Art and Culture in Philadelphia

We are grateful to our friends at the Philadelphia Council of the AFL-CIO, Workers United Local 80 and Philadelphia based labour journalist Kim Kelly, as well as UNI staff, who have shared with us some of their recommendations on what to see, do, eat and drink while you are in Philadelphia – the City of Brotherly Love! See the where to eat and drink page here.

Museums and parks

Philadelphia is home to several iconic museums (including the Museum of Art, with its famous “Rocky steps” and monument), and of course the historic downtown with its museums and exhibitions dedicated to American Independence, but here are a few more unusual suggestions recommended for those who’d prefer to venture off the beaten path.

  • The Mütter Museum – A medical history, pathology, and science museum full of spine-tingling specimens; definitely not for the faint of heart!
  • Eastern State Penitentiary – The ruins of a former 18th century prison that’s been reimagined as a monument to the horrors of the US prison industrial complex. Their staff just unionized!
  • Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens – A hidden folk-art gem tucked away in the heart of South Street.
  • Paul Robeson House – The former home of legendary musician, scholar, and labour activist Paul Robeson has been turned into a museum; tours are available.
  • The Fabric Workshop and Museum – Cool little museum near the convention centre that explores contemporary art in various mediums.
  • Elfreth’s Alley – A charming cobblestoned side street in Old City, home to the city’s oldest colonial-era dwellings.
  • Museum of the American Revolution – An interactive history museum that traces the birth of the American Revolution and is far from stuffy. Keep an eye out for the replica sailing ship inside!
  • Independence Seaport Museum – A museum dedicated to Philly’s seafaring history, complete with ship tours.
  • Fairmount Park – A sprawling city park with beautiful views and tons of greenery; venture a bit further north, and you’ll end up at the gorgeous Victorian-era Laurel Hill Cemetery.


Philly is full of life, and they take fun seriously there. If you’re lucky enough to get tickets to a baseball game, you’ll get to know some of their famously impassioned fans. There are also plenty of other options to explore:

  • Fashion District Philadelphia – An indoor mall featuring a variety of clothing stores, eateries and other establishments.
  • The Wooden Shoe – Philly’s oldest lefty bookshop stocks a huge selection of radical literature and books on everything from labour to gardening.
  • Harriett’s Bookshop – This well-curated independent bookstore celebrates Black authors, and the decor is jaw-dropping.
  • South Street – This is a fun part of town for a night out. Home to an array of vintage clothing boutiques, record stores, restaurants, bars, bookstores, and comic shops. There’s a little bit of something for everyone here.
  • Brooklyn Bowl – A circus-themed music venue-slash-bowling alley in artsy Fishtown. You can grab a drink, catch a gig, bowl a game or all three.
  • The Fillmore – A multi-room concert venue next door to Brooklyn Bowl and across the street from Punch Drunk Philly, a comedy club; check the listings to see who’s on!
  • Kimmel Center – If you’re looking for something a bit more cultured, the Kimmel Center is home to a variety of plays, musicals and concerts.
  • Other music venues: The Mann Centre, World Cafe Live, Theatre of the Living Arts, Kung Fu Necktie, Union Transfer, Warehouse on Watts, Franklin Music Call, Century Bar, Underground Arts, PhilaMOCA.

More News