100+ Best Things To Do In Philadelphia: Your Ultimate Family Visitor’s Guide

Flights from Atlanta to Philadelphia are an easy 2 hours, and quite affordable. If you’re looking to teach the kids about culture, history and FUN then book your tickets and print our guide to the best things to do in Philadelphia!

Broken down by neighborhood, we give you the details on fun, food and where to lay your head.


Historic District | Delaware River Waterfront | Museum District | City CenterUniversity City/Fairmount ParkChestnut Hill/East Falls/ManayunkFishtown/Northern Liberties/Northeast PhiladelphiaSouth Philadelphia | Bucks CountyMontgomery County | Chester County | Delaware County

Historic District


The African American Museum in Philadelphia – Now in its 40th year, this groundbreaking museum takes afresh and bold look at the stories of African-Americans and their role in the founding of the nation through the core exhibit Audacious Freedom. Children’s Corner, an interactive installment for ages three through eight, lets kids explore the daily lives of youth in Philadelphia from 1776-1876. Other exhibits examine contemporary issues through art and historic artifacts. Weekend family workshops and special events take place throughout the year. 701 Arch Street, (215) 574-0380aampmuseum.org

Betsy Ross House America’s most famous flag maker greets guests in her interactive 18th-century upholstery shop. Visitors learn about Betsy’s life and legend from the lady herself and Phillis, an African-American colonial who explains and shows what life was like for a freed black woman in the 18th century. An audio tour caters to four-to-eight-year-olds, offering lessons in Colonial life and the opportunity to solve “history mysteries.” 239 Arch Street, (215) 629-4026, betsyrosshouse.org

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia – Everyone handles money, but how does it arrive in people’s wallets? The Federal Reserve’s hands-on Money in Motion exhibit at explains it all. Plus, games invite visitors to “Match Wits with Ben,” and an impressive collection of old and rare currency is on display. 6th & Arch Streets, (866) 574-3727, (215) 574-6000, philadelphiafed.org

Fireman’s Hall Museum – Future emergency responders get a head start at this restored 1902 firehouse, home to some of the nation’s earliest firefighting equipment, including hand, steam and motor fire engines, as well as a 9/11 exhibit and an interactive kiosk that teaches kids about 9-1-1 services. Visitors can try on fire coats and boots, man a bucket brigade and learn about fire prevention. 147 N. 2nd Street, (215) 923-1438, firemanshallmuseum.org

Franklin Square One of William Penn’s original five squares is a modern and fun family park, with a Philly-themed miniature golf course, restored marble fountain, two playgrounds and an old-fashioned carousel featuring some famous Philly horses. When hunger strikes, SquareBurger delivers with burgers, fries and Cake Shakes. 6th & Race Streets, historicphiladelphia.org

Independence National Historical Park – TheLiberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, Congress Hall, the Benjamin Franklin Museum and the Bishop White House are just some of the attractions that make up America’s most historic square mile. In the summer months, the park offers ranger-led walking tours,which have in recent years included Dr. Franklin’s Philadelphia, History Beneath Our Feet and Underground Railroad. (215) 965-2305,nps.gov/inde

Museum of the American Revolution – Offering free admission to children under age five and discounts to older kids, the Historic District’s newest attraction, delving into the citizens’ conflict that created the United States of America, invites all ages to join the Sons of Liberty, board the deck of a privateer ship and play soldier throughout. 123 Chestnut Street, (215) 254-6731, amrevmuseum.org

National Constitution Center – At America’s first and only museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution,highlights include interactive exhibits; the powerful, multimedia Freedom Rising performance; Signers’ Hall, filled with life-sized statues of the signers of the U.S. Constitution; and nationally touring exhibitions. Special family-friendly programs take place throughout the year on civic holidays, including Presidents’ Day, Veterans’ Day, Tax Day, Earth Day and more. 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6600, constitutioncenter.org

National Museum of American Jewish History – Independence Mall’s modern, four-floor tribute to Jewish-American history and traditions showcases the lives of history makers (Albert Einstein, Golda Meir, Jonas Salk) and industry giants (Estée Lauder, Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg) through exhibitions young visitors understand. The second Sunday of each month means kid-friendly story time, crafting and holiday celebrations, always free with admission. 101 S. Independence Mall East, (215) 923-3811, nmajh.org

Once Upon a Nation Storytelling Benches Spread throughout the Historic District—including just outside the new Museum of the American Revolution—13 benches beckon with free, five-minute tales of Philadelphia’s history and even some forgotten secrets, told by professional storytellers. Story benches are marked with Once Upon a Nation signs. Children who collect star stamps at all 13 benches earn a free carousel ride at Franklin Square. (215) 629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org

Restaurants & Snack Stops

Campo’s This casual eatery in Old City is known for making some of the best Philly sandwiches, including hoagies, cheesesteaks and homemade meatball and roast pork. Plus, it’s just a few blocks away from the city’s most famous historic attractions. There are additional Campo’s locations inside Citizens Bank Park, the Wells Fargo Center and the Liacouras Center. 214 Market Street, (215) 923-1000, camposdeli.com

