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Things to do in Philadelhpia - Things to see in Philadelphia - How to Enjoy Philadelphia Almost for Free

How to Enjoy Philadelphia Almost for Free

One of America’s most iconic cities is also an ideal destination for budget-conscious travelers. Here are some tips for enjoying Philadelphia almost for free.

Where to Stay

An easy way to cut back on spending is to avoid renting a car. Personal transportation can quickly add to your trip’s final budget. Instead, focus on accommodation that’s centrally located to many of your activities and destinations. This will eliminate the need to find transportation to and from your hotel.

There are several ideal IHG hotels near Penn’s Landing and other Philly hotspots. In addition to low nightly rates, travelers will appreciate their central location. Several historic landmarks are minutes away, and staying at a waterfront hotel puts many restaurants and attractions within walking distance. Don’t forget to take advantage of complimentary breakfast and shuttle rides. They’ll save you even more money.

Where to Play

Once you’ve settled into your budget-friendly hotel, it’s time to play. Luckily, Philadelphia has a great number of events and places worth checking out. If you enjoy nature, you’ll want to visit the Historic Bartram’s Garden, America’s oldest living botanical garden. It’s open daily, and self-guided tours are completely free.

If you like art and visit Philadelphia on the first of the month, it’s a good idea to attend First Fridays. During this monthly event, more than 40 of the city’s art galleries open their doors for free admission.

Where to Eat

If you’re like most travelers, you’ll inevitably find that much of your budget goes to food. A list of good, cheap eats will save your stomach and your wallet. If you’re still hungry after your complimentary breakfast at the hotel, head on over to Federal Donuts. This Philly mainstay will fill you up with the best kind of breakfast: sweet, fried dough. For $6 you can get half a dozen donuts, or go for the extra six for $11.

For lunch, order up a tomato pie. This Philadelphia tradition looks very much like a thick-crust pizza without cheese or any toppings. It just has lots of tomato sauce. It’s a tomato pie, after all. A 14-inch pie from Francoluigi’s will set you back a smart $4.99. When dinner time rolls around, you could spend $20 on a single entree. Or you can go to Nan Zhou and fill up with a generous helping of handmade noodles for under $10.

What to See

Staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Penn’s Landing puts you at the center of many of Philadelphia’s must-see attractions. Only steps away from the hotel are the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, both of which offer free admission. You can also visit the United States Mint, Carpenter’s Hall, and Valley Forge National Historical Park on a tight budget.

Let’s not forget another iconic Philadelphia landmark: the Rocky Statue and Rocky Steps. For less than a penny, you can run up the very same steps from the “Rocky” films. Don’t forget to take photos! They’re the best kind of souvenir.

A trip to Philadelphia proves that traveling doesn’t have to be pricey. Making wise choices and smart plans are all it takes.

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Profile photo of Erika Alc

Although I may not be the best photographer, I believe as a writer I can equally capture the ugly, the beautiful, and the sublime. I'm a recent English graduate, a regular contributor to a local Florida magazine and a member of Lonely Planet Pathfinders. On the side, I craft creative fiction inspired by my singular experiences as a traveler, focusing on the human condition. The world is full of amazing people, places, and things, after all. Most importantly, I value cultural relativism. Without it, life experiences would not be the same.

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