Ride Through History on a Philadelphia Big Bus Tour
Founded in 1682 by William Penn, Philadelphia has over four centuries of rich history to explore. From Betsy Ross’s house (legend has it Betsy stitched the first American flag here in the late 18th century) to Elfreth’s Alley, one of the oldest remaining residential alleys in the U.S., the largest city in Pennsylvania has enough celebrated landmarks to keep you busy for hours. And what better way to explore the city than by hopping aboard a Philadelphia Trolley Works Big Bus Tour of Philadelphia?
These highly recognizable double-decker buses will take you all over the city, drop you within close proximity of a variety of Philly sights, and provide live narration throughout your journey.
How do Big Bus Tours Work?
It’s easy! Choose from one- to three-day tours, all of which will let you ride to your heart’s content all day. You can hop on and off at any of the 27 stops located throughout the city to make your own sight-seeing tour, or opt for one of the predetermined routes that will take you past a carefully curated selection of Philly’s top historic attractions. One such route is the Big Bus Night Tour of Philadelphia. It’s a 1.5-hour tour (only available during the summer) that kicks off at 8pm as the sun sets. This unforgettable nighttime journey will give you a different perspective of Philadelphia as you view its historic sites lit up and glinting in the moonlight.
Sights to Explore While on a Big Bus Philadelphia Tour
If you’re strapped for time or the weather isn’t ideal for walking around, this Philly bus tour is still a perfect opportunity to see and learn about some genuinely momentous historic landmarks. Here are a few of the most iconic:
- The Philadelphia Art Museum: This architectural treasure is beautiful both inside and out. While the artwork contained inside is certainly a sight to behold, admiring its Greek-inspired façade and famed “Rocky” steps is definitely a treat.
- City Hall: While the statue of William Penn perched atop the building is no longer the tallest peak in the city, the sculptures representing the seasons adorning it and a majestic 19th century elegance easily make this building one of the most stately in the city.
- Elfreth’s Alley: Glassblowers, blacksmiths, shipwrights, and other working-class folk lived in these 18th- and early 19th-century houses that still boast residents to this day. Take a historical stroll or peek down the alley as you drive past.
- Philadelphia LOVE Sculpture: None other than the City of Brotherly Love would be a better home for this iconic pop art sculpture, the backdrop of hundreds of thousands of selfies and wedding photos.
- Independence National Historic Park: The founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence -- perhaps the most important document in the history of America -- at the Pennsylvania State House in Independence Hall. Now’s your chance to relive the past, and take a stroll over to admire the nearby cracked Liberty Bell, too.
- Reading Terminal Market: If your tummy is rumbling, make sure to hop off the Big Bus Tour and take a jaunt inside Reading Terminal Market, where each stall seems to offer an impressive display of gastronomic treats -- from homemade biscuits to po’boys to rich, creamy ice cream. Each looks better than the last!
- Betsy Ross House: While Betsy may or may not have made the original "stars and stripes" flag, her circa 1740 house is still a marvel to behold. If you pop inside you’ll find it jam-packed with antiques from the era during which she lived there.
Big Bus Tour Hours and Schedule
The Philadelphia Big Bus Tour schedule starts in the morning after rush hour and ends in the early evening. Check the Philadelphia Big Bus Tour schedule online for hours during the time you plan to visit. The buses run all over the city throughout the day, so no matter where you are, you’re likely close to a Big Bus Tour stop and won’t have to wait that long for the next one to roll by.
Philadelphia Big Bus Tour tickets
There are a few options to purchase tickets for the Philadelphia Big Bus Tour. You can purchase directly from the Philadelphia Big Bus Tour site, where you can choose from a one-, two-, or three-day pass, or you can save a little extra cash and snag a ticket through Philadelphia CityPASS. With a CityPASS, you’ll not only get a sweet discount on a Philadelphia Big Bus Tour, you’ll also save up to on admission to Philadelphia’s most popular tourist attractions, like the Barnes Foundation, the National Constitution Center, and more.
Whether you’re a local or just a sightseer keen to absorb a little history of the one-time capital of the United States (for ten years while Washington, D.C., was being built), you can’t go wrong with a Philadelphia bus tour. Stake out a seat on top and put on your shades; it’s the perfect way to discover interesting facts and local lore on a stress-free journey around this historic and picturesque city.
Save Big on the Big Bus Tour With CityPASS
With up to in savings on Philadelphia’s top attractions, you don’t have to pick and choose which hot spots to hit! With CityPASS admission, choose from 3-,4- or 5-attraction options, and take your pick from the Museum of the American Revolution, the Philadelphia Zoo, the Adventure Aquarium, The Franklin Institute, One Liberty Observation Deck and more! With CityPASS you’ll feel like you’ve got the key to the city and you can visit all the must-see locations for less!
Header image © Bryan Karl Lathrop, courtesy of Big Bus Company and Philadelphia Trolley Works