In my last article, I discussed different events taking place around the city at low or no cost to you. However, there are many ways to have fun and stay cool every day of the week at no or low cost for you. First let's take a look at many of the free activities going on in the city.
1. Free Library Summer Reading: The Free Library of Philadelphia hosts is annual summer reading program. This year the program challenges readers across the city to read for thirty million minutes this summer! The challenge, designed to keep students reading all summer long, has numerous events and contests at branches across the city. Learn more here.
2. Historical Sites: Many of the historical sites in Olde City require no admission fee. These sites include Independence Hall (tickets required), Congress Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Edgar Allen Poe Historical Site, Christ Church and the US Mint. See all the historical sites and their pricing here.
3. Pools and Spraygrounds: Rec Centers across the city offer numerous indoor and outdoor pools as well as "Spraygrounds," which are splash parks in public playgrounds. You can cool off and the kids can burn some energy for free. See the full list with hours here.
4. Smith Playground: One of the city's public playgrounds (and spraygrounds as mentioned above), Smith Playground stands out because of it's large (though not air conditioned) play mansion, and several acres of play space for children. Amongst the highlights are the giant wooden slide. Smith Playground has been around for over 100 years, check here for hours (which vary seasonally).
There are also many ways to have fun for a low cost. Some low-cost ideas include:
1. Reading Terminal Market: The Reading Terminal is an indoor market that has numerous vendors selling everything from fresh fruit, to candy, to books, to deli.s, and restaurants A great place to browse or stop for lunch while touring the city. The market is free to enter, but all the vendors have items for sale. Learn more here.
2. Franklin Square: One of the squares around which the city was founded, Franklin Square now offers a variety of daily activities. The playground is completely free but for a few dollars, you can play a round of mini golf, ride the carousel, or have lunch at Square Burger (Steven Starr's burger stand in the park). Learn more here, including hours and ticket prices.
3. Museums: In the Philadelphia area there is a museum for everyone. The world famous Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Barnes suit those with a refined artistic taste (and those wanting to see and learn about art). There is also the Please Touch Museum, a museum dedicated totally to helicopters, the Museum of Natural History and the Franklin Institute both of which teach kids about science, and many more. See a full list of Philadelphia museums (and pricing) here.
4. Take a Tour: By foot, by bike, by sea, or by carriage there are many ways to see Philadelphia. A tour is a great way for residents and tourists alike to see the sights of the city and learn something new from a knowledgeable guide. Some city tours include the Philadelphia Ghost Tour, Philadelphia Bike Tours, and the popular Ride the Ducks. See a full list here.
Sometimes though, there is room in the budget to splurge a little. When we can afford it, it can be nice to beat the heat on a getaway or small adventure. There are many ways to splurge a little without breaking the bank or going to far from the city.
1. The Philadelphia Zoo and Camden Aquarium: Philadelphia is home to the countires oldest zoo, and the Camden Waterfront hosts America's 5th largest aquarium. In addition to several other animal viewing options, these two sites offer great ways to beat the heat, see some cool animals, and keep the kids happy. Learn more here.
2. Amusement Parks: Philadelphia and the surrounding area has a variety of theme parks to suit those of all ages. This list includes many in the immediate area but there is also Six Flags, Dorney Park, and Clementon Park to provide hours of laughter, concerts, and roller coaster riding! See each website for ticket information, including discounts!
3. The Jersey Shore: A list of things to do during the summer would be incomplete without mention of the Jersey Shore. Whether go for the summer or just for the day, the Jersey shore has a beach to suit every need. Some are quiet, some are designed for families, others are made to help us party all summer. No matter what shore point you choose you can beat the heat with the ocean breeze, and have some fun in the sun. Choose your favorite shore point here and have a blast staying cool this summer!