Philadelphia Local Highlights

Published on October 24, 2022 - Updated on October 24, 2022

Philadelphia, Philly, the City of Brotherly Love-- this city rich in history and culture goes by many names. It has something to offer around every corner, but we rounded up our favorites. Here is our list of the top 10 things to see and do in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Highlights and Local Favorites

The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall

526 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19106

Independence Hall

The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall hold so much history, and they are next to each other for an easy morning of learning. The Liberty Bell has a self-guided tour where you can read and learn all about its history, and of course, view the Liberty Bell. Independence Hall has guided tours by the National Park Service. You will pass through security at both locations. Check out the Visitors Center before or after your visits to learn more about what Philadelphia has to offer, and find a gift shop and fun photo opportunities inside.

Nearby Attractions:

+ Congress Hall is located next to Independence Hall and is another great history-learning stop.

+ Museum of Illusions is a great stop nearby for lots of photo opportunities.

+ There are plenty of dining options within walking distance including Independence Beer Garden, Franklin Social American Kitchen, and The Bourse Food Hall which offers a variety of different cuisines in one place.

+ Visit Scoop DeVille Ice Cream and Lore’s Chocolates to satisfy your sweet tooth! 

Love Park

1600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy Philadelphia, PA 19103


Famous for the LOVE statue and one of the most popular photo spots, Love Park is definitely one of the top stops to explore in Philadelphia. You cannot enter a Philadelphia-based gift shop without finding many gift options with the LOVE statue on it, which has been at home in the park since 1976.  On the other side of the park is also an I love Philadelphia statue which is another great photo opportunity. The park also has a water fountain for viewing and splashing in and some nice walking paths.

Nearby Attractions:

+ Only a couple blocks away you'll find Sister Cities Park which has a play area for kids and a wading pool during the summer.

+ The nearby Swann Memorial Fountain is a beautiful sight. 

+ Nearby restaurants include Victory Brewing Company, Capital Grille, Assembly Rooftop Lounge for a great view of the city, and Federal Donuts for a treat. 

Rocky Steps and Statue

2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy Philadelphia, PA 19130

Rocky Steps

“Adrian”…. if you get the reference then you must stop at the famous Rocky Steps and Statue from the movie Rocky.  The steps are in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is a beautiful building and holds some beautiful works of art for an additional stop. Behind the museum, there is a breathtaking view of the river and a sculpture garden.

Nearby Attractions:

+ Some nearby restaurants include Little Pete’s, A Mano, and Bad Brother

The Barnes Foundation

2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy Philadelphia, PA 19130

Barnes Foundation

One of the most unique art museums is the Barnes Foundation.  Dr. Barnes specified how he wanted the works of art to be displayed, and this provides you with an art experience that is unlike any other museum you will visit.  The Barnes Foundation holds the most Renior and Cezanne paintings. They also have paintings by Matisse, Picasso, and Van Gogh. The first Sunday of each month has free admission, including children’s crafts, storytime, and performances.

Nearby Attractions:

+ Nearby restaurants include Buena Onda, Pizzeria Vetri, and Sabrina’s Café.

+ The Rodin Museum, only a block away, holds collections by Auguste Rodin and has a beautiful garden.

+ Head to the Von Colln Playground a couple of blocks away for children to play and burn energy. 

Philadelphia City Hall

1400 John F Kennedy Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19107

Philadelphia City Hall

Philadelphia's City Hall is a breathtaking building and the largest municipal building in the United States.  The building is adorned with sculptures and figures to represent seasons and continents.

Nearby Attractions:

+ Located next to City Hall is Dilworth Park, which hosts a lot of family-friendly and adult events throughout the year.  It also has a splash pad for kids to enjoy.

+ Nearby restaurants include Tradesman’s and Van Leeuwen Ice Cream for dessert. 

The Barnes Arboretum

50 Lapsley Lane Merion Station, PA 19066

Barnes Arboretum

The Barnes Arboretum is an amazing space to explore for all ages. Throughout the grounds, you will find labels near the plants and trees for easy identification. From the rose garden to the trails around the pond, you find yourself in the beauty of nature right outside of downtown Philadelphia.  Check their website before visiting for current hours as they change with the seasons. Admission is free, but donations are accepted on their website. The arboretum is part of St. Joseph University so after your visit to the arboretum you can walk the campus and enjoy its beautiful landscaping and breathtaking buildings.