Capofitto – Run by the young family that gave Philly award-winning gelato (Capogiro), this pizzeria serves its now-famous hazelnut, pistachio or fresh berry scoops, along with wood-fired Neapolitan pies and authentic Italian brunch. 223 Chestnut Street, (215) 897-9999, capofittoforno.com

City Tavern – History becomes edible at this colonial tavern first established in 1773, featuring a clever children’s menu with turkey potpie and chicken with buttered noodles, high chairs and booster seats, as well as costumed servers. 138 S. 2nd Street, (215) 413-1443, citytavern.com

The Franklin Fountain – The Historic District’s old-fashioned ice cream saloon turns out authentic handmade ice cream, splits, shakes, sundaes, fountain sodas and seasonally minded baked goods using fresh, local ingredients sourced from area farms. 116 Market Street, (215) 627-1899, franklinfountain.com

Shane Confectionery America’s oldest candy store was built in 1863 and restored to its 1911 splendor with carved cabinetry, glass cases and clerks in long dresses or bowties who serve award-winning chocolates and confections made with early 20th-century machinery. Customers can watch as their sweet treats are bagged and on antique scales or choose chocolates by the piece. 110 Market Street, (215) 922-1048, shanecandies.com


Hotel Monaco Philadelphia Every Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. there’s a Kids’ Table in the living room lobby of this stylish Historic District hotel. Youngsters enjoy kid-friendly snacks, beverages and bathrobes, an assortment of board games and take-home goodies. 433 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-2111, monaco-philadelphia.com

Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District – For easy proximity to historic sites, families choose this convenient hotel. Kids can continue the fun by splashing in a rooftop pool overlooking the city. 400 Arch Street, (215) 923-8660, wyndham.com


Delaware River Waterfront


Adventure Aquarium – With two million gallons of water and 8,500 animals, this Camden Waterfront destination guarantees a day’s worth of activities, animals, exhibits—and unforgettable moments. Visitors can walk over a Shark Bridge; explore a virtual playground under the sea aimed at ages six and under; and meet a pair of underwater hippos in Hippo Haven. The 760,000-gallon Ocean Realm is home to sea turtles, stingrays, schooling fish and sharks, including the only Great Hammerhead on exhibit in the country. Adventurous types can roll up sleeves to pet and feed stingrays or touch horseshoe crabs, starfish and sharks. 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ, (856) 365-3300,adventureaquarium.com

American Swedish Historical Museum Telling the story of Swedes in America, this South Philly gem appeals to kids through special events throughout the year such as Viking Day and Midsommarfest. Every third Tuesday of the month, the smallest of visitors can enjoy Toddler Time, featuring interactive stories and activities that explore art, science and literature. 1900 Pattison Avenue, (215) 389-1776, americanswedish.org

Battleship New Jersey Nautically and militarily inclined kids visit the nation’s most decorated battleship for tours, rides in the 4-D flight simulator, a look inside the onboard helicopter and sleepovers in the sailors’ bunks as part of its award-winning Overnight Encampment program. 62 Battleship Place, Camden, NJ, (856) 966-1652, battleshipnewjersey.org

Camden Children’s Garden April through December, Butterfly, CityScapes, Picnic, Fitness, Dinosaur and Storybook Gardens offer four acres of horticultural experiences for creative and imaginative play. The garden also includes three indoor attractions: the popular Butterfly House, the tropical Plaza de Aibonito and Ben Franklin’s Workshop, as well as more outdoor attractions in a Tree House, Garden Carousel, Arrow River Train and Spring Butterfly Ride. 3 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ, (856) 365-8733, camdenchildrensgarden.org

Independence Seaport Museum On the edge of the Delaware River, little landlubbers can check out a boat-building shop and explore the Spanish-American War Cruiser Olympia and the World War II Submarine Becuna docked outside. Indoors, kids climb through a new, full-size reconstruction of the 1707 schooner Diligence, created onsite using traditional boat-building techniques. Families can also rent kayaks or museum-built rowboats to explore the calm waters of the basin and get a close-up view of the historic ships. Every Saturday brings Seafarin’ Saturdays, featuring activities designed especially for children. 211 S. Columbus Boulevard at Walnut Street, (215) 413-8655, phillyseaport.org

Penn’s Landing – It’s three times the riverside fun with seasonal pop-ups Spruce Street Harbor Park, Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest and Summerfest. The first, with tree-slung hammocks, cargo container arcades and concessions, misting palm trees and planted barges (with bars for Mom and Dad), has become a summertime must-do. The latter two bring ice skating and roller skating to the riverside rink with special pop-up fire pits, indoor games, cozy couches and hot drinks in winter and air conditioning, rocking chairs on a wrap-around porch and cool drinks in summer. Spruce Street Harbor Park, Columbus Boulevard & Spruce Street; Winterfest and Summerfest, Columbus Boulevard & Walnut Street, (215) 922-2FUN, delawareriverwaterfront.com

