Last updated July 16, 2021
There’s already endless possibility for things to do in Philly, but the city is especially friendly to those (students!) on a budget. Philly supports members of its community in boundless ways, and making sure that you can enjoy your time in the city without breaking the bank is no exception. From museums to food and outdoor activities, we have you covered! We’ve compiled a guide to the top 25 things to do in Philly under $25 so that you can have a blast on a budget.
BONUS: CollegeFest is BACK Sept. 11-12, 2021! See the full lineup feat. free museums, activities, events, and more, and secure your ticket today. We can’t wait to welcome you to (or back to!) Philadelphia this September!
Note: Hours and offerings may be different due to Covid-related changes. Double check the organization’s website before exploring!
If you’ve been intrigued by the history of the city and are not sure where to start, we’d like to point you to the Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall. Both experiences are free to explore and will tell you about the beginnings of America. The Liberty Bell, one of the most iconic symbols of American Independence, is on display at the Liberty Bell Center. Independence Hall tells the story of the workings and adoption of both the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.
Are you looking to get into the Philly art scene? The Philadelphia Museum of Art offers Pay-What-You-Wish admission (although there are suggestion donation amounts of a few dollars!) for discounted admission into their galleries. Visit Friday through Monday, with Pay-What-You-Wish hours from 5-8:45pm on Fridays, along with the first Sunday of the month. Nearby, The Barnes Foundation offers free admission from 10am to 5pm on the first Sunday of each month!
With a valid student ID, you can get discounted admission into some museum spaces. Wonderspaces, a walk-through interactive gallery experience, offers $20 student tickets with a valid student ID. The Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology offers FREE admission on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 3-5 pm (through May 31, 2021) when you present your college ID at the Welcome Desk!
In need of a cheap bite in the city? Philly is renowned for its food, but particularly the classic Philly cheesesteak! Citywide, find options averaging $7-10, and let us know what your favorite spot for a Philly cheesesteak is—we’d love for you to weigh in on the age-old Geno’s versus Pat’s debate!
Reading Terminal Market and Gather Food Hall each house numerous cuisines from all around the world, and both can be done on a student-friendly budget. Gather Food Hall is a community food hall designed to combat food insecurity. They offer a pay-what-you-can plan and meal vouchers for students in need.
Another classic Philly spot which you’ve likely seen on Instagram is El Vez, a Mexican restaurant with innovative twists on the classic cuisine. Stop by for meals under $20!
Hit a mid-day slump? Stop into Saxby’s for a quick caffeine pick-me-up.
Philly is nothing if not iconic. Historic sites, pop culture landmarks, and outdoor spaces adorn the city.
While in Center City, head over to LOVE Park to snap a quintessential picture with the LOVE Sculpture. After all, Philly is the City of Brotherly (and Sisterly) Love! Cross the street to City Hall for another photo op! Walk through City Hall around to Broad Street to snap another classic Philly picture of you and your pals in front of the Hall.
Make sure to run the Rocky Steps (the steps that Sylvester Stallone trains on in the 1976 Rocky film) while visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art and take a picture of you with the Rocky statue while you’re at it.
Take a walk to Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest residential street in the country, to take in this National Historic Landmark. Built between 1703 and 1836, the original 32 houses built on this historic road still stand today. Stick around Old City for First Fridays. During the First Friday of each month, many art galleries within the Old City offer free open-house-style admission—usually accompanied by a free drink!
Check out South Street to take in the mass work of mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar. Focused in outdoor space the Magic Gardens, Zagar’s work spans three city lots and also features an indoor gallery. Show your student ID for discounted tickets!
Even though we’re in an urban environment, there’s still plenty of options to get outdoors!
Spruce Street Harbor Park on the Delaware River is a waterfront location to chill in hammocks and floating barges alike. Visitors can also enjoy life-size Jenga and lawn games. Bonus: be ready for the Winterfest event to open at this location on November 27!
Meditate and take a moment to yourself at Race Street Pier for a free one-hour yoga class daily when the weather is warm.
Another great spot to take in the views of the city, Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk and River Trail is a lovely place to take a walk or ride a bicycle by the water.
Adventure out of the city to Wissahickon Valley Park in Manayunk to enjoy over 50 miles of trails.
Whatever you’re looking for, Philadelphia has something that you can afford!
Bonus: Check out more deals and discounts on the Campus Philly Student Discounts page to discover more budget-friendly spots in the city!