Philadelphia is a dream for history lovers. This is the birthplace of America and around every corner in the historical section, you come across a building or location of historical significance. No wonder this area is called the “most historic square mile in America.”
General tips on a Philadelphia trip with kids:
- There is a City Pass and a Sightseeing Pass for Philadelphia that is worthwhile if you are planning to attend some of the paid entry museums in the area. Remember, however, that the Independence Hall museums are free.
- Public transportation: Philadelphia does have SEPTA buses and trains. However I did not use these on our trip. Parking garages are plentiful in the area, including a garage at the Independence Park Visitors Center. It is a very walkable city so if you are staying within a mile of the sites, you can easily walk to the historical section.
- Food: This historic area has a lot of chain and child-friendly restaurants. Also don’t miss the Reading Terminal Market, a food hall that satisfies everyone’s food tastes! Be sure to pay attention to its hours – we arrived for dinner to realize that it was closed! Also of course Philly is known for its cheesesteaks. The Italian Market area is where the two main restaurants are located. Note that it is NOT walking distance from the main historical area.
- Lodging: Depending on the amount of time you spend in Philadelphia, it may be more economical to stay in an apartment. There are a lot of hotels in the historic district, including a Kimpton Hotel, which is usually child-friendly. We stayed at the Westin Philadelphia, which was about a mile walk from the historic area.
- Sports teams: Philadelphia has many professional sports teams so don’t miss an opportunity to take your child to their first major league game! The arenas for the teams are all located in the same area of the city.
- Traveling to and from the airport: The Philadelphia airport is located on a regional rail line. Rental cars and taxis are plentiful.
- Helpful links to plan your trip:
- Guided kid-friendly tours: https://www.theconstitutional.com
Don’t miss attractions for kids: There are tons of activities in the area specifically geared towards kids. I have not visited all of these but this will give you a great start planning a trip for your family:
- Sesame Place
- Please Touch Museum
- Philadelphia Zoo
- Franklin Square
- The Franklin Institute
- Adventure Aquarium
- Philadelphia Museum of Art (Rocky steps!)
- Historical section: The main historical museums are located within several blocks of each other and are extremely walkable. Be sure to check out the Once Upon a Nation Storytelling benches to get your kids excited about learning about these historical sites! Children receive a story flag at the first location and every time they visit a bench and listen to a professional storyteller tell a 3-5 minute story, they get a star. If they complete all 13 stars, they get a free ride on the carousel in Franklin Park. This scavenger-type hunt really makes history fun!
Books to read:
- 10 and up:
- 6 and up:
Here are some of our favorite historical sites in Philadelphia!
Independence Hall National Park and Liberty Bell
Museum of the American Revolution
Valley Forge National Historical Park
This page is continually updated.
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