Philadelphia Activities and Events

Get out and see Philadelphia!

There are so many things to do in Philadelphia, we can’t possibly list them all here. For a weekly listing of FREE things to do, read your Week Here At Tyler (WHAT) newsletter or visit the events page on the Tyler Student Activities Facebook page. Also, Temple students can visit many Philadelphia area attractions at discounted prices by downloading the PEX (Philadelphia Experience) tickets. See the PEX page for details.    

It's easy to get around

The Philadelphia region has a pretty good public transportation system called SEPTA. It can get you just about anywhere you need to go. One hint from someone who uses it daily: the schedules are pretty much meaningless--if you use GoogleMaps public transit feature, plan on your bus being anywhere from 5 minutes early to a half hour late. The subway system that runs past campus runs every 7-15 minutes (depending on the time of day), so if you just go, you'll get a train pretty quickly. The #23 bus, which runs right past Tyler on 12th Street (or 11th St. going north) will take you right to the Fabric Workshop or the Center for Architecture & Design, and then onto center city. That bus also runs every 7-15 minutes (depending on the time of day), but don't be surprised if you sit there for a long time and then 3 buses come all at once. The fare is $2.50 each way, but you can get a keycard at the Temple Regional Rail Station (Berks & 10th St) and load it with funds to save money.

Here's a comprehensive guide to using public transit in Philly. Note the instructions on taking the NJ Transit PATCO trains to the Jersey Shore!

About the city the official visitors' site for greater Philadelphia
Uwishunu: the official tourism blog of Philadelphia
Center City District
Philly Fun Guide
North Philadelphia Arts and Culture Alliance
Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance
Old City Arts


  • Philadelphia Museum of Art Tuesday through Sunday, 10am – 5pm, 26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway 
    NEW THIS YEAR: there is no longer free admission to the museum for Tyler students. Students should purchase a student membership for $20.
  • The Barnes Collection – Wednesday through Monday, 9:30am – 6pm (Fridays till 10pm),  2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.  FREE!*
    The Barnes Collection, the newest museum on the Parkway, is free on weekdays with student ID as long as tickets are available. 
  • Museum at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art – Tuesday through Saturday, 10am – 5pm, Sunday, 11am – 5pm, 118 N Broad Street.  FREE!
    Temple holds an institutional membership to PAFA, so you get in free for flashing your OwlCard.
  • Institute of Contemporary Art – Wednesday, 11am – 8pm*, Thursday and Friday, 11am – 6pm, Saturday and Sunday, 11am – 5pm, 118 South 36th Street (at Sansom) FREE!
    ICA's student page is here.
  • Fabric Workshop and Museum -- Monday - Friday 10 am - 6 pm, Sat & Sun noon - 5 pm -- 1214 Arch Street FREE!
    Despite its name, the Fabric Workshop and Museum doesn’t just focus on fabric. Instead, they encourage artists to use new mediums to express themselves. The museum’s collection includes a permanent exhibit of contemporary art as well as preliminary sketches of projects and videos of artists talking about their work.
  • Philadelphia Center for Architecture - Monday - Saturday 10 am - 6 pm, Sunday noon - 5 pm -- 1218 Arch Street FREE!
  • Woodemere Art Museum - Tuesday-Thursday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Friday 10:00 am – 8:45 pm, Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, FREE! w/ student ID
    Woodmere tells the story of Philadelphia’s art and artists through a broad range of exhibitions, music events, classes, lectures, and programs.
  • Brandywine River Museum of Art - Daily, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm, 1 Hoffman's Mill Road, Chadds Ford, PA, $6 w/ student ID
    Discover an outstanding collection of American art housed in a nineteenth-century mill with a dramatic steel and glass addition overlooking the banks of the Brandywine River. Renowned for its holdings of the Wyeth family of artists, the Museum features galleries dedicated to the work of N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth.  You can also tour the NC Wyeth house and studio and Andrew Wyeth’s studio.
  • James A. Michener Art Museum -- Tues-Fri 10 am - 4:30 pm, Sat 10 am - 5 pm, Sunday noon-5 pm, 138 S. Pine Street, Doylestown, PA $16 w/ student ID
    The Michener Art Museum is an independent, non-profit cultural institution dedicated to preserving, interpreting and exhibiting the art and cultural heritage of the Bucks County region. The museum is named for Doylestown's most famous son, the Pulitzer-Prize winning writer and supporter of the arts who first dreamed of a regional art museum in the early 1960's. The museum is home to the world class Lenfest collection of Pennsylvania Impressionist paintings.


