capitol Building • FDR Memorial • World War II Memorial • Iwo Jima Memorial • Vietnam Memorial • Martin Luther King Memorial • Lincoln Memorial • White House • Korean War Memorial

Philadelphia: Museum of the American Revolution Entry

6. Philadelphia: Museum of the American Revolution Entry

Discover the dramatic story of the American Revolution at one of Philadelphia’s lead attractions. Step into the Museum of the American Revolution, then watch an introductory movie before making your own way through the exhibitions. Marvel at the museum’s vast collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, documents, and works of art that bring history back to life. Learn about this fascinating period of time as you explore immersive galleries, engage in powerful theater experiences, and take part in interactive features. Located just steps from the famous Independence Hall, the museum serves as a portal to the region’s Revolutionary history, which sparks interest, provides context, and encourages exploration. Printed museum guides are available in English, Spanish, French, German, Mandarin and Japanese, to elevate your learning experience.

Philadelphia: Founding Fathers Historical Walking Tour

7. Philadelphia: Founding Fathers Historical Walking Tour

Explore the oldest districts in Philadelphia on a guided historical walking tour focusing on the Founding Fathers of the United States. Stop outside historic sites such as the Betsy Ross House, the former home of Benjamin Franklin, and Independence Hall. Start your tour with your local guide with a stop outside the Betsy Ross House. Learn more about how the first American flag was sewn at this location. Stroll to the Old District of Philadelphia and see some of the homes of the oldest continuously inhabited residential street in the USA. Learn more about the famous historical figures who once lived in the area, including where William Penn and the Quakers first settled. Then, visit Christ Church where many of the Founding Fathers worshipped. Then, see the previous home of Benjamin Franklin in the Historic District. Next, explore Independence Mall, a three-block section of the Independence National Historic Park. Follow your guide across the mall and visit the President’s House, once home to George Washington and John Adams when Philadelphia served as the nation's capital city.  Discover more about William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania during your visit to Washington Square. Take a moment outside the monument Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution dedicated to those who perished during the fight for independence, but remains have never been identified. Don’t forget to snap a picture of Independence Hall, where the deceleration of Independence and the US Constitution was signed. The tour will end in the Old City, where you’ll get to rest your legs and enjoy a refreshing cold beverage in a local brewpub. 

Philadelphia: Valley Forge National Historical Park Tour

8. Philadelphia: Valley Forge National Historical Park Tour

Join a half-day excursion into the countryside of Philadelphia to visit the exciting Valley Forge National Historical Park. Travel back in time to the American Revolution through the variety of objects displayed and visit important war memorial sites. Board your vehicle in Philadelphia and head towards one of the most significant sites of the American Revolutionary War. Your guide will tell you stories of the Continental Army preparing for war, then stop at the Muhlenberg Brigade Huts to give you an idea of the conditions in the encampment. Your visit to the park might include a stop at the Valley Forge Visitor Center, displaying historic objects and artifacts, and Washington’s Headquarters along the Schuylkill River. Walk through some interesting sites, like the National Memorial Arch and the gothic-style Washington Memorial Chapel.