Race Street Pier The Benjamin Franklin Bridge towers above this finger pier reinvented as a multi-use, two-level recreational space now used for picnicking, yoga classes, concerts, fireworks-watching and simply catching the Delaware River breeze. Columbus Boulevard & Race Street, (215) 922-2FUN, racestreetpier.com

Restaurants & Snack Stops

Hibachi Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar – Hidden behind Dave & Buster’s, this second-story spot overlooking the river is a go-to for parents who know their kids eat well when they’re well entertained. The performance: Chefs with fancy tableside knife work, grilling steaks and seafood to order and servers who deliver sushi faves with panache. 325 N. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 592-7100, hibachidining.com

Shank’s Original – This no-fuss walk-up sandwich spot offers parking and picnic tables on Pier 40, at the corner of Christian Street. The morning to early-evening menu of cheesesteaks, chicken cutlets Italiano, roast pork sandwiches and Italian hoagies is a crowd pleaser. 901 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 218-4000, shanksoriginal.com

Spruce Street Harbor Park, Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest & Summerfest – When these Penn’s Landing attractions are open, they’re always serving topnotch, seasonal, family-friendly fare. (See contact info above.)


Hilton Penn’s Landing – The city’s only riverfront hotel is perfect for families who want to get outside—fast. Access to the Delaware River waterfront trail, Philadelphia/Camden RiverLink Ferry, free shuttle service into and beyond Center City, plus proximity to all of the above attractions and an indoor pool with its own river view make this an all-ages winner. 201 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 521-6500, hiltonpennslanding.com

Holiday Inn Express Philadelphia Penn’s Landing – Across the street from the water with a view of the Ben Franklin Bridge, this newly renovated hotel is known for its free breakfasts, free and fast Wi-Fi and free shuttle service to the Historic District. 100 N. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 627-7900, hiepennslanding.com

Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

Museum District


The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University – Highlights of the oldest natural history museum in the Americas include Dinosaur Hall, with a fossil preparation lab and hands-on fossil dig site; live butterflies in a tropical garden; a children’s nature center with live animals; and historic dioramas with animals from around the world. Changing exhibits are mounted throughout the year as well. 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 299-1000, ansp.org

The Franklin Institute – The region’s premier science museum features a full city block of kid-friendly exhibitions, such as the walk-through Giant Heart, Space Command, SportsZone, Sir Isaac’s Loft, Amazing Machine, Electricity, Train Factory, The Franklin Air Show, Changing Earth and the outdoor, rooftop Joel N. Bloom Observatory.The museum’s 53,000-square-foot Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion features the 8,500-square-foot exhibit Your Brain, along with an unprecedented collection of interactive, high-tech exhibitions. The expansion also features a rain garden and a larger, climate-controlled traveling exhibition space for limited engagements. The Franklin also houses the Tuttleman IMAX Theater, the Fels Planetarium and a 3-D theater. 222 N. 20th Street, (215) 448-1200, fi.edu

The Oval In summer, an alfresco hangout pops up in a formerly little-used parking lot at the edge of the Eakins Oval. Though the programming changes year-to-year, reliable fun includes mega-sized games to play, visits from food and retail trucks, arts festivals and family parties. 2451 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 607-3477, theovalphl.org

Philadelphia Museum of Art – Sunday is indeed fun day for families at the crown jewel of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, for kid-friendly tours, and drawing and craft activities. The museum also offers themed written guides for kids every day and special family programming throughout the year. Pay-what-you-wish admission on the first Sunday of every month and every Wednesday after 5 p.m. provides opportunities for families to enjoy the museum at a lesser cost. Admission is always free for kids 12 and under. 26th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org

Sister Cities Park Water babies and their families visit this summertime Center City paradise for its pebble-bottom wading pool sheltered by a landscaped hill, along with randomly spouting fountains. A lifeguard, cafe and a kiosk that sells plastic boats, swim diapers, sunscreen and other essentials, keep families coming back. 18th Street & Ben Franklin Parkway, (215) 440-5500, ccdparks.org/sister-cities-park

Restaurants & Snack Stops

Buena Onda A member of chef Jose Garces’ family of restaurants, this Baja Peninsula-inspired taqueria is known for mahi mahi tacos and tofu chorizo quesadillas served on house-made tortillas. Fifty cents of every order of guacamole goes to the Garces Foundation, a nonprofit helping Philadelphia’s immigrant community access health and educational services. 1901C Callowhill Street, (215) 302-3530, buenaondatacos.com

Sabrina’s Café & Spencer’s Too – This popular diner-like stop offers large portions and straightforward comfort fare, breakfast through dinner. Owners of impatient children be warned: Weekend brunch can attract a lengthy line out the door. 1804 Callowhill Street, (215) 636-9061, sabrinascafe.com


Sheraton Downtown Philadelphia – Friendly service and total convenience are the hallmarks of this spacious spot, just one block from Sister Cities Park and two blocks from the Academy of Natural Sciences and The Franklin Institute. The kids tend to love the indoor pool too. 201 N. 17th Street, (215) 448-2000, sheratonphiladelphiadowntown.com

The Windsor Suites – Families who crave extra elbow room need look no further than the apartment-stype accommodations (with fully-equipped kitchens) at this circular Parkway stalwart, complete with rooftop pool. Pets stay free. 1700 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (877) 784-8379, thewindsorsuites.com


Thanks to a massive renovation project Dilworth Park, one of William Penn’s original city squares, is now one of Philadelphia’s hottest go-to public spaces.

