Best Things to Do With Teens in Philadelphia: 12 Fun-Filled Philly Attractions

by Jen
Best Things to Do With Teens in Philadelphia
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Considering visiting Philadelphia with your family this year? Discover some of the best things to do with teens in Philadelphia, from iconic landmarks to hidden gems. These curated experiences promise not only fun and adventure but also a chance to create lasting memories in the City of Brotherly Love.

Philadelphia, often referred to as the “City of Brotherly Love,” is not just a historical gem, but a vibrant metropolis bursting with life, culture, and a plethora of activities that cater to all age groups, especially teenagers.

Nestled between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, this city stands as a testament to America’s rich past, with its cobblestone streets echoing tales of revolution and freedom. But beyond its historical allure, Philadelphia offers a modern twist, seamlessly blending the old with the new.

For families traveling with teenagers, the challenge often lies in finding activities that strike a balance between educational and entertaining. Thankfully, Philadelphia rises to the occasion.

Imagine walking the same streets that Benjamin Franklin once tread, or standing in the shadow of the iconic Liberty Bell, feeling the weight of its significance. Yet, just a stone’s throw away, you might find yourself amidst vibrant street art, bustling markets, or even an urban beach that comes alive with music and laughter.

Join us as we delve into the heart of Philadelphia, uncovering the top activities that will make your trip with teenagers not just memorable, but magical!

The top places to visit with teens in Philadelphia right now
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Best Things to Do With Teens in Philadelphia

Eager to explore the things to do in Philadelphia? The city offers a diverse range of experiences that cater to every traveler. Dive deeper to uncover unique Philadelphia places to visit with teens that go beyond the usual tourist spots.

Are you on the hunt for iconic city landmarks and rich cultural experiences? Or perhaps you’re leaning towards a serene urban escape? No matter your preference, Philadelphia has got you covered. Dive into our curated list of the best attractions in Philadelphia for teens that are sure to elevate your visit to the next level.

1. Test Your Detective Skills in MindEscape’s Enigmatic Rooms

In the heart of Philadelphia lies MindEscape, an escape room experience that stands out in a league of its own. As escape rooms have surged in popularity across the globe, MindEscape has consistently been a favorite among locals and tourists alike. With its captivating storylines, meticulously crafted puzzles, and immersive environments, participants are guaranteed an adventure that’s both challenging and exhilarating.

For teenagers, it’s an opportunity to dive deep into narratives that transport them to different worlds. From the suspense of a Thai prison breakout to the intrigue of a time-traveling escapade, each room at MindEscape offers a distinct experience. This makes it one of the best places to go in Philadelphia with teens. The attention to detail is evident in every corner. The props and sound effects ensure that participants are fully engrossed in the storyline.

Beyond the thrill of solving puzzles and racing against the clock, it’s a chance for families to bond, collaborate, and create lasting memories. The laughter that ensues from overlooked clues, the collective sigh of relief when a puzzle is solved, and the triumphant cheers upon escaping are moments that will be cherished for years to come.

Exploring MindEscape is one of the best things to do with teens in Philadelphia.
MindEscape offers an unparalleled escape room adventure with captivating stories, intricate puzzles, and immersive settings.

2. Revel in Artistic Brilliance on South Street

Nestled in the vibrant South Street neighborhood, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a visual spectacle that spans half a block.This expansive space, crafted by artist Isaiah Zagar, showcases a mesmerizing blend of tilework and shimmering glass bottles. It also features bicycle fragments and an array of found objects. It stands as a vivid representation of art’s transformative power.

Teens with an appreciation for unique artistic expressions will find themselves captivated. The gardens offer a maze of tunnels and outdoor mosaics. Each of these narrates tales of Zagar’s life journey, his inspirations, and diverse artistic influences. Every nook and cranny unveils a distinct artwork, each echoing its own narrative and creative spark.

Beyond its visual appeal, the Magic Gardens offers an immersive experience. Interactive workshops invite participants to delve into the world of mosaic-making, guided by seasoned experts. Additionally, the venue frequently hosts a variety of events, from soulful music performances to eclectic art exhibitions.

The coolest activities in Philadelphia for teens undoubtedly include a visit to the Magic Gardens. It’s an opportunity to immerse oneself in a realm where art and imagination converge. This offers both inspiration and a deeper appreciation for creative expression.

