Things to Do in Center City, Philadelphia

rabbit75_ist/iStock/GettyImages

Five Kid-Friendly Destinations in Center City, Philadelphia

Downtown Philadelphia, also known as Center City, is constantly bustling. While it’s a busy place for the Philadelphians who live and work there, it can also be exciting for families, thanks to numerous kid-friendly activities. Whether your kids are into learning about history or playing in the park, Center City won’t disappoint.

Learn About History at the Liberty Bell Center

A historic American symbol, the Liberty Bell is a must-see for kids interested in history. The Liberty Bell Center (526 Market St., Philadelphia, PA) offers much more than just a glimpse at this famous cracked bell. There’s also a video that goes into the history of the bell and a display of X-rays so visitors can see it in depth. The Liberty Bell Center has extended hours in the summer and is free to visit.

Go Back in Time on Battleship New Jersey

Ship-loving kids and adults will enjoy a visit to Battleship New Jersey (100 Clinton St., Camden, NJ), a real-life battleship that was used in multiple wars. Though it’s technically in New Jersey, the battleship is just a quick ferry ride from Center City. There’s an option for self-guided or guided tours, and visitors can see everything from the turret to the crew’s quarters. Weekends near July 4 feature fireworks shows.

Be Immersed in Science at the Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute (222 N. 20th St., Philadelphia, PA) is named after Benjamin Franklin and is, fittingly, all about science. Kids can explore two technology-filled escape rooms, an area dedicated to the science of sports, an exhibit all about trains and more. If you plan to drive to the institute, arrive early to grab a parking spot because the lot can fill up quickly.

Get Outdoors at Franklin Square

If it’s sunny in Philadelphia, Franklin Square (200 N. Sixth St., Philadelphia, PA) is the place to be. Not just another urban park, Franklin Square has a carousel that lets kids decide whether they want to ride a lion or an eagle, a miniature golf course and multiple playgrounds. During several weeks in the spring, the square hosts the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival, which has Chinese entertainment, food and crafts for all ages to enjoy.

Interact with the Water at the Independence Seaport Museum

It’s hard to imagine a place more interesting to kids than the Independence Seaport Museum (211 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA). The activities seem endless: In addition to learning about a cruiser, a schooner and a submarine, kids and their parents can rent a kayak, rowboat, swan boat or canoe and paddle around Penn’s Landing in the Delaware River. On the weekends, kids have even more fun thanks to Seafarin' Saturdays, days just for them that have themes like Morse Code and Paper Plate Porthole. During the winter holidays, the Parade of Lights celebrates the season with seasonal music, a boat parade and holiday activities for kids.