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Five kids run through a park toward a colorful carousel

The Family-Friendly Philadelphia Itinerary

Play Video Franklin Square photo credit J Fusco for Historic Philadelphia
Table of ContentsDay 1Day 2Day 3
Date January 10, 2024

The Family-Friendly Philadelphia Itinerary

Five kids run through a park toward a colorful carousel

If you’re traveling with kids, Philadelphia has fun to spare.

Pack the sneakers. Bring the stroller. Leave the serious face at home. Philadelphia makes it easy, offering family-friendly activities, fantastic food, and opportunities to make lasting memories together.

Day 1


Start in West Philadelphia for a hometown favorite. Keep the kids engaged at the all-ages Please Touch Museum, where visitors can interact and learn from whimsical exhibits.

Next, make your way to the Philadelphia Zoo – the nation’s oldest and one of the world’s best. The innovative Zoo360 experience allows tigers, gorillas and other animals to climb overhead as you move between exhibits. Whether you’re an herbivore or a carnivore, refuel with lunch at one of the themed eateries, such as the Urban Green open-air food marketplace.

Five lions sit in an enclosed bridge at the Zoo.

Lion cubs utilizing the Zoo360 system at the Philadelphia Zoo. Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Zoo.


Head back downtown and visit a Philadelphia treasure and one of the nation’s top science museums. Inspired by Benjamin Franklin — and home to his national memorial — The Franklin Institute is known for its all-ages, hands-on exploration of key science concepts. The museum’s exhibits include a giant walk-through heart, planetarium, immersive brain exhibit, and more.

People walking through a giant model of a human heart inside a Museum.

Giant Heart Franklin Institute

Take a short stroll to the east and explore life-size dioramas and fossils at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University – the first natural sciences museum in the Americas.

Then glance behind the scenes of our nation’s largest producer of coins at the free-to-visit U.S. Mint. Be sure to pick up limited-edition coins and other souvenirs in the gift shop.

Afterwards, join Mural Arts Philadelphia for a tour of the nation’s largest public art program. Learn about a citywide movement that has resulted in thousands of colorful murals in neighborhoods throughout the city.


The Parkway Museums District boasts a kid-friendly lineup of reservation-free pubs, taquerias, and pizza parlors, including Pizzeria Vetri and Iron Chef Jose Garces’ Buena Onda Tacos.

A table full of tacos, salsa, and guacamole.

Photo courtesy of Buena Onda Tacos/Garces Group.

Day 2


Begin the day with an adventure through America’s maritime history at the Independence Seaport Museum. Interact with hands-on exhibits inside the museum, then explore one of the two historic ships docked nearby.

TIP: Visit in the summer months to enjoy on-water programming, including the ability to cruise around the Penn’s Landing in a paddleboat or row boat.

Afterward, stroll along the river’s edge to discover Spruce Street Harbor Park and a riverside rink that activates in the summer and winter with seasonal skating and more.

Hop aboard the RiverLink Ferry to sail across the Delaware River to Adventure Aquarium. The Aquarium is home to over 8,000 marine animals, including the largest shark collection in the Northeast. A short walk from the aquarium is the U.S. Navy’s most decorated battleship, the Battleship New Jersey. Signal your visit with a bang by firing the ship’s saluting gun.


Cruise back across the river and find a table in Society Hill. Restaurants, cafes, and ice cream trim the cobblestone streets of this historic district. Starr Restaurant’s Pizzeria Stella offers classic pizza options for younger eaters, with creative toppings such as egg, goat cheese and black truffle for more adults.

Two parents and a child enjoy pizza in a restaurant.

Pizzeria Stella. Photo courtesy of Starr Restaurants.

It’s a short walk to Old City where you can explore the Betsy Ross House. There’s quite a bit to learn about our flag as you tour the upholsterer’s former home along Arch Street. Stay in Old City and explore the greatest contributions of Jewish Americans at the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History. The Museum’s Only in America® Gallery honors Leonard Bernstein, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Steven Spielberg, and other extraordinary Jewish Americans who left their mark on the world.

A woman dresses in colonial clothing shows an early American flag to school children.

Learn about the history of the ‘Stars and Stripes’ from Betsy Ross herself at the Betsy Ross House. Photo by M. Kennedy.


Philadelphia has family-friendly mainstays for whatever you’re craving for dinner. The seasonal West Philadelphia restaurant Sunset Social serves a menu of milkshakes, fries, burgers and more. It is located at Cira Green, a 1.5-acre rooftop park that offers unbeatable views of the Center City skyline and offers plenty of picnic-perfect lawns.

Day 3


A quick car or train ride from Center City brings you to Morris Arboretum. This 92-acre arboretum is bursting with year-round greenery and plenty of kid-approved activities, including a 50-foot-high canopy walk.

Photo of a tiny train traveling through a lush garden.

The Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum, which features festive decorations in the holiday season, is popular among visitors young and old. Photo by D. Tavani.

Next, stroll the leafy streets of Chestnut Hill and neighboring Mt. Airy for family-friendly restaurants and cafes. Be sure to visit a few toy stores and boutiques along the way.

Back in downtown Philadelphia, study the interactive exhibits of the African American Museum in Philadelphia. This is our nation’s first institution dedicated to the life and works of African Americans.

Located nearby, Franklin Square is a Philadelphia classic, brimming with playgrounds, mini golf, a carousel. The nearly two-century-old fountain puts on a memorable show throughout the year and a a can’t-miss holiday light show in the winter.

Three children play mini golf.

Putt your way through tiny versions of Philadelphia landmarks at Franklin Square’s 18-hole miniature golf course. Photo by J. Fusco for Historic Philadelphia.


Next, explore the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center. This high-tech museum uses interactive exhibitions to show how faith has influenced the nation’s founding and core American values.

Then spend part of the day at a live sporting event in South Philadelphia. There you can root for the Phillies, Flyers, Sixers or Eagles and meet some of the city’s most lovable mascots. If soccer is more your style, the home of the Philadelphia Union is just a short drive away in Chester, Pennsylvania.

A large group of people gather near a baseball stadium

When not watching the action on the field, younger fans can enjoy one of several kid-friendly experiences in the concourse of Citizens Bank Park, such as The Yard, a 13,000-square-foot interactive kids’ baseball experience. Photo copyright Philadelphia Phillies.


For dinner, find something for everyone – kids included – at Craft Hall. This spacious bar and restaurant has a BBQ-focused menu and features an indoor pirate-themed playground for younger visitors. Craft beer is brewed on-site for adults.

Kids slide down a green slide in craft hall.

Craft Hall features a pirate-themed playset perfect for entertaining kids while adults enjoy beer brewed on-site. Photo courtesy of Craft Hall.

End your Philadelphia visit by bowling a few frames at North Bowl, a hip, retro-inspired bowling alley in Northern Liberties. A menu of specialty tater tots is at the ready, should the family-friendly competition work up an appetite.