Center City


Dilworth Park – City Hall’s fantastic front yard boasts tree-lined fountains (splashing encouraged) in warm weather and an ice skating rink in winter. Year-round movies, festivals, a cozy cafe and great access to public transit have revived the very center of Center City. 15th & Market Streets, (215) 440-5500, ccdparks.org/dilworth-park

Primp & Play – Devised by a local mom, this half-spa, half-play space looks after kids while their grown-ups get gel mani-pedis, massages and more—and offers kids’ versions of those services too. (Chocolate facial, anyone?) 249 S. 10th Street, (267) 886-8220, primpandplay.com

Reading Terminal Market A wondrous mix of fresh produce, meats, fish, cheeses, spices and prepared foods ranging from cheesesteaks to cannoli make every aisle an adventure in history’s answer to a food court. Annual indoor-outdoor events and festivals are fun for food lovers of all ages. 12th & Arch Streets, (215) 922-2317, readingterminalmarket.org

Restaurants & Snack Stops

Jim’s Steaks South Street – There’s typically a line out the door and around the corner for this popular eatery on the always-lively South Street. Why the wait? Classic Philadelphia cheesesteaks. Families can take advantage of the additional seating upstairs. 400 South Street, (215) 928-1911, jimssouthstreet.com

Jones – With a stylish setting right out of The Brady Bunch,this crowd-pleasing corner restaurant serves up classic comfort foods such as macaroni and cheese and meatloaf. 700 Chestnut Street, (215) 223-5663, jones-restaurant.com

Marathon Three casual restaurants conveniently located throughout Center City prove perfect for early-riser breakfasts, lunches and dinners, thanks to menus filled with sandwiches, salads, full entrees and healthy choices. 121 S. 16th Street, (215) 569-3278; 1818 Market Street, (215) 561-1818; 1839 Spruce Street, (215) 731-0800, eatmarathon.com

Pizzeria Stella Pizza and kids are always a winning combination, which is exactly why families can’t go wrong atthisjust-off-South-Street restaurant. On the menu: gourmet pizzas, pastas and salads, house-made gelato made from a secret family recipe—and simple selections perfect for the youngest members of the group. 2nd & Lombard Streets, (215) 320-8000, pizzeriastella.net


DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Philadelphia Center City – This gleaming Avenue of the Arts venue is perfect staying in the middle of the action. It’s just steps from performing arts venues, great restaurants and fashionable shops—and guests of all ages receive warm chocolate chip cookies at check-in. 237 S. Broad Street, (215) 893-1600, philadelphia.doubletree.com

Loews Philadelphia Hotel – Special kid’s menus, welcome gifts, music downloads for teens and a sky-scraping indoor pool are among the reasons Loews is popular with families. If the family pet comes along, too, the Loves Pets program keeps Fido happy. Children under 18 stay for free. 1200 Market Street, (215) 627-1200, loewshotels.com

Hotel Palomar Philadelphia – These busy Rittenhouse Square accommodations charm with kid-friendly amenities—including the popular Guppy Love program, which offers an in-room goldfish companion for kids to look after during their stay. 117 S. 17th Street, (215) 563-5006, hotelpalomar-philadelphia.com

The Rittenhouse Hotel – This posh spot for a sleepover lets kids choose a gift from the Rittenhouse Treasure Chest or a movie and popcorn for older kids. Little ones also receive their own bathrobes at turndown, along with a copy of Goodnight Philadelphia. In addition, families can ask the concierge about discount tickets for the Philadelphia Zoo, Please Touch Museum® and Adventure Aquarium. 210 W. Rittenhouse Square, (215) 546-9000, rittenhousehotel.com


University City/Fairmount Park


Fairmount Park Endless trails, an enormous public pool, historic houses and a Japanese garden are among the pleasant surprises that await explorers of one of the nation’s largest urban parks, stretching from Boathouse Row to West Philadelphia, Strawberry Mansion, Chestnut Hill and Northeast Philadelphia. phila.gov/parksandrecreation

Penn MuseumIf a 15-ton Egyptian sphinx and real, dead mummies aren’t enough to get kids through the heavy doors of this venerable institution, the World Culture Days ought to do it. Several Saturdays a year, families stream into the galleries, halls and auditorium for performances, craft projects and personal interactions to celebrate ancient and modern traditions of China, Africa, Mexico and beyond. 3260 South Street, (215) 898-4000, penn.museum

Philadelphia Zoo – America’s first zoo and one of the region’s foremost conservation organizations is home to nearly 1,300 animals, many rare and endangered. The zoo offers a first-in-the-world animal travel and exploration train system—called Zoo360—that enables primates and big cats to move above and across the main visitor pathway. Award-winning exhibits include First Niagara Big Cat Falls, the McNeil Avian Center, the PECO Primate Reserve and KidZooU: Hamilton Family Children’s Zoo & Faris Family Education Center. 3400 W. Girard Avenue, (215) 243-1100, philadelphiazoo.org

