2 day philadelphia itinerary

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Is 2 days enough in Philadelphia

Yes! If you follow this 2 day Philadelphia itinerary you’ll spend time experiencing all the food, culture and history that Philly has to offer!

Trust me, Philadelphia is worth a visit! It’s the 5th most populated city in the United States (and one of the oldest) with a unique history, amazing architecture and an impressive food and drink scene.

Visiting a new city can be a little overwhelming at first. But, with a little preparation and insider knowledge, your trip will go smoothly and you’ll have an amazing time!

Whether you’re looking for things to do with friends on a lazy afternoon or seeking something exciting to do with the family, I’ve got you covered in this 2 day Philadelphia itinerary.

image of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson in front of a Masonic Temple
Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin statue in front of a Masonic Temple

Two Days in Philadelphia Itinerary

When it comes to a weekend in Philadelphia itinerary, you gotta know that there’s more to this city than just the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

The City of Brotherly Love is a perfect destination for anyone looking to get out of town for the weekend, but not too far from home. With many things to do and see, it’s hard not to fall in love with this historic city. Here’s your 2 day Philadelphia Itinerary.

You don’t have to do this in this exact order, this is just my suggested order of events. If you are staying at a hotel that is not near Stop 1. You can join the tour at any stop as long as you have your ticket. If you have purchased a Philadelphia CityPASS, just show it from your phone and they will give you your tickets.

You can find information on Big Bus Tours on their website. Don’t forget to download the app for real time bus tracking!

Day 1:

  • Board Big Bus Company and Philadelphia Trolley Works at Stop 1
  • Betsy Ross House
  • Reading Terminal market for breakfast or lunch
  • Continue the bus loop around
  • If you’re going to the Philadelphia museum of Art, stop at the Rocky’s steps
  • The Franklin Institute
  • Walk to Con murphy and/or Victory Brewing
  • Baseball game or sporting event

Day 2:

  • Board Big Bus Company and Philadelphia Trolley Works
  • Chinatown for lunch
  • Eastern State Penitentiary
  • Penn’s Landing waterfront
  • Museum of the American Revolution
  • El Techo – Rooftop bar for apps, pre dinner drinks and views!
  • Grab dinner (make advanced reservations if possible) in Rittenhouse Square – The Love or Via Locusta

What to Expect in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is a city full of contradictions. The city is home to some of the country’s most affluent neighborhoods, but is also home to some of the country’s poorest.

Philadelphia is a city well-known for its rich history and culture, but is also quickly becoming a major tech hub. With all of these unique characteristics, it can be difficult to know what to expect when visiting Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is home to many neighborhoods that have their own unique qualities. Some of the most famous neighborhoods include Fishtown, Northern Liberties, and Chinatown.

These neighborhoods are great for dining, drinking, and nightlife. If you’re looking for something a little more lowkey, Old City and Fitler Square are both great options with plenty of shops and restaurants.

The city is laid out in a grid, with the Schuylkill River running diagonally through it. This makes it really easy to get around. The main streets are numbered, so if you know the number, you can get anywhere. There are also public transportation options (subway, trolleys) that run throughout the city and are extremely affordable and easy to use.

The neighborhoods in Philadelphia each have their own unique vibe and culture – so it’s fun to explore them all and see which one fits your personality best! Some of my favorites include the Italian Market in South Philly, Rittenhouse Square in Center City, Old City in the historic district, Fishtown in North Philly.

Love statue in Love Park, philadelphia itinerary
The Love statue in Love Park

The main neighborhoods in Philadelphia include:

Center City: home to City Hall and the iconic ‘LOVE statue’, Center City is in the heart of Philadelphia’s downtown area, surrounded by major shopping and dining districts.

Rittenhouse Square: This upscale neighborhood is one of the most desirable in Philadelphia. It’s also home to some of the city’s finest dining, nightlife, and shops.

Old City: The historic Old City is an eclectic neighborhood characterized by brick-lined streets, unique shops and restaurants, cobblestone alleyways and historic buildings dating back to the nation’s founding. It is convenient to numerous attractions and transportation hubs.

Society Hill: This upscale neighborhood once hosted some of Philadelphia’s most fashionable residents in its elegant townhouses. Today it’s also home to much of the city’s fine dining scene, as well as several museums, theaters, and other attractions.