Discover Magic Gardens, a captivating half-block visual wonder, an artful creation by Isaiah Zagar.
Discover Magic Gardens, a captivating half-block visual wonder, an artful creation by Isaiah Zagar.

3. Go Wall Climbing at The Cliffs

Visiting Philadelphia with teens in tow? One of the coolest activities in Philadelphia for teens is scaling the walls at The Cliffs at Callowhill. This premier rock climbing gym offers a thrilling experience for both novices and seasoned climbers. With its state-of-the-art facilities and a vast array of climbing routes, it promises an adrenaline-packed adventure in the heart of the city.

The Cliffs provides a safe and controlled environment for climbers to challenge themselves, hone their skills, and conquer new heights. Expert instructors are always on hand, offering guidance, ensuring safety, and helping climbers refine their techniques. The gym’s design caters to various skill levels, from beginner routes to challenging terrains for the pros.

Beyond climbing, The Cliffs fosters a sense of community. Regular events, workshops, and competitions bring together climbing enthusiasts from all walks of life. It’s a space where teens can engage in a physically demanding activity. Additionally, they can also connect with peers, share experiences, and build lasting friendships. For families and teens eager to add an element of adventure to their Philadelphia trip, The Cliffs at Callowhill stands out as a must-visit destination!

Elevate your trip with teens by conquering The Cliffs at Callowhill, the ultimate rock climbing haven.
Elevate your trip with teens by conquering The Cliffs at Callowhill, the ultimate rock climbing haven.

4. Learn About Heavenly Bodies at the Franklin Institute’s Planetarium

The night sky, with its myriad of stars and celestial bodies, has always captivated curious minds. The Franklin Institute’s Planetarium brings this cosmic wonder closer to Earth. It offers an immersive experience right in the heart of Philadelphia. Here, science, education, and entertainment blend seamlessly, presenting the universe’s vastness in vivid detail.

For teens intrigued by the cosmos, this venue stands out as one of the best places to go in Philadelphia with teens. The planetarium boasts state-of-the-art technology. It projects shows that whisk viewers away to distant galaxies, mysterious black holes, and the Martian landscape. Each presentation is a meticulously crafted journey, combining stunning visuals with educational insights.

A must see in Philadelphia, the planetarium’s offerings extend beyond the dome. Interactive exhibits delve into the intricacies of our solar system, the latest space missions, and the challenges astronauts face in their celestial journeys. Additionally, the institute’s calendar is packed with special events, expert-led lectures, and hands-on workshops tailored for space enthusiasts.

For families keen on deepening their understanding of space, The Franklin Institute’s Planetarium is an invaluable resource. It’s a hub of knowledge, exploration, and discovery, ensuring every visit is both enlightening and memorable.

The Franklin Institute's Planetarium bridges the cosmic allure of the night sky with immersive education and entertainment.
The Franklin Institute’s Planetarium bridges the cosmic allure of the night sky with immersive education and entertainment.

5. Explore Echoing Halls and Haunting Tales at Eastern State

One of the coolest things to do in Philadelphia with teens is to explore the hauntingly beautiful ruins of Eastern State Penitentiary. This former prison, with its castle-like architecture and echoing hallways, stands as a testament to a bygone era of criminal justice. Once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, it now serves as a museum. This attraction offers a glimpse into the lives of its infamous inmates, including Al Capone.

The penitentiary’s unique radial design and history of solitary confinement make it a fascinating site for history buffs and curious minds alike. Guided tours delve into the prison’s storied past, its architectural significance, and the tales of those who once called it home. The audio tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi, adds depth to the experience, weaving stories of escape attempts, daily life, and the prison’s eventual decline.

Among the myriad of Philadelphia attractions, Eastern State Penitentiary stands out for its blend of history, architecture, and art. The site hosts various events throughout the year. One of the most renowned events hosted is “Terror Behind the Walls.” This spine-chilling haunted house experience draws visitors from all over.

For teens and families seeking a mix of education and adventure, a visit to this historic site is a must. It’s an opportunity to step back in time, learn about the evolution of the penal system, and appreciate the preservation of such an iconic landmark.

Explore the past with teens at Eastern State Penitentiary's haunting ruins turned museum, a glimpse into criminal justice history.
Explore the past with teens at Eastern State Penitentiary’s haunting ruins turned museum, a glimpse into criminal justice history.

