10 Must Do Things to Experience While in Philly, PA!


A huge thank you to VisitPhilly for providing my family with everything we needed to experience Philly to the fullest! All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Must do in Philly

My family recently took a trip to Philly, and we instantly discovered there was so much to do. At first, we were a little overwhelmed, hoping to get it all in. But we had 4 days in town and we decided to make it happen. We are so glad that we did! If you are feeling a little overwhelmed by all that the city of brotherly love has to offer, I hope this list of MUST EXPERIENCE THINGS helps you out!

philly cheesesteak

Get a Philly Cheese Steak

I mean, you can’t go to Philly and not eat a Philly Cheese Steak. I think it is the law. My friends told me to get one with cheese whiz. I thought that sounded horrible. However, my husband and I each got one – one with whiz, one with American cheese. We split them. The whiz was much better than I thought, although it wasn’t my favorite.

I still say try it because “when in Rome” but either way – get a cheese steak. They are pretty much everywhere. Geno’s and Pat’s are the most popular one, although a few locals told us that you pay for the name, and they aren’t even the best in town. We were recommended to Jim’s and don’t regret our choice!

Franklin Fountain Sign

Franklin Fountain

Our babysitter (who is the best by the way) has family outside of Philly, and she told us if we were to do just ONE thing in Philly, it was to visit Franklin Fountain. And boy am I glad we decided to. As we approached we noticed the line was outside the door, and around the corner. Once inside, it was a really cool (no pun intended) experience.

I ordered the Broken Heart sundae — and it was delicious! My family opted for Cotton Candy Ice Cream, and they loved it as well. Probably my favorite part of the whole thing was the experience though. It really seemed like we took a step back in time.

Franklin Fountain

TIP: Two doors down is another ice cream shop, the Franklin Ice Cream Bar. It is owned by the same people, with the very same ice cream. However, it lacks the ambiance. But you are likely to get a much shorter line.

Chocolate Cafe

Shane Confectionery

If you have a sweet tooth like me, this one is a HUGE must do in Philly! Shane Confectionery is located right near the Franklin Fountain (and I believe is owned by the same owners). This place is REALLY amazing. As soon as you enter, you are hit with the smell of chocolate and candy, and it made my mouth water! There is so much to choose from — and there is even a chocolate cafe — too cool! 

Philly View From The Top

Go to the Top of Philly

If you want the best view of Philly, do it from the top! One Liberty Observation Deck will send you up to the 57th floor in an elevator — and you get to watch a fun video on your way up. Once up at the top, you can overlook the entire city, and the view is pretty amazing. They even have tables set up with board games so you can play while you enjoy the view. 

This is an absolute must do experience in Philly if you ask me. It is sure to take your breath away!

Please Touch Museum

Play at the Please Touch Museum

If you have kids, then you need to go to the Please Touch Museum. This children’s museum allows kids to touch EVERYTHING! If your kids are anything like mine, they love to play. Well, this museum has a lot of creative ways for them to explore. From a grocery store where you can purchase items, to a huge water table, they have it all!

Please Touch Museum Kids Area

If you have littler ones, don’t worry, there are plenty of areas throughout the museum for kids under three! We even had lunch at the cafe there and it was really good! A great way to beat the heat (or cold) and let your kids get out some of their energy!

Climb the Rocky Steps

If you are a fan of the Rocky films (or even if you aren’t), you likely know about the iconic scene where Rocky finally runs all the way to the top of those steps. Well, those steps are at the Museum of Art in Philly, and there is even a statue of him! If you feel so inclined to run to the top of the steps you can. We didn’t. It was insanely hot. 

But at the BOTTOM of the steps (sort of a cheat, haha) is where his statue stands. You can’t miss it because there is likely to be a line of fans waiting to snap a photo. While you are there, check out the museum too. Because it is pretty amazing.

Cathedral Paul and Peter

Step Inside the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul

I love visiting old churches. There is always a certain beauty that anyone, religious or not, can appreciate. The attention to detail, stunning paintings, stained glass windows – there is so much to look at. The Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul was recommended to us by a friend, and I am so glad we stopped by. It is gorgeous inside (and outside), and totally a sight to be seen!

Summerfest Philly

Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest

Down by the river, there is something really awesome that I am glad we stopped by to see. The Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest has so much for everyone to experience! There is an outdoor roller skating rink, mini gold, carnival games, and even a Ferris Wheel! If you have tweens or teens, this is a great pit stop during your visit!

Summerfest Ferris Wheel

Franklin Institute

Visit the Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute has some really cool things that are worth checking out. It is a giant Science museum, and includes an IMAX theater and planetarium. There are lots of hands on activities for little ones, and little ones at heart. 

Franklin Institute marvel

Right now through September 2nd there is probably the coolest thing for a geek like me – a Marvel exhibit! Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes is a MUST VISIT for anyone who is even remotely a Marvel or comic book fan. A while back, I chatted with Ann Nocenti about it, but I never could have imagined just how amazing it was. Yes, I cried. A few times. 


Take an AMOR Photo

Standing tall in the Sister Cities park are the letters AMOR. Philly is the city of brotherly love after all!  This is a great photo opp, and the park is pretty awesome to experience as well. There is a wading pool and a fountain that kids are sure to enjoy on a hot summer day. There is also a LOVE statue in Philly that you can visit.

Is there anything I missed that you think is a must do in Philly? If so, let me know in the comments!

The PHLASH is a convenient way to get around when in town. It is easy to figure out and there is even an interactive map on their website so you can see when a bus is almost to you! If you are looking for a place to stay while visiting, I recommend staying at the Sonesta Philly! The rooms were nice, and the rooftop pool was amazing!

When you book a stay with Visit Philly, you can experience many of these things (and more!) for quite a deal! Their package includes: 

  • Overnight Hotel Accommodations
  • FREE Hotel Parking
  • FREE tickets to The Franklin Institute and Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes
  • FREE Ping-Pong at SPiN Philadelphia
  • FREE Roller Skating & Ferris Wheel Ride at Blue Cross RiverRInk Summerfest
  • $25 Jose Garces Promotional Card
  • FREE All-Day Passes on the PHLASH
  • FREE Carousel Ride at Franklin Square

This is more than worth it – trust me!

Book your stay with Visit Philly today!


  1. Pingback: A Tour of Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes at the Franklin Institute

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