The Best Way to do a Walking Tour of Philadelphia

3476845288_668a5e87a2_oIf you’re anything like me whenever you stop in a big city, you have a few main attractions that you’d like to visit and end up haphazardly spending half your day staring at maps and trying to figure out the public transit system.

However, by focusing on a limited few attractions, we’re missing out on dozens of interesting places that we could’ve visited along the way. This is where a route optimization algorithm can come into play. If we hand the algorithm the list of popular attractions in a city, it can provide us an efficient walking tour around the city that hits all of those attractions.

Below, is an optimized walking tour for Philadelphia that hits the most popular attractions in the city according to TripAdvisor. This walking tour by no means represents the “definitive” walking tour for the city, but it’s guaranteed to give you a great taste of the city while you’re there.

Optimized walking tour of Philadelphia

The Liberty Bell, cheese steaks, and obnoxious sports fans: These are some of the things that Philadelphia is widely known for. But did you know that Philadelphia is home to one of the largest urban park systems in the U.S.? Or that it’s home to America’s first zoo?


This 12-mile, 4-hour walking tour will take you through some of the best that Philadelphia has to offer, from beautiful parks to historic landmarks to breathtaking outdoor art collections. Again, don’t take this tour lightly, and plan to spend at least a few days in total enjoying the sights.

Disclaimer – If 12 miles of walking sounds like too much, you can easily cut down on walking by taking public transit for some of the longer legs of the trek. Or better yet, the same tour can be followed on a bike instead.

Here’s the full list of attractions in order:

Fairmount Park
Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic
Philadelphia Zoo, West Girard Avenue
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Rocky Steps, Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Eastern State Penitentiary, Fairmount Avenue
Rodin Museum, Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
The Franklin Institute, North 20th Street
Mutter Museum, South 22nd Street
Penn Museum, 3260 South Street
University of Pennsylvania
Rittenhouse Square
Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul, Race Street
Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts, North Broad Street
Masonic Temple, North Broad Street
Philadelphia City Hall, John F Kennedy Boulevard
Reading Terminal Market, 51 N 12th St
National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street
Fireman’s Hall Museum, North 2nd Street
Elfreth’s Alley
Christ Church, 20 North American Street
National Museum of American Jewish History
Independence National Historical Park
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, South Street

Undoubtedly, you’d like to pick your own stops in your own cities and optimize a walking tour around that. Well, you’re in luck!

If you’d like to customize your own walking tour, there is a Python code used in this project with an open source license and instructions for how to optimize your custom walking tour. If Google Maps can route in the city you want to take walking tour in, then this code will work for you.

Original article by Randy Olson.

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2015-05-25T18:09:39+00:00 May 25th, 2015|

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