Philadelphia, the ‘City of Brotherly Love’, is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the sixth most populated city in the USA. It became a member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities in 2015 as the first World Heritage City in the USA, among other reasons for its role as the birthplace of the country’s independence and constitution.
Philadelphia is known for its colonial history, art, culture, haunted sites and cheesesteaks, attracting millions of visitors. After dark, the city turns into a wonderland of sights, lights, food and exciting experiences. From visiting historic neighbourhoods to drinking cocktails and exploring the city’s darker side, tick these 20 things to do in Philadelphia at night off your list.
- Philadelphia At Night
- 20 Things To Do In Philadelphia At Night
- 1- Explore The Historic District
- 2- Walk Across Benjamin Franklin Bridge
- 3- Discover Spruce Street Harbor Park
- 4- Enjoy A Tasty Philly Cheesesteak
- 5- Explore Cherry Street Pier
- 6- Wander Around Franklin Square
- 7- Drink Beer At Independence Beer Garden
- 8- Go On A Philadelphia Walking Ghost Tour
- 9- Enjoy A Sweet Treat At Franklin Fountain
- 10- Snap A Photo With Rocky
- 11- See The Collection At The Philadelphia Museum of Art
- 12- Go On An Adults-only Night Tour
- 13- Explore On A Scavenger Hunt Game
- 14- See The City From A Double Decker Bus
- 15- Go On A Prohibition Pub Crawl
- 16- Explore Boathouse Row
- 17- Cruise The Delaware River
- 18- Go On A Brewery Tour
- 19- Take An Instagram-Worthy Photo In Love Park
- 20- Go On A Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride
- 20 Things To Do In Philadelphia At Night
Philadelphia At Night
20 Things To Do In Philadelphia At Night
1- Explore The Historic District
Start your exploration of Philadelphia at night by discovering its charming, multi-layered Historic District.
Popularly known as Old City, this is the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.
This neighbourhood is filled with fashionable boutiques, fabulous restaurants, cool galleries and bars.
It’s also home to the country’s first major museum devoted to African American history, the African American Museum in Philadelphia.
The Historic District runs from Delaware River to 7th Street and Vine Street to Lombard Street.
2- Walk Across Benjamin Franklin Bridge
If you have some time to kill while the day becomes night, walk across the iconic Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
Previously known as the Delaware River Bridge, this suspension bridge crosses the Delaware River connecting Philadelphia in Pennsylvania with Camden in New Jersey.
The bridge was constructed to be part of the 1926 Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition and had the most extensive single span of any suspension bridge worldwide until 1929.
The bridge also has a path for walkers and cyclists, with a sparkling view of the river and Philadelphia skyline.
Benjamin Franklin Bridge is at 1 Benjamin Franklin Bridge, Philadelphia, 08102.
3- Discover Spruce Street Harbor Park
Spruce Street Harbor Park has a lovely urban beach where you can enjoy food, drinks and a relaxing atmosphere on the Delaware River waterfront.
Located in Penn’s Landing, it is an excellent place to sit back in an Adirondack chair or a rainbow-striped hammock and enjoy the patio and arcade games, musical performances and tasty treats from local vendors.
Hundreds of colourful LED lights are strung between the trees at night to create a magical wonderland.
You can rent a kayak or a big swan boat to cruise around on the river.
Other attractions include a floating restaurant, beer garden and a boardwalk.
Spruce Street Harbor Park is at 301 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, 19106.
4- Enjoy A Tasty Philly Cheesesteak
Hot dog vendor Pat Olivieri invented the Philly cheesesteak in the 1930s, which has become an iconic snack that comes to mind when you mention Philadelphia.
What is it? It’s a long crusty roll filled with thinly-sliced sauteed rib-eye steak and melted cheese. You can choose to add toppings like fried onions, peppers, sauteed mushrooms and ketchup.
You can’t leave Philadelphia without trying a genuine Philly cheesesteak and while wandering around at night, sinking your teeth into one is all the more satisfying.
Some of the best places to try are Geno’s Steaks, Pat’s King of Steaks, Sonny’s, Tony Luke’s and Jim’s South Street.
5- Explore Cherry Street Pier
Cherry Street Pier is a creative arts centre and urban public space that was originally a shipping pier in 1919.
