Priceline came through for us in Philadelphia. We did a name your own price bid for $101 for a 3 1/2 star hotel in the historic or museum district and ended up with two nights at the Embassy Suites Hotel just across the circle from the Franklin Institute for only $202 plus taxes and fees. What a perfect city hotel for a family of five! At all Embassy Suites, rooms are suites so it's not just a clever name. We had a spacious living area with microwave, fridge, dining table and chairs, 50" flatscreen TV and sofa bed for the kids. Then, the folks had the king bedroom to themselves. (I think the secret to happy family travel is to build in some alone time for all members of the family. If you can get a suite or rent a home through VRBO for part of your travels, it will make for a more pleasant trip.)
Embassy Suites stays also include a full hot breakfast each morning and cocktails with appetizers in the evening. We really made this payoff for all of us! The kids ate fresh omelets, bagels, donuts, bacon, and sausage each morning and Greg and I made many trips to the bar each evening. Another win/win for our budget.
We lucked up at the Franklin Institute. The ticket prices are $16.50 for adults and $12.50 for children. However, we paid nothing! I asked as we were purchasing tickets if they had museum membership reciprocity with Fernbank Museum in Atlanta and they did! (Of course, I didn't have my member card with me, but the nice folks at Fernbank emailed me our membership letter. Thank you, Fernbank!) So we saved approximately $70 and had a ball in one of the best museums I have ever visited. (See Ultimate Field Trip post.)
Our other sightseeing stops in Philadelphia were free: Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, Reading St. Market, and South Philly.
The best deal for getting around the historic places is the Philly Phlash Trolley. It is only $10 for the day for a family of four (of course!) and you can get on and off at any stop on their loop. We walked most of our way and took this back to the hotel for $2 per ride per person.
Thanks to our sweet deal at Embassy Suites and our free museum entrances, we were able to enjoy some incredible food at the pricey Morimoto without a bit of guilt. As Ben Franklin said, "A penny saved is a penny earned." Thanks, Ben, for the travel advice!