6. Feast Your Way Through Reading Terminal Market

In the bustling heart of Philadelphia lies a culinary treasure trove: Reading Terminal Market. Established in 1893, this historic market has been serving up a smorgasbord of flavors for over a century. From Amish donuts and Pennsylvania Dutch sausages to international delicacies from around the globe, there’s a dish or treat to tantalize every palate.

Among the best places in Philadelphia for food enthusiasts, Reading Terminal Market offers a sensory overload. The aroma of freshly baked bread mingles with the sizzle of grilled meats, while colorful stalls display an array of fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, and handcrafted goods. It’s a place where tradition meets innovation, with vendors preserving age-old recipes while also embracing contemporary culinary trends.

Those with adventurous taste buds will find this market a gastronomic paradise. It’s one of the unique things to do in Philadelphia with teens, allowing them to sample diverse cuisines, learn about food cultures, and even pick up a cooking tip or two from friendly vendors. Beyond food, the market also hosts events, workshops, and cooking classes. This makes it a vibrant hub of activity and learning.

For families visiting the city, a trip to Reading Terminal Market is a chance to connect with local artisans, and an opportunity to discover new flavors and favorites.

Exploring Reading Terminal Market is one of the best things to do with teens in Philadelphia.
Reading Terminal Market offers a century-old culinary adventure with diverse delights, from Amish treats to global delicacies.

7. Experience Riverside Fun at Philadelphia’s Premier Rink

Set against the backdrop of the Delaware River, Penn’s Landing RiverRink offers a delightful combination of recreational activities throughout the year. In winter, it transforms into a magical ice-skating rink, while summer sees it become a roller-skating haven. The shimmering lights, waterfront views, and lively atmosphere make it a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike.

For families with teens wondering what to do in Philadelphia, especially during seasonal transitions, Penn’s Landing RiverRink provides the answer. The venue boasts an array of attractions, from arcade games and mini-golf to a boathouse-styled lodge offering delicious refreshments. The seasonal festivals and events, complete with live music and entertainment, add to the venue’s charm.

One of the fun places in Philadelphia to visit with teens, the venue offers an opportunity to glide on the rink, challenge friends to arcade games, or simply relax and soak in the vibrant ambiance. The rink’s location also allows for picturesque views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, especially during sunset.

Explore Penn's Landing RiverRink, a year-round fun from an enchanting winter ice-skating rink to a summer roller-skating paradise. | Source: https://www.visitphilly.com/
Explore Penn’s Landing RiverRink, a year-round fun from an enchanting winter ice-skating rink to a summer roller-skating paradise. | Source: https://www.visitphilly.com/

8. Discover the Stories Behind the Crack at The Liberty Bell Center

The iconic Liberty Bell, with its unmistakable crack, stands as a symbol of America’s freedom and independence. Housed in the Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historical Park, this historic artifact draws visitors from all corners of the globe. Its rich history, intertwined with pivotal moments in America’s past, offers a tangible connection to the nation’s founding ideals.

For families and teens exploring the city, the Liberty Bell Center is among the best things to do with teens in Philadelphia. Interactive exhibits and displays provide context, detailing the bell’s journey from its casting in England to its role in significant events like the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.

Teens with an interest in history will appreciate the significance of this iconic bell. It’s one of the coolest activities in Philadelphia for teens, allowing them to delve into stories of liberty, abolition, and the fight for equal rights. Knowledgeable park rangers are on hand to answer questions, share anecdotes, and offer insights into the bell’s enduring legacy.

A visit here offers a profound understanding of America’s history. This makes it a must-visit for anyone keen on deepening their knowledge of the country’s past.

The cracked Liberty Bell, an emblem of freedom, resides in Independence National Historical Park's Liberty Bell Center.
The cracked Liberty Bell, an emblem of freedom, resides in Independence National Historical Park’s Liberty Bell Center.

9. Unearth Dinosaur Secrets at The Academy of Natural Sciences

The Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia is a treasure trove for budding paleontologists and science enthusiasts. It’s one of the best places in Philadelphia for teens who have a keen interest in natural history. Established in 1812, it holds the distinction of being the oldest natural science research institution and museum in the Americas. Its vast collection boasts over 18 million specimens, ranging from tiny insects to towering dinosaur skeletons.

