How to Spend a Weekend in Philadelphia

The City of Philadelphia is a terrific option for a long weekend trip. Rich with history, great food, great beer, captivating museums, and tons of options for daytime and nighttime entertainment, it’s a city offering more than enough to keep you entertained. Philadelphia is known for the iconic Rocky films, cheesesteaks, and the home of the Liberty Bell and Declaration of Independence, but there is so much more to the City of Brotherly Love than those attractions. And while we still recommend visiting the Rocky memorial, eating a cheesesteak, and checking out some of the rich history of the city while visiting, we’ve compiled some other great options for keeping you entertained during your stay in Philly.

Explore the Animals at the Philadelphia Zoo (And Maybe Have a Glass of Wine or Two)

The Philadelphia Zoo is one of the best on the East Coast and leverages its status as America’s first official zoo, bringing in more than 1.2 million visitors every year. The zoo is home to nearly 1,300 animals, many rare and endangered and does a terrific job educating people about animal and environmental conservation via a first-in-the-world animal travel and exploration trail system. In addition, the zoo also features the Watering Hole, an open-air beer and wine garden for visitors. The zoo also hosts after-hours happy hour tours for adults called Wild Nights, each event focusing on a different part of the zoo and creatures of the animal kingdom.

Visit the Eastern State Penitentiary and Be Utterly Creeped Out

Once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, the Eastern State Penitentiary occupies an entire city block just minutes from City Hall and is open to visitors throughout the year. The compound that held famous criminals like Al Capone and bank robber “Slick Willie” Sutton now lies in ruin as crumbling cell blocks and guard towers create an incredibly eerie and haunting space. Tours of the prison are available year-round and with a guided audio tour voiced by Steve Buscemi available. And if you’re looking for a particularly haunting tour of the penitentiary, try visiting during Halloween.

Visit One of the Best and Most Underrated Japanese Gardens in the U.S.

The Shofuso Japanese House and Garden stands in Fairmount Park, on a portion of land adjacent to the first Japanese garden built in America. The grounds along the Schuylkill River along with the accompanying house originally built in Japan and reassembled several times over the years in the states. Shofuso (meaning “Pine Breeze Villa”) had been conceived of as part of a Museum of Modern Art exhibition called “House in the Garden.” Built in Nagoya in 1953 and reassembled in New York in 1954, the house stood in MoMA’s courtyard for two years. Shofuso was moved and reassembled in Philadelphia in 1957 and opened to the public in 1958. Visitors today will find a beautiful waterfall, gorgeous grounds to walk around, and 20 contemporary murals in the house, donated by renowned artist Hiroshi Senju.

Explore the Eclectic and Friendly Neighborhood of Germantown

Located six miles northwest of downtown Philadelphia, Germantown is one of America’s most historic neighborhoods. Spending a day exploring Germantown affords visitors opportunities to learn about the area’s rich history and role as a key location during the American Revolution. In addition to housing some of the area’s best historical attractions, Germantown’s quaint setting is the backdrop for several premiere take-out restaurants, casual cafes, and upscale establishments.

Go to A Live Sporting Event in South Philly

In South Philadelphia, you’ll find the home of the Philadelphia Eagles (Lincoln Financial Field aka The Linc), the Philadelphia 76ers, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Philadelphia Soul (Wells Fargo Center), and the Philadelphia Phillies (Citizens Bank Park). Five of the six professional Philadelphia sports teams are located within a few square blocks of each other, with the MLS’ Philadelphia Union located about 20 minutes further south on the Delaware River. While Philadelphia sports have experienced a renaissance of success in the last couple of years with the Eagles winning the Super Bowl for the first time ever in 2017, the 76ers making the playoffs for the first time in six years, and the Phillies improving steadily over the last several years, it’s still entirely possible to find affordable tickets to a game. And if you can’t find good tickets to your preferred sport, touring the facilities is also an option. Finally, the Linc and Wells Fargo Center also host tons of concerts and events throughout the year.

Buy A Nice Bottle of Wine and Go Out to Eat in Little Italy

Also located in South Philadelphia, Little Italy has been a mainstay in the area since the 19th century and not only features one of the largest open air markets in the country, it also features some amazing Italian restaurants. Couple the great eating options with the fact that many establishments in Philadelphia are legally BYOB (bring your own booze) and you’ll be able to have an amazing meal while saving some money on a great bottle of wine you purchased at a local wine market.