Free things to do in Philadelphia

  • Liberty Bell/Independence Park – Daily 9am – 5pm (Visitors Center open 8:30am – 6pm), 6th & Market Streets, FREE!
  • Franklin Square -- hours depend on season --  6th & Race Street, FREE!
    One of Philadelphia’s five original squares, Franklin Square is Center City's favorite playtime oasis. Centered around its beautiful fountain, Franklin Square also features the Parx Liberty Carousel, the one-of-a-kind Philly Mini Golf course, and the renowned SquareBurger.
  • The Dream Garden -- M-F 8 am - 6 pm, Sat 10 am - 1 pm -- 6th & Walnut Streets, FREE!
    15' x 49' Tiffany Glass mosiac designed by Maxfield Parrish.  Delightful!
  • United States Mint -- M-F 9 am - 4:30 pm -- 151 N Independence Mall East, FREE!
    Touring the United States Mint is a fascinating experience for all ages and one to remember for a lifetime.  Tours cover the present state of coin manufacturing and the history of the Mint.  Visitors learn about the craftsmanship required at all stages of the minting process, from the original designs and sculptures to the actual striking of the coins.
  • Fireman's Hall Museum -- Tue-Sat 10 am - 4:30 pm (till 9 on First Fridays) -- 147 N 2nd Street, FREE!
  • Elfreth's Alley -- visit anytime -- off 2nd between Arch & Race Streets,  FREE!
    As America’s oldest, continually-inhabited residential street, Elfreth’s Alley already has an amazing amount of history along its narrow cobblestone street. While the street itself might be short, the beauty of the houses and its history make it a great destination for any history lovers visiting Philly.
  • Chemical Heritage Society Museum -- M-F 10 am - 4 pm (First Fridays till 8) Sat 10 am - 4 pm (April-Sept) Sunday noon - 4 pm (May-Sept) -- 315 Chestnut Street, FREE!
    The Museum at CHF features permanent and changing exhibits that explore the fascinating history of chemistry and the role science plays in the modern world.
  • Reading Terminal Market -- M-Sat 8 am - 6 pm, Sun 9 am - 5 pm -- 12th & Arch/Filbert Streets  FREE!
    Mouth-watering aromas. Locally grown and exotic produce. Amish specialties. Fresh meats, seafood, and poultry. Handmade confections and baked goods straight from the oven. Everything you need to create a memorable meal, from cookbooks, to table linens, to kitchen ware, to fresh cut flowers, and more. Plus the widest variety of restaurants under one roof.
  • Temple School of Podiatric Medicine Shoe Museum -- schedule a visit with -- 148 N 8th Street, 6th Floor, FREE!
    The TUSPM Shoe Museum includes roughly 900 pairs of shoes, 250 of which are on display.
  • Edgar Allen Poe House -- Fri-Sun 9 am - noon and 1 pm - 5 pm -- 532 N 7th Street, FREE!
    Did you know that author Edgar Allan Poe spent six of his most productive writing years in downtown Philadelphia? Tour the home where he lived during his time in the city. Poe actually lived in several homes during his time in Philly, which is often described as the happiest years of his life, but only one building remains standing.
  • Comcast Experience HD Video Wall -- daily 6 am - midnight -- 1701 JFK Blvd, FREE!
  • Laurel Hill Cemetary -- M-F 8 - 4:30, Sat & Sun 9:30 - 4:30 -- 3822 Ridge Avenue, FREE!
    Visitors to Laurel Hill can now bring their cell phones and tune into an audio tour that highlights the oldest section of the Cemetery. The only cost associated with this tour is the minutes for your specific cell phone plan. An introductory exhibit, kiosk with maps, directions for dialing in, and the first stop are all located at the main entrance. We invite you to visit as many stops in whatever order you please to hear some of the stories of those now resting peacefully at the Cemetery.
  • Bartram's Garden -- Daily dawn-dusk -- 5400 Lindbergh Blvd,  FREE!
    Did you know that Mr. Bartram grew a new-fangled bean imported from China called "callevances" (soybeans) in the 18th century and knew how to make tau-fu (tofu)? Yeah, weird, right? Come learn what other weird stuff when on in 18th century gardens!
  • The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education -- visitors center Mon-Sat 9 am - 5 pm, trails/outdoor exhibits Sat - Sun dawn - dusk -- 8480 Hagy's Mill Road  FREE!
    The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education inspires meaningful connections between people and nature. We use our forests and fields as a living laboratory to foster appreciation, deepen understanding, and encourage stewardship of the environment.
  • John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum -- sunrise to sunset daily (visitors' center 8:30 - 4 pm daily) -- 8601 Lindbergh Blvd.  FREE!


