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10 Places in Philadelphia Every College Student Should Visit

Photo by Kate Sedrowski

Philadelphia is full of amazing places for college students to experience. From unique food trucks and shopping to stunning war memorials and museums, the city has something for every interest. The city is full of culture, so it is important to get out there to explore and see what there is to see!

South Street

South Street is one of the most famous streets in Philadelphia. It is known for its shopping, music, and art scenes. There are multiple theatres and music venues. This street also has various art galleries, even within coffee houses. The shops include record stores, hat shops, and everything in between, and contain lots of unique items. Part of this street is located in University City (a district that contains the campuses of University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and University of the Sciences), so it is definitely a college hangout area.

The Continental

The Continental, located on Market Street, is a martini bar with a diner feel. Upon entering, there is a bar with stools resembling what you would find in a diner. There is also a back room that looks like a dining room. The menu has a diverse mix of selections, from a cheeseburger to a turkey club to their grilled Thai chicken skewers or cheesesteak egg roll. The restaurant has another location in the Midtown section of Philadelphia. While the prices may be a bit high for a college budget (the cheeseburger is $12.50), the Continental is a great place for a night out on the town with family or friends.

Rittenhouse Square

Rittenhouse Square is known as a place to get together with friends. From shopping to dining and even sightseeing, there is a lot to do in this area of Philadelphia. The stores and restaurants are unique, with very few chain stores. The Square has the feel of a cute little park, with trees and even a fountain. There is a nice view of various buildings, and the Square is nicely decorated with lights around the holidays.

The Franklin Fountain

The Franklin Fountain is an ice cream shop on Market Street. All of their products are made on-site with local ingredients from the Philadelphia region. The employees of the shop dress in old-fashioned attire, with signs and menus echoing the same nostalgia of times passed. Be prepared to wait in line and to pay with cash (which is the only form of payment they accept). The lines might be long and the prices a bit higher than one would expect to pay for ice cream (a small one-scoop cone was $5), but the ambiance is definitely worth it.

Korean War Memorial

The Korean War Memorial is located in Independence National Historical Park. It is a large memorial with multiple panels. There are facts and details about the war on each panel, telling the story of a war that is often forgotten. This memorial also includes pictures of the war. There is also a section of the memorial that lists people from the Philadelphia area who were killed in the Korean War. 

Along with the granite memorial, there is a statue of a soldier from the Philadelphia area who was killed in the war. According to a CBS article, the soldier’s name is Corporal Robert Higgins, and though his name is etched in the memorial as MIA, DNA has helped discover that he was KIA. The statue is facing the memorial.

Independence Seaport Museum at Penn’s Landing

The Independence Seaport Museum tells the maritime history of Philadelphia and other local ports through artifacts, art, and written material. The museum is geared towards kids, but people of all ages can enjoy touring the flagship cruiser, USS Olympia, and the submarine, Becuna. The museum offers various programs and exhibits to educate the public of the history of local ports. With a valid college ID, the cost of museum admission and tours of the USS Olympia and Becuna is only $10.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is best known for the steps that Rocky ran in the movie, and it displays everything from altar pieces and Impressionist paintings to sculptures and thematically decorated rooms. The museum has three floors with various exhibits, food options, and shopping. There are three buildings: the main building, the Perelman Building, and the Rodin Museum. Admission, which is $14 with a school ID, covers access to these buildings for two consecutive days.

Magic Gardens

The Magic Gardens offers a completely unique and fun experience for just about anyone! What better way to discover the magic of Philadelphia than visiting this place with some of your friends? Located on South Street, walk through the beautifully mosaic outdoors of the Gardens. As an indoor and outdoor gallery, feel like you are traveling through Wonderland while these murals expose the creativity the people of Philadelphia have to offer! Open from 10 am to 6 pm everyday (closed on Tuesdays), save some money by using your student ID for an $8 ticket!

Insomnia Cookies

Insomnia Cookies is a food truck that delivers cookies to college students at night while they are up studying. During the day, they stay in one place, selling cookies to passersby. While these trucks are not unique to Temple’s campus (there are locations around Philadelphia and other college campuses across the country), they are still worth checking out if you have a sweet tooth. There are several cookies to choose from, from the classic chocolate chunk to peanut butter cup, and the truck also sells brownies.

Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation, located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, is a museum of post-Impressionist and modern paintings that were collected by Albert C. Barnes. Artists included in the collection are Renoir, van Gogh, and many others. The tickets are $22 (no student discounts), and purchasing ahead of time is highly recommended.

Explore these student-approved places yourself by booking a ticket to Philadelphia on or by downloading the Wanderu app It’s just a quick trip to Philadelphia from Washington, D.C., New York City, or Boston, and you can get there from anywhere else around the country, too!


ashley-thumbnailAbout the author: Ashley Paskill is a journalism student at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. She has her Associate’s degree in Music and hopes to use both of her passions by being a music and arts journalist, writing for a magazine. In her free time, Ashley likes listening to music, blogging and watching The Big Bang Theory.

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About the author
Kate Sedrowski

Kate Sedrowski

Kate Sedrowski is on a mission to spread delight while inspiring and encouraging people to travel. Her favorite travel companion is her teddy bear, and her favorite souvenir is the scar from the broken nose she got in a snowball fight in Québec City.

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