The rejuvenated Shipping Pier 9 has great views of the Ben Franklin Bridge and an exciting schedule of fairs, festivals and exhibitions.
The site has food stalls and a bar, allowing you to enjoy live music while drinking and gazing at the Delaware River.
Food trucks are everywhere, and artists, antique dealers, and local farmers have tables to sell their goods.
Cherry Street Pier is at 121 N Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, 19106.
6- Wander Around Franklin Square
Franklin Square is one of five historic public squares in the city that offers a relaxing recreation space.
English writer William Penn planned it while he laid out the city in 1682.
The centrepiece is the Franklin Square Fountain, which combines water with colourful lights and music in the evenings.
Parx Liberty Carousel is a traditional carousel where you can ride a zebra, lion, eagle or dragon.
Philly Mini Golf (open until 7 pm) is a fun attraction with 18 holes designed after Philadelphia’s famous landmarks like Liberty Bell, the LOVE statue, Ben Franklin Bridge and Chinatown Friendship Arch.
While visiting Franklin Square, you can fill your belly with burgers and thick shakes from SquareBurger.
Franklin Square is at 200 N 6th St, Philadelphia, 19106.
7- Drink Beer At Independence Beer Garden
While visiting Philadelphia at night, head to the Independence Beer Garden to dine and drink amid rocks, boulders and shipping containers. d
This 20,000-sq-ft outdoor watering hole is a popular spot with the locals, who gather to eat, drink and play games.
The venue is opposite Independence Mall and a few steps away from the Liberty Bell Center.
Enjoy popular American comfort food and a selection of 40 regional and domestic beers.
The beer garden opens from Wednesday to Sunday. Happy hour is from 3 pm to 7 pm.
Independence Beer Garden is at 100 S Independence Mall W, Philadelphia, 19106.
8- Go On A Philadelphia Walking Ghost Tour
A city rich in history and mysteries, Philadelphia is the perfect city for a ghost tour.
Several operators arrange ghost tours to help you discover the city’s hidden secrets.
Tours take you on a leisurely walk through the cobblestone streets of Old Philadelphia, where eerie tales of paranormal chaos unfold at national historical sights.
Most tours take more than an hour and are suitable for all ages.
9- Enjoy A Sweet Treat At Franklin Fountain
The Franklin Fountain on Market Street is an old-fashioned ice cream parlour dressed in 19th-century decor.
They serve ice cream cones and indulgent sundaes until midnight throughout the week.
Established in 2004, this Victorian-inspired ice cream parlour lures dessert lovers of all ages with handmade ice creams, thick shakes, banana splits and soda fountain drinks.
Flavours include teaberry gum, cotton candy, Franklin mint chip and rum raisin.
Those visiting the ice cream parlour can also enjoy hot chocolate, homemade pies, and hot milkshakes during colder months.
The Franklin Fountain is at 116 Market St, Philadelphia, 19106.
10- Snap A Photo With Rocky
If you’re old enough to align with the Rocky movies, you’ll want to visit the Rocky Statue and the Rocky Steps, which are the most popular points of interest in the city.
The statue is a huge bronze sculpture immortalising Rocky Balboa, the famous character in the Rocky movies.
Originally made for the movie Rocky III in 1982, the statue became a public art piece in Philadelphia.
Channel your inner ‘Rocky’ while running up the 72 Rocky Steps and pumping your fists in the air.
These steps also lead up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s entrance.
Rocky Statue and Rocky Steps are at 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, 19130.
11- See The Collection At The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) is an excellent museum for art lovers as the iconic venue houses a massive collection of over 240,000 objects spanning 2,000 years.
On display are artifacts from the ancient world, medieval times, the Renaissance, and right through to today.
There are paintings from Van Gogh, Picasso and Renoir, a collection of armour, a vast outdoor sculpture garden and a 14th-century Buddhist temple.
The museum’s impressive art collection makes it one of the most significant art museums in the USA.
Several special exhibitions are held annually, including major collections on show from other national and international museums.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is at 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, 19130. The museum is open until 8.45 pm on Friday nights.
12- Go On An Adults-only Night Tour
One of the most popular tours in Philadelphia at night is a tour that takes you through the city’s dark side.
While wandering around the historical attractions lit up at night, you’ll learn about the city’s R-rated places.
