Big Bus Company-Philadelphia

The Big Bus
Starting our ride!

If you haven’t done much sightseeing in Philadelphia, this would be my number one recommendation of where to start!  With 27 stops at the most iconic and beloved sights in downtown and historic Philadelphia, you can be sure to cover it all in a short amount of time.  We toured on the Big Bus Company as part of our CityPASS Philadelphia getaway with our two older children.  You get to HOP ON/HOP OFF at any of the 27 stops, starting wherever you wish.  If you don’t drive to the city (and even if you do), it is a wonderful way to get to different locations in the city without an inordinate amount of walking.  Kids will love riding this English-style double-decker bus, riding up top if the weather is nice.  The tour is fully-narrated by a live tour guide, making it a destination in and of itself.

Chinese Friendship Gate
Eastern State Penitentiary

We planned to get on at the “Chinatown” stop but missed the first bus by a minute.  During peak season, a bus should come by every 20 minutes, however for some reason one did not come until about 40 minutes later.  I started to get a little frustrated that my well-laid plans were not progressing like they should have.  We were in the touch with the company and eventually one came and picked us up.  The rest of our day riding the Big Bus went very smoothly.  It probably would be best to start in the beginning across from the Visitor’s Center in Independence Hall Park.  However, they have a bus route and times listed for each stop, so it is possible to start at any point in the loop.  I would just call the company and ask for an approximate time based on when the most recent bus left at Stop #1.  If you ride the entire loop it is approximately 90 minutes long.  Although the Big Bus can be a great way for you to reach the various destinations you are visiting, be aware the bus only rides one direction, so depending on where you are trying to get, it may be a long ride to get there, not to mention you make have to repeat parts you have already seen.  We had done so much walking and standing in the museums, we welcomed the chance to just sit and relax even if it did take longer to get back to our hotel.

City Hall
You feel so small next to the tall buildings!

I love this tour because not only do you get to see Historic Philadelphia around Independence Hall, but you also go into Center City and way out to Philadelphia Zoo, and way down to Penn’s Landing…all from the comfort of your bus seat.  We learned about the historic and cultural significance of the various landmarks along with fun anecdotes about the people and places you see.  We had a beautiful weather day although a bit too warm when standing still, nevertheless it felt wonderful to be out in the open, making everything seem up close and personal.  It’s amazing how beautiful the city looks from this vantage point, causing my son to exclaim that he LOVED Philadelphia!  My kids had fun trying to grab the leaves hanging off the branches close to our heads on the upper deck…although I’m pretty sure this activity isn’t advertised on their website.

“Rocky” Statue

A few of the stops include:

-the Betsy Ross House

-Reading Terminal Market

-the LOVE Park

-Eastern State Penitentiary

-Please Touch Museum

-“Rocky” steps and statue

-Franklin Institute

-One Liberty Place Observation Deck

-Christ Church

Next time you take the kids to Philadelphia, be sure to hop on and hop off the Big Bus…I think you’ll be glad you did!

 

(*Included in the CityPASS ticket for up to 44% savings, see www.citypass.com/Philadelphia for more info.)

Admission:  $32/adults, $10/children 4-12, FREE/children 3 and under

Hours:  Summer (Memorial Day-Labor Day)- First Bus 9:30 AM, Last Bus 6:00 PM, Every 25 Minutes

Fall/Spring:     Monday-Friday- First Bus 9:30 AM, Last Bus 5:00 PM, Every 20-30 Minutes

Saturday-Sunday- First Bus 9:30 AM, Last Bus 5:30 PM, Every 20-30 Minutes

Winter:           Monday-Friday- First Bus 10:00 AM, Last Bus 4:00 PM, Every 60 Minutes

                  Saturday – First Bus 9:30 AM, Last Bus 4:15 PM, Every 45 Minutes

                                Sunday – First Bus 10:00 AM, Last Bus 4:00 PM, Every 45 Minutes

Philadelphia Trolley Works & Big Bus Company

Northeast corner of 5th and Market Streets

Philadelphia, PA 19106

1 (215) 389-8687

Please visit www.phillytour.com for more information!

 

Next to Reading Terminal Market
Eakins Oval (across from the Art Museum)

Day Tripper Mom

Jeanette Knaub is a wife and an at-home mom to four children; Jackson (13), Eliana (11), Amalia (8), and Lilah (4). In what little spare time is left, she enjoys volunteering at church, school, and community organizations, reading, running, and of course researching and blogging about her family’s next trip!

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