Budget-Friendly Things to Do in Philadelphia With Kids

Affordable family attractions in Philly

If you’re looking for budget-friendly attractions while on vacation in Pennsylvania, there are plenty of low-cost and free things to do in Philadelphia with kids and families. Philadelphia is a place where families can mix big-city thrills with historic rendezvous. In the historic state of Pennsylvania, this big city wins for having some of the best educational attractions while also still offering foodie fun and interactive children’s museums. The hotels here echo the feeling of Philly, offering a touch of history among many modern amenities.

Fireman’s Hall Museum

Do you have a kid who is fascinated by firefighters? Benjamin Franklin started the first fire company in Philadelphia and you can visit the historic Fireman’s Hall Museum to see a collection of fire trucks and more. In addition to the fire trucks on display in this restored 1902 firehouse, you’ll see firefighting tools, apparatus, and uniforms, as well as photographs. While museum admission is free, the organization does request donations from its visitors.

Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse

Located in East Fairmount Park, the Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse is a 24,000-square-foot play mansion that is free for families to enjoy. The playground is geared for kids ages 5 and under and the overall grounds for ages 10 and under, so this century-old landmark is a delightful stop if you have a younger family.

Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse
Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse

Liberty Bell

Another great Philadelphia tourist attraction is the Liberty Bell. Visiting this landmark, which is part of the National Park Service, is free to all. Watch the video presentations, which are available in dozens of languages, to learn more about the history of the bell and why it is a modern representation of freedom.

For Little Scientists

Do you already have a membership to a museum that is part of the Association of Science-Technology Centers? If you do, you can use it for free admission to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. From the Bird Classroom to the Live Animal Center, you’ll have access to four floors of environmental sciences exhibits. The Dinosaur Hall and Serengeti areas are particularly popular with kids and with all the fun to be found here, these areas can easily eat up an afternoon.

Money in Action

Looking for more free things to do in Philadelphia? You and your family can take a free, self-guided tour of the United States Mint and see firsthand how our coins are minted. Kids will really enjoy the experience and it’s a good platform to help them learn a little bit about money. You can also see some neat rare and unique coins.

United States Mint
United States Mint


What better way to beat the cold than lost in the crowded bookshelf aisles of a local bookstore? Don’t be fooled by the size of Joseph Fox Books, a shoebox-shaped store with a carefully curated book selection. Their well-stocked children’s section overflowing with classics is the perfect place to bring wily kids. Hidden away in a brownstone in University City is House of Our Own, with books tucked into every nook and cranny of the charming home, even the closets. Old City-bound bibliophiles flock to The Book Trader, a used bookstore that is quite literally floor-to-ceiling covered in novels, DVDs, VHS tapes and any other book-related paraphernalia you could think of.

Indulge in Culture

If you have older kids and are looking for places to go to Philadelphia with them, you could visit the Institute of Contemporary Art. Thanks to a grant, admission is free to see the works of influential artists, such as Andy Warhol. The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site, which is also part of the National Park Service, is another educational and fun spot for older kids who are into literature. You can even tour the home where he lived for a year when he wrote Black Cat.

With so many free and inexpensive things to do in Philadelphia with kids, you can make your vacation fun and affordable!

Share on: