Things to Do in Philadelphia in A Weekend

Whether you’re exploring the town for just a weekend or longer, there are so many things to do in Philadelphia. Last year, I visited for less than 72 hours yet was able to explore much of what the city has to offer.

In just a weekend, you can get to know our nation’s history, explore the city’s unique art museums, and eat your way through the city.

Photo of rocky statue outside of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Explore the Art Museums

Over the past few years my appreciation for art has continued to increase and I’ve found myself exploring more museums as I travel. My true love is the Impressionists and Philadelphia was ideal for this.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has the wide range of art work, my favorite of which was one of Van Gogh’s sunflowers.

A one of a kind museum you’ll want to add to your things to do in Philadelphia is the Barnes Foundation. You feel more like you’re going through someone’s beautiful home than a museum itself. The rooms are arrange for the aesthetic not by artist or era. I could have easily spent all day exploring this musuem.

Two Impressionist pieces of art at the Barnes Foundation.

Learn About The Nation’s History

So much of what has created our country as it is today started in Philadelphia. Whether you’re visiting Independence Hall, stopping by the liberty bell, visiting the U.S. Mint you’ll learn about the nation’s history.

Spend an afternoon or an entire day exploring the historic stretch. I particularly enjoyed visiting the National Constitution Center. It was a perfect place to get my history nerd on.

Image of the Liberty Bell with Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

Get Your True Crime Nerd On

Another thing I love getting nerd on about is True Crime. One of my favorite things we did in Philadelphia was exploring the Eastern State Penitentiary.

Here you can learn about many of the famous prisoners who stayed in the prison like Al Capone, about how this prison changed how the country and the world even does incarceration, or about the issues facing our country and the much needed prison reform.

You can take a self guided tour or take a guided tour that includes a discussion.

View of hallway in Eastern State Penitentiary and prison cells.

Use A Bus to Get Around the City

A lot of the things to do in Philadelphia are pretty close together but if you’re trying to get to know the city in a short time you won’t want to spend all day walking.

The city has a local bus system you can easily use, but I’d suggest for at least one day getting a spot on the Big Bus Tour. While hop-on/off tours might seem cheesy, I actually find them helpful for exploring a city in a short time.

For one cost you’ll be able to get between all the sites you’re visiting and you’ll be learning more about the city as you go.

Take A Food Tour

One thing you can’t miss in town is exploring the Philadelphia food scene. If you’re only in town for a weekend the best way to do this is by hoping on a food tour.

I loved getting to try many of Philadelphia’s classics from the cheesesteak to the pretzel to the tomato pie on our tour with City Food Tours. You’ll get a chance to learn more about the city too.

Photo of a Philadelphia Cheese Steak with meat and gooey cheese.

All These Things to Do in Philadelphia and More

In just a few days you can get a chance to know the city but there are so many more things to do in Philadelphia that you’ll want to head back for more.

Whether it’s getting to explore more of the restaurants in town, go see a live show or sporting event, after you scratch the surface you’ll be looking for an excuse to see more of this city.

About Megan

Megan MacNee is the founder of Traveling Nine to Fiver. From nine to five she works in the non-profit world in California. She focuses on exploring the world from her own backyard to across the globe. You'll find her sharing about explorations through food, books, travel, and more.