5 Museums to Visit in Philly

August 9, 2022

If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that there’s always something new to discover in Philadelphia. As one of the oldest cities in the United States, Philadelphia has so much to offer when it comes to history, architecture, and art. Just take a stroll through Center City and you’ll see Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and other notable historic buildings and figures.

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in some rich history and learn something new, look no further than the City of Brotherly Love. There are more than 100 museums all around Philly that range from history and art, to interactive and playful. We’re highlighting 5 of our favorite museums to visit in Philly.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Photo: Philadelphia Museum of Art

Known as the iconic location from the famous scene in Rocky, The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a must-see in the city—whether you’re visiting or a resident. 

As one of the largest art museums in the country, thousands of people gather to admire works of art spanning more than 2,000 years. The museum is home to more than 240,000 works of art and various exhibits. Choose your era and artist—explore the Renaissance, American, East and South Asian, Impressionist, and contemporary masterpieces as you make your way through the museum.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art currently has 36 exhibits with more coming in the future. Museum hours vary depending on the day and exhibit/building. Every month there are new family-friendly, interactive activities held as well as social nights with live music, cocktails, and snacks. View upcoming events and plan your visit here.

The Franklin Institute

Photo: The Franklin Institute

Calling all science-lovers! The Franklin Institute is one of America’s most celebrated science museums—named after our beloved scientist and statesman Benjamin Franklin. Located in the heart of Philadelphia, this museum is a wonderful place to visit as it opens up your eyes and mind to all things science. 

There are more than a dozen exhibits to explore such as a train factory, tech studio, space command center, heart exhibit, and more. Every exhibit is immersive, interactive, and filled with fun facts and information about how the world (and everything in it) works.

The Franklin Institute is open daily from 9:30 am-5:00 pm with special hours available for specific exhibits. The museum updates its schedule daily, check it out here and purchase your tickets today.

The African American Museum in Philadelphia

Photo: African American Museum in Philadelphia

Located just a few blocks from Liberty Bell, the African American Museum in Philadelphia is the first institution built by a major U.S. city to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage and culture of African-Americans.

One of the core exhibits, Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776-1876, follows the stories of African American trailblazers and their role in the founding of the nation. Their stories are told through technology, photographs, videos, and artifacts on display. Other exhibits include fine art, multimedia displays, and historic artifacts.

Every month, the museum hosts Macy’s Family FunDay, where families with children are invited to spend the entire day participating in family-friendly activities for the price of regular admission. The museum has limited hours to specific time blocks throughout the day to ensure the safety of visitors. View upcoming events, and hours, and purchase your tickets here.

Independence Seaport Museum

Photo: Independence Seaport Museum

Love all things marine life and aquatics? Then the Independence Seaport Museum is right for you! It celebrates the history, wildlife, and science of the Delaware River. Climb aboard the oldest floating steel warship in the world on Cruiser Olympia or submerge yourself aboard the World War II-era Submarine Becuna. Spend the day learning about Philly’s rich maritime history and the importance of our region’s waterways.

This museum is perfect for sea lovers and historians of all ages. One of the key exhibits, called River Alive, highlights what lives in and around the Delaware River Watershed and the vital role we play in keeping our waterways clean.

The Independence Seaport Museum is open 7 days a week from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Throughout the year there are various events that are held either on the water or on a boat. Plan your visit and purchase your tickets here.

Please Touch Museum

Photo: Please Touch Museum

Yep, you read that right. The Please Touch Museum encourages physical activity and sensory play, making this the perfect place to bring the kids. Since 1976, the Please Touch Museum has welcomed thousands of families and children to do nothing but touch exhibits and displays. This museum is unique because it encourages hands-on learning and cultural awareness, two things that are vital for growing minds. 

Enjoy six interactive exhibit zones and four toddler areas across 157,000 square feet of fun. Just recently, a new exhibit was added: the Food and Family exhibit that teaches children where food comes from and its importance in cultures, communities, and traditions. There’s also an immersive shopping market, hybrid home and kitchen, and neighborhood festival area that encourages sensory play.

The Please Touch Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. Every month there are new classes and events that range from arts and crafts to music and live entertainment. View upcoming events and purchase your tickets here.

Although we’ve only highlighted 5 of our favorite museums, we encourage you to get out and explore the dozens of museums Philadelphia has to offer! Check out this website to see the full list of museums in the city. Please be mindful that many museums have limited hours or closed exhibits due to COVID-19. Before visiting, check the hours and operations of the museum of your choice.