Is Philly on your travel bucket list? Or maybe it’s simply been too long since you’ve visited. Either way, it’s time to book your long weekend getaway or family summer vacation and I’ve gathered my favorite things to do in Philadelphia with kids (or without) to help you out.
Visiting an old home town or city can be like visiting an old friend. When you’ve been gone awhile you appreciate it even more. My love story with Philly started a long time ago in my childhood as an avid reader and history lover.
Yet, it wasn’t until we moved to the Philadelphia area that I truly fell in love with this old city. It’s a city of contrasts – old sits beside new and melds together in a story that is as old as time…at least as old as our nation’s time.
Book a long weekend or a week and fall in love with it like I have – you’ll be able to fill both and then some. I have some tips on where to stay in Philadelphia, but first, let me introduce you to some of my favorite things to do in the city.
Things to Do in Philadelphia with Kids
From history to science and from art to food, the city of Philadelphia is a hub of entertainment. If you’ve never been there, what are you waiting for?!
In fact, for a limited time, Hilton, our sponsoring travel partner for this post, is offering a Long Weekender package. Book a 3-day weekend in Philadelphia and get 50% off your Sunday night stay. Plus, you’ll get exclusive access to discounts and travel guides such as my guide for (the best) things to do in Philadelphia with kids. See below for more on traveling and staying in the city.
Go back in history with things to do in Philadelphia with kids.
If you visited Philadelphia once upon a time our Old City has had a few updates. Of course, you need to visit Independence Mall with Independence Visitors’ Center, Independence Hall, and Liberty Bell. You also need to stroll across the green and visit the Museum of the American Revolution or pop around the block and visit the National Constitution Center.
Old City has everything a history buff could need to keep entertained for a long weekend and there are food options galore in this neighborhood. I recommend a visit to FARMiCiA for a delicious farm-to-table meal and a stroll down to Franklin Fountain for a good old time ice cream shop experience.
Get scientific with things to do in Philadelphia with kids.
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is my favorite science museum that our family visited frequently while we lived in the suburbs of Philly. We also loved to visit Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Zoo. Check out more on our favorite science fun in Philly with kids.
One science museum you may dare to venture in with older kids (not sure if it is child appropriate. You can check here) is the Mutter Museum. I’ve never quite gotten myself there but have heard interesting stories.
If you want a good breakfast for breakfast (or lunch), Sabrina’s Café and Spencer’s Too is quite close to the Franklin Institute and Academy of Natural Sciences. Or, you can grab lunch at Reading Terminal Market and pick up some Amish donuts at Beiler’s Donuts in the market.
See the magic of arts and culture unfold in Philadelphia with kids.
From the famous “Rocky steps” of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to Pennsylvania Academy of Performing Arts, and from the Magic Gardens to the Mummers Museum, you will find a wide world of arts and culture in the city. Catch a show at the Kimmel Center on Broadway or take the kids to a show at Arden Theatre Co. or Walnut Street Theatre.
Grab tacos at Revolution Taco or visit Whole Foods for a quick bite, then head over to Magpie Artisan Pie Boutique for some…you got it, PIE!
Where to Stay in Philadelphia with Kids (or Without)
There are many places to stay in or near the city, but we like Hilton Hotels and Resorts because they offer great service and a wide variety of options for staying in and around Philadelphia. In fact, they have hotels near all the attractions I’ve listed above so it makes getting from the hotel to everything on your daily itinerary smooth and easy.
I love that they include a quick-look map and list of amenities for the hotel you are looking at. Add that to the 50% off a Sunday night stay when you book a 3-day weekend, and the fact they deliver several guides for what to do on vacation once you book, and it makes your family vacation in Philadelphia easy.
Where we stayed in Philadelphia.
Our family stayed at the Hampton Inn Philadelphia – International Airport, about a 10-minute drive to the city when all is quiet. Parking onsite is free and there is also a train stop just up the street if you want to avoid driving.
Hot and “On the Run” Breakfast is served starting at 6AM, making it easy and convenient to grab breakfast and get the day started on YOUR time. While they do not have an onsite restaurant, they have a Manager’s Reception on Wednesday evenings with light hors d’oeuvres and wine. They also have a beverage bar that is conveniently located by the elevators.
Our room was nicely appointed with comfortable beds and pillows and a spacious well-lit bathroom. They even had these cute washcloth swans on the beds when we arrived, which my youngest loved. Me? Funny as it sounds, I just want their bathroom in my home.
We loved that even though we were right next door to the airport we couldn’t hear jets taking off or landing at all. I was a bit worried about that interrupting our sleep but thankfully we all had nice uninterrupted nights of sleep, minus the time some teenage girls knocked and dashed late at night.
Fun and Fitness
As far as exercise goes, there is no indoor pool but there is an outdoor one. They also have a small fitness center on the premises, which we didn’t end up having a chance to visit. Good thing about being in Philly is that you can easily get your exercise throughout the day by simply walking to many attractions that are grouped in the same general area.
Best of all, everyone was super friendly (yes, even before they knew we were there to review their hotel).
Book your long weekend or week and visit Philly for your next family vacation. There are so many things to do in Philadelphia with kids that you won’t wonder how to fill your time. If you want to get my thoughts on your itinerary or ask for other recommendations, shoot me an email at realthekitchenandbeyond @ gmail.com.