There’s a ton to do in Philly, that’s no secret. Having a fun day downtown without spending any money though, that’s a challenge. Well, I’m here to help. Below are some great ways to enjoy Philadelphia without spending a dime.
If you want to spend a relaxing day downtown, head to some of Philly’s parks and piers. Make your way down to Spruce Street Harbor Park, find a hammock and enjoy the breeze off the water. Take a stroll in Rail Park or Valley Forge National Historical park and enjoy the fresh air and abounding greenery. You can even meander your way to Rittenhouse Square Park with nothing more than a blanket and a good book. There are many more relaxing, public areas in the city including Cherry Street Pier, Bardascino Park, John F. Collins Park, and Race Street Pier.
I am sure you have seen some of Philly’s iconic murals, but did you know that there are nearly 4,000 pieces of public art in the city? Mural Arts Philadelphia (MAP) created a digital public arts map that makes it easy to plan out a self-guided tour of these public art pieces. This is a great way to check out different neighborhoods, get a feel for the city and connect deeper with the culture of Philadelphia, all without a cost of admission.
If you’ve never done it, go and see the Liberty Bell. One of the most iconic symbols for the city of Philadelphia, the Liberty Bell is a must-see for any Philadelphia resident and is completely free. The museum grants access on a first-come, first-serve basis from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. It's a quick, free trip that will leave you feeling a little more connected to the history of the nation's first capital. And while you’re down in the historic district, take a stroll down America’s oldest continuously inhabited street, Elfreth’s Alley. There are many other historic sites to check out like The President’s House, Carpenter’s Hall, and Independence National Historic Park, to name a few.
If your thirst for science is so great that a graduate degree in health sciences can’t even quench it, then you should visit a few of Philadelphia’s free science attractions this summer. The Franklin Institute offers highly interactive exhibits that are truly fun for the whole family. They have free admissions from 5 to 8 p.m. on community nights. The first hospital in the United States, The Pennsylvania Hospital has a 13,000-volume library, the nation's oldest surgical amphitheater, herb gardens, and more all for free. The Science History Institute and the Wagner Free Institute of Science both also have free admission and are worth a visit.
The student schedule and budget can be very restricting so I hope that this will give you some ideas for free, fun things to do in your limited free time.