Philadelphia City Pass vs Philly Pass

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With so many things to see and do in Philadelphia, purchasing individual entrance admissions to each site can break the bank. And then you have to wait in the lines to get in. There are many places in Philly that we say is worth the price and the wait but if you can see them without either, we’d recommend that! Knowing that travelers have budgets on both cost and time, there are few companies who’ve created a tourist pass – one advance payment that gets you a discount or free entrance to many sites and lets you skip the line!

 

 

WHAT IS A TOURIST PASS?

Many locations in Philadelphia offer discounted admissions on certain days or times, some of the best sites are run by the National Park Service and are thus free, and then, of course, there are Free Tours By Foot’s name-your-own-price tours. But if you have a lot you want to see, these passes may be a good option. Many also offer discounted children’s passes for those with families.

In Philadelphia, there are two pass options: Philadelphia Pass and City PASS.

Philadelphia Pass Price:

Philly Pass

Adult (above 12 years of age)
Child (ages 4-12)
Under 4 years old free

  • 1 Day Pass:  Adult  $59.00 & Child   $49.00
  • 2 Day Pass:  Adult  $89.00 & Child   $79.00
  • 3 Day Pass:  Adult  $109.00 & Child $99.00
  • 5 Day Pass:  Adult $129.00 & Child $119.00
  • More information.

City PASS Price:       City PaSS

  • Adult $55.00
  • Child $35.00

 

WHICH PASS IS BETTER?

Well ,that depends on what you want to see and how long you’ll be in town.

The cards have a number of similarities.

Both City PASS and Philadelphia Pass offer free admission to some of the cities most popular attractions, including access to city hop on/off Bus and/or Trolley sightseeing tours. They also offer maps, coupons to area shopping and restaurants, guidebooks and free audio tours at some locations. Once you’ve visited attractions with either pass, you cannot visit again for free. Each attraction allows one person in per pass and only once for the duration of the pass.

There are some significant differences, however.

While both passes are time-dependent, your Philadelphia Pass works on consecutive days only. You can purchase 1, 2, 3 and 5 Day Passes. Each pass allows you to visit the same amount of sites, but it might be improbable to fit all 40 sites into one day! Say you purchase a three-day pass and begin touring on Monday. Your pass will automatically end on Wednesday, even if you only used it one day.

City PassThe CityPass, however, is good for nine days after your first use so you can take your time and visit the attractions in any order.

The CityPass allows entrance to 5 locations: The Franklin Institute, Adventure Aquarium, and free 24-hour travel on the Big Bus or Trolley Works tours. You can then also choose to visit either the Philadelphia Zoo or Constitution Center and either the Eastern State Penitentiary or Please Touch Museum.

The Philadelphia Pass offers entrance to more than 40 sites include the ones above, but not the Adventure Aquarium or Please Touch Museum (both of which are included on the CityPass).

The CityPass is a booklet, a set of vouchers that you can trade in at the specific sites for entrance. The Philadelphia Pass is more like a smart card – credit card size with a chip that you swipe to enter the attractions.

So which is better?

If all the sites you want to see are offered on the CityPass or you want more time to see them, this option would work for you. If you are ready for a whirlwind tour and want to fit as much as possible into your visit, the Philadelphia Pass included entrance to more locations but in a shorter period of time.

Insider Tips

There are many great free sites to see in Philadelphia, plan on visiting these either before or after you get your Philadelphia Pass so you can make sure you’re using that time to see the many sites included on the pass since it does expire after a certain number of days.

Both the CityPass and Philadelphia Pass include the use of the Big Bus Company or Trolley for transportation around the city. However, the free rides are valid for 24 hours during business hours. If you want to upgrade to a multi-day pass on the Big Bus, both passes give you that option for an additional fee. (Tip: If you are interested in just a Bus Tour, see our post, Best Bus Tours in Philadelphia.

The CityPass offers some optional tickets – where a voucher is good at one place OR another. However, they do offer coupons off the entrance price to all optional sites so if you choose to visit the Please Touch Museum, you can still get discounted tickets to the Eastern State Penitentiary.

Where to Store Your Luggage in Philadelphia

Posted by & filed under Philadelphia.

This post includes information about several options for storing luggage during your trip to Philadelphia. We tell you all about the popular and convenient trend in luggage storage, where companies partner with local shops who store your luggage. We also include other options like train and bus stations and even some museums! Note that there is no luggage storage at the airport.

 

TIP:  For budget travelers, it is worth considering purchasing a tourist pass. Tourist passes help you save money by packaging attractions together for one flat price. In some cases, you can save up to 50% of the cost you would normally pay to see many of the top Philadelphia attractions.

To learn more, check out our post comparing the different Philadelphia Tourist Attraction Passes.


 

LUGGAGE STORAGE (‘Airbnb’-type method)

The companies listed below employ a similar system to Airbnb, but for luggage. They find convenient locations for travelers, such as souvenir and gift shops or convenience stores, even restaurants or coffee houses, who have the capacity and the security to hold and secure your luggage. They also open early and close late giving you the most flexibility in terms of when you need to store your luggage. 

Fees vary as do the number of hours you can store for. Some charge per hour, while some charge a flat fee for a 24-hour period, regardless of whether you store for 3 hours or all 24 hours.

Read more »

Things to do in Philadelphia in January

Posted by & filed under Philadelphia.

This post lists top things to do in January in Philadelphia as well as things to do at night, free activities and family friendly events. January in Philly is pretty consistent weather-wise with highs in the 40s, but the historic core of Philadelphia is small and you can quickly get from warm museum to warm museum!

