Exploring Philadelphia's Free Cultural Attractions: A Guide to the City's Rich History and Culture

Philadelphia is a city full of history and culture, and there are plenty of ways to explore it without breaking the bank. From the Philadelphia Museum of Art to the Wagner Free Science Institute, there are a variety of free attractions that offer a unique look into the city's past and present. Youth tickets can be pre-booked online when buying a valuable ticket or obtained in person at an admissions desk. During the annual Wawa Welcome America festival, 35 cultural institutions offer free concerts, outdoor movie screenings, fireworks, and more.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Mütter Museum, and the African American Museum in Philadelphia are just a few of the venues that feature impressive permanent and special exhibitions. Elfreth's Alley is a charming cobblestone street lined with quaint townhouses that has been around for 300 years. Two adjacent houses built in 1755 are now a museum open to the public. The Faith and Liberty Discovery Center is an immersive and interactive attraction located on the Independence Mall that explores the relationship between faith and freedom throughout the country's history. The Wagner Free Science Institute in Philadelphia is a natural history museum created in the 19th century to provide free science education to Philadelphians. It features more than 10,000 items to explore, including insects, dinosaur bones, and the first American saber-toothed tiger.

The Logan House is a historic home once owned by William Penn's secretary that houses artifacts from 1730. Pre-registration is only required for guided tours. The Masonic Temple near City Hall has been around since 1873 and represents a secret fraternity with roots in the 14th century. Guests can view works of art, frescoes, stained glass windows, murals, and sculptures from a variety of periods. The Paul Robeson house in West Philadelphia was the residence of the esteemed human rights activist for the last decade of his life.

Visitors can listen to songs he recorded, see artifacts from his life, learn about Robeson's politics, and discover his achievements. The Drexel University Academy of Natural Sciences is the oldest natural history museum in the United States. Visitors can stroll through a tropical garden full of live butterflies, meet live animals, see three continents of wildlife in their natural habitats, and come face to face with towering dinosaurs. The Rare Book Collection at the Free Library of Philadelphia is one of the largest public library special collections in the country with more than 100,000 books and manuscripts. The renowned Philadelphia Museum of Art has undergone massive renovation at its West Philadelphia headquarters in recent years. It is known for its collection of art and artifacts from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Greco-Roman world, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

The New Sweden Centre is a South Philadelphia gem inspired by a 17th-century Swedish mansion that uses chronology, tapestries, and artifacts to tell its story. The Institute for Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania believes in the power of art and artists to inform and inspire. The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts is America's first museum and art school featuring elaborate architecture by Frank Furness as well as American art displayed inside. The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum offers visitors an opportunity to observe native wildlife and plants in its habitat. Last winter, the Free Library of Philadelphia offered Experience Passes through its library system which allowed visitors free admission to many cultural attractions including museums. The African American Museum in Philadelphia sometimes offers family programs with practical activities so that families can develop their creativity together. Philadelphia is full of free cultural attractions that offer something for everyone.

From museums to historic homes to interactive attractions, there are plenty of ways to explore this city without spending a dime.

Jackson Renwick
Jackson Renwick

Burrito guru. Wannabe travel specialist. Hipster-friendly internet enthusiast. Infuriatingly humble bacon nerd. Unapologetic introvert.