Center for International Programs

International Student Services

Fun in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is rich in diversity, especially as far as fun and relaxation go. You can find something to meet any interest, whether it is taking a sightseeing tour of the city’s streets and neighborhoods, visiting one of the city’s prestigious museums, cheering on a local team at a sporting event, or taking in a concert or show. GoPhila is a great source of visitor information for the Philadelphia area. There are also two online sights just for Philly’s college students, One Big Campus and Campus Philly. SJU’s Student Leadership Office also has a listing of fun things to do in Philly and brochures available in the Campion Building.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is renowned for its art collection. However, while one side impressively sits overlooking the Schuylkill River and Boathouse Row, the other is the location of those famous Rocky stairs. At any given moment you will see some individual or crowd racing up the steps to pose triumphantly with both arms raised at the top: the Rocky pose. The Franklin Institute is an interactive science museum that features a Planetarium and an I-MAX theater. Visit the dinosaurs at The Academy of Natural Sciences. The Atwater Kent Museum is the gateway to Philadelphia’s history, located near the Independence Mall area. There you can see the Liberty Bell, rung to announce the then American colonies’ break from England, and Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution were written and ratified. Also on Independence Mall is the National Constitution Center, an unexpectedly fun, interactive museum dedicated to the history and implementation of U.S. law. There are numerous other museums to visit downtown and around Philadelphia, but one that is not to be missed is the Barnes Museum, located adjacent to Saint Joseph’s University, which houses an impressive collection of French impressionist and post-impressionist paintings.

You can see performances by The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Ballet (don’t miss their production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in December, it is a Philadelphia tradition) and national tours of Broadway shows at The Academy of Music. Also on the Avenue of the Arts are many other theaters with ever changing dance and musical performances, dramas and comedies. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts hosts various performances and art education events. Nearby is the country’s oldest theater, still in operation, Walnut Street Theater.

Philadelphia also has an impressive number of professional sports teams and arenas, including teams from the most popular professional sports in the U.S. – baseball, basketball, football and ice hockey. The Wachovia Center is home to Philadelphia’s ice hockey team, the Flyers, and the '76ers , our basketball team. It also hosts concerts and other performances. Right across the street is the home of our football team, the Eagles, and our major league baseball team, the Phillies. We also have indoor soccer (Kixx), minor league ice hockey (Phantoms), indoor lacrosse (Wings), arena football (Soul), and across the Delaware River in Camden, we have minor league baseball (Riversharks). Take in some games while you are here - hanging out with the locals and experiencing American sports culture is a great way to get to know Philly.

Other fun things to do include days spent outdoors in Fairmount Park. Or see the animals at The Philadelphia Zoo and take a ride in the Zooballoon for breathtaking views of the city. You can also visit Penn’s Landing where during the spring, summer and fall there are many different types of outdoor festivals, celebrations, concerts and movie screenings. Downtown you can stop by the Reading Terminal Market to try out all different types of cuisine. There are some hip and funky shopping districts around the city, including South Street, Main Street in Manayunk, and Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill.