Philly is full of world class art museums and great public art (Public Art & Philly’s Magic Gardens), but it also has a bunch of free (or pay-what-you-wish) museums. None of these museums have permanent exhibits, so check the websites to see what’s on. Some of the most notable:
The Fabric Workshop (1214 Arch Street, near Chinatown): The name is a bit misleading. Although it’s called The Fabric Workshop, it houses a large museum (exhibit space is on several floors) that exhibit artists in a variety of media – including painting, sculpture, and video. In 2017 they had an extensive exhibit on Philly-based architect Louis Kahn with videos, sketches, models, etc. – all showcasing Kahn’s work both in Philadelphia (Richards Medical Research Laboratories @ University of Pennsylvania) and elsewhere. The museum hosts a variety of events for all ages and has fun field trip opportunities (Tobey and Erick designed and creatied a large silkscreen). Since it’s right up the street from Chinatown, the museum is a great stop for a little culture before or after lunch. Free/Pay-what-you-wish http://fabricworkshopandmuseum.org/
https://icaphila.org/ Philadelphia’s Dynamic Clay Studio A View of Philadelphia From the Biggest Municipal Building in the US). Note: City Hall is closed on weekends.
While you have to pay for admission to the Rodin Museum (either separately, or as part of your Philadelphia Museum of Art ticket), the grounds are free. Several of Rodin’s most famous sculptures are on view in the gardens, including “The Thinker” and “The Burghers of Calais,” and “The Gates of Hell.” “The Thinker” is on view anytime while the rest of the art (and the beautiful French-style gardens) are on view whenever the museum is open. The Rodin Museum – A Bit Of Paris In PhiladelphiaSpeaking of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, every Wednesday night is pay-what-you-wish admission. The Philadelpia Museum of Art – For Everything BUT the Art
Old City hosts First Friday events all year round (although they are especially vibrant during the warmer months). During First Friday, galleries typically have their new exhibit openings (sometimes with wine and snacks, if you are lucky). Sometimes area museums have events, too, so check websites for: The Science History Museum, The American Philosophical Society, The Museum of the American Revolution, The Clay Studio, and Christ Church. Most of the action takes place between Front & Third Streets and Market & Vine Streets.