From raunchy stories about the red light district to tales of hauntings, executions and vampires, you’ll discover the city’s gritty past from a local perspective.
Grim Philly Twilight Tours depart at 8 pm from 523 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106.
13- Explore On A Scavenger Hunt Game
One of the fun ways of Philadelphia at night is to go on a self-guided scavenger hunt.
Turn the city into an online game by downloading a themed interactive scavenger hunt that combines the fun of racing around the city looking for clues with a sightseeing tour of Philadelphia.
Here are some scavenger hunts you might like:
- Stitched In Time: People Who Made America – a multiple player game where you work in teams to learn about famous Philadelphians like William Penn and Benjamin Franklin.
- Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt in Philadelphia – be a detective and solve a murder as you’re guided through the city.
- Museums Scavenger Hunt – hunt through the museum district from City Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
14- See The City From A Double Decker Bus
One of the easiest ways to see Philadelphia at night is to take a whirl around the city in a double-decker bus.
The bus does a 90-minute loop past 27 landmarks such as Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Penn’s Landing and the Rocky Steps.
If you have more time, purchase a one or two-day pass that allows you to jump off and on to explore at your leisure.
15- Go On A Prohibition Pub Crawl
The thriving beer scene in Philadelphia is as old as the city itself, and the pub crawl is the ideal option for travellers to drink their way through the city while learning about its history.
Although there’s no shortage of bars and pubs to relax and enjoy a drink, joining a prohibition pub crawl led by a knowledgeable guide is especially relevant when exploring Philadephia at night.
Listen to exciting stories about the prohibition era and the antics of gangsters like Al Capone and Leo Lanzetti.
You’ll get to see the city’s landmarks as you walk from tavern to tavern, learning about bootleggers, pirates and other colourful characters from the city’s past.
16- Explore Boathouse Row
Soak up the city’s history and rowing culture at Boathouse Row.
The national historic landmark has 15 Victorian buildings dating from the mid-19th century to the Civil War era.
They line the eastern bank of the Schuylkill River north of the Fairmount Waterworks.
Each boathouse is a rowing club with a fascinating history displayed in colourful LEDs that light up in different colours at night, making the river look like a twinkling fairyland.
Boathouse Row is at 1 Boathouse Row, Philadelphia, 19130.
17- Cruise The Delaware River
A dinner cruise on the Delaware River is a lovely way to enjoy the Philadelphia skyline while dining and dancing.
Cruises leave Penn’s Landing, and many dinner cruises have all-you-can-eat buffets with an onboard DJ.
Plan to cruise during seasonal celebrations, including New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, for a fun time.
18- Go On A Brewery Tour
With several breweries scattered around Philadelphia, the city has a strong claim as a leader on the US craft beer scene and beer lovers will find many spots to try out locally crafted brews.
Start your brewery tour at Yards Brewing Company’s massive brewery and taproom in Northern Liberties.
Then, head to Philadelphia Brewing Company, operating out of the city’s oldest and biggest brewing facility.
Another great spot to try on a brewery-hopping adventure is the Old City’s 2nd Story Brewing.
Joining an organised brewery tour of several breweries is a great way to meet the brewery owners and learn the secrets of making excellent beer while tasting them.
Meals are also often included on the brewery tours.
19- Take An Instagram-Worthy Photo In Love Park
A trip to Philadelphia isn’t complete without stopping by and snapping a photo of yourself at the Love Park sign.
Officially called John F. Kennedy Plaza, the site is where you will find Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture.
The park is also the entrance to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Love Park also has a water feature, a welcome centre, walking paths, seating facilities and green spaces.
But there’s nowhere in the park as iconic for a selfie as the Love sculpture.
You’ll often find food trucks parked nearby offering everything from cupcakes and burgers to drinks.
Love Park is at Arch St, Philadelphia, 19102.
20- Go On A Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride
A horse-drawn carriage ride following in the footsteps of a nation’s forefathers is a charming way to discover Philadelphia at night.
Guided horse-drawn carriage rides take you back in time through the city’s historic areas and to visit landmarks like Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and Elfreth Alley.
Clip clop your way through the Society Hill neighbourhood and admire the historic architecture of the 18th and 19th-century buildings, like the first Roman Catholic church built in Philadelphia.
They usually last one hour and the experience is memorable.
41 S 6th St, 41 S 6th St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA.
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