Please Touch Museum® Housed in Fairmount Park’s Memorial Hall, this major kids’ attraction includes two full floors of interactive exhibit zones, plus a fully restored century-old carousel. Kids can play and pretend amid Alice’s Wonderland, River Adventures and other hands-on fun. On First Wednesdays, the museum charges just $2 admission from 4 to 7 p.m. 4231 Avenue of the Republic, (215) 581-3181, pleasetouchmuseum.org

Smith Memorial Playground & PlayhouseOne of the oldest playgrounds in America is best known for the circa 1899Ann Newman Giant Wooden Slide and offers children (ages 10 and under) a free, safe place to play, jump, swing, climb, and learn about nature. For children five and under, Tot Lot features more than 20 pieces of age-appropriate play equipment, and at the 16,000-square-foot Playhouse, kids run the show. 3500 Reservoir Drive (near 33rd & Oxford Streets), (215) 765-4325, smithplayground.org

Restaurants & Snack Stops:

EAT Café – This full-service, sit-down, health-conscious, non-profit, pay-what-you-wish dinner spot—whose name stands for “Everyone at the Table” isn’t just an affordable option for supper (open Wednesday through Saturday); it also benefits less fortunate Philadelphians. 3820 Lancaster Avenue, eatcafe.org

Green Line Cafe This family business has grown to multiple locations, and they all serve organic, fair-trade coffee and grab-and-go foods made daily on-site, including locally made and totally irresistible Weckerly’s ice cream. 4239 Baltimore Avenue, (215) 222-3431; 4426 Locust Street, (215) 222-0799; 3649 Lancaster Avenue, (215) 382-2143; greenlinecafe.com

Pod – Adults love the specialty maki at this futuristic Japanese destination. Kids love the conveyor belt that delivers it—and the visible private dining “pods” with changing lights. 3636 Sansom Street, (215) 387-1803, podrestaurant.com

White Dog Café – University City’s answer to Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse is known for farm-fresh fare served in three cozy, stylish, attached brownstones. The kid-friendly menu has cheddar burgers, hummus and yummy mocktails. 3420 Sansom Street, (215) 386-9224, whitedog.com


The Inn at Penn, a Hilton Hotel – Location, location, location—in the handsome heart of the University of Pennsylvania’s campus—is key if for families on college visits or parents hoping to impart early-onset Ivy League aspirations. 3600 Sansom Street, (215) 222-0200, 3.hilton.com

Sheraton University City Hotel – The allure of the indoor pool with a skyline view can’t be underestimated when it comes to pleasing a crowd. This Sheraton is particularly proud of its green initiatives. 3549 Chestnut Street, (215) 387-8000, philadelphiasheraton.com


Chestnut Hill/East Falls/Manayunk


Kids at Play – An indoor playground with a little something for kids of any age, this East Falls complex features open play hours. Visitors can test out the toddler area, zip line, ball pit, swings and slides and more. 3502 Scotts Lane, (610) 628-0005, kidsatplaypa.com

Venice Island The eco-friendly arts and community center that’s transformed Manayunk’s formerly vacant mini island is a study in city-and-citizen cooperation. But kids don’t know that. They just want to go to children’s theater, dash through the water park and play a game of basketball or volleyball. 7 Lock Street, (215) 482-9565, manayunk.com/dsr/veniceisland.html

Woodmere Art Museum – In the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, this 19th-century stone Victorian mansion tells the story of Philadelphia’s creative contributions: Even the six-acre lawn doubles as a treasure trove of sculptures by Philadelphia-area artists. Woodmere’s Children’s Garden contains fanciful wooden creatures: birds, butterflies and a giant bird’s nest nestled within flowerbeds. Come autumn, a straw maze doubles as an outdoor pop-up sculpture. 9201 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-0476, woodmereartmuseum.org

Restaurants & Snack Stops

Earth, Bread + Brewery – This Mount Airy venue understands grown-ups need grown-up drinks—and therefore pours on-site-brewed beers, local brews and Pennsylvania wine. For the kids: house-made soda and flatbread pizzas. 7136 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-6666, earthbreadbrewery.com

El Poquito Seems everyone can agree on tacos, and this relaxed restaurant and bar offers a kids’ menu starring cheese nachos and chicken quesadillas. Parents, however, tend to indulge in more sophisticated modern Mexican fare. 8201 Germantown Avenue, (267) 766-5372,elpoquito.com

Trolley Car Diner & Deli – A restored 1948 PCC trolley car outfitted with booths and stools that swivel is just about the coolest place ever to eat waffles, cheesesteak omelets, meatloaf, chicken croquettes and ice-cream sundaes. 7619 Germantown Avenue, (215) 753-1500, trolleycardiner.com


Chestnut Hill Hotel – Constructed in 1894 to replace a 1772 inn, this historical landmark has stood the test of time—and families. Of the boutique hotel’s six room types, the suites and kitchenette are best suited for groups of three or more; some rooms overlook the neighboring farmers’ market. 8229 Germantown Avenue, (215) 242-5905, chestnuthillhotel.com


