See Philly from all angles. (Photo: iStock)
As a hub for economic and cultural history, and obviously, the best cheesesteaks known to mankind, there’s just too much in Philly for you to see it in only one way. Whether you’re looking to get in your Fitbit steps or expand your craft beer knowledge, here are five Philadelphia tours that’ll get you the most bang for your buck.
On Foot — Walking Tours
If you’re looking to explore by foot, experience Philadelphia in all of its haunted glory on a Ghost Tour. Professional tour guides lead willing patrons through Washington Square and Independence Hall by candlelight. Drift like a ghost through one of the country’s most haunted cities: You’ll encounter St. Peter’s Cemetery, Society Hill and the ghosts of Founding Fathers past. In fact, the spirit of Benjamin Franklin is still believed to be roaming the Philadelphia streets. Pretty impressive for being 300 years old, right?
Like its 1776 — Historic Tours
Independence After Hours tours give you a sneak peek into the life and times of Philadelphia’s colonial period, sans the crowd. Running from April through October, you can stop in landmarks of the Historic District after the sun goes down. Colonial characters reenact scenes from the summer of 1776, from the simple lives of the townspeople to roundtable discussions between the Founding Fathers. Before you dive into the city’s rich history, this tour starts with a dive into a delicious meal at the Historic City Tavern. Delicious.
With a Coachman — Horse and Carriage Tours
Another way to throw it back to the colonial times is a tour via horse-drawn carriage. Philadelphia Carriage Company takes visitors around the city in a 1800s French-inspired carriage, similar to what Benjamin Franklin rode in while serving as Ambassador of France. Tours range in price, depending on the time of day and the length of your tour. And don’t worry if it starts to rain, the driver can convert your carriage so you can enjoy the city and stay dry.
By Air — Balloon Tours
With the guidance of the United States Hot Air Balloon Team, you can soar over the Philadelphia countryside. Gather a group of four to 10 people or opt for a private flight where you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the Brandywine, Delaware and Schuylkill River valleys. Although the tour itself is only one hour, prepare to block out three for setup and landing. Don’t forget your camera, either. These Philadelphia tours are definite breeding grounds for those “no filter needed” Instagram photos (especially the sunrise and sunset options). Upon landing, a private bus will transport you back to your launch site where you’ll indulge in a post-flight champagne toast with the crew.
Thirsty — Tasting Tours
One of the best ways to see Philly is to taste your way through it. Philly Brew Tours help you navigate the craft beer scene, all-inclusive style. Taste 15 different beers, enjoy curated food pairings and learn about the art of beer making. Round-trip transportation leads you to three or four breweries (at which you have VIP access) then drops you off for a meal at a local eatery. These 5-hour tours can be privatized and customized, or you can join other thirsty tourists along for the ride. Either way, getting your suds on sounds like a perfect treat to us.