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Our Mini Guide Museums on the Run

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Thanks to our amazing partners across the city, we recently launched our Museums on the Run driving tour, a tailor-made experience featuring a tour of the city plus the absolute essentials of Philadelphia’s most famous (and not-so-well-known) museums.

But whether you’re on one of our tours or visiting the city to experience our incredible institutions at your own leisure, this short list of our top go-to spots will help you decide what’s best for you – whether you’re a single traveler, have kids in tow, or have the mind of the macabre and ever-curious.

And our guides here at Urban Adventures Philadelphia run the gamut, so we’re well-equipped to help home in on the best museums for your visit during the fall and winter months!

Lab at Penn Museum

Penn Museum

Family / Kid-Friendly? When are mummies never cool? And definitely one for the intellectual types.

Our On-The-Run Highlights:

  • Are you a local? You’ll be as in awe as we are of the Native American artifacts found in our own backyard here in Philly
  • Gawk at the gorgeous 90-foot-tall dome of Chinese Rotunda, directly centered under is a beautiful Qing Dynasty crystal sphere with an amazing story…
  • Enough said.
  • Visit the lab, where you can actually watch conservators examine, research, clean, repair, and document artifacts for the museum!

In the area: Penn Museum is the sentinel of University City, which means it’s a perfect chance to acquaint your college-bound kids to the Penn and Drexel campuses as well as their great street food scene. The foodie lovers’ scene gets even better when you stroll along Baltimore Avenue, home to everything from delicious, Indian-inspired lassi drinks of all flavors to affordable Ethiopian samosas stuffed with beef, vegetables, or lentils.

How to get there: By bus (42 to 34th St & Convention Ave.); Market-Frankford subway line to 34th Street Station (with a nice 10-minute walk through University City neighborhood); Indego bike share (South Street station just outside museum)

 

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Family / Kid-Friendly? Attention spans aside, there’s enough here to keep anyone engaged as you move from time period to time period.

Our On-The-Run Highlights:

  • Feel transported to another place in another time at a fully reconstructed Hindu temple hall and a serene Japanese ceremonial teahouse
  • Get your Game of Thrones on at the impressive collection of arms and armor, with fully armored knights on horses that definitely come alive after the museum closes…
  • Into impressionism? They’ve got everything from Cézanne to Renoir.

In the area: Don’t miss the beautifully landscaped grounds – even at this time of year – overlooking the Schuylkill River, where you can also see the famed rowing clubs of Boathouse Row

How to get there: Bus 38; Indego bike share (Back entrance / Rocky steps bike station)

The Arms & Armor room at Philadelphia Museum of Art

Franklin Institute

Family / Kid-Friendly? The premiere spot for kids, ranging from toddlers to teens (and teens-at-heart).

Our On-The-Run Highlights:

  • The 5,000-square-foot Giant Heart is a beloved attraction at the Institute and a really fun way to learn about how our most significant organ works…and how to keep it working!
  • Jump from synapse to synapse and find out how your noggin works at the equally interactive Your Brain exhibit

In the area: The Academy of Natural Sciences, another perfect place for the kids, is just across the street and is another possible stop on our Museums on the Run tour.

How to get there: By bus (33 or 48); Indego bike share (Station at 20th & Race streets)

 

Mutter Museum

Family / Kid-Friendly? Save it for the older teens and the morbidly curious…

Our On-The-Run Highlights:

  • There are plenty of fascinating individuals to visit here, including The Soap Lady and conjoined twins Chang and Eng
  • See slides containing actual slivers of Albert Einstein’s brain

In the area: The area is great for architecture (check out the stunning Romanesque-style First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia by famed architect Frank Furness). From there, you can grab great margaritas at El Rey before catching a comedy show at nearby Helium Comedy Club.

How to get there: By bus (44 or 48); Indego bike share (Market & 23rd Street station)

Revolutionary War-era cannons outside the Museum of the American Revolution

Museum of the American Revolution

Family / Kid-Friendly? Great for everyone, history buff or not!

Our On-The-Run Highlights:

  • An absolute must is the dramatic unveiling of the tent that served as George Washington’s wartime headquarters
  • Board and learn all about a life-size replica privateer ship
  • The museum’s live programming is absolutely on point. Check their website’s calendar for hands-on workshops (like learning how to sew your own knapsack), historic instrument recitals, after-hours historic comedy shows, and a lot more!

In the area: Continue to be inspired by visiting The National Liberty Museum, just across the street and another fantastic museum on our Museums on the Run Tour. And, uh…did we mention we have a top-ranking history tour of the area?

How to get there: By bus (17, 33, or 48); Market-Frankford subway line (5th Street stop); or Indego bike share (Market Street station between 2nd & 3rd streets)

 

Whether you’re looking to max out your stay going to all of our outstanding museums or targeting your interests in art, science, or otherwise, a trip to the city in any fall or winter month will be well worth the visit.

 

 

Other info:

Bus fares: Cash only, $2.50 per ride

Indego Bike Share pricing: $12 All-Day Pass (check website for updates)

Parking: If you do decide to drive (we recommend the bus, subway, or biking!) and use street parking, download the MeterUp app for an easy-to-use, convenient way to pay. You can even top up if you decide to stay at the museum longer!