The blazing hot summer months are winding down and coming to an end, but that doesn't mean the fun has to. In fact, September is one of the busiest months for tourism in Philly. The crisp air and beautiful fall foliage are enough to bring thousands of visitors to the area, the free to-dos are just an added bonus. Additionally, many of the City's attractions, including museums and events, are offering free admission (or pay-what-you-wish) on select days throughout the month.
From the waived admission fees to the City's annual Labor Day celebration, you'll want to kick off the autumn season right by saving a little cash and taking advantage of your chance to play tourist for free.
Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day
Where: Various locations
On Saturday, September 22, Smithsonian Magazine’s annual Museum Day gives free admission to 25 local museums and cultural institutions. Participants are allowed to download one ticket per email address and the ticket provides free general admission for two people. The list of 2018 participating locations can be found here.
Free Friday Whiskey Tasting
Where: 509 South 2nd Street
FREE WEEKLY WHISKEY TASTINGS ALL SEPTEMBER! In Celebration of Bourbon Heritage, The Twisted Tail will be hosting free whiskey tastings on Fridays all September. A representative from 1792 will be joining the event for a tasting at 6pm on Friday, September 28. Additional free tastings are Wild Turkey on 9/7, Teeling Whiskey Co. on 9/14 and Widow Jane on 9/21. RSVP before all the spots fill up!
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Where: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
The general public can visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art for a pay-what-you-wish fee every Wednesday evening (5-8:45 p.m.) and the first Sunday of the month - which means you'll want to take advantage of the Labor Day weekend Sunday to catch the final days of two exhibits: American modern art Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950 and Art Splash: Bright Lights, Little City Art.
Art and design students attending the colleges listed on the Museum's website receive free general admission with valid school ID. Additionally, active-duty military personnel and their families receive free admission through Labor Day.
PECO Free First Sunday Family Day at the Barnes Foundation
Where: 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Refine your skills completely for free at PECO Free First Sunday Family Day at the Barnes Foundation, from 10am - 5pm on September 2. As part of event theme, "Reboot, Renew and Revive," activities will include hands-on crafting of things like birdhouses and dreamcatchers, as well as a chance to test your coordination at the Dance Theatre.
After you're done with all of the excitement, head over to the miniature Zen garden area and garden all of your worries and stress away.
Score Some Free Food on National Talk Like a Pirate Day
Where: Krispy Kreme/Long John Silver
Arg, matey, pirates love freebies. You're going to want to partake in National Talk Like A Pirate Day on September 19 to score some complimentary food - all you have to do is talk (or dress) like a pirate. Krispy Kreme and Long John Silver are the two chains who usually recognize the swashbuckling holiday.
Hopefully, this pirate vocabulary serves you well.
Closing Weekend at Blue Cross RiverRink
Where: 101 N. Columbus Boulevard
Who said rollerblading wasn't cool anymore? Unleash your inner 90's kid and get your last moments of rollerskating in at the carnivalesque Blue Cross RiverRink before it closes for the season on Monday, September 3.
Spruce Street Harbor Park
Where: Spruce Street & S. Columbus Boulevard
Enjoy the "beach" views before they freeze over. Like the Blue Cross RiverRink, Spruce Street Harbor Park is also on the Delaware River, so you could totally hit up both of these places in one day.
This park really caters to Philadelphia's younger demographics. Furnished with colorful hammocks and featuring a beer garden, outdoor game center, and a waterfront boardwalk, it's no wonder why this park is lauded as one of the best urban beaches in America. It closes for the season on September 30.
Macy’s Family Fun Day at the African American Museum in Philadelphia
Where: 701 Arch Street
Feel the beauty of cultural empowerment at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. This popular museum offers an extensive look at African American history; admission is free to the first 250 guests on September 8. Doors open at 11am .
