One Fun-Filled Day in Philadelphia

by Stephanie Withers
View of Philadelphia skyline from the Art Museum of Philadelphia

There is so much to do in my GIANT hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I haven’t even had a chance to do it all and it changes every day with new and exciting things to try. But if you’re only passing through and have one day in historic Philadelphia, then this is my best recommendation for how to spend it. You’ll experience a few hours of fun, sightseeing, historic sites, and more.

Philadelphia is made up of a large web of neighborhoods (at least 37!). I’m from the “Northeast” section of Philly about 20 minutes from the downtown area by I-95 (depending on how it’s moving that day, ha). But each section can feel like a separate little world, so when I go downtown it’s still possible to act like a bit of a tourist. And I love it!

NOTE: This activity is a ton of fun for native Philadelphians, too!

When people from around the world think about visiting Philadelphia, they immediately think of the Old City neighborhood in the downtown area of the city, which is home to many colonial historic sites and museums, so that’s where this activity takes place.

What you’ll need:

  • At least 3 people, each with a smartphone
  • a good pair of walking shoes
  • a good attitude about being silly in public
  • to be ready to have a great time with your teammates

Let’s go on a scavenger hunt through downtown Philadelphia!

It’s not really a scavenger hunt in the traditional sense, so don’t get upset if that’s not your thing (because it’s not mine either). What you’ll be looking for are different historic sites, all within walking distance, around downtown Philadelphia. It’s a great way to learn a lot about the city’s history, and have a ton of fun doing it, if you’ve only got one day to spend in downtown Philly.

My family did the Philadelphia Scavenger Hunt from Big City.

First, purchase your tickets through Big City Scavenger Hunts.

They have scavenger hunts in over 350 cities. Traveling somewhere else? Look for a hunt there, too!

After purchasing your tickets, you’ll receive an email letting you know how to get started with downloading the app and setting up your team. Each team member will need to download the app, or you can have up to 5 team members working from a single device and it will tell you when to pass the phone to each team member.

When you sign in, each team member will be assigned a different role. We had the Captain, the Navigator, the Historian, the Photographer, and the Entertainment (who was responsible for music and basically played Eye of the Tiger from the Rocky movies for two hours straight – I told you, you gotta keep that sense of humor!).

I was the team’s photographer.

Fit more into one day exploring downtown Philadelphia

As you make your way around the city, following clues to different historic sites and places you may not have seen before (if you’re from Philly or have been here before), each teammate will be sent different challenge prompts.

I was sent a bunch of hilarious photo prompts for my teammates to act out – the whole party searching for a lost contact in a busy area, a video of us getting strangers to do ‘the wave’ with us, pretending there’s an earthquake, and so much more! My family is not afraid to have a great time and we really had fun with it.

Complete and submit these challenges while walking between sites and get awarded bonus points for your team!

WARNING TO THE PHOTOGRAPHER: Take the photos on your phone and then upload them to the app. I took my photos through the app and, after submitting them, they were lost! So, I don’t have ANY photos of the hilarious things I got to make my family do – total bummer!

My family had a great time, completed almost all of the hilarious prompts and challenges, and I can’t wait to do this activity again for my little sister’s Bachelorette Party in Pittsburgh!

Did I mention we also made the top of the leaderboard that day???

You might also like…

Exploring Eastern State Penitentiary
The Coolest Art Exhibit in New Jersey

While you’re walking around on your one day in Philadelphia…

  • Definitely get some lunch or a snack in Reading Terminal Market (one of the stops along the Hunt), an indoor vendor market full of some of the most amazing food in Philly!
  • Grab a beer on South Street – check out Tattooed Mom at 530 South St.
  • Take a photo with Rocky!

Check out these Philly tours!

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If you've only got one day in Philadelphia, this activity is a great way to see awesome historic sites, learn about the city, and have a ton of fun doing it! #thingstodoinphilly #philadelphia #usroadtrip #travelusa #pennsylvania
If you've only got one day in Philadelphia, this activity is a great way to see awesome historic sites, learn about the city, and have a ton of fun doing it! #thingstodoinphilly #philadelphia #usroadtrip #travelusa #pennsylvania
If you've only got one day in Philadelphia, this activity is a great way to see awesome historic sites, learn about the city, and have a ton of fun doing it! #thingstodoinphilly #philadelphia #usroadtrip #travelusa #pennsylvania

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umiko 07/27/2019 - 3:57 pm

What a fun read, Stephie! My brother-in-law lives there but we skipped the city and stayed in Ocean City instead when we visited them a few years ago. Now that our son is 12, it’s time to make a visit and this time stays in the city! Thanks for the tips about the scavenger hunt and I really like those hilarious photos prompts!

Stephanie Withers 07/28/2019 - 8:51 pm

I think your son would have a great time! You’re very welcome!

Bekah 07/22/2019 - 5:14 am

How fun! I’ve never heard of that company before with the city scavenger hunts. This would be a lot of fun just about anywhere I think.

Stephanie Withers 07/22/2019 - 11:32 am

Definitely! I plan to do it again in Pittburgh in September for my sister’s Bachelorette party!

Katherine 07/22/2019 - 12:30 am

This ‘scavenger-ish’ hunt sounds like awesome fun! And I’ma total ham for the camera so I’d be all over the silly photo prompts. I don’t think my husband would be that enthused by making a fool of himself in public. What a bummer that you lost all your photos though! I really wanted to see you guys looking for a lost contact in a crowded area!

Stephanie Withers 07/22/2019 - 11:33 am

Oh gosh, you’ll love it! I think my family had the most fun finding strangers willing to do ‘the wave’ in a short video clip. Made some new friends, told them all about what we were doing and they thought it was great haha Your husband can be the Photographer that way he doesn’t have to do the challenges X-D

Ava 07/17/2019 - 11:23 am

This sounds like a really fun, interesting and different way to see a location. Such a bummer you don’t have those photos. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Philadelphia but I still remember having my first real cheesesteak.

Stephanie Withers 07/17/2019 - 2:38 pm

Omg, yes. I’m vegan now, but I STILL dream about cheesesteaks. haha I think that’ll be the hardest thing to pass up once I travel back home.


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