Free Tours by Foot Blog

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City, Boston, Charleston, London, Miami, New Orleans, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington DC.

Free Tours by Foot is more than just a guided walking tour company for your sightseeing visit. Consider us the best resource for your trip – from how to get tickets to top tourist attractions, where to stay, and how to get around the city. Our guides are experts in the city and here to help you plan your weekend or sightseeing trips.

Which City Are You Visiting?

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Philadelphia Attractions Guide

Posted by & filed under Philadelphia.

After you’ve taken one of our name your own price walking tours, there is still many Philadelphia attractions, historic sites and museums to see on your own.

We’ve listed some of the most visited and recommended Philadelphia attractions with guides on directions, hours and admission costs below.

Philadelphia Attractions By Neighborhood

Philadelphia Attractions By Cost

Philadelphia Attractions By Neighborhood

Museum District
Center CityPhiladelphia Attraction Neighborhood Map
Independence Mall (Old City)
Near Independence Mall
Market East
Avenue of the Arts
Other Areas
Outside the City

Museum District

Center City

  • Love Park
  • City Hall
  • Shoe Museum
  • African American Museum in Philadelphia
  • Masonic Library and Museum
  • Washington Square (Tomb of the Unknown Solider)
  • You can also download this map for sites within Center City.

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Guide Spotlight: Philly’s Marianne

Posted by & filed under Philadelphia.

Free Tours by Foot thought yo u should know more about who we are! Our tours would not be so highly rated if it weren’t for our guides – the passion, knowledge and fun they bring to our tours. We’ll be featuring more information about our great guides in each city over the coming months.

As a writer with a degree in film production who now works as a tour guide, Marianne considers herself a professional storyteller! She started out studying Russian history, which honed her ability to find the humorous (albeit often dark and twisted) behind the facts. After living in Washington, DC, Novosibirsk and Moscow (Russia), Miami, and Los Angeles, she is now back in her home state of Pennsylvania, in her beloved William Penn’s Philadelphia. She absolutely loves sharing stories about the founders of the nation – their bravery, their brilliance, their quirks! Her goal is to bring the past alive and make it relevant today while showing off her wonderful, revitalized city. 

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Is Travel Insurance Worth It?

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City, Berlin, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, London, Miami, New Orleans, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington DC.

Is Travel insurance worth it?Travel insurance is often the last thing you have on your mind when planning your next trip for just yourself, with your family or with friends. We look forward to a well-earned and long-desired vacation and we know deep down, however, that travelling brings about the unexpected (mostly in good ways). For the hopefully rare bad case scenarios, where you need to cancel a trip due to hazardous weather, sickness, the death of a family member, or any accidents during your trip, stolen or lost luggage/passports/wallets, and even worse injury or death of a travel mate, you want to be covered. Instead of overthinking the many things that might happen, travel insurance can help to put your mind at ease for the many what-ifs, so you can get back to planning and enjoying the fun things about your next trip.  So, is travel insurance worth it?

Be sure to read our post on purchasing a SIM Card for the US.

Travel insurance – what to look for:

Most travel insurance plans cover 2 main things: travel benefits and medical benefits. Those usually entail:

  • a refund when you need to cancel your trip due to emergency
  • covered expenses when a flight is delayed or cancelled or when you miss your flight
  • compensation of expenses if your carrier loses or delays your luggage
  • Coverage of expenses for any medical or dental emergency during your trip
  • Coverage of cost for medical emergency evacuation or accidental death or dismemberment
  • Optional benefits include car rental insurance

Depending on the provider benefits may differ in cost and range, so make sure you read the small print. Read more »

Tour Guide Spotlight: Washington, DC’s Kara

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City, Berlin, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, London, Miami, New Orleans, Paris, Philadelphia, Washington DC.

Free Tours by Foot thought yo u should know more about who we are! Our tours would not be so highly rated if it weren’t for our guides – the passion, knowledge and fun they bring to our tours. We’ll be featuring more information about our great guides in each city over the coming months.


Born and raised in Hawaii, Kara is a former beach bum who loves D.C.’s history and humidity. After an extended stint as a professional globetrotter and mapquest extraordinaire, she decided to ditch the backpack and turn touring into a career. When not guiding, Kara spends her days reading 20th century prose, perfecting her headstand, and occasionally talking about herself in the third person.

  •  Why did I become a guide?1de4113

I took a really fantastic walking tour in Berlin, and was keen on the profession ever since. I love history, traveling, and being outside so it seemed like the perfect fit. And so far, it has been!

  • Best tour I’ve ever taken?

A buggy tour along the northeast coast of Brazil. We saved a turtle, went zip-lining into a lagoon, and drove up and down some steep sand dunes after dark — does it get any better?!

  • Places I want friends/family be sure to see in DC?

My neighborhood! DC’s local history is just as important as its national history so I always try and persuade guests to get out and explore beyond the National Mall.

  • Favorite tour group memory?

