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Philly PHLASH: Bus Tour on a Budget

Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Philly Phlash Traveling down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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While we think that Historic Philadelphia and Independence National Historical Park are best seen by foot along The Constitutional Walking Tour, there are many other terrific sites to see throughout Philly, and a hop-on, hop-off bus tour is a great way to go.  If you are looking for a Bus Tour on a Budget, take a self-guided hop-on, hop-off city tour aboard the purple Phlash bus that cruises all over Center City.  
 
The Philly Phlash Downtown Loop is quick, fun and cheap means of transportation or a self-guided bus tour. There are 20 stops and over 100 sites and attractions along the Phlash loop routes that run from Penn’s Landing to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Sites include the Rocky Steps, LOVE Statue, Barnes Foundation, the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia Zoo, Please Touch Museum, One Liberty Observation Deck, Rittenhouse Square, Eastern State Penitentiary, and other historic sites such as Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Museum of the American Revolution, etc.
 
Hop-on and off at any of Phlash’s 20 convenient stops, or just sit back and enjoy the ride! The round trip of the Phlash Downtown Loop is about 34 minutes, but can vary depending on traffic. 
 
Since the Phlash is not a narrated or guided sightseeing tour like the double decker or trolley tours, we suggest that you grab a Phlash Map at a visitor center or hotel (or download one here), or simply use the great interactive map on your mobile phone.  See www.ridephillyphlash.com .
 
PHLASH Route Map
 
Below in this blog is a listing of each Phlash stop, along with an overview and key points of interest and sites that you may be interested in exploring on your own as you embark on your self-guided journey.

 

Two Loops: 1) Phlash Downtown Loop and 2) Phlash Zoo and Please Touch Museum Loop

If you want to visit the Philadelphia Zoo or Please Touch Museum using the Phlash, transfer from the Phlash Downtown Loop at Stop 11 to the Phlash Zoo and Please Touch Museum Loop.
 
Phlash Bus - Please Touch Museum and Philadelphia Zoo Loop
 

A Real Bargain: As Compared to Guided Bus Tours on Trolleys or Double Deckers

Think about it like this -- the Philly Phlash is a real bargain since it only costs $5.00 per person for an entire day pass which allows you to hop-on and hop-off as much as you want and do a self-guided bus tour, as compared with the cost of other narrated/guided bus tours that cost $32+ per person, and feature similar routes and stops going to many of the same popular sites and attractions.

 

Cost

Next to walking, Phlash is the most affordable way to get around Philly.  We recommend buying the $5.00 all day pass for anyone interested in doing the self-guided bus tour aboard the Phlash.
 
Below are the Philly Phlash prices:
 
$2.00 single ride
$5.00 all day
Children under 4 years of age - FREE
Seniors - FREE
Phlash is also FREE with Septa Key, TrailPass, TransPass, one day Independence Pass or Family one day Independence Pass
 
Buy Your Phlash Tickets Here

 

Find Phlash On The Go

Go on your schedule.  Visit www.ridephillyphlash.com on your mobile phone and click on the “View Map” button (make sure that you location services is enabled on your phone).  You will be able to find the nearest Phlash stop to where you are and also when the next distinctive purple Philly Phlash bus is coming in real-time. 
 
Plus, the cool Philly Phlash Web site also provides useful links in its interactive map to many of the attractions and sites along the Philly Phlash route which make doing your self-guided bus tour a breeze.
 
Phlash Online Map Screenshot

 

2018 Operational Schedule

The Phlash runs from 10AM-6PM
Service runs every 15 minutes
 
March 29 - April 29
Weekends Only (Friday – Sunday)
10AM – 6PM
 
May 1 - September 3
Daily Service
10AM – 6PM
 
September 7 - November 18 
Weekends Only (Friday – Sunday)
10AM – 6PM
 
November 23 - December 30
Daily Service
10AM – 6PM
 
No service on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve
 
 

PHLASH ROUTE AND SITES

WESTBOUND TO THE PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART

 

Stop 1 - Penn’s Landing

Chestnut Street Overpass

Overview:
Philadelphia’s waterfront along the Delaware River provides panoramic views of Philadelphia’s skyline and Camden waterfront.  
 
Sites:
First Pickup: 10:00AM
Last Pickup: 5:36PM
 

Independence Seaport Museum

 

Stop 2 - Old City

3rd & Market Streets

 
Overview:
National Geographic Magazine has called Old City “the liveliest urban neighborhood between Soho in New York and SoBe [South Beach] in Miami.”  Enjoy al fresco dining on throughout Old City.  In the evening, take the Spirits of ’76 Ghost Tour of Philadelphia which departs from the COSÌ Restaurant at 325 Chestnut Street.
 
