Find your zen at Shofuso Japanese House and Garden
Enjoy a traditional tea ceremony, feed the koi, or attend a moss gardening workshop at one of the top-ranked traditional Japanese gardens in North America. This oasis of serenity, tucked away in the middle of West Fairmount Park's Historic District, has plenty to offer to visitors of all ages. Their schedule changes throughout the year, so be sure to check the website before visiting!
Explore Manayunk's abandoned 19th-century canal architecture.
Lovers of urban decay will delight in this hidden treasure. Quite literally "off the beaten path," in the woods to either side of Manayunk's Towpath, lie the crumbling ruins of many buildings dating back to the canal's inception: notably, the sluice house, long since defunct, now hosting an ever-changing display of graffiti art and climbing vines. These old stone and brick structures won't be found on any tourist map- if you're having trouble finding them, try Geocaching for a tip!
Take the Philly Taco Challenge.
... And then prepare for a food coma, because the Philly Taco Challenge means wrapping a giant slice of Lorenzo & Sons famous pizza around a fresh, tasty cheesesteak from Jim's Steaks, creating a giant franken-taco of Philadelphia's finest local fare.
Pro Tip: Avoid going at peak hours, or there will be lines out the door at both places. And get the cheesesteak first- it's easier to transport and won't get cold as fast.
Class it up at the Philadelphia Orchestra's Summer Series at The Mann Center.
The beauty of The Mann's policy on picnics may not be immediately apparent. Have you ever laid back on the grass with a beverage in one hand and DiBruno Bros.' cheese in the other, while a wild frenzy of Tchaikovsky explodes around you, and your hair is ruffled by a light summer breeze? If not, then you're missing out on a unique opportunity to enjoy a world-class symphony orchestra in a much more relaxed setting than their usual home, The Academy of Music.
Stuff yourself silly at Night Market.
The brainchild of The Philadelphia Food Trust, Night Market has quickly skyrocketed to fame as Philadelphia's premier food festival. Four times a year, food trucks and food lovers from all over the city gather together for an evening of gluttony and live music. Night Market takes place at a different location each time, so be sure to check their website to get the most updated information. And arrive early - this is one of the most highly sought things to do in Philadelphia.
Spice up your interior decorating with artifacts from Material Culture.
... and we do mean artifacts. And some furniture too. But even some of the furniture also probably qualifies as artifacts. Maybe you just want to window shop, or maybe you're legitimately in the market for a throne made of bottlecaps. Either way, it's a visual wonderland, guaranteed to inspire awe in even the most cynical shopper.
Get nerdy at the Philadelphia Science Festival.
Scientists of all ages gather every spring to celebrate, educate and experiment in venues all across the city. Kids enjoy the Science Carnival that takes over Ben Franklin Parkway, as well as smaller daily events at local museums and libraries; grown-ups enjoy Science Happy Hour, learning about a range of topics while sipping on local brews created specially for the event. Check out the schedule from the 2014 Festival to get an idea of what's in store for next year!
See the city skyline from way high up.
There's no better way to enjoy the view of Philadelphia's classic skyline than see it at eye level. During the day, you have the option of going up to City Hall's observation deck. (Pro tip: You can do that without taking the tour.) At night, you've got your choice of upscale restaurants: LeVel33 at the Loew's Philadelphia Hotel, R2L restaurant on the 37th floor of Liberty Place and XIX at the Bellevue all feature fantastic views.
Engage your inner cultural connoisseur with some independent film.
Philadelphia is a rising-star mecca for indie film. For the past seven years, the arrival of summer brings with it the excitement of the acclaimed Philadelphia Independent Film Festival. The rest of the year, you can treat yourself to a rotating selection of independent and international film showings at the Ritz Theaters in Old City: Ritz Five, Ritz East or Ritz at The Bourse. Sure, you might not understand what they're saying, but there are usually subtitles. ... Usually.
Play disc golf at one of the nation's oldest professional courses.
Disc golf is exactly what it sounds like: golf rules, but played with special frisbees thrown into specially designed baskets. Located in East Fairmount Park, Sedgley Woods is free, open to the public and attracts players from all backgrounds and skill levels. If tromping around the woods and throwing things with your friends sounds like your idea of fun, then this is a must-try activity. Beginners are always welcome!
Relax with world-class jazz music Tuesday nights at 23rd St. Cafe.
Every Tuesday night, Philly's timeless jazz musicians congregate at 23rd St. Cafe for a jam session. The lineup changes throughout the night and the music is always extraordinary. There's no cover charge for these things to do in Philadelphia, so drop in anytime to get a peek at one of the friendliest, most talented and close-knit jazz communities outside the French quarter.
Eat Philly's best-kept culinary secrets on a Northwest Philadelphia Food Tour.
Manayunk and Chestnut Hill boast some of Philadelphia's longest-operating eateries, award-winning bakeries, and some serious history to boot. Choose from the Authentic Philly Food Tour or the Chestnut Hill Food Tour. There's also a Haunted Food Tour, offered for a few weeks in the Fall.
Save your cash and experience Philadelphia's many free events, classes, and festivals.
You read that correctly - free. We compiled the ultimate list of 50 Free Things To Do In Philadelphia.