University City: University City — along with West Philly — serves as home to University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)and Drexel University. This dynamic area has something for everyone thanks to its unique blend of urban culture and collegiate life. Not only are there many shops, restaurants and cafes to be found here but you’re also never far from a place of educational interest or a green space to relax in peace.

liberty bell, Philadelphia Itinerary
Liberty Bell

How many days do you need to visit Philadelphia?

I think that 2-3 days is the perfect amount of time to explore Philly, see the historical sites and experience some great food. But it really depends on your specific situation and circumstances.

Philadelphia is a city that has something for everyone. You can explore the rich history and culture, visit world-renowned museums, catch a baseball game or enjoy the great outdoors. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from.

If you’re like me, you love history but can only go to so many attractions and museums LOL. So that’s why I wanted to compile a 2 day Philadelphia itinerary that gives you a taste of everything.

How do you choose between all the top sights and experiences? As with any big city, it can be pretty overwhelming. The good news is that there are many things to do in Philadelphia – but the even better news is that they won’t cost you a lot if you plan your visit right!

Philadelphia is where our country was born. I’m so excited that you have this amazing opportunity and I promise to help you make the most out of it!

image of the guide pamphlet at the Museum of the American Revolution - Philadelphia Itinerary

How To Get Around In Philadelphia

A good way to get around Philadelphia is by utilizing the public transportation system known as SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority).

SEPTA has both buses and trains that can take you all throughout Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs. There are also plenty of bus/trolley tours that can get you around to the see the sites!

Can I get around Philadelphia without a car?

Absolutely! There are a ton of options when getting around Philadelphia. You can walk, call an Uber or Lyft, take public transportation and so much more!

If you do call for an Uber or Lyft, don’t forget to add your favorite rewards partner within the app so that you can earn rewards while you explore!

For Lyft Rewards, you can add your Hilton Honors Account or Delta Sky Miles account.

Navigate to the Rewards section from the Lyft app and add a travel partner, super easy! If you do not have a loyalty account with Hilton or Delta, what are you waiting for? Joining these loyalty programs are totally free.

You can also earn points with an eligible Chase credit card and earn credits with an eligible Mastercard.

To earn Marriott Bonvoy points with Uber navigate to the Settings tab within the Uber app.

Add your Marriott Bonvoy account under the Rewards section and you’re good!

If you do not have a Marriott Bonvoy account – Go join the totally free Marriott loyalty program right now!

Take a hop on/hop off bus tour

Whenever I’m planning a trip to a big city, I always look up what hop on/hop off bus tours are available. It’s my favorite way to get around!

I love it because not only do you get a guided tour all around the city, but transportation to your other attractions as well. I like to board the bus or trolley first thing in the morning and do the full loop. This way we get to hear the full tour and ask the guide any questions about the stops that we may have.

Keep reading for my tips on how I purchased my Philadelphia bus tour tickets at a discount!

Victory Brewing Company - Philadelphia Itinerary
Victory Brewing Company

Tips for visiting Philadelphia

I think that if you want to get to know a new city, you should start with exploration and discovery. So, I’ve got it at the top of this 2 day Philadelphia itinerary.

Begin your visit to Philadelphia by spending a day walking and exploring the city, getting lost inside its different neighborhoods and finding out what makes Philadelphia unique. This could be the perfect time to board the hop on/hop off bus or trolley tour and get the lay of the land!

Take a walk along the waterfront and explore the historic Independence Seaport Museum and the Penn’s Landing area with its shops and restaurants.

Walk around the Italian Market in South Philadelphia, which has been open since the late 19th century and visit the Magic Gardens, a huge outdoor art installation and sculpture garden created by artist Isaiah Zagar.

Philadelphia is a city of culture, with art and museums throughout the city. Visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art or Eastern State Penitentiary, the country’s very first penitentiary.

Philadelphia also hosts numerous cultural events throughout the year, including:

And many more! No matter what your interests are, you’re sure to find something that suits you.

Con murphy's irish pub
Con Murphy’s Irish Pub

What to do? Activities and Attractions

There are a ton of amazing attractions and activities that you can enjoy in Philadelphia. Whether you’re looking for indoor activities that won’t leave you soaked after the inevitable PA rainstorm or outdoor activities like hiking, exploring, and more, Philadelphia has it all.