I’ve had a lot of really great groups, but a personal highlight was the time I was with a school group at the Marine Corps Memorial and we met a veteran who was actually on Iwo Jima the day the flag was raised! He was kind enough to share his haunting story of watching the flag go up on Mount Suribachi. We were all in tears by the end!

  • If I wasn’t a tour guide?

Probably teaching abroad. I love traveling and learning, so it’d need to be something that let me incorporate both!

Guide Spotlight: New York City’s Garrett

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City, Berlin, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, London, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Washington DC.

Free Tours by Foot thought yo u should know more about who we are! Our tours would not be so highly rated if it weren’t for our guides – the passion, knowledge and fun they bring to our tours. We’ll be featuring more information about our great guides in each city over the coming months.


As a photographer, Garrett notices things. As a guide, Garrett earns a living from noticing things. One might say that Garrett is a professional noticer of things. A lifelong New Yorker, he brings an innate curiosity for the order and origins of things to his tours and conducts them in such a way that you come to view new york as a great big puzzle with clues scattered about on every block. Together you will examine those clues, trace the DNA of the city, and come to know it as if it were your own home. He is expert at finding the patterns, and articulating how the city’s identity is shaped both locally and by the world around it. Most visitors leave his tours with a better understanding of what New York is than many who live here. The conversational nature of Garrett’s tours create an experience where your questions and interactions augment the experience. Feel free to check out Garrett’s photo blog, where you can follow his urban explorations. http://garrettshore.tumblr.com/

  • Why did you decide to become a tour guide?gtssummerhat2 copy

I became a tour guide in my mid 20s when it became clear that I knew way more about where things were and the history behind them than most people. When people would ask me directions, I would usually throw in a detail about something they might notice on the way. A few friends of mine told me that I would be a good guide. I took the exam on a lark and I took to the industry like a duck to a pond. I responded to industry similarly to Cinderella fitting into the glass slipper. It was quite obvious that this is an industry that my personality matches.

  • What is the best tour you’ve ever taken – anywhere in the world?

The best tour I’ve ever taken is life. That may sound like an evasive answer but we sort of discover ourselves through our travels. I conduct the tour in a way that allows people to discover things more so than simply noticing them. The sense of discovery is most important.

  • When you have friends/family visit, what’s the one place you make sure they see/thing to do?

If a friend were coming from out of town and hadn’t been in town for a while, I wouldn’t be able to take them to old haunts mostly because so much of that New York we grew up with has or is disappearing. But one thing I know will be here long after the apocalypse is Coney Island. I would especially take them there in the winter months, when its desolate and barren. Or maybe Times Sq. at sunrise.

  • Do you have a favorite tour group memory?

I remember on a tour once there was this kid who knew exactly what I was talking about. Sometimes its easy to assume kids aren’t interested in architecture or early American history. One time I had this kid on the tour who I thought was gonna be glued to a cell phone but instead was asking questions that only a kid who reads up on the related subjects would know. I was astonished. I mean, seriously. The kid knew the difference between Doric and Corinthian columns.

  • If you weren’t a tour guide, what would you be doing?

If I were not a tour guide i would be break-dancing on the subway. Badly.

 

Guide Spotlight: London’s Margaret

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City, Berlin, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, London, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Washington DC.

Free Tours by Foot thought yo u should know more about who we are! Our tours would not be so highly rated if it weren’t for our guides – the passion, knowledge and fun they bring to our tours. We’ll be featuring more information about our great guides in each city over the coming months.


New Change BuildingAn American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London nearly a decade ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries, and a major focus on the loves, lives, and losses of all our greatest (and some not so great…) Kings and Queens. American friendliness, a flair for the dramatic, a good sense of humo(u)r, and an unending love affair with King Charles II, all come together to help Margaret make you fall in love with London just like she did.

  • Why did you decide to become a tour guide?

It’s the perfect mix of informing, educating and performing! I love talking all things London and presenting history in a fun and understandable way.

  • What is the best tour you’ve ever taken – anywhere in the world?

My first trip outside the United States was a coach tour of England, Scotland and Wales. This is eventually what led me to live in London so it’s definitely the best tour I’ve been on!

  • When you have friends/family visit, what’s the one place you make sure they see/thing to do?

The Tower of London – ALWAYS. It’s so uniquely London and has something for everybody; Kings and Queens, gruesome stories of beheadings, the glamour of the Crown Jewels, the living history that the Beefeaters embody, suits of armour belonging to Henry VIII, etc. etc. It’s a fantastic, one-of-a-kind place.

  • Do you have a favorite tour group memory? 

Probably when I did a Westminster Tour on the day of the State Opening of Parliament. My group got to see all the Queen’s Guards lining The Mall and then carriages coming past carrying Prince Charles, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Phillip and then we got a wave from the Queen herself! Even I was taking photos like mad…Fashion Museum

  • If you weren’t a tour guide, what would you be doing?