Other Area Attractions

  • Wagner Free Institute of Science - Tuesday through Friday, 9am - 4pm, 1700 West Montgomery Avenue, $10 suggested donation
    Located just adjacent to the Temple Campus, the Wagner Institute’s nineteenth century exhibit hall—a soaring three-story space—houses an extraordinary collection of natural history specimens including mounted birds and mammals, fossils, rocks and minerals, insects, shells, dinosaur bones, and the first American saber-toothed tiger, discovered on a museum-sponsored expedition to Florida in 1886. Gathered largely by founder William Wagner and Institute curators and faculty during the nineteenth century, the collections are displayed in cherry-wood and glass cabinets dating from the 1880s and maintain their original “systematic” scheme, providing a rare view of a Victorian science museum.
  • Mutter Museum – Daily 10am - 5pm, 19 S 22nd St.  $13 with student ID
    America's finest museum of medical history, the Mütter displays its beautifully preserved collections of anatomical specimens, models, and medical instruments in a 19th century "cabinet museum" setting. Not for the particularly squeamish!
  • Penn Museum  - Tues-Sunday 10 am - 5 pm (Wednesday till 8 pm), 3260 South St., $10 w/ Student ID
    The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, through its research, collections, exhibitions, and educational programming, advances understanding of the world's cultural heritage.Founded in 1887, the Penn Museum has conducted more than 400 archaeological and anthropological expeditions around the world. Three gallery floors feature materials from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Canaan and Israel, Mesoamerica, Asia and the ancient Mediterranean World, as well as artifacts from native peoples of the Americas and Africa. Penn Museum offers the public an opportunity to share in the ongoing discovery of humankind's collective heritage.
  • Eastern State Penitentiary – Daily, 10am - 5pm, 2027 Fairmount St.  $10 with student ID
    Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. 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 convicts. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America’s most notorious criminals, including bank robber “Slick Willie” Sutton and Al Capone. Eastern State annually hosts a site-specific art exhibition and world-famous Halloween haunted tours.
  • The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia -- Mon - Sunday opens at noon, Tue & Fri till 5 pm, Wed & Thurs till 8 pm, Sat & Sun till 6 pm, 2008 Delancy Place  $5 with student ID
    The Rosenbach’s adjacent 1860s townhouses provide an intimate setting for an expanding collection of nearly 400,000 rare books, manuscripts, and fine and decorative artist objects, dating from the 6th century B.C.E. to the present day. The Rosenbach offers a wide variety of programs and events to engage visitors in the museum’s remarkable and expanding collection and inspire curiosity, inquiry, and creativity.
  • Magic Gardens -- Spring/Summer (April - Oct): Sun-Thurs 11 am - 6 pm, Fri & Sat till 8 pm, 1020 South Street, $8 with student ID
    Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG) is a mosaicked visionary art environment, gallery, and community arts center that preserves, interprets, and provides access to Isaiah Zagar’s unique mosaic art environment and his public murals. The PMG site, Zagar’s largest public artwork, includes a fully tiled indoor space and a massive outdoor mosaic sculpture garden that spans half a block on Philadelphia’s famous South Street. Inside, visitors can view folk art statues, bicycle wheels, colorful glass bottles, Zagar’s hand-made tiles, and thousands of glittering mirrors. The installation pays tribute to Zagar’s artistic influences, along with community and personal experiences.
  • Philadelphia City Hall Observation Deck & Tour -- Observation Deck M-F 9:30 am - 4:15 pm (also some Saturdays), Tour M-F 12:30 pm, Broad & Market Streets Room 121, Deck only, $4 w/ student ID, tour & deck, $8 w/ student ID.
  • Stenton -- Tue-Sat 1 - 4 pm (April - mid-Dec), 18th at Windrim Streets, $4 with student ID
    James Logan erected this fine example of early Georgian architecture in the countryside near Philadelphia between 1723 and 1730. Logan had come to Philadelphia with William Penn in 1699 as his secretary, and for the rest of his life remained the Penn family’s representative in the colony and at the center of Pennsylvania’s political life. Although now in a densely populated urban area with factories and railroad nearby, Stenton’s present three-acre site preserves significant buildings, landscape, and objects. As perhaps the most important building in Philadelphia extant from the early 18th century, Stenton offers visitors an unparalleled opportunity to explore the material culture and the political, cultural, social and architectural history of one of the elite families in Colonial Pennsylvania, as well as the lives of others who lived and interacted with the property.
  • Moravian Pottery & Tile Works - daily 10 am - 4:45 pm, 130 E. Swamp Road, Doylestown, PA, $5 adults
    The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, a National Historic Landmark, is maintained as a "working history" museum by Pennsylvania's County of Bucks, Department of Parks and Recreation. Handmade tiles are still produced in a manner similar to that developed by the pottery's founder and builder, Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930). Mercer was a major proponent of the Arts & Crafts Movement in America.
  • Mercer Museum & Fonthill Castle -- Mon-Sat 10 am - 5 pm, Sun noon-5 pm,  84 S. Pine St, Doylstown, PA  $15 museum only, $26 museum & castle
    The Mercer Museum is a history museum of everyday life in America during the 18th and 19th centuries. Henry Mercer (1856-1930) gathered the collection and constructed the Museum.The collection of some 40,000 objects documents the lives and tasks of early Americans through the tools that met their needs and wants prior to the Industrial Revolution, or about 1850. Visitors can choose their own paths through the Museum. Most of the 55 exhibit rooms and alcoves display the tools or products of an early American craft, trade or occupation. Other rooms show categories of objects such as lighting devices or architectural hardware.

Want more free things to do? Visit Philly's Fun Guide's Free Page