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Things to Do in Philadelphia on a Budget

  • Jennifer Brown
Posted on September 23, 2019
Around Philadelphia

This week I am Detective Jennifer, looking for fun and fantastic things to do in Philadelphia on a budget! Because, really, you don't need to be rich to enjoy your time in one of the major metropolitan areas of our country. Fun has no price tag!

Detective Jennifer is on the case. As I move around the city, I jump on SEPTA transportation. Whether it's by bus, trolley, or subway, SEPTA is an inexpensive way to get around Philadelphia. I pop up close to JFK Boulevard and see Drexel's very own Mike Keaton! He's on his way to the Philadelphia Art Museum, which has "Pay What You Wish" days, allowing any person to enjoy the amazing art on the first Sunday of each month and every Wednesday night. He plans to then stop by Penn's Landing, which stretches along the Delaware River. Penn's Landing offers events all throughout the year, including free movie screenings in the summer at the Great Plaza. Wow! For those of you who know how much I love movies, you probably guess that I take note of this in my hand-dandy detective notepad. You can learn more about Mike Keaton and what he likes to do in the city.

I take the bus down to Penn's Landing to check out all of the cool things there, and I run into Kevin Murray, an admissions counselor here at Drexel. He has traveled to Spruce Street Harbor Park to check out the fun games and relax in the hammocks by the riverfront, all for free. He had just come from a walk along Kelly Drive and Boathouse Row, where he enjoyed the swaying trees along the waterfront and watched crew teams row down the river. He invites me to join him at the Liberty Bell at 6th and Chestnut. Did you know that this is free? He suggests I also head to Cira Green at the end of the day for more free fun in the city! I scribble more notes down to check out this bargain. Curious about what else Kevin gets up to around campus?

After an informative visit to the Liberty Bell, I walk up to the Northern Liberties neighborhood and find Lauren Lewis. She's an assistant director in our undergraduate admissions office, and always seems to know the best places around the city. I find her at the 2nd Street Festival, packed into a six-block area in Northern Liberties with music, food, art, vendors, and more. She plans to head to a concert tonight at First Unitarian Church. This church on Chestnut Street hosts a ton of concerts, where tickets are always $20 or less. I let her know that I'm heading back to Drexel's campus, but thanks for the invite! We make plans to attend a concert at World Café Live, which offers Free at Noon concerts during the week. That's right across the street from Drexel! I say goodbye to Lauren, but you can learn more about her favorites in Philadelphia.

I jump on the subway to head back to Drexel. On my way to the Main Building, I meet Maggi Miller, our wonderful coordinator in the Admissions Visit Center. She has just been enjoying the standout architecture around the city, particularly near Delancey, Pine, and Spruce Street. She loves the charm of the brownstones on these blocks. She asks if I can join her for some much-needed caffeine at one of the independent coffee shops, but we have trouble choosing between Elixr, La Colombe, Old City Coffee, or Ray's Café and Tea House in Chinatown. We decide to visit a bookshop to enjoy soaking up the literary vibes at Shakespeare and Co. If you would love to receive more recommendations from Maggi, please visit her at the front desk in our Admissions Visit Center. I end my long day of extensive detective work on Cira Green, near Drexel's campus, per Kevin's suggestion. It's a park up on the 12th floor of Cira Centre South where anyone can come to relax, have a picnic, watch movies, and play games. Most events are free and open to the public. I lay out on the burst of green in the middle of Philadelphia's skyline. A great place to reflect on the day's adventures. So, dear reader, here is the official report of our excellent finds around the city:

And do not feel constrained by this list. There are many more wonderful experiences to seek out in the city. Put your own detective hats on and go explore!


Jennifer Brown is an Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Drexel University. In her free time, she watches movies, reads fiction, and writes nonsense.

Jennifer Eichorn Brown

Jennifer Eichorn Brown
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