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arts & culture · attractions & tours ·

Published August 16, 2023

The Top 10 Museums to Visit in Philadelphia in Right Now

An essential list of the coolest museums in Philly. 🏛🔬🖼

by Philadelphia Bucket List

 

There is no lack of culture when it comes to Philly. The historic city boasts iconic architecture, world-renowned history, to-die-for food, and a passionate sports fandom. To top it off, Philadelphia is home to dozens of museums with themes ranging from science, art, history, and...pizza?

Whether you're visiting the city and want to round out your itinerary, looking to shake up your date night routine, or just need plans this weekend, there's a museum for you. Read ahead and learn more about the top museums in Philadelphia and the culture each one carries—even when that culture comes in the form of a big, round, delicious pie.


10 Museums in Philly Everyone Should Visit at Least Once

Franklin Institute

Open daily

The Franklin Institute is Philly’s most visited museum, and it caters to a range of ages, making it a family-friendly experience the entire gang will enjoy. You'll find a plethora of exhibits, including the Giant Heart, an enormous walkthrough heart replica, and Worst Case Scenario—an all-ages interactive experience that places you in different challenges to strengthen survival skills. You know...in case you ever come in contact with an avalanche or need to get out of quicksand.

Free museum days: None currently. Free for kids 3 and under.
Where: 222 N 20th St, Philadelphia, PA
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The Mutter Museum

Open Wednesday–Monday

Philadelphia’s Mutter Museum is a museum of medical history with a goal to teach visitors about the mysteries of the human body and the treatment of disease. Here you can see jars of tumors and cysts, learn about influenza epidemics in their Spit Spreads Death exhibit, and even look at pieces of Albert Einstein’s brain. 🧠

Free museum days: None currently. Free for kids 5 and under.
Where: 19 S 22nd St, Philadelphia, PA
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Philadelphia Museum of Art

Open Thursday–Monday

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the country’s oldest (and most recognizable) public art museums, holding a range of work from ancient to Renaissance to one of the most impressive modern collections in the world. The museum is also home to the famous Rocky Steps and is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, in the center of Philly’s action.

Free museum days: Always free for youth 18 and under. Pay What You Wish Admission every first Sunday of the month and every Friday night (5–8:45 PM)
Where: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA
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Please Touch Museum

Open Wednesday–Monday

You heard it here, a museum encouraging you to actually touch everything inside! Please Touch Museum’s mission is to spark curiosity and creativity through the power of play.  With exhibits like River Adventure, that has STEAM-focused activities, and Wonderland, with an interactive hedge maze and hall of mirrors, kids can sharpen their imaginations while honing their critical thinking, developmental, and fine motor skills.

Free museum days: None currently. $2 admission offered on select first Wednesday nights of the month from 4–7 PM.
Where: 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, PA
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The African American Museum in Philadelphia

Open Thursday–Sunday

The African American Museum in Philadelphia is the first museum built by a city to celebrate the life and work of African Americans. Its permanent exhibits range in topic and include photo galleries, lectures, tours, and more. One not-to-miss highlight is a narrated, interactive timeline that spans 100 years of history and illuminates topics of relevance, including entrepreneurship, environment, education, religion, and family traditions among African Americans in Philadelphia.

Free museum days: Free on June 19 in celebration of Juneteenth.
Where: 701 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA
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Pizza Brain

Open daily

*Must be love pizza on the brain.* Believed to be the world’s first museum dedicated to the fan-fav dish, Pizza Brain’s Museum of Pizza Culture (located in Pizza Brain’s pizzeria), houses a range of items celebrating everyone's favorite pie. With pieces dating back to the 1940s all the way through the present day, the collection tells the tale of pizza’s rise to popularity.

Free museum days: Admission is always free!
Where
:
2313 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA
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Rodin Museum

Open Friday–Monday

Slip into a Parisian oasis and explore the collections of works by Auguste Rodin at the only dedicated Rodin Museum outside of France. The museum carries nearly 150 bronzes, marbles, and plasters, embodying every phase of Rodin’s career. A few not-to-miss pieces include The Kiss, The Thinker, and Eve (located in the garden). 

Free museum days: Admission is always Pay What You Wish. The garden is free year-round.
Where: 2151 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA
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Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History

Open Thursday–Sunday

The National Museum of Jewish History is a Smithsonian affiliated museum with tributes, collections, and exhibitions all dedicated to Judaism. Explore three centuries of history across three floors, beginning in the 1600s with the first permanent Jewish settlers and continuing through the postwar period with stories of migration from war-torn Europe to today.

Pro-Tip: make sure to step out onto the museum's terraces, which boast some of the best views of historic Philadelphia in town.

Free museum days: Admission is always free.
Where
:
101 S Independence Mall E, Philadelphia, PA
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Barnes Foundation

Open Thursday–Monday

Once located in Merion, The Barnes Foundation blazed its way onto the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in 2012. This Philly classic features a collection of art and educational pieces, including classic paintings by artists like Picasso, Matisse, Renoir, and Van Gogh. A few gems that shouldn't be missed include CĂ©zanne'sThe Card Players, Picasso's Young Woman Holding a Cigarette, and Monet'sThe Studio Boat.

Free museum days. Free admission to Philadelphia teachers (K-12) on Sundays. Free for kids 12 and under.
Where
2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA
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Eastern State Penitentiary

Open daily

What was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world is now an iconic Philly museum that showcases a place designed to inspire true regret in some of the country’s most dangerous lawbreakers. While the prison is no longer used to house convicts, the goal is to further conversation around criminal justice. On top of that, it’s also fun to visit the cells of notorious inmates such as Al Capone or bank robber, “Slick Willie” Sutton.

Free museum days: None currently. Free admission for high school students under 18 (with valid student ID).
Where
:
2027 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA
More Information

 

EXPLORE MORE:
The Best Places to Work Remotely in Philadelphia
Philadelphia's Best Hidden Speakeasies
19 Unique Date Night Spots in Philadelphia

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