The Best Museums to See in Philadelphia

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On my third trip to Philidelphia, I was looking forward to visiting Reading Terminal and exploring the historic neighborhoods again. We also looked forward to visiting some of the best museums in Philadelphia and the United States Mint.

Philadelphia has revolutionary history at every corner. We explored the area near City Hall and took a stroll to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Take a look at all of the museums you can visit in a 30-minute virtual walk along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway corridor in this short video.

Philadelphia museums embrace science, technology, arts as well as history. This guide explains logistics of each museum and what you can expect to see. The galleries range from quirky, to educational, to fun and there is a lot to learn at these exciting museums.

The Franklin Institute

📍222 N 20th St, Philadelphia

🪙Daily 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM

🎟️$25 Adult | $21 (Age 3 to 11)

🅿️ Limited onsite parking, $20 per vehicle

Are you a science lover? The Franklin Institute is the right place to be in Philadelphia. It has become a wonderful place for families with kids of all ages. 

No visit to Franklin Institute is complete without beating your heart simultaneously with the Giant Heart’s rhythm. The inner walls of Giant Heat carry hand-painted red blood cells. 

And don’t miss the Brain and how it functions! Everything at the cellular level is taught here using models.

At the Train Factory, the exhibit reveals steam engines. You can also learn and engage with with Newton’s laws and physics at Sir Isaac’s Loft.

The Space Command allows you to peep into the sky and explore outer space. It has science everything including a Sports Zone for gaming.

Stop at the Franklin Air Show to prepare for takeoffs. Then enter the Amazing Machines exhibits to know what’s inside and how they work. You can also see The Holt & Miller Observatory and make observations through telescopes.

The Barnes Foundation

📍2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia

🪙Thu – Mon, 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

🎟️$30 Adult | $5 (Age 13 to 18) | Under 12 Free

🅿️ Onsite parking, $12 for up to 4 hours; $2 for each additional hour

A lover of paintings and horticulture? You should carve time in your itinerary for Philadelphia’s Barnes Foundation.

It exhibits a huge collection of art and paintings which were gathered by Albert C. Barnes throughout three decades.

It is best known for its large collection of impressionist artwork. The first residence and gallery of the Barnes Foundation were built in 1922 where he first displayed the artworks that were purchased by him.

While Dr. Barnes kept collecting art, his wife devoted her life to enhancing the landscapes’ beauty of the arboretum.

Today, the Barnes Foundation is like an art museum and botanical garden rolled into one, a true feast for the eyes and the senses!

The Rodin Museum

📍2151 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia

🪙Fri- Mon, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

🎟️$12 Adult | 18 and Under Free

🅿️ Limited metered parking or use the garage at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Have you heard about Auguste Rodin, who is generally reputed as the founder of modern sculpture? Even though your answer may be no, The Rodin Museum is a must-visit place in Philadelphia. And it’s just a 3-minute walk from the Barnes Foundation.

About 150 bronzes, plasters, and marbles along with the plenty of distinguished collections housed here relate to Rodin’s life story. 

Just put your head out into the garden where you’ll find two monuments The Thinker and The Gates of Hell. They have been standing in their original location since 1929. 

It houses the largest collection of Rodin’s art outside of Paris, France. The works of artists who were nourished by Rodin’s sculptures are also on display here. See that you don’t miss the famous sculptures of Adam, Andromeda, and the Copy of Rodin’s The Kiss.   

museums in philadelphia
museums in philadelphia

The Philadelphia Museum of Art

📍2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia

🪙Thur – Mon, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM (except Friday 8:45 PM)

🎟️$25 Adult | 18 and Under Free

🅿️ On-site ($15 for the first 4 hours, $2 for each additional hour); metered parking on nearby streets

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the best galleries in the world. It’s a gallery housed in a memorial hall that was originally built in 1876 on Fairmount hill. 

You can’t miss running up the stairs, standing in the footsteps of Rocky Balboa, or taking a photo next to his statue. 

Over 240, 000 objects represent European, Asian, and American origins. The artworks are of various types such as prints, paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, armor, and decorative arts. 

Not only that but also costumes and textiles of different nations too are on showcases. It also houses the famous artworks of Pablo Picasso, Jean Metzinger, and Antonio Rotta.  

Mütter Museum

📍19 S 22nd St, Philadelphia

🪙Wed – Mon, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

🎟️$20 Adult | $15 (Age 6 to 17) | Under 5 Free

🅿️ Paid lots are nearby

Mütter is a medical museum that belongs to the Philadelphia College of Physicians. The exhibit is a collection of wax models, vintage medical instruments, and specimens. 

You will see a wide range of medical oddities, including an Albert Einstein brain fragment, a sectioned human brain, and a plaster cast of the bones of a lady with scoliosis. There are also several things connected to well-known medical cases, such as President Grover Cleveland’s tumor and President Abraham Lincoln’s death mask. 

If you are into morbid fascination, this is a great gallery experience. Along with an exhibit of vintage dental and medical chairs, it also features a collection of vintage medical tools and equipment

The exhibits are disturbingly informative.

museums in philadelphia

Eastern State Penitentiary

📍2027 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia

🪙Daily 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

🎟️$17 Adult | $13 (Age 7 to 12) | Under 7 Free

🅿️ Parking lots nearby, free and unlimited parking on Brown Street and Eastern State of 22nd St.

The Eastern State Penitentiary is a historic prison that operated from the early 1800s and closed in 1971 due to problems with overcrowding.  

 In the self-guided audio tour, you will see the cells of notorious criminals such as Al Capone. You’ll also see the innovative design of the prison, which was based on the Quaker’s idea of solitary confinement as a form of penitence. In this model, prisoners could be held for 24 hours, or more.

Visitors can also see the prison’s central hub, where guards kept an eye on the inmates, as well as the exercise yards, and the prison hospital.

The prison also has several exhibits and interactive displays that provide information about the prison’s history and the inmates.

Final Thoughts on Museums in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is one of the oldest cities in America and it’s no wonder that the museums that they appeal to tourists.

Philadelphia has a rich historical and cultural heritage that makes America proud. And exploring these museums provides a unique opportunity to delve into the captivating stories of America’s past, marvel at renowned artworks, and immerse oneself in diverse exhibits that showcase the city’s tapestry of cultures.

Whether it’s the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art, the interactive Franklin Institute, or the educational National Constitution Center, each museum offers a captivating experience that enlightens, educates, and entertains.

By embarking on a museum tour in Philadelphia, you can not only broaden your knowledge and appreciation for art, science, and history but also gain a deeper understanding of the significant contributions to the city and the nation.

If you are looking for more to see, we highly recommend the Museum of Illusions, the Museum of the American Revolution, the Philadelphia Magic Gardens, and the National Liberty Museum.

In conclusion, Philadelphia is a great place to vacation. The area has tons of things to see and do. One notable aspect of Philadelphia that makes it different from other American cities.

Look for ticket savings for students, teachers, military personnel, and senior citizens. Or you can save using a GoCity. You can learn more about how all-inclusive passes work on this blog.

The best part is that they are also located within walking distance of one another, so pace yourself!

The museums are designed to pique the interest of all ages. Which would you visit first?

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