Nearby Attractions:

+ Nearby restaurants include  Landmark Americana Grill, Larry’s Steaks, and Insomnia Cookies for dessert.

Eastern State Penitentiary

2027 Fairmont Ave Philadelphia, PA 19130

Eastern State Penn

Al Capone and Wilie Sutton are two well-known criminals to have spent time at the Eastern State Penitentiary back when it was operational. Several well-known movies have also been filmed here. While visiting, you will take a self-guided tour where they provide you with a headset to learn about the history of the building.  After the tour, you are free to walk the grounds to listen to additional stories about the space. There are art installations from local artists in the cells and around different wings of the penitentiary.

Nearby Attractions:

+ Nearby restaurants include Fare, Jack’s Firehouse, and A Mano.

+ Several blocks down you will find Thirsty Dice where you can enjoy a meal but also play any board game you can think of-- they have a huge selection!

+ Right next to the penitentiary you will find a small playground for children called Eastern State Playpen.    

The Franklin Institute

222 N. 20th St. Philadelphia, PA 19103

Franklin Insitute

The Franklin Institute is a fun and educational science museum.  Throughout the year there are different special exhibitions to explore, along with their year-round experiences.  There is a planetarium, live shows, and movies on a daily basis. Check the website for the most up-to-date schedule and current special exhibitions.

Nearby Attractions:

+ After your visit to the science museum, head one block away to The Academy of Natural Sciences and the Barnes Foundation.

+ Nearby restaurants include Pete’s Famous Pizza, Peddler Coffee, and Naf Naf Grill.

Forbidden Drive Trail

200 W Northwestern Ave Philadephia, PA 19128

Forbidden Drive

Forbidden Drive is a 7-mile trail for all hiking abilities.  It is wide, with slight curves, and no high hills. The best aspect of this trail is that it follows along Wissahickon Creek for a beautiful view. There are several different parking areas along the trail for easy access to the trail.

The Northwestern Ave Parking Area allows you to enter the trail by The Cedars House coffee shop, which is the perfect stop for breakfast or lunch along your hike. You'll also find the Valley Green Inn restaurant along the trail for a great meal stop, including the ice cream shop they have during summer.  Forbidden Drive connects to 57 miles of trail through Wissahickon Valley Park, so you may adjust your hike for shorter or longer distances. You will find maps online and posted along the hike.

Belmont Plateau

1800 Belmont Mansion Dr. Philadelphia, PA 19131

Belmont Plateau

Looking for a great view of the downtown Philadelphia skyline? The Belmont Plateau, part of Fairmont Park, is the perfect spot. You will find a large grassy area to sit down and enjoy a snack or lunch while looking at the beautiful skyline view.

Nearby Attractions:

+ Down the road is the Fairmont Park Horticulture Center which holds a beautiful indoor greenhouse and a great outdoor space to explore and enjoy nature. Visit in springtime to see the cherry blossoms!

+ The Please Touch Museum, a children's museum, is also nearby and is great for kids of all ages.

+ Another great spot for a view of downtown is Cira Green Park, an urban park located on top of a building. This park also has a restaurant, Sunset Social, for food and drinks. 

Have you been to Philadelphia? Does your family live in this City of Brotherly Love? Let us know what your favorite local spots are in the comments below! Or tag us in your photos on Instagram @gethappyly for a chance to be featured!

Interested in other amazing cities around the U.S.? We've got a whole bunch of local-recommended spots in major (and not major!) cities across the country. Check out our blog for great advice on cities like Chicago, Denver, Maui, Chattanooga, and more! Or, if you are interested in getting information about taking the family to the national parks, we've got some great tips on Saguaro National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Haleakala National Park, and Mt. Rainier National Park!

For even more local activities and attractions at your fingertips, be sure to download the happyly app, the country's only mobile-first family activity planning app, for fast access to all of our frequent blog content, favorite activities, and expertly designed curated days, both locally and in many communities and travel destinations across the country.

Thoughtfully captured by:
Kelsey Servais
More posts by Kelsey
The top 5 best family-friendly hikes in the Philadelphia, PA area!
The top 5 splash pads in and around Philadelphia to help cool you off this summer!
The 10 best places to visit in Philadelphia, PA!