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Tips for Groups Traveling to Philadelphia

Play Video Museum of the American Revolution Group Tour. Photo by A. Sinagoga for PHLCVB.
Date January 10, 2024

Tips for Groups Traveling to Philadelphia

Philadelphia welcomes groups of all sizes to explore its historic sites, world-renowned museums, and popular attractions.

Here are some tips for group travel to Philadelphia, including the most commonly asked questions operators have when planning their trip.

When is the best time to bring a group traveling to Philadelphia?

Many of Philadelphia’s museums and attractions are open year-round. However, they may operate on seasonal schedules or have black-out dates. At the start of your planning, it’s important to double-check each attraction’s days and hours of operation. If there is an attraction on your must-see list, make sure it is open on the day you plan to visit. When creating your itinerary, we highly recommend you start with locations that are on your must-visit list and then, depending on that attraction’s schedule, build out the rest of your stops from there.

A group of young children stand in a hallway in Eastern State Penitentiary, accompanied by Eastern State Penitentiary employees giving the students a tour of the site. Crumbling cell blocks surround them. The children are shown looking around as they listen.

Eastern State Penitentiary Group Tour. Photo courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary.

How soon in advance should I make reservations?

The early bird gets the worm.  Reservations can fill up quickly, so book in advance to secure the date and time you want. Many of Philadelphia’s attractions now require timed ticketing to manage occupancy, so be prepared to be flexible with the rest of your schedule. We recommend booking at least three months in advance and having at a backup plan in case your plans change due to unforeseen circumstances. We highly recommend making your group dining reservation at the same time as you book attractions.

What size group can I bring?

The more the merrier! Each attraction has its own capacity limit, so it is in your group’s best interest to reach out beforehand to find out how many people it can safely accommodate. Some attractions allow your group to explore them by yourself or with a chaperone. Attractions such as the Philadelphia Museum of ArtThe Franklin Institute, and the Independence Seaport Museum offer tours for groups of many different sizes. For those traveling in larger groups, many attractions will divide the groups up to ensure each group gets focused attention.

A tour guide stands off to the right, motioning with her arm toward a massive painting hanging on the wall. A group of people stand in front of the painting, admiring it. The group consists of both adults and children. The painting shows a historical moment during a war.

Museum of the American Revolution Group Tour. Photo by A. Sinagoga for PHLCVB.

Where can my bus park?

Finding parking on the day of your arrival can be a challenge, so have a plan before you get on the road. Keep in mind that all buses, motor coaches and tour buses are prohibited from parking on Philadelphia streets. Buses can only stop for loading and unloading purposes at designated locations specific to Philadelphia’s major attractions. There are designated bus parking facilities, as well as drop-off and pick-up locations throughout the city.

A yellow school bus is shown off to the right, a white shuttle bus is to the left of it. The sky overhead is clear. People are shown off to the left walking away from the buses.

The Independence Transportation Center adjacent to the National Constitution Center. Photo courtesy of the National Constitution Center.

Where can my group eat?

Many excellent restaurants near major attractions offer options for groups traveling to Philadelphia. If you’re taking a group to attractions in the Old City neighborhood Positano Coast, Spasso Italian Grill, and The Plough and The Stars all offer dining options. If you’re looking to eat in Center City, McGillin’s Old Ale House and  Fogo de Chão accommodate groups of varying sizes. When booking your trip, call a restaurant ahead of time to learn about their capacity and menu options.

Some groups traveling to Philadelphia can do everything they need in one place. Certain attractions also offer on-site boxed lunch options, including the National Constitution Center, Barnes Foundation, and The Franklin Institute.

For more helpful tips on planning for groups traveling to Philadelphia, visit our travel trade page.