Epic Weekend in Philadelphia: Perfect for 2-3 Days in Philly

How To Spend An Epic Weekend in Philadelphia Itinerary 

For years we always talked about spending a weekend in Philadelphia. Well, we finally made it happen, and Philly has officially made it to my bucket list cities to visit! Below, I am covering how to spend an epic weekend in Philadelphia that is perfect for 2 or 3 days.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the city of Brotherly Love, has so much to offer. From rich history, amazing food, cute streets, and awesome art, you won’t be short on things to do!

If you love searching for photo-worthy places, I list the Most Instagrammable Places in Philly here!

View From the Rocky Stairs
View From the Rocky Stairs: Weekend in Philadelphia

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Is a Weekend in Philadelphia Enough Time

You may be wondering if a weekend in Philadelphia is enough time to explore the city. Well, like any city, you just 2-3 days will just be scratching the surface and likely not even see the greater Philadelphia area. However, I believe 2-3 days in Philadelphia will still allow you to see some of the city’s best attractions.

Therefore, yes, a weekend is enough time to visit Philadelphia. This will give you a good taste of the city, so if you vibe with the city, you can always come back. And if you’re coming from New York City or other nearby cities, it is the perfect road trip getaway.


Top Places To Visit In Philadelphia for a Weekend

While Philadelphia is a decent-sized city, you can easily see the top Philly attractions in a weekend! Philly is very walkable and I highly suggest doing it! If your legs start getting tired, however, Uber is everywhere. Philly is also a top vacation spot on the east coast.

Now let’s get to the top things you will definitely want to see during your weekend in Philadelphia! 

Day 1 Weekend in Philadelphia: Elfreth’s Alley, Magic Gardens, Mural Mile

On day 1 in Philly, we will start with some of the most exciting attractions in my opinion! This includes Elfreth’s Alley, Magic Gardens, and Mural Mile.

Elfreth’s Alley Philly

Famous Elfreth’s Alley Museum

Start your day by making your way down to Elfreth’s Alley. Located in the Old City of Philadelphia, (my favorite area), Elfreth’s Alley is the oldest inhabited residential street in America, dating back to the 1700s! The alley is even considered a National Historic Landmark.

The homes are brightly colored and so cute! Many compare it to Boston’s Acorn Alley, but I believe it’s much nicer. This alley also makes the list as prettiest streets in the USA all the time!

The alley is popular throughout the day, but if you are looking to take photos, the morning will be best. Please remember these are people’s homes, so be especially respectful and keep your noise level down.

Address: 124-126 Elfreth’s Alley, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

Next, make your way to the Philadelphia Magic Gardens. Philly’s unique Magic “Garden” is made from handmade tiles, bottles, bicycle wheels, mirrors, and international folk art creating incredible mosaics. The artist, Isaiah Zagar, said the garden was designed as a chronicle of his life and influences.

The space is really incredible and should be on the top of your list of places to visit in Philly! You will need to buy your ticket a few days in advance to claim a time slot. They are not too expensive, and a must with 2 or 3 days in your Philadelphia itinerary! The location is slightly out of the way compared to other Philadelphia attractions, so you might want to consider taking an Uber here.

Hours: Wednesday-Monday, 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM CLOSED on Tuesdays

Address: 1020 South Street Philadelphia, PA 19147

Magic Garden in Philadelphia during the weekend
Walking through Magic Garden

Philly Mural Mile

Next on your Philadelphia itinerary is Mural Mile. This is another really interesting and fun thing Philly offers to their community and visitors! For over 30 years, Philadelphia has been uniting local artists to paint the city. The murals are dedicated to the belief that art ignites change.

With a full weekend in Philadelphia, make sure to see a couple of murals while touring the city. You can even check this map that will show you where you can find all the different murals! Even if you are not following the map, you will see a ton of murals around Philly by just walking around.

Take A Stroll Through Rittenhouse Square

Next, take a stroll through Rittenhouse Square. This green space is one of the five original open-space parks planned by William Penn and his surveyor Thomas Holme during the late 17th century.

The surrounding Rittenhouse neighborhood is also one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Philly. It is a great way to end the day, especially if your feet are starting to get tired from walking.

You may also want to consider a tour around Philly to learn more about the history of this historic city. The Hop-on-hop-off buses are very popular, along with walking tours.

