City

The Library’s New “Experience Pass” Gets You Into Some Incredible Places for Free

The best item on the list? Tickets to the Mayor’s Box at the Wells Fargo Center. (Sixers and Flyers games, here we come.)


free library experience pass

Clockwise from lop left: L: Wells Fargo Center via Dphilmore/Creative Commons; The Academy of Natural Sciences by Mike Servedio; Eastern State Penitentiary by John Van Horn; The Free Library by J. Smith for Visit Philadelphia

Owning a library card just got a lot sweeter.

The Free Library of Philadelphia just launched a new program called the “Experience Pass,” and it gives Philadelphians free access to cultural institutions and other attractions in the city — from art museums to science centers and more.

Most of the attractions are cool, but also what’d you expect: historical, educational and artistic institutions like Eastern State Penitentiary (the historical site, not Terror Behind the Walls), the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University, the Magic Gardens and Museum of the American Revolution. But there’s also access to a serious perk that’s a little less … scholarly, shall we say? The Mayor’s Box at the Wells Fargo Center.

That’s right. Some lucky folks will be able to use their Free Library cards to reserve tickets to Wells Fargo Center events, and they’ll get free access to the Mayor’s Box, a taxpayer-funded suite. Kaitlyn Foti, a spokesperson for the Free Library, said that this month, the tickets were available for Sixers and Flyers games.

There will be a limited number of Mayor’s Box tickets, so they probably won’t be easy to secure. Foti said Experience Pass offerings will be updated monthly, with Mayor’s Box ticket availability varying from month to month. Library card users can redeem those just once a year, if they’re lucky enough to snag them at all.

“As you can imagine, they’ll go pretty fast,” Foti said.

The program is currently in a limited pilot launch period, so expect new offerings in the future. For now, you can find a full list of participating attractions right here.

To sign up for the Experience Pass, visit the Free Library’s website, then select the option to reserve a pass. Use your card info to log into the Experience Pass offerings. (If you don’t have a library card, you can apply for one at your local Free Library branch or by signing up online.) Once you’re in, you can browse various passes to local institutions, select the first available offer for wherever you want to go, and print out a pass to bring with you to the attraction.

You won’t be able to print tickets to the Mayor’s Box yourself. Foti said you’ll have to pick those up in person. If you secure a pair, you’ll receive instructions on how to pick them up.

Only current Philadelphia residents can get the Experience Pass. If you live in the ’burbs, though, chances are your local library offers some sort of equivalent. You can find a list of suburban library offerings right here.

If you don’t yet have a free library card, you’re missing out. In addition to the ability to borrow library books, a card also gives you access to the video streaming platform Kanopy, language-learning programs, rentable musical instruments and more.

Oh, and you can still get an Experience Pass if you have overdue book fines. (Luckily for me!)