Which Philadelphia Bus Tours Are The Best?
This post reviews and compares the many different Philadelphia bus tours available to you. There are not that many companies, but there is a wide variety of bus tours offered in Philly, from days tours to night tours or trolleys to open-top double-decker buses. Likewise, there are many deals and discounts as well as combination and multi-day tickets available, that allow you to save up to 50% off retail prices. Some tours, especially the hop-on, hop-off variety, are great companions to our free walking tours.
This may be one of the best ways to discover the birthplace of America. Explore the city at your own pace as you travel from one landmark to the next. These services perform an entire circuit around Philadelphia and allow you to jump off at various locations for a closer look. A lot of travelers recommend these bus tours for anyone who wants to become more familiar with their surroundings. This is also a great way to see as much as possible in a short amount of time. There are 2 commercial companies and one do-it-yourself option. Expect ticket prices to range from $30-$50 on average for the commercial tours.
CITY SIGHTSEEING TOURS (also known as Philadelphia Sightseeing)
City Sightseeing is also well known for providing excellent hop-on, hop-off bus tours all around the country. In the City of Brotherly Love, they offer very similar services to what you’ll find with their competition. This company also provides live commentary in English for all of their tours, giving you the opportunity to learn about some of the history behind each of the landmarks you will visit. Headsets are available for tours in English, French, German, Spanish and Mandarin. It takes about 90 minutes to complete the circuit, but there are so many significant locations to see that you might want to consider a multi-day pass. Prices for their 2 and 3-day tickets are a little bit cheaper than Big Bus, which makes this an excellent alternative. They also offer night tours and combination tickets.
This bus tour currently sports a 4 ½ our of 5 stars rating on TripAdvisor. Reviews for this service have been just as positive as those given to their competitors. Although there were a few negative reviews, they didn’t appear to indicate any common issues with the company. By and large, most reviewers felt that this was one of the better hop-on, hop-off bus tours they had experienced. Even those who felt the price was a bit too high were very pleased with the trip. Families, friends and couples were typically the happiest customers.
- 1-Day Ticket: $30 for Adults | $28 for Seniors | $10 for Children
- 2-Day Ticket: $32 for Adults | $30 for Seniors | $12 for Children
- 3-Day Ticket: $45 for Adults | $43 for Seniors | $20 for Children
- More information and to book.
When it comes to the hop-on, hop-off tour, this company is one of the biggest names in the industry. They offer services all over the world, providing narration and transportation for travelers everywhere. In Philadelphia, they offer daily bus tours, trolley tours and even horse and carriage tours. The full circuit will take you roughly 90 minutes to complete, giving you plenty of time to explore all of the different locations on this trip. One ticket is good for both bus and trolley travel. A free courtesy shuttle is available from the airport and other areas such as city center. Live English tour guides on all buses, with audio in 11 languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, Mandarin, Korean and Arabic. They also offer a night tour option as well as combination tickets.
The Philadelphia branch of Big Bus Tours has an incredibly high rating of 4 ½ of 5 stars on TripAdvisor. Although most of the reviews are very positive, there have been a few unhappy customers from time to time. Complaints are varied and seem to reflect random misfortunes rather than the typical experience with this company. A majority of guests really enjoyed their trip with this hop-on, hop-off tour. Families and couples were the most likely audience to leave a great review.
- 1-Day Ticket: $30 for Adults | $28 for Seniors | $10 for Children (4-12 years)
- 2-Day Ticket: $35 for Adults | $32 for Seniors | $12 for Children (4-12 years) (2-day ticket – free with the Philadelphia Pass)
- 3-Day Ticket: $48 for Adults | $45 for Seniors | $20 for Children (4-12 years)
- More info and to book.
If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to hop-on, hop-off tours, the city of Philadelphia actually offers their own special bus service for tourists. With a total of 22 stops, the Philly Phlash will take you to almost all of the same locations as a major tour bus at a fraction of the cost. Unfortunately, this transportation doesn’t run year-round, so it won’t always be the most convenient option. That being said, if you’re considering one of our free guided or self-guided tours, the Phlash is an excellent method for getting around town. Buses typically run every 15 minutes. The services operates from 8:30 am until 6 pm daily (May – August) and more limited service throughout the year (no service in January, February and half of March.
Surprisingly, this service has an excellent overall rating of 4 ½ out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor. Although there are a few unhappy customers, most passengers feel that the Philly Phlash is an excellent way to see the sites. Many reviewers feel that this bus is a convenient way to save money while discovering as much of the city as possible. Visitors tend to appreciate just how easy it is to use the Phlash, and they also find their drivers to be both friendly and polite. Families and couples were the most likely to take advantage of this incredibly affordable transportation.