From New York City: 5-Day Tour w/Niagara Falls & White House

9. From New York City: 5-Day Tour w/Niagara Falls & White House

Embark on a 5-day trip to Niagara Falls, Toronto, the 1000 Islands, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and the Amish Country in Lancaster from New York City. Witness the magnificent Niagara Falls, visit the Arlington National Cemetery, and enjoy the convenience of included accommodation and entry tickets. Day 1: NEW YORK – FINGER LAKES – NIAGARA FALLS Depart from the Big Apple heading north where you will pass the beautiful Delaware Water Gap to Watkins Glen State Park in the heart of the Finger Lakes region. Walk through Watkins Glen Canyon to visit the beautiful waterfalls and then continue to Niagara Falls passing Seneca Lake, arriving in the late afternoon. Tour the US side of Niagara including the American Falls, Goat Island, and Luna Island. Experience the power of Niagara aboard the Maid of the Mist. At night, you can appreciate the colorful lighting of the waters. Stay at the Ramada by Wyndham. Day 2: NIAGARA FALLS – TORONTO – 1000 ISLANDS Start with the magnificent Horseshoe Falls view followed by the visit to the picturesque village of Niagara on The Lake. Continue to Toronto, the financial capital of Canada. Visit the HTO Park, Brookfield Place — home of the Hockey Hall of Fame — City Hall, and The Distillery Historic District. Towards the evening, depart Toronto east along the world-famous Lake Ontario for an evening arrival to the 1000 Islands area (in April, based on weather conditions the tour may return to Niagara Falls for overnight). Stay overnight at Gananoque – Comfort Inn (April, Niagara Falls – Ramada by Wyndham). Day 3: 1000 ISLANDS – NEW YORK Start the day with a cruise through the amazing 1000 Islands along the St. Laurence River. See the houses of the rich and famous built atop private islands — such as Boldt Castle and Heart Island. Enjoy a shopping excursion at one of the large outlet malls along the way. Arrive at your hotel in New Jersey at the La Quinta Inn and Suites. Day 4: NEW JERSEY – PHILADELPHIA – WASHINGTON DC Depart from New Jersey to Pennsylvania and to the city of brotherly love Philadelphia. Visit the famous Liberty Bell, Constitution square, and Congress Hall. Continue on a panoramic tour of Philadelphia that includes the financial district, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Historic Philadelphia, and more. See the famous “Rocky Steps” and then continue to Lancaster county home of the Amish people. Enjoy an authentic Amish Buggy ride through the Amish farm country. In the late afternoon, depart east for an evening arrival in Washington DC where you will stay at the Fairfield Inn and Suites Alexandria. Day 5: WASHINGTON DC – NEW YORK Start the day with a visit to Thomas Jefferson Memorial, by the Tidal Basin, surrounded by famous Japanese cherry blossom trees. Visit the Arlington National Cemetery, the Changing of the Guard, and the Kennedy family gravesite. The next stop is Capitol Hill. See the US Capitol and the White House to understand the core of the US government. Continue to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (while the Air and Space Museum is closed due to renovations) before visiting the Lincoln, Korea, and Vietnam Memorials. In the late afternoon, depart for an evening arrival in New York.

Philadelphia: Grim, Dark, and Twisted History Tour

10. Philadelphia: Grim, Dark, and Twisted History Tour

Experience the grim history of Philadelphia on this urban adventure beginning at the sites where the seeds of political change were sown. Descend into the sites of former brothels, mass burial grounds, and polluted prisons, stepping on salvaged streets where pirates roamed freely with the founding fathers. Historian and professor Joe Wojie or one of his expert guides will lead you on a tour that explores the grim realities of colonial America and the legends and traditions they inspired. From the home of Dolly Madison to the sights of Helltown - murder, mayhem, and madness are in the roots of this city. This tour was researched and designed by university professor Joe Wojie to stand apart from every other day or night tour offered in Philadelphia with its originality and dark flavor. The 8 PM tour is geared more towards an adult audience, while families and children can enjoy a fun way to learn about Philly's secret past during the earlier tour departures.

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What people are saying about Philadelphia

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 386 reviews

Our buggy driver (Mike) did an excellent job of providing lots of very interesting historical information on old Philadelphia. I suggest you take the buggy tour first to get an overall view of colonial Philadelphia, then go back and visit some of the places you saw during the buggy ride to get a deeper understanding of the role the place had in our early history.

D (SP?) did an outstanding job of ensuring we had a great 1hr tour of down town Philly. I really liked this companies' communication radios that were provided to each person so they could hear the guide during the tour. It really kept me engaged. I also appreciate D taking pictures throughout the tour, it kept Safety as the priority while on the busy streets.

We had a blast! "Sarge" was super supportive and patient throughout the learning phase and kept supporting when we went out to the street. He is full of Philadelphia's stories and fun facts and you can feel his passion to his city and job. If it is your first time in the city, Sarge is your man and if its your second third or whatever he still is.

Alicia/ Alice was our guide and Gustov our driver - both wonderful people and very good at their jobs, everything ran on time and smoothly. The trip is a good way to see Washington DC and Philadelphia if you are pressed for time - the main highlights are visited. Wish their was wifi on the coach trip

Gustavo was a good driver and Alicia explained everything very well