Looking for a great way to explore Philadelphia and take in the sights? Touring the town with a guide who is in-the-know is the ideal way to learn about the city’s history, landmarks, architecture and culture. Sightseeing jaunts are not just for tourists. Whether you’re visiting the city for the first time, a lifelong Philly-area resident or a new transplant for school or work, a sightseeing tour is the perfect way to get to know – or reacquaint yourself with – the City of Brotherly Love.
Philadelphia Trolley Works and 76 Carriage Company
1350 Schuylkill Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
Philadelphia Trolley Works and 76 Carriage Company has something for everyone’s taste and budget. Enchant your out-of-town guests with a horse-drawn carriage tour through the historic neighborhoods of Society Hill and Old City, as well as the must-visit Independence National Historic Park. Lose yourself in the stories of days gone by and historic moments told by your specially trained guide as you see the sights from atop a double-decker bus or from the comfort of a deluxe motor coach. Get up-close and personal with the city and its sights with a Segway tour departing daily from Arch and 3rd streets, or delve into the nooks and crannies of this historic town with a walking tour that retraces the footsteps of Ben Franklin. Tours can combine a variety of transportation means and include special add-on options to enhance them, such as Duck rides or museum packages. Steeped in history, art or ghostly tales, specially designed tour packages include ghost tours, art and mural tours, Amish experiences and more. Thrilling for kids of all ages, a trolley ride through town – especially one that lets you hop on and off all day as you explore – is an unforgettable way to experience the sights and sounds that make up Philadelphia.
North Philadelphia Jet Center
9800 Ashton Road
Philadelphia, PA 19114
Independence Helicopters operates out of the Northeast Philadelphia Airport and offers helicopter tours of the City of Brotherly Love. Prices start at $175 for a single passenger and can be tailored to fit your specific touring needs. Fly along the Delaware River to see the Philadelphia skyline or opt for a specialty package, including sunset or photography tours. Independence Helicopter can even help you plan a romantic tour of the city and its many landmarks by air, including the charming views of Boathouse Row twinkling in the night, or the and the Art Museum bathed in lights after dark. Add an onboard photographer, flowers and champagne to round out the special moment. Packages start at $700 and are just the thing if you seek a truly special way to pop the question or to mark that special anniversary.
Patriot Harbor Lines
2501 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Combine a cruise with your tour to maximize the fun factor. Patriotic Harbor Lines provides a variety of cruising tours on both the Schuylkill and the Delaware rivers. From lunch, dinner, customized or sightseeing tours, everyone is sure to find a package that suits his or her needs. Check out the Philadelphia skyline from the waters of the Delaware on a beer tasting, wine tasting or sunset cocktail cruise offered by Patriot Harbor Lines in coordination with the Independence Seaport Museum. In addition to being a popular venue choice for weddings and special events, Patriot Harbor Lines provides tour packages that include admission to the museum, and the tours – albeit un-narrated – provide passengers with stunning views of the historic Penn’s Landing and the vessels docked there, as well as the Ben Franklin Bridge, Camden Waterfront and the Battleship New Jersey. Nothing says Philadelphia like a cruise along the banks of the historic Schuylkill. Enjoy a one-hour tour, chock full of interesting facts and history of the river and the role it has played since the early 1700s. If you have a little more time to spend on the water, try a three-hour cruise that includes a stop at the iconic Bartram’s Garden and house tour. For an additional fee, you can include a picnic lunch and day pass for hands-on activities to make a day of it.
Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. She earned a masters degree in recreation administration from George Williams College and managed programs in the Midwest, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.