Fishtown/Northern Liberties/Northeast Philadelphia


Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion – Philadelphia’s only all-bug museum and the largest insect museum in the Northeast exhibits thousands of live and mounted insects from Africa and other far-away places. The interactive displays (working beehive, roach-infested kitchen) and movie room. 8046 Frankford Avenue, (215) 335-9500, myinsectarium.com

North Bowl – This contemporary bowling alley with a sibling in South Philly packs two levels with lane-to-lane fun, plus billiards and old-school video games. On Saturday mornings, the kitchen serves brunch and the TVs show retro cartoons. 909 N. 2nd Street, (215) 238-2695, northbowlphilly.com

Restaurants & Snack Stops

Frankford Hall – In the tradition of German beer gardens, this popular Fishtown spot offers fun for the whole family. Giant soft pretzels, frankfurters and liters of beer please palates of all kinds, while ping-pong tables, foosball and Jenga blocks offer pre- and post-meal distractions. 1210 Frankford Avenue, (215) 634-3338, frankfordhall.com

Pizza Brain – The world’s first pizza museum and shop showcases 550 pizza artifacts in rotation at its Fishtown headquarters. The gas oven-fired pies feature sustainably sourced toppings like kale, bacon and mushrooms to fun and delicious effect. Next door: Little Baby’s Ice Cream. 2313 Frankford Avenue, (215) 291-2965, pizzabrain.org

Silk City Diner – No matter how big or how picky the crowd, they’ll find something tempting at this revamped diner. Mac and cheese with garlic bread crust, burgers and brownie sundaes taste even better served in a seen-it-all atmosphere that puts parents at ease. 435 Spring Garden Street, (215) 592-8838, silkcityphilly.com

Sweet Lucy’s – Hickory-smoked ribs and chicken have won this Northeast Philly barbecue hotspot countless accolades from adults; kids, however, tend to prefer “piglet” meals with a choice of meats and a side. 7500 State Road, (215) 333-9663, sweetlucys.com


Wm. Mulherin’s Sons – Fishtown’s rustically elegant Italian restaurant resides below a four-room hotel that pleases the smallest of modern design devotees. Guests check in with the host downstairs and avail themselves of Apple TV and Sferra linens upon settling in. 1355 N. Front Street, (215) 291-1355, wmmulherinssons.com


Courtesy of The Navy Yard

South Philadelphia


Adventurers Mini-Golf – The green comes indoors at this black light 18-hole course. Whimsical themed holes and classic arcade games can keep the whole crew busy. 38 Jackson Street, (267) 239-0108, adventurersminigolf.com

Central Green – A recently redeveloped 4.5-acre expanse in the Navy Yard complex, this park is both visually stunning and fun to explore. With a fitness station, hammock grove, bocce courts and ping-pong tables, it’s a smart oasis for recreation. 4747 S. Broad Street, (215) 843-9273, navyyard.org

South Bowl – Lanes with bumpers, video games, air hockey, pinball and pizza make this a no-brainer for a night out with the fam. 19 E. Oregon Avenue, (215) 389-2695, southbowlphilly.com

Restaurants & Snack Stops

Bing Bing Dim Sum – Although the hip corner spot wasn’t designed with kids in mind (cocktails come by the pitcher), Bing Bing’s funky wallpaper, family-style booths and delightful dumplings just so happen to be exactly the break from the grilled cheese scene that contemporary families crave. 1648 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 279-7702, bingbingdimsum.com

Nomad Pizza – This family-favored Bella Vista spot concocts note-perfect pies with straightforward (Margherita) and esoteric (’Nduja) toppings, plus simple salads and starters. 611 S. 7th Street, (215) 238-0900; 1305 Locust Street, (215) 644-9287, nomadpizzaco.com

Sam’s Morning Glory Diner Families tend to precede visits to the nearby 9th Street Italian Market with hearty breakfasts at this friendly “finer diner.” This spot’s famous Glory cakes come in short stacks, and families can pass the time waiting for a table on the weekends at the across-the-street playground. 735 S. 10th Street, (215) 413-3999, themorningglorydiner.com


Courtyard Philadelphia South at the Navy Yard – South Philly’s historic Navy Yard remains an under-the-radar spot to let kids roam free on lawns and ogle working ships. Thanks to this hotel, it’s also a quiet alternative to the city’s hustle and bustle, with excellent proximity to major sports stadiums. 1001 Intrepid Avenue, (215) 644-9200, marriott.com


(C)2008 Rich Pilling

Bucks County


The Bucks County Children’s Museum – Kids can play their way through seven explore-able exhibits, many of which offer insight into Bucks County’s history. Play area themes include: The Hospital, Town Square, Factory Works, Big Dig, Bucks County Country, Airways to Waterways and Hot Air Balloon Ride. 500 Union Square Drive, New Hope, (215) 693-1290, buckskids.org