Purchase a CityPASS

My next must have for this 2 day Philadelphia itinerary and for any new city, is to purchase a Philadelphia CityPASS. It’s the best bang for your buck and will help you maximize your exploration time.

The pass will give you access to must see attractions for one low price. It may also include access to priority entrances and discounts. CityPASS has been providing guidance to travelers for over 25 years. They have amazing resources including how to plan your trip.

The Philadelphia CityPASS has 3 tiers:

  • C3 – 3 attractions
  • C4 – 4 attractions
  • C5 – 5 attractions

You can save up to 51%! It’s valid for 9 consecutive days from and including the first day that you activate the pass. But don’t wait to purchase your pass! You’ll have one year from the date of purchase to use it.

Although not necessary, I think it’s important to have a good idea as to what attractions you’re interested in before you decide which pass to purchase.

I’ve found it to almost always include a hop on/hop off bus or trolley tour company included. As you may remember, they are my favorite way to get around a new city!

These are some notable hop on/hop off bus stops:

Even if what you’re looking for is not an official stop on the tour, you can easily get to almost anywhere you want to go from these stops.

Museum of the American Revolution

The museum of the American Revolution, located in the historic district of Old City in Philadelphia, offers visitors a glimpse into what life was like during the Revolutionary War. It’s an interactive museum with various galleries that allow you to explore important moments from the war and see what life was like for those living during that time period.

We really enjoyed this museum and the fact that it was also included in our CityPASS made it an even better experience. If you have a chance to visit, make sure you watch the presentation of Washington’s War Tent. The film is so well done and ends with the reveal of the real tent itself. It’s a very touching and entertaining display that you will not want to miss.

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The Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute is one of the most popular museums in Philadelphia. If you’re looking for somewhere that combines education, history, and science all in one place, make your way over to the Franklin Institute. My husband loves this combination and since we’re also Franklins, we wanted to check it out. It was also included in our CityPASS!

We were lucky enough to enjoy the Harry Potter exhibition which was an additional cost, but since we had a CityPASS, we received a hefty discount. I’m grateful for the discount, but the exhibit was so stunning that I would have paid full price. It was one of the highlights of our trip!

That’s one of the great things about The Franklin Institute. Not only are there enough interactive exhibits included to take up a full day (if you wanted), they also offer special exhibitions.

I highly recommend that you consider spending your day at the Franklin Institute. It combines learning about science with exploring interactive exhibits that are fun for any age.

Image of the field at Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia Itinerary
Citizens Bank Park – Philadelphia Phillies

Catch a baseball game (or any sporting event)

Philly is a huge sports town. Even if you’re not really into sports, it’s the experience! When visiting a new city, I always try to attend at least one sporting event. I think it’s one of the best ways to get a feel for the culture. Plus, I enjoy a good ballpark dog and beer.

We were able to catch a Phillies game at Citizen Bank Field and if you’re an old school baseball fan, the stadium does not disappoint. If it’s not baseball season or you’re not into baseball, they have the football stadium next door!

image of inside Reading terminal market, philadelphia itinerary
Reading Terminal Market

What to eat?

You can’t visit Philadelphia without trying some delicious foods. Philly cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, crabcakes, water ice, and cannolis are just a few of the mouthwatering options.

The food scene in Philadelphia is as diverse as the population that calls it home. This is the heart of America, after all, with roots that go back to many different cultures, each bringing their own flavor to the big city!

From the famous Philly cheesesteak and hoagies to its craft beer and cocktails, Philadelphia has something for everyone. With nearly 5,000 restaurants in the city, it may be difficult to know where to eat in Philadelphia. Here are some must visits:

The Reading Terminal Market: It’s the largest indoor public market in the United States, and a tourist attraction in its own right. This market has everything from fresh produce and prepared foods to jewelry and fresh flowers. Be sure to try a soft pretzel while you’re there!

Franklin Fountain – An old-fashioned soda fountain serving up handmade ice cream and sundaes.

Cleavers – family owned and known for their cheesesteaks, has a huge menu with a variety of different offerings.

Famous by Rita’s – The original Rita’s Water Ice is a Philadelphia staple and must-visit destination.

