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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: Grim, Dark, and Twisted History Tour

4. 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.

Philadelphia: History, Highlights & Revolution Walking Tour

5. Philadelphia: History, Highlights & Revolution Walking Tour

Immerse yourself in the vibrant and varied past of Philadelphia, one of the US' most historically significant cities, on this walking tour. Learn more about America's former capital and how it helped to shape the United States of America. Take a guided stroll through Independence National Park, along the cobblestone streets of Old City, past buildings, statues, and monuments, and through the history you think you know. Be amazed by Philadelphia’s remarkable past as your local guide separates the fact from the fiction. Get the chance to give back with a donation to a local non-profit included in the cost of your tour. You will also visit the Museum of the American Revolution and enjoy a live demonstration about George Washington’s war tent and the important role it played during the Revolution.

From NYC: Philadelphia and Washington DC 2-Day Tour

6. From NYC: Philadelphia and Washington DC 2-Day Tour

Day 1: NEW YORK – PHILADELPHIA – WASHINGTON DC Depart New York through New Jersey and Pennsylvania and to the city of brotherly love Philadelphia. Arriving in the historic area of Philadelphia, visit the famous Liberty Bell, one of the symbols of freedom in America, Constitution square, and Congress Hall. Stroll Elfreth’s alley, the oldest continuously inhabited street in America. Continue on a panoramic tour of Philadelphia that includes the financial district, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Historic Philadelphia, and more. Depart Philadelphia and see the famous “Rocky Steps” and then continue east to Lancaster county home of the Amish people. Enjoy an authentic Amish Buggy ride through the Amish farm country. Learn how Amish culture survived centuries without the benefits of technology, to this day their towns survive without the central power and sewage systems, that modern civilization take for granted. Learn how the Amish adapted, incorporating technology to create farms that are self-sufficient and make use of renewable sources of energy. After the ride, visit the marketplace where you can shop for handmade arts crafts and products. In the late afternoon, depart east for an evening arrival in Washington DC. Day 2: WASHINGTON DC – NEW YORK Start the day with a visit of 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 Air and Space Museum is closed due to renovations) before visiting the Lincoln, Korea, and Vietnam Memorials. In the late afternoon, depart north for an evening arrival in New York.

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

7. 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

From New York City: 4-Day Tour w/Niagara Falls & US Capitol

8. From New York City: 4-Day Tour w/Niagara Falls & US Capitol

Visit the American and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls. Stop at an outlet mall for shopping, continue to the historic city of Brotherly love in Philadelphia and see the famous Liberty Bell and Independence Hall Square. You will also visit Washington DC, the US Capitol and visit the US Mint. Continue to Lancaster to learn about the Amish community. Day 1: New York - Finger Lakes - Niagara Falls Your morning departure from the Big Apple takes you north where you will pass the beautiful Delaware 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 (Winter itinerary goes to Montour Falls instead of Watkins Glen State Park). Tour the American and Canadian sides of the Falls including the American Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Goat Island, and Sister Island. At night tour Niagara Falls where you will marvel at the colorful lighting of the waters. Overnight: Niagara Falls - Wyndham Super 8 Day 2: Niagara Falls - New Jersey As you depart the hotel, hear the thundering water of Niagara Falls. See the falls up close from Horseshoe Falls and experience the power of the current aboard the Maid of the Mist (May-October). From November through April you will tour the Power Vista Hydro-electric Station, and the Cave of the Winds. At noon depart south to New York State. On the way to New York, enjoy a shopping excursion at one of the large outlet malls along the way, where you can hunt for bargains at their brand name stores. Overnight New Jersey - La Quinta Inns & Suites  Day 3: New Jersey - Philadelphia - Washington DC Depart New Jersey to Pennsylvania and to the city of brotherly love Philadelphia. Arriving in the Historic area of Philadelphia you will visit the famous Liberty Bell, and Constitution square and Constitution Hall, one of the symbols of freedom in America. Stroll Elfreth’s Alley (the oldest inhabited street in America) then continue on a panoramic tour of Philadelphia that includes the financial district, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Historic Philadelphia and more. Departing Philadelphia, see the famous “Rocky Steps” and then continue north to Lancaster county home of the Amish people. Ride on an authentic Amish Buggy, visit an Amish market place of handmade arts and crafts and learn what it's like to live without the benefit of modern technology, electricity, running water or telephone service. Overnight at: Wyndham Garden, Washington DC. Day 4: Washington DC - New York  Start the day with a visit to Thomas Jefferson Memorial, by the Tidal Basin, surrounded with famous Japanese cherry blossom trees. Visit the Arlington National Cemetery, the changing of the guards and the Kennedy family gravesite.  Next stop is Capitol Hill. See the US Capitol and the White House to understand the core of the US government. Continue to the Air and Space Museum before visiting the Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Korea and Vietnam Memorials.  In the late afternoon, depart north for an evening arrival in New York.

Philadelphia: Revolutionary Walk Through Historic Old City

9. Philadelphia: Revolutionary Walk Through Historic Old City

Start your journey through the Philadelphia Old City district at the Betsy Ross house, where the United States flag is said to have been first created. Learn more about America's Founding Fathers on a comprehensive tour led by an enthusiastic local guide. Make your way to all of the top attractions in Philadelphia. See Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the Consitution of the United States were debated and adopted. Visit the Liberty Bell, an iconic symbol of American independence. Explore other notable locations which hold significance in America´s history including Elfreth's Alley, Christ Church, the B. Free Franklin Post Office, and Carpenter's Hall.

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

10. 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.

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What people are saying about Philadelphia

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 386 reviews

This is definitely an experience that is worth the cost. If time is limited but your trying to fit in as much as possible this is a great adventure. You will pass through multiple states which is interesting and nothing felt rushed. We had plenty of time to site see at the monuments. You do have to pack your own food. At a couple of stops you can find food from food trucks but they do not make a stop for food other than the morning coffee. I do recommend taking your own snacks especially if you are not ok with just grabbing food from a food truck or food from a fast food market

Nina did a superb job introducing the history of Ben Franklin and the Founding Fathers. It was miserable weather, but her happy and very kind attitude kept me warm. Mixing in some modern information about Philly was very interesting as well, since I could learn what this historically city has developed into. I’d recommend during the tour together with a half-day visit at the Museum of the American Revolution (which I did) to complete your deep insights of this historically so important era.

This place was so much fun. The pictures alone are worth it. Since I got back I've shared those pictures with others so many times. I went by myself and the staff were so helpful in taking my picture and helping me to get the best shots!

Steve was awesome! Very knowledgeable and friendly. Would have been cool to see more sights up close in person, but I suppose that would require waiting in long lines for the major attractions. All in all, a great time

We did the walk on Dec 11th with Kate and she was excellent. We highly recommend this as it was very well done. Kate was very knowledgable. We learned things we never knew and it was fascinating