- $2 per ride | $5 for all-day pass | Children under 4 ride free
- SEPTA Pass/Key Card holders ride for free
- More information.
In addition to the standard hop-on, hop-off bus service, you will also find a few night tours in Philadelphia. Although you won’t have the opportunity to hop off at various locations around the city, you will see a different side of Philly once the sun goes down. Each excursion includes live commentary from locals who provide a lot of information about all of the different sites you will see. Unfortunately, these tour options are only available during the warmer months, so they won’t be accessible for anyone visiting during the winter. At roughly $30 per ticket, these trips are about as expensive as an all-day pass.
Whether you’re looking for a bit more than their typical bus trip or you just want to experience Philadelphia after dark, the Philly By Night tour should do the trick. Clocking in at 90 minutes in length, the night tour will last about as long as a full circuit with their hop-on, hop-off service. Starting in the spring, this bus tour will depart at 8 PM almost every night. Although prices are comparable to their all-day tickets, you can actually save money by purchasing a combo pass. Check out our section on combo deals below for more information.
If possible, reviews for Philly By Night are even better than the ratings for their standard service. With only one negative comment on record, it’s clear that a vast majority of customers are pleased with their journey. Many guests were very impressed with their tour guides, indicating that they provided a lot of fascinating information about the area. Other reviewers felt that this was a wonderful way to discover Philadelphia. This night tour was especially popular among couples, families, and passengers who were visiting on business.
- Ticket Prices
- $30 for Adults and Seniors | $20 for Children (Ages 4-12)
- Note: Courtesy shuttle available from Center City Hotels
- More info and to book.
Not to be outdone, this company also offers a very similar night tour entitled Twilight Philly. Note that this bus tour is SEASONAL and only operates between the months of May and October, departing every night at 8 PM. This trip will also last for approximately 90 minutes, giving you plenty of time to discover the city after dark. A local tour guide will provide a plethora of information about the various locations you will visit on your journey. Ticket prices are comparable to what you will find from their competition, but Goldstar is currently offering a deep discount on this particular tour.
Reviews for the Twilight Philly tour are quite excellent, with only one guest giving the trip a negative rating. Every other comment was positive, and happy customers typically appreciated the narration provided by their tour guides. Most passengers were very pleased with their experience, suggesting that it’s wonderful to see the city lit up at night. Some visitors even enjoyed the trip enough to say this was their favorite memory of Philadelphia. This night tour is popular among pretty much every type of reviewer.
- Ticket Prices
If you plan on visiting a wide variety of locations in Philadelphia, you may want to consider one of the following options. With a discount pass, you pay one lump sum for access to a lot of different locations and the transportation necessary to visit each landmark. Combo deals allow you to pay less for multiple tours by purchasing a ticket for both at the same time. These offers represent an excellent opportunity for anyone who plans on spending at least a few days in the city of brotherly love. Plan out your itinerary ahead of time and save money on all of your activities!
Although this tourist pass will cost more per day than one of the bus tours listed above, it also includes admission to several attractions. If you want to do more than just see the sights, the Philadelphia Pass is a great way to experience the city on a tight budget. Each pass comes with a 2-day hop-on, hop-off ticket from Big Bus Tours.
Instead of just visiting each location and looking around, now you can actually gain entrance into landmarks and important sites such as the Betsy Ross House, the National Constitution Center, and One Liberty Observation Deck.
If you want to learn more about this opportunity, check out our comparison of each Philadelphia tourist pass.
- Ticket Prices
- 1-Day Pass: $59 for Adults | $49 for Children
- 2-Day Pass: $89 for Adults | $79 for Children
- 3-Day Pass: $109 for Adults | $99 for Children
- 5-Day Pass: $129 for Adults | $119 for Children
Tip: Check their website for regular discounts!
Find out more information here.
Much like their competitors, this company also works with Big Bus Tours to provide a free hop-on, hop-off bus ticket. However, you won’t have access to nearly as many attractions with the CityPASS. Rather than offering admission to dozens of different locations, this tourist pass focuses on just four activities. In addition to a bus tour, you’ll also gain entrance into the Franklin Institute, One Liberty Observation Deck, and your choice of either the Adventure Aquarium or Philadelphia Zoo.
