The 10 Best Unusual Things To Do In Philadelphia: From Budget-Friendly to Splurge-Worthy Adventures

Philadelphia, known for its rich history and vibrant culture, offers more than just the Liberty Bell and cheesesteaks. For those seeking the unconventional, the City of Brotherly Love has a treasure trove of unique experiences, catering to both budget-conscious adventurers and those looking to splurge.

If you’re a first-time visitor, you may find yourself so enamored with Philly’s charm that you’ll consider packing up and moving there. Here are the ten best unusual things to do in Philadelphia.

philadelphia skyline

1. Explore the Magic Gardens

Isaiah Zagar’s Magic Gardens is a mesmerizing mosaic wonderland. Nestled on South Street, this immersive art environment is made entirely from recycled materials that create a colorful tapestry. These intricate designs are more than just pretty to look at – they tell stories you can spend hours unraveling. The Magic Gardens is a great, budget-friendly way to experience Philly’s artistic soul.

2. Take a Ghost Tour of Eastern State Penitentiary

Step into the eerie world of Eastern State Penitentiary – if you dare! Once the most famous prison in the world, it now offers ghost tours that will send shivers down your spine. Explore its crumbling cellblocks and hear tales of its notorious inmates. This spine-tingling experience is surprisingly affordable at just $21 a ticket.

3. Venture to the Mütter Museum

For those with a curiosity for the macabre, the Mütter Museum is a must-visit. This medical museum houses an array of anatomical specimens, models, and medical instruments. It’s a fascinating, budget-friendly exploration, but we have to warn you – it’s not for those who are squeamish!

4. Discover the Underground Arts Scene

Philadelphia’s vibrant underground arts scene is accessible to everyone. From indie music venues to underground comedy clubs, there’s a wealth of performances that won’t break the bank but will leave you feeling culturally enriched.

5. Enjoy a Luxurious Dinner at Vetri Cucina

For a culinary splurge, we recommend reserving a table at Vetri Cucina. This stunning, high-end Italian restaurant offers a multi-course dining experience with exquisite dishes that blend traditional and contemporary flavors designed to delight your taste buds. It’s the perfect evening out for any food lover.

6. Private Helicopter Tour Over the City

See Philadelphia from a new perspective with a private helicopter tour. Fly over historic landmarks and enjoy breathtaking views of the cityscape. This splurge-worthy experience offers a unique vantage point of Philly.

7. Stay at the Rittenhouse Hotel

Indulge in luxury at the Rittenhouse Hotel. Known for its elegant rooms and exceptional service, this hotel offers a pampering experience in the heart of the city. It’s perfect for a memorable stay in Philadelphia.

8. Visit the Secret Speakeasies

Philadelphia’s speakeasy scene is both diverse and intriguing. From budget-friendly hidden bars to more upscale, secretive lounges, these establishments offer a unique nightlife experience. Whether you’re on a budget or willing to splash the cash, there’s a speakeasy for you.

9. Explore the Abandoned Divine Lorraine Hotel

For urban explorers, the Divine Lorraine Hotel offers a glimpse into Philadelphia’s past. This abandoned hotel, with its haunting beauty and architectural grandeur, is a photographer’s dream and a budget-friendly adventure anyone can enjoy.

10. Attend a Performance at the Arden Theatre Company

For those who appreciate the performing arts, the Arden Theatre Company in Old City is a must-visit! Known for its innovative and thought-provoking productions, this theatre presents a mix of classic plays and new works. The experience is immersive, often interactive, and definitely budget-friendly. It’s a perfect way to spend an evening engrossed in Philadelphia’s thriving arts scene.

11. Navigate the Abandoned Subway Tunnels

For the more adventurous, exploring Philadelphia’s abandoned subway tunnels offers an adrenaline rush like no other. These forgotten passages beneath the bustling city streets provide a haunting and historical journey into the city’s past. However, keep in mind that it’s important to ensure safety and legality in these types of endeavors.

12. Explore the Secrets of the Rosenbach Museum & Library

The Rosenbach Museum & Library is a lesser-known gem in Philadelphia, offering a deep dive into rare books and manuscripts. This museum houses an incredible collection, including works by James Joyce, Lewis Carroll, and Bram Stoker. It’s a culturally enriching experience that takes you back in time, making it the perfect choice for book lovers and history buffs.

Making the Move

Tempted to call this city home? We don’t blame you!

Find perfect, short and long-term room rentals with SpareRoom, a roommate-matching website that simplifies the process of finding compatible roommates in Philadelphia and other cities around the US. Whether you’re a student, professional, or just someone looking for a change of scenery, live affordably in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is a city of endless surprises, offering a range of unusual activities that cater to all tastes and budgets. From its hidden gems to luxury experiences, there’s always something new and exciting to discover. So, whether you’re a visitor or a soon-to-be resident, Philly promises an adventure that’s anything but ordinary.


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