One of the standout attractions here is Dinosaur Hall, home to a remarkable collection of fossilized skeletons and casts. Teens can marvel at the towering Tyrannosaurus rex, the three-horned Triceratops, and the swift-footed Velociraptor. Interactive displays and hands-on exhibits allow visitors to touch real fossils, understand the excavation process, and even try their hand at being a paleontologist.

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Philadelphia with teens, a visit to this museum is a no-brainer. Beyond dinosaurs, the museum offers a plethora of exhibits on topics like biodiversity, evolution, and environmental science. The Academy also hosts a variety of events, workshops, and special exhibitions throughout the year. These programs aim to foster a deeper understanding of the natural world and inspire the next generation of scientists and researchers.

 The Academy of Natural Sciences boasts a vast collection of over 18 million specimens, including impressive dinosaur skeletons.
The Academy of Natural Sciences boasts a vast collection of over 18 million specimens, including impressive dinosaur skeletons.

10. Discover Street Art Wonders on a Mural Arts Tour

One of the unique places in Philadelphia for teens is not confined within the walls of a museum but sprawled across the city’s buildings and alleyways. Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program, the nation’s largest public art program, has transformed the cityscape with over 4,000 works of public art. These murals, painted by local artists, tell stories of the city’s history, culture, and communities.

The Mural Arts Tours offer guided excursions that take visitors on a journey through diverse neighborhoods, showcasing the vibrant and varied street art that adorns them. Each mural has a story, and the knowledgeable guides share the inspiration, challenges, and community involvement behind each piece.

For those seeking unique things to do in Philadelphia, this tour offers a blend of art, history, and urban exploration. Teens will appreciate the contemporary art styles, the powerful messages conveyed, and the sheer scale of some of these outdoor masterpieces.

Beyond the visual appeal, the Mural Arts Program is a testament to the power of community engagement and the role of art in urban revitalization. It’s an initiative that has not only beautified the city but also fostered community pride and unity.

Mural Arts Tours guide you through diverse neighborhoods, unveiling vibrant street art with stories behind each mural.
Mural Arts Tours guide you through diverse neighborhoods, unveiling vibrant street art with stories behind each mural.

11. Spy on Marine Life at Adventure Aquarium

One of the coolest Philadelphia things to do with teens is to dive deep into the underwater world at Adventure Aquarium. Situated on the Camden Waterfront, this expansive aquarium is home to over 15,000 aquatic species. This attraction makes it a premier destination for marine enthusiasts.

From the awe-inspiring Shark Bridge, where visitors can walk just inches above a tank filled with sand tiger, sandbar, and nurse sharks, to Penguin Park, where playful African penguins frolic and swim, there’s a world of wonder at every turn. The aquarium also boasts the largest collection of sharks on the East Coast, ensuring thrill-seekers get their fair share of excitement.

For families searching for the best things to do in Philadelphia with teens, Adventure Aquarium offers a perfect blend of education and entertainment. Interactive exhibits allow visitors to touch stingrays, horseshoe crabs, and even sharks. Daily live shows, feedings, and up-close animal encounters provide insights into marine life and the importance of conservation.

Beyond the marine exhibits, the aquarium also features a lush rainforest habitat, home to free-flying birds and golden lion tamarins. It’s a place where the wonders of the aquatic realm come alive. This promises a day filled with discovery, learning, and unforgettable memories.

Plunge into marine wonders at Adventure Aquarium, a premier destination boasting over 15,000 aquatic species. | Source: https://www.visitphilly.com/
Plunge into marine wonders at Adventure Aquarium, a premier destination boasting over 15,000 aquatic species. | Source: https://www.visitphilly.com/

12. Tackle the WildWorks Ropes at Philly Zoo

The Philadelphia Zoo, America’s first zoo, has always been a hub of innovation and excitement. While it’s renowned for its diverse collection of animals from around the globe, one of its newer attractions promises an adrenaline rush like no other: the WildWorks Ropes Course.

This aerial adventure course, designed for thrill-seekers of all ages, offers a bird’s-eye view of the zoo. Participants can navigate a series of challenging obstacles, balance on wobbly bridges, and zip line over the zoo’s lake. The course has varying levels of difficulty, ensuring that both novices and seasoned adventurers find their perfect challenge.

For families wondering about the best things to do with teens in Philadelphia, the WildWorks Ropes Course stands out as a must-try. It combines physical activity with unparalleled views of the zoo and its inhabitants.