Woodmere Art Museum
Where: 9201 Germantown Avenue
Free admission Sundays brought to you by Woodmere Art Museum. You'll want to check out this groovy 19th-century stone mansion filled with impressive art by local Philadelphia artists. Another cool feature is that half of the museum is renovated in a contemporary style, while the other half retains the authentic original look. On view until October 28 is the current special exhibition, Fast Lane: The Nascar Photography of Darryl Moran.
National Cheeseburger Day
Where: Participating locations
I wonder if IHOb will be participating? Scout your local cheeseburger dealers on September 18 for a chance to enjoy a free cheeseburger. Most chains have yet to announce their participation in this delicious non-official holiday so you'll want to keep an eye out for the upcoming deals.
Community Night at The Franklin Institute
Where: 222 N. 20th Street
Nerds have more fun, so mark the evening of Tuesday, September 18 booked because you'll be checking out all the exhibitions at The Franklin Institute. Admission is free and there is no need to pre-register, doors open at 5:00 p.m.
Blue Corn Lifestyle: Green & Organic Fest
Where: Walnut Plaza at Penn's Landing
Join the mission of the Blue Corn Lifestyle on September 2 by learning about the organic importance in agriculture and a "green" lifestyle. The festival gathers farmers, consumers, and educators all in one location to raise awareness of this alternative lifestyle.
Labor Day Fireworks on the Delaware River
Where: Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Boulevard
It doesn't get much more American than watching fireworks on a patriotic holiday. On Saturday, September 1, The Independence Seaport Museum will be showing off their firework display over the Delaware River. Fireworks start at 9:30, but you might want to consider getting there early if you want a good view. If you are early, there will be plenty of entertainment like live music, refreshments, and more to keep you busy while you wait.
National Coffee Day
Where: Participating locations
Every day is National Coffee Day for most of us, right? Unfortunate for us coffee addicts, this day is recognized by businesses only once a year - on September 29. Well whatever, we will take what we can get. Some local cafes may be celebrating, but we can be pretty certain Dunkin' Donuts will again be offering some sort of free coffee deal this year (again, yet to be announced). Last year they featured a buy one get one deal, fingers crossed this year they get rid of the "buy one" and just give us a cup of free coffee!
Campus Philly Collegefest 2018
Where: Various locations including Dilworth Park, 1 S. 15th Street
Uni students are bound to love this one. Dilworth Park is hosting their annual Collegefest on September 8 from 10am-3pm this year, featuring games, prizes, live entertainment, a great chance to network, and the best part - attendees are given free admission to 14 museums and attractions around Philly PLUS a free all-day ride pass on the purple Philly PHLASH bus. To attend, students must register online or in person at Dilworth Park.
Constitution Day at the National Constitution Center
Where: 525 Arch Street
Celebrate Constitution Day on Monday, September 17, at Philadelphia's very own Constitution Center. To celebrate, the Center will be offering free admission to their museum and all activities hosted there that day. Check out their website for the schedule of events.
Summer Sounds in the Historic District
Where: Various locations including the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
Get saxual with The Baylor Project as they perform at the free Smooth Jazz Summer Nights show at Penn's Landing Great Plaza the Friday of Labor Day weekend, and close out the free summer concert series on Saturday listening to Black Horse Motel.
Where: Various locations
Get a head start on the spooky season by visiting some of Philadelphia's most haunted locations. The Mount Moriah and Laurel Cemeteries are a great place to start if you don't want to pay to get into a private location. Check out this article on some of Philly's most haunted locations.
Take Some Instagram-Worthy Fall Foliage Photos
Where: Various locations
The leaves usually start turning in mid to late September, so make sure you have your camera ready to take some absolutely stunning #autumn photos. There is absolutely no shortage of nature parks around Philly to scout for the perfect shot - so get out there and capture the beauty of this fantastic city.
Philadelphia is such a cool city with a great appreciation for culture - and I think we can all agree, the free events all throughout September makes it even cooler.
Are there any other free events you plan on attending this September? If so, let us know in the comments below!