Sites:
First Pickup: 10:03AM
Last Pickup: 5:38PM
 
The Spirits of '76 Ghost Tour
 

Stop 3 – Independence Visitor Center

6th & Market Streets

 
Overview:
Independence Park is home to America’s Birthplace where you can step back in time and walk in the Founding Father’s footsteps.  See the Liberty Bell, the quintessential icon of American freedom and Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed. The Constitutional Walking Tour departs from inside the Independence Visitor Center, 7 days a week from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
 
Sites:
First Pickup: 10:05AM
Last Pickup: 5:40PM
 
The Constitutional Walking Tour at The National Constitution Center
 

Stop 4 - Reading Terminal Market & Convention Center

12th & Market Streets

 
Overview:
Reading Terminal Market is a historic indoor urban Farmers’ Market that features great produce, meats, prepared foods, and restaurants. Part of the movie Twelve Monkeys, starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt, was filmed at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Explore Philadelphia’s Chinatown - start at the Friendship Gate at 10th & Arch Streets. 
 
Sites:
First Pickup: 10:07AM 
Last Pickup: 5:44PM
 
Chinatown Arch
 

Stop 5 – LOVE Park

16th Street & JFK Boulevard

 
Overview:
LOVE Park provides one of the best photo opportunities with the Robert Indiana “LOVE” statue.
Centered in the heart of downtown Philadelphia stands the nation’s largest municipal building (larger than the U.S. Capitol), serving the city’s government for over 100 years. It is situated in the exact geographical center of William Penn’s original 1682 plans for the city.  Visit the City Hall Tower where you can catch a bird’s eye panoramic view from the visitor observation deck which is about 480 feet above the ground, just below the statue of William Penn.  Tours run weekdays after 12:00PM. Visit the City Hall Tour Information Center or call 215.686.2840 for tickets.
 
Sites:
First Pickup: 10:10AM
Last Pickup: 5:48PM
 
Philadelphia City Hall with Dilworth Park in Foreground

 

Stop 6 – Philadelphia’s Champs-Elysées

18th Street at Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 
Overview:
Inspired by the Avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway connects Center City Philadelphia with Fairmount Park, and it runs from City Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
 
Sites:
First Pickup: 10:12AM
Last Pickup: 5:52PM
 

The Franklin Institute Rotunda

 

Stop 7 – The Barnes Foundation

20th Street at Benjamin Franklin Parkway 

 
Overview:
Set on four-and-a-half acres of landscaped grounds, the Barnes Foundation boasts an impressive collection that features 181 Renoirs (more than any other collection), 69 Cézannes (more than in all of France) and groundbreaking African art.
 
Sites:
The Barnes Foundation
 

Stop 8 – Rodin Museum

22nd Street & the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 
Overview:
The Rodin Museum is home of the famous statue called “The Thinker” by the artists Auguste Rodin. America’s Most Historic Prison, Eastern State Penitentiary, is just a short walk from here. 
 
Sites:
First Pickup: 10:15AM
Last pickup: 5:54PM
 
Rodin Museum
 

Stop 9 – Eastern State Penitentiary

22nd Street & Fairmount Avenue

Overview:
Eastern State was opened October 23, 1829 and operated for 142 years until it was closed in April 14, 1971. The original designers of Eastern State believed that all prisoners should be housed in solitude, and this became a model for the Pennsylvania Penal System and more than 300 prisons worldwide. Eastern State hosts Terror Behind the Walls during the Halloween season, and it is said to be haunted by the spirits of the poor souls who spent years in isolation inside of Eastern State.
 
Sites:
First Pickup: 10:17AM
Last Pickup: 5:47PM
 
Eastern State Penitentiary
 

Stop 10 – Boathouse Row, Kelly Drive

Fairmount & Pennsylvania Avenues

 
Overview:
Explore the Philadelphia Museum of Art Perelman Building. Head to Kelly Drive to see the whispering benches, take in the view of Boathouse Row, or take part in one of the many outdoor activities such as walking, biking, jogging, rollerblading and more along scenic Kelly Drive.
 
Sites:
First Pickup: 10:19AM
Last Pickup: 5:59PM
 
Boathouse Row

 

Stop 11 - Philadelphia Museum of Art

26th Street & the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 
Overview:
Run the Rocky Steps at the Art Museum and take a photo with the Rocky Statue. Transfer to Philadelphia Zoo and Please Touch Museum Phlash Loop.
 
Sites:
First Pickup: 10:22AM
Last Pickup: 5:52PM
 
Philadelphia Museum of Art
 

Stop 11A – Please Touch Museum (Zoo and Please Touch Museum Phlash Loop)

Avenue of the Republic

 
Overview:
One of the Nation’s premier children’s museums is located in one Philadelphia’s finest works of architecture. Smith Memorial Arch which was built for the 1876 Centennial Exhibit as a Memorial of all of the Civil War heroes hailed from Philadelphia.
 