Working in heritage, for sure. Castles, museums, archives, etc. Ideally I’d have a job where it’s socially acceptable to dress up in historical costume at every possible opportunity. Maybe reenactments of some sort. Or maybe just wandering the streets of London dressed up as Anne of Cleves…That’s normal, right?

Guide Spotlight: Boston’s Beth

Posted by & filed under A Blog on Visiting New York City, Berlin, Boston, Charleston, Chicago, London, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Washington DC.

Free Tours by Foot thought you should know more about who we are! Our tours would not be so highly rated if it weren’t for our guides – the passion, knowledge and fun they bring to our tours. We’ll be featuring more information about our great guides in each city over the coming months.


Boston Tour guide BethBeth has loved to hear and tell the great stories from American history for as long as she can remember.  Beth has taught Middle and High School History and English, started a food co-op, and helped to start a storytelling festival in her hometown’s public schools.  She has been a tour guide at Westpoint Academy as well as with Historic Hudson Valley where the Rockefeller Estate was her specialty.  Beth has jumped whole- heartedly into her adopted home of Boston:  what town could be better for heroic and inspiring stories from history?  She’s got a husband and three grown kids, two cats, and one adorable grandbaby: story-listener in training!  When not strolling the streets of her Boston neighborhood Jamaica Plain, she’s likely to enjoy the beauty and rich historic vibes around Cape Cod, the North Shore, the North End, and Cambridge.  Beth likes reading, museum diving, and traveling far afield.

  • Why did you decide to become a tour guide?

Some of the best times I had teaching was during field trips:  179 days in the classroom and one in the field.  Why not reverse that?  What could be better than teaching right where history took place:  more fun and more meaningful for them and for me.  Then there’s meeting people from all around the country, from all over the world, having all my stereotypes blown to bits…PLUS, walking, being out in the sunshine hopefully, but even when the weather is harsh or disappointing being outdoors and moving feels good.

  • What is the best tour you’ve ever taken – anywhere in the world?

Nazareth, Israel.  The tour guide was passionate.  She LOVED that town, and the town is unique because it’s made mostly Arab with a large Christian minority yet surrounded and part of the Jewish state.  The Christian holy sites were good, and we did them on our own. This tour showed us a side of the town we could never have known:  the shopkeepers, alleyways packed with the people’s real lives, the food, the tiny carpentry shops and gigantic spice shops.

  • When you have friends/family visit, what’s the one place you make sure they see/thing to do?

The North End:  the combination of historic sites from the Revolution with authentic Italian culture and wonderful food everywhere you turn.

  • Do you have a favorite tour group memory?

After the wintry tours I’d invite the visitors to go for a hot drink with me. Sitting in a cafe with interesting, happy people who’ve enjoyed the tour, enjoyed meeting each other, and want to extend the experience.

  • If you weren’t a tour guide, what would you be doing?

Underwater archaeology!

 

New Hall Military Museum

Posted by & filed under Philadelphia.

Though this reconstructed building is from the 1960s, the original New Hall Military Museum was built in 1791 by the Carpenters’ Guild. The space was rented out to Secretary of War Henry Knox, making this the original Pentagon.

new hallDirections to New Hall Military Museum:

320 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

On Chestnut Street between South 3rd and South 4th Street.

Hours:

The hours vary based on the season. Its open Saturdays and Sundays 10am-5pm until April 2015.

Admission:

Free! As part of the National Park Service, there is no entrance fee.

Exhibits:

The second floor of the museum focuses on the history of the Navy and Army. The ground floor, on the Marines.

Visiting the Wagner Free Institute of Science

Posted by & filed under Philadelphia.

The Wagner Free Institute of Science offers an experience into its Victorian collection with an interior that is nearly unchanged since the 1890s. Both the building and its exhibits are historic treasures in Philadelphia.

Directions to the Wagner Free Institute of Science:

WFIS Map

1700 West Montgomery Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19121

By train: The Broad Street subway (Orange Line – local train only) stops at Temple University/Cecil B. Moore Avenue.

SEPTA: Bus Route 2 at the 16th Street and Montgomery Avenue stop

Hours:

Tuesday – Friday, 9 AM – 4 PM

Closed on Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, New Year’s Day, as well as a the day before/after both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The museum is closed for one week in August for Summer Break.

Admission:

The museum operates on a name your own price basis, just like our walking tours, with a suggested donation:

  • Adults: $10
  • Children: $5

Guided ToursWag

  • Adults: $15
  • Seniors: $10
  • Children: $5

View a presentation in the lecture hall where internationally known scientists such as Joseph Leidy, Edward Drinker Cope and Margaret Mead once taught, and a guided tour through the exhibit hall.

Tours are available by appointment Tuesdays through Fridays between 3 and 5 PM. To make a reservation, call 215-763-6529, ext. 17.

Education Programs

The Wagner Free Institute began with education programs led in the home of gentleman scientist William Wagner. The Institute continues this tradition with free education programs throughout the week. They offer college-level courses in the natural sciences, lectures and program – Events Calendar.