The main advantage to this option is that you will have a total of 9 days to take advantage of each individual activity. Anyone visiting Philly for at least a week will probably have the opportunity to enjoy everything provided by the CityPASS. General admission for all of these tours and attractions can cost over $90 without this pass. If you’d rather take your time exploring the city, this might be one of the best ways to save some cash. For more information, look at our comparison between each tourist pass.
- Ticket Prices
- $55 for Adults | $35 for Children
- Find out more here.
In addition to providing services to anyone who purchases either tourist pass listed above, this company also offers a variety of combo tickets which may interest their customers. Whether you want to try out their night tour, enjoy a guided walking tour following Benjamin Franklin’s footsteps, or experience Philadelphia on a Segway, there are plenty of combo deals available from Big Bus Tours. Each of the following combo packages includes a ticket for their hop-on, hop-off bus. Prices vary, but are generally much more affordable than when you purchase tickets for each service individually.
Reviews for their combo tickets are incredibly positive, with most customers agreeing that a combination of more than one activity from Big Bus Tours can be quite enlightening and entertaining. Those who took both the hop-on, hop-off bus and the night tour were very pleased with their overall experience. It’s also worth noting that parents loved the combo deal which included a trip to the children’s museum. In almost every review for a combo package, guests were pleasantly surprised with their journey.
Tours and ticket prices:
- Hop-on, Hop-off & Philly By Night Bus Tour
- 1-Day Pass: $53 for Adults | $51 for Seniors | $27 for Children
- 2-Day Pass: $60 for Adults | $57 for Seniors | $29 for Children
- Please Touch Museum & Hop-on, Hop-off Bus Tour
- $47 for Adults | $25 for Children (Age 4-12) | $15 for Children (Age 2-3)
- Franklin’s Footsteps & Hop-on, Hop-off Bus Tour
- $42 for Adults and Seniors (save up to $7 on the walking tour)
- Hop-on, Hop-off & Segway Tour
- $69 for Adults (must be at least 16 years of age to ride a Segway)
- Hop-on, Hop-off Tour & One Liberty Observation Deck
- $49 for Adults | $24 for Children
CITY SIGHTSEEING TOURS (also known as Philadelphia Sightseeing)
Although they don’t offer as many combo deals as you will find with their competitors, there are a few discounts that are worth mentioning. In addition to combo packages including access to Eastern State Penitentiary and One Liberty Observatory, they also frequently provide discounts through services such as Goldstar.
Whether you’re just looking for cheaper tickets or you want to take advantage of a tour combination, there are several options offered by City Sightseeing Tours.
Reviews for their individual tours are very good, and there are no indications that customers are unhappy with the combo packages. Few of the very limited negative comments about this service appear to be focused on their combo deals. Most guests really love this company, stating that their tour guides were both friendly and informative. Whether you’re joined by family, friends or a significant other, reviewers suggest that City Sightseeing provides excellent tours.
Tours and ticket prices:
- ANSP, Mütter Museum, One Liberty Observation Deck & 2-Day Hop-on, Hop-off Tour
- $72.95 for Adults | $62 for Seniors/Military | $40 for Children
- ANSP, Mütter Museum, One Liberty, Eastern State Penitentiary & 2-Day Bus Tour
- $89.50 for Adults | $81.50 for Seniors/Military | $51.50 for Children
- Mütter Museum, One Liberty Observation Deck & 1-Day Hop-on, Hop-off Tour
- $60 for Adults | $52 for Seniors/Military | $30 for Children
- Eastern State Penitentiary, One Liberty Observation Deck & 2-Day Hop-on, Hop-off Tour
- $65 for Adults | $63 for Seniors | $54 for Children
- One Liberty Observation Deck, Twilight Philly Night Tour & 1-Day Hop-on, Hop-off Tour
- $47.50 for Adults | $44.50 for Seniors | $31.50 for Children
- 1-Day Hop-on, Hop-off Pass with Eastern State Penitentiary Admission
- $43 for Adults | $42 for Seniors | $19 for Children
- 2-Day Hop-on, Hop-off Pass with Eastern State Penitentiary Admission
- $44 for Adults | $43 for Seniors | $20 for Children
- 2-Day Hop-on, Hop-off Pass with One Liberty Observation Deck Admission
- $45 for Adults | $22 for Children
Purchase tickets here.
If you’re not interested in a bus tour, there are several other excursions available in the city of brotherly love. As a matter of fact, we offer quite a few pay-what-you-want walking tours which you should be able to easily access with the help of a service such as the Philly Phlash. No matter what you want to do while visiting this historic location, chances are there is a tour designed to meet your needs. Check out our section on Philadelphia tours for more information.