The experience doesn’t end once you descend from the ropes. The Philadelphia Zoo boasts a plethora of other attractions, from Big Cat Falls and Gorilla Treeway to the immersive KidZooU. It’s one of those unique things to do in Philadelphia with teens. Younger visitors can interact with rare breeds of domestic animals, ensuring a day filled with adventure and discovery.

Experiencing  Philly Zoo's WildWorks Ropes Course is one of the best things to do with teens in Philadelphia.
Experience the thrill of the Philadelphia Zoo’s WildWorks Ropes Course, a cutting-edge attraction amidst a diverse array of global animals.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Things to Do in Philadelphia

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Philadelphia with teens? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Philadelphia.

Beyond the usual tourist spots, what unique activities can teens enjoy in Philadelphia?

Philadelphia offers a blend of historical sites and modern attractions. While the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are must-visits, teens might also enjoy the immersive street art tours, the challenges at the WildWorks Ropes Course in the Philadelphia Zoo, or the interactive science exhibits at The Franklin Institute. Diving deeper into the best things to do with teens in Philadelphia reveals a city bursting with youthful energy and diverse experiences.

Is Philadelphia safe for family visits?

Yes, Philadelphia is a popular destination for families and is generally safe for visitors. Like any major city, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. Stick to well-lit streets in the evening and keep an eye on personal belongings.

Explore the town's vibrant attractions and landmarks while staying vigilant of your surroundings for a safe and enjoyable visit.
Explore the town’s vibrant attractions and landmarks while staying vigilant of your surroundings for a safe and enjoyable visit.

Are there any teen-friendly food spots in the city?

Absolutely! Philadelphia is known for its diverse culinary scene. Teens will love trying the city’s famous cheesesteaks. They can explore Reading Terminal Market or grab a bite at hip eateries in neighborhoods like Fishtown and Northern Liberties.

How can I get around the city with my teen?

Philadelphia is a walkable city with many attractions located close to each other. For longer distances, the SEPTA public transportation system is efficient and covers most parts of the city. There are also bike rentals and rideshare options available.

Is Philadelphia a family friendly city?

Yes, Philadelphia is a family-friendly city and offers a diverse range of attractions, activities, and events suitable for visitors of all ages. Here are some reasons why Philadelphia is a great destination for families:

  1. Rich History: Philadelphia is steeped in U.S. history. Families can visit Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and see the Liberty Bell. The National Constitution Center offers interactive exhibits for kids to learn about the U.S. Constitution.
  2. Museums: The city boasts several museums catering to younger visitors. The Please Touch Museum is designed for children and offers hands-on exhibits. The Franklin Institute, one of the country’s oldest and premier science museums, provides interactive displays on science and technology. The Academy of Natural Sciences is perfect for young nature enthusiasts with its dinosaur exhibits and butterfly room.
  3. Philadelphia Zoo: America’s first zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo has over 1,300 animals and offers attractions like a children’s zoo, petting area, and a rotating exhibit space.
  4. Spruce Street Harbor Park: A seasonal pop-up park that offers hammocks, floating gardens, a boardwalk, and family-friendly games.
  5. Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse: A massive, free playground with equipment suitable for a range of ages and a historic playhouse dedicated to unstructured indoor play.

With its blend of historical sites, educational venues, outdoor spaces, and cultural activities, Philadelphia offers a fun and enriching experience for families.

Are there any discounts available for teen activities?

Many attractions in Philadelphia offer youth or student discounts. It’s a good idea to check the official websites of places you plan to visit or inquire at the ticket counter.

Final Thoughts on Exploring Philadelphia With Teens

Philadelphia offers a plethora of experiences that cater to the interests and energies of teenagers. From the echoing footsteps of founding fathers to the vibrant murals that color the city’s streets, Philly ensures that every visitor, young or old, leaves with cherished memories.

For families with teens, the challenge isn’t finding activities to fill the itinerary; it’s choosing from the myriad of options available. As you’ve seen from our list, the best things to do with teens in Philadelphia span historical tours, culinary delights, artistic endeavors, and adrenaline-pumping adventures. Each attraction and activity promises not just entertainment but also an opportunity for learning and growth.

Embrace the city’s unique blend of the old and the new, and create memories that will last a lifetime. After all, travel is as much about the journey as it is about the destination, and in Philadelphia, the journey is nothing short of spectacular.

The top things to do with teens in Philadelphia for all types of travelers
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