Pennsbury Manor – Horses, deer, sheep and even a few peacocks roam the grounds of the William Penn’s country estate, situated on 43 scenic acres along the Delaware River. Craft demonstrations, costumed interpreters, interactive activities, gardens and animals whisk modern-day visitors back to the 17th century. 400 Pennsbury Memorial Road, Morrisville, (215) 946-0400, pennsburymanor.org

Peddler’s Village Bucks County’s all-in-one destination treats kids to Giggleberry Fair, with a restored 1922 Philadelphia Toboggan Company Grand Carousel, Giggleberry Mountain, the area’s largest indoor obstacle course; Giggles Discovers, an interactive exploration environment and the Game Room. Routes 202 & 263, Lahaska, (215) 794-4000, peddlersvillage.com

Sesame Place – Big Bird, Elmo, Abby, Julia and the more stars of Sesame Street come out to play atthe only theme park in the nation dedicated to the PBS icon. A water park (open in summer), rides, interactive activities, parades, fireworks and shows add to the fun. 100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, (866) GO-4-ELMO, sesameplace.com

Restaurants & Snack Stops

Buttonwood Grill – Open breakfast through dinner seven days a week, this Peddler’s Village go-to is best known for its burgers, thin-crust pizzas and delightful outdoor patio. 5795 Lower York Road, New Hope, (215) 794-4040, peddlersvillage.com

Owowcow – This Bucks-based creamery puts organic cookies in its cookies-and-cream, local honey in its honey lavender and the purest vanilla in the world’s most popular flavor, to much acclaim. 4105 Durham Road, Ottsville, (610) 847-7070, owowcow.com


Residence Inn – The indoor pool, outdoor picnic area, complimentary hot breakfast—and Sesame Place package featuring tickets and free shuttle service to the park—make this Bucks County inn great for kiddos. 15 Cabot Boulevard East, Langhorne, (215) 946-6500, marriott.com


Courtesy of Valley Forge NHP

Montgomery County


LEGOLAND Discovery Center – A new addition to the region that’s sure to win young hearts, this 33,000-square-foot brick heaven features a LEGO-themed ride, 4D cinema and 10 play areas, including a DUPLO Park for the toddler set. An onsite café and store ensure everybody walks away satisfied. Plymouth Meeting Mall, 500 W. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, philadelphia.legolanddiscoverycenter.com

Oasis Family Fun Center – Active little bodies can stay on the move at this enormous play space. In addition to a vast soft playground, there’s a ball arena with multiple games, a trampoline basketball, laser maze and rock-climbing wall. 35 Lacrue Avenue, Glen Mills, (610) 358-3501, oasisfamilyfun.com

Valley Forge National Historical Park – Visitors come to these 3,500 historic acres to learn about the Continental Army’s intolerable winter encampment of 1777-1778.Highlights include nearly 30 miles of multi-use trails and historic structures, including Washington’s Headquarters, replica soldiers’ huts, monuments, statues and the Washington Memorial Chapel. Children can play-enlist in the Continental Army for a day. During the summer, visitors can stop at two free Once Upon A Nation storytelling benches to hear tales about the encampment and learn about 18th-century spy activities. 1400 N. Outer Line Drive, Valley Forge, (610) 783-1000, nps.gov/vafo

Restaurants & Snack Stops

Snap Custom Pizza – The only thing more fun than DIY pizza is awildly creative list of toppings. This growing local chain with locations across the suburbs and Center City ensures everyone gets exactly what they want. 4 Station Road, Ardmore, (610) 896-4488; 1125 E. Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, (610) 581-7010; 291 Main Street, Exton, (484) 875-5800; 1504 Sansom Street, (215) 568-5000, snapcustompizza.com

Hymie’s Delicatessen – This classic Jewish deli and Main Line staple since 1937 is expansive in square footage and generous with portions. Hymie’s breakfast through dinner menu is known for its corned beef, has its own section for Reubens and includes a “smiley face” pancake on the kids’ menu. 342 Montgomery Avenue, Merion, (610) 668-3354, barsonsdeli.com

Whole Foods Market – More than just a grocery, this largest-in-the-region Whole Foods has ample tables for dining in, making it a convenient and healthful pit stop on the way to or from the nearby LEGOLAND Discovery Center. 500 W. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, (610) 832-0010, wholefoodsmarket.com


Hyatt House Philadelphia/King of Prussia – Tucked between one of the country’s largest malls (King of Prussia) and Valley Forge National Historical Park, this modern chain has a free breakfast buffet and an indoor pool. 240 Mall Boulevard, King of Prussia, (610) 265-0300, kingofprussia.house.hyatt.com

Residence Inn by Marriott Philadelphia Conshohocken – An indoor basketball court and pool, both indoors, keep kids busy and happy in this suburban hotel that’s just off the Schuylkill Expressway and across the street from a SEPTA train station—a great spot to catch a quick train into the city. 191 Washington Street, Conshohocken, (610) 828-8800, marriott.com


Courtesy of Longwood Gardens

Chester County


American Helicopter Museum & Education Center – More than 35 helicopters, autogiros and convertiplanes—eight of which are fully accessible—fill this suburban destination. Kids’ learning and toddler areas give children under six the chance to play with puzzles, games and other toys. Four times a year, guests of all ages can ride in a helicopter. 1220 American Boulevard, West Chester, (610) 436-9600, americanhelicopter.museum

