Note: Some tour providers on this list may have limited or ceased operations due to COVID-19. Check with your tour operator about availability before you book.
The first World Heritage City in the United States offers plenty of attractions for visitors. Whether you’re in Philadelphia to take in historic sites like the Liberty Bell and Independence National Historical Park, or you’re on the hunt for famous “Rocky” filming locations and cheesesteaks, there’s an expertly guided tour for you. Factoring in traveler sentiment and expert opinion, U.S. News selected nine of Philadelphia’s best tours.
The Yo, Philly! Rocky Film Tour
Mike Kunda, a lifelong fan of “Rocky” and the winner of a national “Rocky” look-alike contest, leads three- to four-hour private tours all over the city to “Rocky” filming locations. Kunda will share stories told to him by actor Sylvester Stallone from his time on set during the filming of “Rocky Balboa,” “Creed” and “Creed II.” He’ll take you to famous sites, including Rocky’s apartment from the first movie, the Front Street Gym featured in “Creed,” the Rocky Steps and many other lesser-known locations, all while giving you all the “Rocky” trivia you could wish for. Participants praise Kunda’s depth and breadth of knowledge and love his enthusiasm. The exclusive tour, which is limited to a private group of up to seven people, starts at $350 and must be booked in advance.
Big Bus Philadelphia – 1-Day Tour
Climb aboard the Big Bus Philadelphia and settle in for a 90-minute overview of the city. If any one of the landmarks along the route pique your interest, hop off to explore and hop back on when you’re ready; buses frequent stops every 30 minutes. Stops along the blue route – Big Bus’ only line – include the Philadelphia Museum of Art, City Hall, Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Experienced English-speaking guides offer a comprehensive commentary along the route. Visitors praise the personable and friendly guides and say the bus is a great way to learn about the city. Other travelers complain that the buses run infrequently and that the guides can be hard to understand due to the sound system. There is no limit to how many times you can board the bus over the course of the day. Tickets start at $35 for adults and $12 for children ages 4 to 12. Buses run daily from approximately 9:30 a.m. to around 5 or 6 p.m. in the summer, spring and fall; they run daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the winter. Two- and three-day bus tour tickets are also available.
Intrepid Urban Adventures – Italian Market Immersion
Wander through the famous 9th Street Italian Market, try samples, chat with shopkeepers and even get the chance to purchase cheeses, chocolates and other goodies on this two-hour tour. If you decide to buy something special, you may even be able to score a discount. Reviewers give guides high marks for their vast knowledge of the market and Philly in general. Others praise the generous food samples. Tours are offered Tuesday through Sunday at 10 a.m. Tickets start at $35 for adults and $30 for children ages 6 to 12. Intrepid Urban Adventures also offers several other tours, including a beer-focused outing.
Philly by Segway – 1 Hour Segway Adventure of Philadelphia
This short tour allows participants to see several of Philly’s top sights without exhausting themselves. Tour-takers will hop on Segways to glide through sections like Queen Village, Old City and Society Hill. Along the way, guides share information about Philadelphia’s history and attractions, and even take photos, which are emailed to riders for free within two days after the tour. Tourgoers say the guides, who make everyone feel safe, are excellent. Tours run daily at 10 a.m. and 12:30 and 3 p.m. There is also a seasonal 5:30 p.m. outing. Tours last an hour, not including 30 minutes of instruction. Riders must be at least 12 years old and weigh 100 to 300 pounds. Tickets start at $55 per person. Philly by Segway also offers a Segway tour focusing on the city’s most famous sandwich: the cheesesteak.
A stop to visit the Liberty Bell is one of the highlights along the Constitutional Walking Tour. (Getty Images)
The Constitutional Walking Tour
The Constitutional Walking Tour provides a 75-minute overview of the Independence National Historical Park area, stopping by more than 20 of the city’s historic locations. Visitors will see and learn about important sights, including Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House and Old City Hall, among other landmarks. Participants rave about the knowledgeable guides, who they say are excellent historians. Tours are offered several times every day from April to November. Tickets start at $19 for adults and $12.50 for children ages 3 to 12. The company also offers a combination package, which includes the Spirits of ’76 Ghost Tour.
Founding Footsteps – BYOB Tours of Philadelphia
Bring your own beer or wine and hop aboard a trolley for a different kind of sightseeing overview of the city. You’ll not only see the city’s major attractions and learn insider knowledge of lesser-known sites, you’ll get to sip your beverage of choice and listen to corny jokes. Travelers say the tour is a hilarious and fun way to see and learn about Philly; even locals say they enjoy the trip. Tours last around two hours, but the length of the tour can depend on timing and how many stops the group decides to make. The tour is offered on Saturdays at 1 and 4 p.m. Tickets start at $45 for adults, with discounts for seniors and children. Keep in mind that though children are welcome to tour, imbibers must be 21 or older. Tours exploring Philadephia’s Black history and other walking tours are also available.
Grim Philly Twilight Tours – Dark Philly Adult Tour
Enjoy nearly two tours of haunting history on the Dark Philly Adult Tour from Grim Philly Twilight Tours. Your expert guide – who is either a college professor or a history degree-holder – will take you on a historic sightseeing walk. You’ll see the city’s top sights – including the site of the first White House and homes of several Founding Fathers – illumuniated as guides share stories of ghosts, executions and vampires, among other dark tales. Despite the spooky content, travelers say the guides are great storytellers and make plenty of jokes. They add that they learn a lot on the tour. Tickets start at $25 and participants must be 15 or older. Tours run nightly at 8 p.m., with an additional 5 p.m. departure on Saturday. During the winter months, tours run Fridays and Saturdays only. Grim Philly offers a variety of other tours, with themes ranging from vampires to witches, as well as haunted pub crawls.
Free Tours by Foot – Independence Mall Tour
You have the ability to name your own price on the Independence Mall Tour from Free Tours by Foot, paying what you think the tour is worth at its conclusion. On the roughly two-hour jaunt, guides will walk you through historic Philadelphia and discuss the early history of the city with lighthearted humor and trivia. Some of the sights covered include Carpenters’ Hall, Independence Hall, Congress Hall, Christ Church, Ben Franklin’s burial site and City Tavern. The guides earn high marks from visitors, who applaud their vast historical knowledge and entertaining delivery. Tours are offered Thursday through Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. While there is no ticket fee, reservations are required. Italian Market and Chinatown tours are also available, among other options.
City Food Tours Philadelphia – Flavors of Philly
Travelers will want to arrive with an empty stomach when they embark on the Flavors of Philly tour, which makes stops at five local eateries over the course of about 2 1/2 hours. Guides will discuss Philly’s food history and the origin of the city’s iconic foods, all while participants nosh on dishes like cheesesteaks, cheese fries, tomato pie, soft pretzels and more. No one walks away hungry, according to reviewers. They also say the food is delicious. Tours also visit the Reading Terminal Market, where guides share tips on other places to dine around town. The company advises that this tour is not designed for children younger than 5. Tours are offered Monday through Friday at 1:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays around noon. Tickets start at $44 for adults and $39 for children ages 5 to 10. Other tours offered include Historic Old City and East Passyunk.
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