Site:
First Pickup: 10:35AM
Last Pickup: 5:20PM
 
Please Touch Museum
 

Stop 11B - Philadelphia Zoo (Zoo and Please Touch Museum Phlash Loop)

34th & Girard Avenue

 
Overview
The Philadelphia Zoo is the America’s first zoo. Set on 42 acres in West Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Zoo is an incredible modern zoo filled with great exhibits where you can see animals in their native habitats.  Over 1,300 rare and endangered animals are currently housed in the Zoo, and they are seen by 1.35 million visitors every year.
 
Site:
First Pickup: 10:40AM
Last Pickup: 5:25PM
 
Philadelphia Zoo
 

EASTBOUND TO PENN’S LANDING

Stop 12 - Rocky Statue & Rocky Steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

 

Overview:

In addition to the world famous art collections housed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, run the Rocky Steps and take a photo with the Rocky Statue
 
Sites:
First Pickup: 10:25AM
Last pickup: 6:04PM
 
Rocky Statue
 

Stop 13 – The Franklin Institute

20th & Race Streets

Overview:
Explore some of Philadelphia’s best museums along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (aka Museum Mile).  Welcoming visitors since 1864, the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul is the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
 
Sites:
First Pickup: 10:27AM
Last Pickup: 6:08PM
 
Academy of Natural Sciences

 

Stop 14 - 20th & Market Streets

Overview:
The heart of Center City’s business district.  The Mutter Museum hosts a vast array of medical wonders and other fascinating artifacts from Dr. Thomas Mütter who curated the collection.
 
Sites: 
First Pickup: 10:30AM
Last Pickup: 6:00PM
 
Mutter Museum

 

Stop 15 – One Liberty Observation Deck

16th & Market Streets

Overview:
Take in Philly 360 degrees, 365 days per year, high atop the One Liberty Observation Deck which is 57 stories above Market Street.
 
Take advantage of tax-free clothing shopping at the Shops at Liberty Place.  Explore Rittenhouse Square, one of the five public parks drawn up by William Penn in his 1682 blueprint for Philadelphia. According to Philadelphia Magazine, “the idyllic city park that is roughly bordered by Walnut & Locust Streets and 18th and 19th Streets, is the neighborhood’s crowning jewel and namesake.”  If you see a free park bench, grab it and take in the scene.  Then enjoy some top notch shopping along Walnut Street.
 
Sites:
First Pickup: 10:34AM
Last pickup: 6:04PM
 
Views of the BNY Mellon Center and the Comcast Center
 

Stop 16 - 12th & Market Streets

Overview:
Reading Terminal Market is a historic indoor urban Farmers’ Market that features great produce, meats, prepared foods, and restaurants. Part of the movie Twelve Monkeys, starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt, was filmed at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Explore Philadelphia’s Chinatown - start at the Friendship Gate at 10th & Arch Streets.
 
Sites:
First Pickup: 10:39AM
Last Pickup: 6:09PM
 

Reading Terminal Market

 

Stop 17 – Independence National Historical Park

6th & Market Streets

Overview:
Independence Park is home to America’s Birthplace where you can step back in time and walk in the Founding Father’s footsteps.  See the Liberty Bell, the quintessential icon of American freedom, and Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed.  The Constitutional Walking Tour departs from the three large stone benches in front of the National Constitution Center, 7 days a week from April to November.
 
Sites: 
First Pickup: 10:42AM
Last Pickup: 6:12PM
 
Liberty Bell with Independence Hall in the Background

 

Stop 18 – Museum of the American Revolution

3rd & Chestnut Streets

Overview:
This museum tells the dynamic story of the American Revolution using its expansive collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, documents, and works of art, including the tent that George Washington.
 
Sites:
First Pickup: 10:44AM
Last Pickup: 5:14PM
Last Dropoff: 6:15PM
 
Museum of the American Revolution
 

Insider Info

After you take The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia to see more than 20 of the most historic sites in the Independence Park area including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, head to the Independence Visitor Center and purchase tickets for the Phlash and start your next journey on a self-guided bus tour of Philly.
 

Additional Information

484.881.3574
Available on Phlash service days, 10AM-6PM
 
599 Market Street
One North Independence Mall West
Philadelphia, PA 19106
800.537.7676
 

Step-on Guide Services for Groups (not on Philly Phlash buses)

For groups visiting Philadelphia, The Constitutional Bus Tour is a comprehensive City Tour which we provide on your group’s buses. The tour is 60-90 minutes (depending on traffic) and features the historic area, as well as other sites in the city such as the Ben Franklin Parkway, Comcast Center, LOVE Park (LOVE Statue), City Hall, Penn’s Landing, Chinatown, the Franklin Institute, etc. We can make a stop to get off and run up the “Rocky Steps” or to see the Comcast Experience at the Comcast Center.
 
In addition to Step-on guide services, The Constitutional also offers groups the opportunity to combine a full City Tour by bus (on your group’s bus) with The Constitutional's signature walking tour. For more information, please visit, http://www.theconstitutional.com/stepon .
 
Visit the Spirits of 76 Ghost Tours