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Which Philadelphia Bus Tours Are The Best?

Posted by & filed under Philadelphia.

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.  

Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus Tours

Combos and Discounts

 

 


HOP-ON, HOP-OFF 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.

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Philadelphia Attractions Guide

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After you’ve taken one of our name your own price walking tours, there is still many Philadelphia attractions, historic sites and museums to see on your own.

We’ve listed some of the most visited and recommended Philadelphia attractions with guides on directions, hours and admission costs below.

Philadelphia Attractions By Neighborhood

Philadelphia Attractions By Cost

Philadelphia Attractions By Neighborhood

Museum District
Center CityPhiladelphia Attraction Neighborhood Map
Independence Mall (Old City)
Near Independence Mall
Market East
Avenue of the Arts
Other Areas
Outside the City

Museum District

Center City

  • Love Park
  • City Hall
  • Shoe Museum
  • African American Museum in Philadelphia
  • Masonic Library and Museum
  • Washington Square (Tomb of the Unknown Solider)
  • You can also download this map for sites within Center City.

Read more »

Guide Spotlight: Philly’s Marianne

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Free Tours by Foot thought yo u should know more about who we are! Our tours would not be so highly rated if it weren’t for our guides – the passion, knowledge and fun they bring to our tours. We’ll be featuring more information about our great guides in each city over the coming months.

As a writer with a degree in film production who now works as a tour guide, Marianne considers herself a professional storyteller! She started out studying Russian history, which honed her ability to find the humorous (albeit often dark and twisted) behind the facts. After living in Washington, DC, Novosibirsk and Moscow (Russia), Miami, and Los Angeles, she is now back in her home state of Pennsylvania, in her beloved William Penn’s Philadelphia. She absolutely loves sharing stories about the founders of the nation – their bravery, their brilliance, their quirks! Her goal is to bring the past alive and make it relevant today while showing off her wonderful, revitalized city. 

Read more »

Is Travel Insurance Worth It?

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City, Berlin, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, London, Miami, New Orleans, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington DC.

Is Travel insurance worth it?Travel insurance is often the last thing you have on your mind when planning your next trip for just yourself, with your family or with friends. We look forward to a well-earned and long-desired vacation and we know deep down, however, that travelling brings about the unexpected (mostly in good ways). For the hopefully rare bad case scenarios, where you need to cancel a trip due to hazardous weather, sickness, the death of a family member, or any accidents during your trip, stolen or lost luggage/passports/wallets, and even worse injury or death of a travel mate, you want to be covered. Instead of overthinking the many things that might happen, travel insurance can help to put your mind at ease for the many what-ifs, so you can get back to planning and enjoying the fun things about your next trip.  So, is travel insurance worth it?

Be sure to read our post on purchasing a SIM Card for the US.

Travel insurance – what to look for:

Most travel insurance plans cover 2 main things: travel benefits and medical benefits. Those usually entail:

  • a refund when you need to cancel your trip due to emergency
  • covered expenses when a flight is delayed or cancelled or when you miss your flight
  • compensation of expenses if your carrier loses or delays your luggage
  • Coverage of expenses for any medical or dental emergency during your trip
  • Coverage of cost for medical emergency evacuation or accidental death or dismemberment
  • Optional benefits include car rental insurance

Depending on the provider benefits may differ in cost and range, so make sure you read the small print. Read more »

New Hall Military Museum

Posted by & filed under Philadelphia.

Though this reconstructed building is from the 1960s, the original New Hall Military Museum was built in 1791 by the Carpenters’ Guild. The space was rented out to Secretary of War Henry Knox, making this the original Pentagon.

new hallDirections to New Hall Military Museum:

320 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

On Chestnut Street between South 3rd and South 4th Street.

Hours:

The hours vary based on the season. Its open Saturdays and Sundays 10am-5pm until April 2015.

Admission:

Free! As part of the National Park Service, there is no entrance fee.

Exhibits:

The second floor of the museum focuses on the history of the Navy and Army. The ground floor, on the Marines.

Visiting the Wagner Free Institute of Science

Posted by & filed under Philadelphia.

The Wagner Free Institute of Science offers an experience into its Victorian collection with an interior that is nearly unchanged since the 1890s. Both the building and its exhibits are historic treasures in Philadelphia.

Directions to the Wagner Free Institute of Science:

WFIS Map

1700 West Montgomery Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19121

By train: The Broad Street subway (Orange Line – local train only) stops at Temple University/Cecil B. Moore Avenue.

SEPTA: Bus Route 2 at the 16th Street and Montgomery Avenue stop

Hours:

Tuesday – Friday, 9 AM – 4 PM

Closed on Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, New Year’s Day, as well as a the day before/after both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The museum is closed for one week in August for Summer Break.

Admission:

The museum operates on a name your own price basis, just like our walking tours, with a suggested donation:

  • Adults: $10
  • Children: $5

Guided ToursWag

  • Adults: $15
  • Seniors: $10
  • Children: $5

View a presentation in the lecture hall where internationally known scientists such as Joseph Leidy, Edward Drinker Cope and Margaret Mead once taught, and a guided tour through the exhibit hall.

Tours are available by appointment Tuesdays through Fridays between 3 and 5 PM. To make a reservation, call 215-763-6529, ext. 17.

Education Programs

The Wagner Free Institute began with education programs led in the home of gentleman scientist William Wagner. The Institute continues this tradition with free education programs throughout the week. They offer college-level courses in the natural sciences, lectures and program – Events Calendar.