The most famous shopping district in Philadelphia is undoubtedly the Gallery/Market/Arch Street area, which offers everything from high-end boutiques to affordable souvenir shops. If you prefer something a bit more traditional, head to the Italian Market, where you’ll be able to find discounted goods and some great street food!

image of philly cheesesteak,, philadelphia itinerary
Philly Cheesesteak

Eat a Philly cheesesteak

There are a few must-try foods that will give you a true taste of Philadelphia, such as Cheesesteaks, which are a local specialty and one of the most recognizable foods in the city. You can try them virtually anywhere in Philly, but the best are said to be from Geno’s Steaks, Pat’s King of Steaks or Jim’s Steaks along the strip of South Street known as the “Italian Market”.

But we decided to check out Cleavers, it was conveniently located to our hotel and it was so good! Their menu is HUGE. What I liked about Cleavers was how much variety they had on the menu. They even offer all of their sandwiches in a wrap or bowl, so if you’re into a low carb diet (I try) I’ve got you covered!

image of Via Locusta Restaurant, philadelphia itinerary
Via Locusta

Enjoy some authentic Italian food

Everyone always talks about getting a Philly Cheesesteak, but the real deal is the Italian food. The city is bursting at the seams with diverse cultures which in turn bring amazing and diverse cuisine. One of which is Italian.

Surrounding Rittenhouse squares are rows and rows of restaurant including Italian restaurants. They all have these cute wooden makeshift covered outdoor booths. Many of them had floral decorations and romantic market lights.

Our hotel had a list of recommended nearby restaurants, so we decided to try out Via Locusta in Rittenhouse square. The atmosphere was authentically Italian (I’ve been to Italy!) and the food experience was top notch. They take your entire order at the beginning of the meal – starters, main, and dessert which are timed well so as not to rush the meal. 

Everything is made fresh and in house. So if you’re thinking Italian, it’s gotta be – Via Locusta.

image of the love restaurant, philadelphia itinerary
The Love Restaurant

The Love

Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love and The Love is a foodie’s love letter to Philadelphia. It’s an upscale American style eatery located just off Rittenhouse square.

From the drinks, the food and the atmosphere it’s definitely belongs on your list for brunch, lunch or dinner. Our favorites were the Fried Green Tomatoes and the Lovebird!

Rooftop bars

Another great way to see a new city is to visit a beautiful rooftop bar or restaurant. If you’re a fan of Rooftop bars (how could you not be) then you need to check out the Rooftop Bar Guide website.

Here’s their list of recommendations for Rooftop bars in Philadelphia. We were staying at the Motto By Hilton Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square and I noticed that El Techo was located in the same building. Bingo!

What is awesome about El Techo is that it has a retractable roof so it’s available all year long! So no matter what time of year you’re visiting, you’ll have a great view of the city.

You will need to get there early because the place does fill up.

Franklin Institute entrance, Philadelphia itinerary
Franklin Institute

Where To Stay in Philadelphia

There’s honestly so many amazing hotels in Philadelphia, so it’s hard to choose. But here are some Hilton hotels that I would recommend.

I’ve been staying with Hilton for years and have their co-branded credit card with American Express and love it. I’ve earned enough Hilton Honors points to cover 7 night long stays with the 5th night free. It’s the perfect way to explore new places on a budget!

It pays to be loyal, but there are so many amazing hotel brands out there – Marriott, Hyatt, Kimpton just to name a few. Find the one that works for you (and gets you the most points)!

What is the best month to visit Philadelphia?

If you’re planning a trip and can be flexible on the dates, the best months to visit Philadelphia are March, April or in the fall – October, November. The weather is cooler so be prepared for that, but it’s beautiful.

We last went in early May and had record high temperatures. We walked around the city when it was 93 degrees Fahrenheit. Talk about hot!

Franklin institute, Philadelphia itinerary
Franklin Institute

Ready to go to Philadelphia?

If you’re planning on visiting Philadelphia soon, there is no shortage of things to do and see. With so much history and culture within this city, there’s something for everyone no matter what your interests are.

This 2 day Philadelphia itinerary is filled with amazing activities and attractions. It will allow you to explore the city, sample its rich food and drink scene, and see some of its most iconic landmarks.

Before you book your trip, check out my post on ways to save money for your next vacation and let’s get you traveling for less!

Want to Travel More for Less?

Become a Budget Traveler! Head over to my start here page and grab my free budget travel cheat sheet  – it’s packed with valuable tips to help you create your own winning budget travel strategy.

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