Herr’s Snack Factory Tour – Children see how this longtime Pennsylvania snack company makes their favorites, including potato chips, pretzels and popcorn. Tours are by-reservation. On the factory’s annual summertime Zoo Day, kids can also get up close and personal with animals. Route 272 & Herr Drive, Nottingham, (610) 932-6400, herrs.com

Longwood Gardens – Pierre S. Du Pont’s famed horticultural destination lets child visitors hide in a Bamboo Maze, scamper into the Secret Room and dodge the Drooling Dragon, all part of the Indoor Children’s Garden in the Conservatory. Outside, a Children’s Corner offers a Flower Fountain for splashing and plenty of seating for the adults. In October, Longwood makes room for a Pumpkin Playground. U.S.Route 1, Kennett Square, (610) 388-1000, longwoodgardens.org

Market Street Grill With quick and fun breakfast and lunch options, there’s no way to go wrong. Between the bacon and banana Texas French toast and the egg nachos, this storefront eatery promises a whimsical meal. 6 Market Street, #1, West Chester, (610) 429-5328, themarketstreetgrill.com

Restaurants & Snack Stops

Four Dogs Tavern – On the edge of West Chester and horse country, onetime stables serve as a casual, convivial spot for a nosh indoor or out (weather permitting). The menu features gourmet burgers, flatbreads and cheeseboards and kids-12-and-under options such as grilled cheese sandwiches and penne pasta. 1300 W. Strasburg Road, West Chester, (610) 692-4367, thefourdogstavern.com

Talula’s Table – Although best known for their coveted, one-table dinners (booked a year in advance), this sweet, countryside spot does a great breakfast and lunch featuring the same homemade, farm-to-table ethos as the evening meal. 102 W. State Street, Kennett Square, (610) 444-8255, talulastable.com


Fairfield Inn & Suites: Kennett Square Brandywine Valley – Just two miles southeast of Longwood Gardens, this modern Marriott has an indoor-outdoor pool for year-round swimming pleasure. 719 E. Baltimore Pike, Kennett Square, (610) 444-8995, marriott.com

Courtesy of Brandywine Museum

Delaware County


Bette’s Family Fun Center – Open play—two words all kids understand—is the name of the game at this indoor wonderland. Moon bounces, slides, video games and a toddler area guarantee a good time. 2971 Dutton Mill Road, Aston, (484) 480-4789, bettesfuncenter.com

Brandywine River Museum of Art – The bucolic repository of the Wyeths’ works is more than merely an ideal place to introduce American art to children, especially on family-centered first Sundays and November’s Pirate Adventure Day. The surrounding conservancy is also a magical wetlands maintained to encourage outdoor exploration. 1 Hoffman’s Mill Road, Chadds Ford, (610) 388-2700, brandywine.org

Linvilla Orchards – Just south of the city, this 300-acre family farm is dedicated to agriculture, education and entertainment, families can explore the Garden Center, pick their own seasonal fruit, hop on a hayride and buy freshly baked pies to take home. 137 W. Knowlton Road, Media, (610) 876-7116, linvilla.com

Restaurants & Snack Stops

Avenue Deli – This casual delicatessen cooks up kid favorites like a mouse pancake and pizza bagel. Adults can appreciate the creative fusion of Italian and Jewish flavors. 27 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, (610) 622-3354, theavenuedeli.wordpress.com

Glen Mills Garden Cafe – Just up the pike from Longwood Gardens and just inside the gate of the original Terrain nursery (owned by Philly-based URBN), this lovely greenhouse eatery serves a refined yet rustic seasonal brunch and dinner menu of dishes made with locally farmed ingredients. 914 Baltimore Pike, Glen Mills, (610) 459-6030, shopterrain.com

Hank’s Place – Painter Andrew Wyeth was a regular at this cozy country diner. The vibe here is more than friendly, and the omelets, chicken potpie, pork and sauerkraut, and strawberry pie are delicious. 1625 Creed Road, Chadds Ford, (610) 388-7061, hanks-place.net


Hampton Inn & Suites Chadds Ford – Location is key at this reliable spot, just eight miles from Longwood Gardens. The pool is inside, and, as at all Hampton Inns, the continental breakfast is free. 40 State Farm Road, Glen Mills, (610) 358-9540, hamptoninn3.hilton.com


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Flights from Atlanta to Philadelphia are an easy 2 hours, and quite affordable. If you're looking to teach the kids about culture, history and FUN then book your tickets and print our guide to the best things to do in Philadelphia!  Broken down by neighborhood, we give you the details on fun, food and where to lay your head. 

Thank you to #VisitPhilly for partnering with us on this post.

Lesli Peterson

Lesli made her way to Atlanta over 20 years ago, after living in Germany, Japan and six U.S. states. She relishes the discovery of obscure, offbeat and unwonted places, and she will chat up any willing stranger to uncover a new secret locale.

After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.

Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.

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