Explore the City Via These 8 Great (Non-Bus) Philadelphia Tours
See the city from a whole new angle via bike, Segway, or kayak.
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Schuylkill Banks Kayak Tours
For a fairly rare view of Philly, you might need to get wet. Hidden River Outfitters offers these kayak tours up the Schuylkill from Walnut Street to the Fairmount Water Works and back. They provide the kayaks, paddles, life vests, etc.
Where: Walnut Street Dock on the Schuylkill River
Duration: One hour (plus a half hour of instruction)
This long-running, seasonal “colonial pub crawl” offers a beer-goggle view of Philadelphia and American history. The Tippler’s Tour returns this winter with its Yuletide Cheers & Beers.
Where: Old City; tour departs from the Betsy Ross House (239 Arch St.) and concludes at the City Tavern (138 S. Second St.).
Duration: Two hours
Philly Bike Tour Co.
PBT offers three pedal-powered tours starting in Fairmount: The Classic City Tour (which visits Art Museum, Liberty Bell, etc.), Murals & Public Art Tour (which focuses on Manayunk and East Falls), and the Fairmount Park Historical Tour (the zoo, Japanese Tea House, Belmont Plateau, etc.). They provide the bike if you need one.
Where: Tours start and end at 2015 Fairmount Ave.
Duration: Three to three-and-a-half hours
Grim Philly Tours
Grim Philly’s many tours — all led by history professors — tend to focus on the dark, dirty, criminal and sometimes R-rated side of Philly history. Just look at the titles: Dark Philly Adult Night Tour, Serial Killers & Cemetery Tour, Witches and Ghost Tour, etc. Leave the kids at home.
Where: Center City, Old City
Duration: One-and-a-half to three hours
Architecture Walking Tours of Philadelphia
The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia regularly offers tours aiming to show the city’s architecture through unique lenses, with titles like “Society Hill Sacred Sites,” “Underground Philadelphia: Subways, Railways & Stations,” “Emergence of a Modern Metropolis” and more. Tours are offered on Saturdays and Sundays, May through October.
Where: All over town (and sometimes outside it)
Duration: One-and-a-half to two hours
Philly By Segway
Put on a helmet and glide around the city on two parallel wheels like some kinda crazy spaceman from the future. In addition to the general tours, Philly By Segway also offers mural- and cheese steak-focused tours. Obviously they provide the Segways.
Where: Old City, Northern Liberties, etc.; tours start and end at 7 N. Columbus Blvd.
Duration: One to two hours (plus a half hour of instruction)
(Note: They’re not the only segway tour in town.)
Flavors of Philly
Subtitled, “The True Philly Food Tour,” Flavors of Philly makes room for cheesesteaks, tomato pie, pretzels and more, with a little history and regular old sightseeing thrown in.
Where: Center City; tour includes Reading Terminal Market, City Hall and more.
Duration: Two-and-a-half hours
(Note: There are a ton of food tours in town. Get exploring.)
Big Red Pedal Tours
If a picnic table mated with a surrey you might end up with something like the pedicycles — those kooky, pedal-powered, 15-person vehicles you may have seen rolling around the streets of Philadelphia. Big Red offers history and food tours, but the pub crawls seem like the most fun. Unfortunately, state liquor laws do not allow you to drink while you’re on the pedicycle, even though you’re not actually steering the thing.
Where: Old City and beyond; most tours start and end at Silence Dogood’s Tavern, 216 Market St.
Duration: Two hours