Address: 210 W Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103


Day 2 Weekend in Philly: Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Rocky Stairs, and more

On day two in Philly, we are covering some of the more historical places that are a must-see with a weekend in Philadelphia! This includes the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

Liberty Bell & Independence Hall

If you are a United States history buff, you can’t visit Philadelphia without seeing the famous cracked Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. In fact, with a weekend in Philly, it’s a must!

You can visit the Liberty Bell for free and tour the small, but informative museum. I would suggest going early to avoid long wait times.

Fun Fact: The Liberty Bell was made in London in 1752 and then shipped to Philadelphia. The bell cracked when it was rung after its arrival in Philadelphia and had to be recast twice.

Liberty Bell Independence Hall during the weekend in Philadelphia
Liberty Bell

Independence Hall

Next, make your way to Independence Hall. This should be included with your ticket. According to the National Park Service website:

  • Tickets are required from March through December.
  • No tickets are required in January and February or after 5 PM during summer hours.
  • No tickets are required on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve (December 24) or Independence Day (July 4).
  • Open 11 AM to 4 PM on Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day. Open 9 AM to 3 PM on Christmas Eve. Closed Christmas Day.”

If you know what time you want to visit, it is best to get your ticket ahead of time. This way, you get a time slot that works best for you. The tickets are actually free unless you reserve your time slot. Getting a ticket in advance costs $1 USD. In my opinion, it is worth it.

If you are like me and totally forgot to do this, they also hold a lottery for tickets the day of. You can get them from the Independence Hall Visitors Center. Go when they first open for tickets at the Independence Visitors Center. You will have to wait in line and take whatever time slot they have available.

With additional time, you may want to consider visiting the National Constitution Center, which is nearby and is a history museum. And if you’re a real history buff, there is also the Museum of the American Revolution. However, with just a weekend in Philadelphia, it might be hard to visit all of these museums.

Address: 520 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

View in Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed
View in Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed

Betsey Ross House

After, make a stop at the Betsey Ross House, which is where the American Flag was born. You can tour the house and learn more about Betsey Ross, check out the gift shop, or hang in the courtyard.

During our time in Philly, the house was closed, so we didn’t get to tour the inside. Walking past it was good enough for us, though.

Address: 239 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Front of the Betsy Ross house in Philadelphia during the weekend
Front of the Betsy Ross house

Rocky Stairs

This one is for all my movie buffs! I feel like you can’t spend a weekend in Philadelphia without climbing the Rocky stairs and chanting out loud (or secretly) the Rocky theme song!

During our visit, it was actually quite comical watching everyone doing it and trying to get the perfect video.

If you have additional time, you can also check out the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is located at the top of the steps.

Address: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Rodin Museum

Take a step into Paris at the Rodin Museum. Philly’s Rodin Museum houses one of the most comprehensive collections outside of Paris.

We were lucky to see tons of Rodin’s original work in Paris, but if you can’t make it to Paris, you have the next best thing!

The garden area is also lovely to hang out on a sunny day and have lunch during a weekend in Philly. This is very close to the Rocky Steps. 

Address: 2151 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130

visit the Rodin Museum with a weekend in Philadelphia

Stop by Philadelphia City Hall

While touring around Philly, you should also check out the Philadelphia City Hall Building. It is known as the largest municipal building in the United States, and it contains over 14.5 acres of floor space.

In fact, it was the tallest building in Philly up until 1987. The building is also known as the tallest masonry structure in the world without a steel frame. If you’re interested, they even offer guided tours of the outside and interior tours as well.

Address: 1400 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Philadelphia City Hall
Philadelphia City Hall

Honorable Mention: Eastern State Penitentiary

Tons of people mention visiting the Eastern State Penitentiary on their list of things to do in Philadelphia, however, we skipped it. Mainly because I personally have little interest in touring through an old prison.

Yes, there is history and yes, some famous criminals were held there, but it’s not my cup of tea. However, just because it’s not my cup of tea, doesn’t mean it might not be yours.

So, with that being said, I still wanted to add it to my Philadelphia weekend guide, just in case you have extra time or you want to swap something out since it is still a very popular activity in Philly. Eastern Penitentiary tickets.

Additionally, you can also look into tours around Philadelphia. There are quite a few!


Where To Eat In Philadelphia For The Weekend

Philly has an amazing food scene not to be missed! Here are some of the top restaurants that make our list for a weekend in Philadelphia!

