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5 Things to Do as a College Student in Philadelphia

things to do as a college student in philadelphia

Guest Blogger: Riya Mehra, Drexel University ’26

Philadelphia is the perfect place to be if you crave the city lifestyle, but don’t want to deal with the chaos and stress that New York City brings. As an out-of-state student from the suburbs, I fell in love with Philadelphia’s rich history, diverse cultures, and lively nightlife. And the best part? It’s just a quick subway trip away from campus.

1. Magic Gardens

Magic Gardens is a must-visit gallery on South Street, showcasing beautiful folk art pieces as a non-profit organization. Created by Isaiah Zagar, the magic garden, known as Zagar’s largest mosaic work, spans over three entire city lots, with both indoor and outdoor features of the gallery. If you’re interested in doing a group activity with friends, they offer tours, host garden parties, after-hours events, etc. with discounted student tickets, starting at $12. And for those looking for some cute Instagram photos, the Magic Gardens is the perfect area to dress up and snap some fun pics 🙂

2. Reading Terminal Market

Hungry but can’t decide what you want? Head over to Reading Terminal Market, a famous indoor farmers market located on Arch Street, to explore a variety of over 80 merchants. Whether you want a sweet treat or to pick up some groceries, this market has everything and more with several cuisines to try whenever you’re feeling bored with your usual meals. Aside from its range of eateries, you can pick up fresh produce, meat & poultry, and even some cute arts and crafts/gifts. There is not a single chance you’ll have trouble finding something you like here! Some of my personal favorites are Bassetts Ice Cream, Glick’s Rib Shack, and the Flying Monkey Bakery.

3. Philadelphia Museum of Art

If you’re a college student, you absolutely have to check out the Philadelphia Museum of Art, especially on the Pay What You Wish Admission days! On the first Sunday of every month, from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and every Friday night, from 5:00 – 8:45 p.m., you can pay whatever amount you’d like. Additionally, with an ID, students can receive a discounted ticket for just $14! As per usual, there are constantly new and ongoing exhibitions, but there are also several events and tours available for those looking to gain a greater understanding of the pieces. There’s more than enough art and activities for everyone here, whether you come alone or with your family. Definitely stop by here when you get the chance!

4. El Merkury

Since moving here for college, my absolute favorite restaurant I’ve come across is El Merkury, a Central American street food staple in Philadelphia. Combining touches of traditional Guatemalan, El Salvadorian, and Honduran flavors with modern street food offers a delicious variety of items, including pupusas, tostadas, taquitos, and more! If you stop by, be sure to try out their churros, looped around in a foot-high circle, with some of their horchata soft serve and a drizzle of tres leches sauce.

5. Rittenhouse Square

And our final, yet most loved location to visit in Philadelphia is the famous Rittenhouse Square. Founded by William Penn, Rittenhouse Square captures the beauty of Center City, surrounded by fine dining, luxury living, and a plethora of local and high-end retailers. Aside from admiring the beauty of the park itself, you’ll want to stop by Rittenhouse’s Saturday Farmer’s Market if you get the opportunity. From 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., you can enjoy the year-round produce-only farmers market and explore the goods of community vendors. Whether you just want to take a stroll or are looking to get some groceries, Rittenhouse Square has got it all!

Whether you live in Philly or are traveling from out of state to go to college here, Collegeboxes will be there to help! Get your personal belongings shipped to school so you can spend more time in beautiful Philadelphia and focus on the important things. School year over soon? Try our Direct Shipping or Summer Storage to make finals season a little less stressful with Collegeboxes.