Been There, Done That? 5 Lesser-Known Philadelphia Tourist Attractions

What to do when you’ve done it all? These hidden gems will become your new go-to’s.

Skip the usual Philly tourist attractions for gems like the Institute of Contemporary Art / Photograph by Jeff Fusco for Visit Philadelphia


If you love … The Academy of Natural Sciences
Check out …

The Wagner Free Institute of Science


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A natural-science and history museum that hasn’t changed much since the 1800s. The three-story exhibition hall contains a fascinating array of gems, preserved insects and mounted ­animals — plus the first saber-tooth tiger bone discovered in this country. Bonus: Admission is free (donations suggested).
1700 West Montgomery Avenue, North Philly.

If you love … Pat’s and Geno’s
Check out … 

Max’s Steaks


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North Broad’s answer to Passyunk’s “cheese-steak corner”; famous visitors include the Wu-Tang Clan, Rick Ross, Kevin Hart and DJ Khaled, to name a few. Just like its South Philly counterparts, Max’s has been immortalized on the big screen, with cameos in Rocky spin-offs Creed and Creed II. Unlike at its counterparts, here you can get a two-foot cheesesteak (ask for “the Giant”) and a beer at the attached bar.
3653 Germantown Avenue, North Philly.

If you love … Longwood Gardens
Check out … 



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A meticulously curated 35-acre garden. Once the Main Line summer estate of an early-20th-century pharma bro, the house and gardens have only been open to the public since 1993 and require 14 full-time gardeners to keep up with all the flora. It’s also a popular spot for painters, who set up easels on the grounds and do their thing.
786 Church Road, Wayne.

If you love … The Barnes and the PMA
Check out … 

The Institute of Contemporary Art


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Thanks to its affiliation with well-endowed Penn, admission is free. But don’t underestimate its prestige: The museum hosted Andy Warhol’s first solo exhibit in the U.S. in 1965 and has since presented the likes of Laurie Anderson, Robert Mapplethorpe and Cy Twombly. There’s no permanent ­collection — the ICA is a “kunsthalle,” something between a museum and an art gallery — which means the art is always fresh.
118 South 36th Street, University City.

If you love … Christ Church Burial Ground
Check out …

Mount Moriah Cemetery


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Sprawling Mount Moriah Cemetery, straddling Philadelphia and Delaware counties, is the largest cemetery in the state. It closed in 2011, leaving behind an unattended and, frankly, pretty spooky memorial. Those interred range from Civil War soldiers to singer John Whitehead (of “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” fame). P.S.: Hidden City offers a great tour of the place.

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Published as “150 Ways to Do Philly Like a Tourist: Beyond the Usual Suspects” in the July 2022 issue of Philadelphia magazine.