As with all my food recommendations, all these Philly restaurants have both meat and vegetarian options (except Jim’s on South St.). You can also find lots of vegan restaurants in Philadelphia too.

Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market (pronounced Ree-ding) is a must when in Philly! In fact, this should be added as an attraction for your weekend in Philly. This unique market has tons of food vendors to try and is considered a Philadelphia experience! I can especially recommend  Bassetts Ice Cream. Just be prepared for a line!

Address: 51 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Jim’s on South St.

It’s been said you can’t visit Philly without having a Philly Cheesesteak. I don’t eat meat, but Alex does, so I did extensive research to find where the locals ate!

On most lists, you will hear about Genos and Pats for Philly cheesesteaks. However, these are known to be more for tourists, and locals will never go here!

So, if you are looking for an authentic and local experience, make your way to Jim’s on South Street. They only accept cash, and you can expect a line way out the door. Alex said his cheesesteak was amazing, so I will have to believe him!

Address: 400 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Green Eggs Cafe

Get ready for the best brunch of your life….seriously! Breakfast is my favorite meal, and wow, does Geen Eggs Cafe deliver. We had to wait an hour for a table (didn’t call in advance), but my Creme Brûlée french toast was like eating heaven on earth! I can’t recommend this place enough!

Address: 212 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

The Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar

This up-scale diner (not open 24/7) is a cute spot to come for dinner and drinks. It’s located in the Old City, which was our favorite place to walk around. The food was good and the staff was friendly.

Address: 138 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Lucha Cartel

Need your Mexican fix? This funky restaurant has amazing drinks and food! Lucha Cartel is also located in the Old City.

Address: 207 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Make sure to get a Philly cheesesteak from Jims on South during your weekend in Philadelphia
Jim’s on South

Where to Stay in Philadelphia

During our short weekend in Philly, we opted for a rental home. It was right in the Old City across the street from Elfreth’s Alley! After walking all around Philadelphia, we really did love the Old City area, so I can highly recommend staying in the area. If you are booking over the weekend, I would suggest booking in advance.


Getting to Philly

Depending on where you are located, you can either drive (like us), fly into Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), take a Greyhound bus or the Amtrack train.  If you drive to Philadelphia, I would suggest finding a garage to park your car since it’s very hard to find parking around the city.

We used Spot Hero ahead of time and were able to lock in a pretty good rate for the weekend in a secure garage! If you plan on flying in, check Skyscanner for the best flight prices. Additionally, if you are flying into Philadelphia, I would not recommend renting a car since the city is so walkable and has public transportation. 

Additionally, if you plan on doing more paid attractions in Philadelphia, consider getting the Go City Pass which gives you discounts!


Weekend in Philadelphia Itinerary Wrap-up

This concludes some of the best things to do in Philadelphia for the weekend.  I hope you found this guide helpful and have the best time in Philly! We know we will be back to this awesome city again.

Have any questions about this weekend in Philadelphia guide or feel like I missed something? Let me know in the comments below!

Did You Find This Philadelphia Weekend Guide Helpful? I’d appreciate it if you could share it below!

Weekend in Philadelphia itinerary 3 days in Philly
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Samantha Oppenheimer

Samantha Oppenheimer (Sam Opp) quit her corporate marketing job in 2018 to travel the world and become a travel writer, blogger and content creator. She loves experiencing authentic travel experiences, photography, and nature. Sam shares helpful travel itineraries, travel tips, budget tips, and travel advice from her personal experiences. You can also find Sam's words featured in large publications including Mirror, Thrillist, and Well + Good.

8 thoughts on “Epic Weekend in Philadelphia: Perfect for 2-3 Days in Philly”

  1. Hello from Brazil.
    I am grateful for your posts they have been helping me to plan my next trip in May to NYC,Phily and Washington DC.

    Reply
  2. I have always wanted to Philly, and you just made me bump it up on the list of places to go. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
  3. Wow this is the ultimate guide..I would love to visit magic garden and murals..they looks amazing .thanks for sharing

    Reply
  4. I love visiting Philly – I’m in DC and it’s one of my favorite weekend trips. Everyone should absolutely visit the Magic Gardens, such a great list thank you!

    Reply
  5. I went to Philly once for a conference. The conference centre is right in front of the market. I spent the entire week lunching at different vendors, so yummy!

    Reply

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