Philadelphia Sights

Today you can find Philadelphia's compact 5-square-mile downtown (William Penn's original city) between the Delaware and the Schuylkill (pronounced skoo-kull) rivers. Thanks to Penn's grid system of streets—laid out in 1681—the downtown area is a breeze to navigate. The traditional heart of the city is Broad and Market streets (Penn's Center Square), where City Hall now stands. Market

Street divides the city north and south; 130 South 15th Street, for example, is in the second block south of Market Street. North–south streets are numbered, starting with Front (1st) Street, at the Delaware River, and increasing to the west. Broad Street is the equivalent of 14th Street. The diagonal Benjamin Franklin Parkway breaks the rigid grid pattern by leading from City Hall out of Center City into Fairmount Park, which straddles the Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Creek for 10 miles.

Although Philadelphia is the fifth-largest city in the nation (about 1.5 million people live in the city, 6.4 million in the metropolitan area), it maintains a small-town feel. It's a cosmopolitan, exciting, but not overwhelming city, a town that's easy to explore on foot yet big enough to keep surprising even those most familiar with it.

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Fodor's Choice

Area

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Historic Area 24

Fairmount Park 20

Old City 15

Society Hill 15

Manayunk, Germantown, and Chestnut Hill 12

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Chestnut Hill and Mount Airy 3

Germantown 9

Rittenhouse Square and Avenue of the Arts South 11

Center City 11

Queen Village and South Philadelphia 10

Benjamin Franklin Parkway 9

Penn's Landing and Camden Waterfront 8

University City 6

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Category

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Archaeological Site/ Ruins 1

Arts/ Performance Venue 3

Bridge/ Tunnel 1

Building/ Architectural Site 7

Cemetery 2

Convention Center 1

Garden/ Arboretum 4

Government Building 2

Historic District/ Site 3

Hospital–Sight 1

Hotel–Sight 1

House/ Mansion/ Villa 19

Information Center 1

Jail 1

Library/ Archive 6

Market/ Bazaar 2

Memorial/ Monument/ Tomb 1

Military Site 1

Museum/ Gallery 38

Nature Preserve/ Wildlife Refuge 1

Nautical Site/ Lighthouse 4

Neighborhood/ Street 7

Park (National/ State/ Provincial) 1

Park/ Playground 6

Plaza/ Square/ Piazza 3

Promenade/ Boardwalk 1

Public Art (Mural/ Sculpture/ Statue) 5

Religious Building/ Site/ Shrine 11

Restaurant–Sight 1

Store/ Shop/ Mall 1

Viewpoint/ Scenic Overlook 2

Zoo/ Aquarium 3

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Best For

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Family 17

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Philadelphia Sights

Showing 141 out of 141 Results

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A Love Letter To You

  • Public Art (Mural/Sculpture/Statue)

You don't have to walk very far to encounter one of Philadelphia's more than 3,000 public murals. But the best way to see what's perhaps...

Academy of Music

  • Arts/Performance Venue

The only surviving European-style opera house in America is the current home of the Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania...

Academy of Natural Sciences

  • Museum/Gallery

The dioramas of animals from around the world displayed in their natural habitats give this natural history museum an old-fashioned charm.

Adventure Aquarium

  • Zoo/Aquarium

This high-tech, hands-on science education center is the home of "Shark Realm," a 550,000-gallon tank stretching two stories high and...

African American Museum in Philadelphia

  • Museum/Gallery

The centerpiece of this museum is "Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia 1776–1876," a permanent exhibit that uses video...

American-Swedish Historical Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

Near the sports complex in deep South Philly, this neoclassical building with big stone arches in FDR Park celebrates Swedish contributions...

Arch Street Meeting House

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Constructed in 1804 for the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends, this building of simple lines is still used for that...

Arthur Ross Gallery

  • Museum/Gallery

Penn's official art gallery contains treasures from the university's collections and traveling exhibitions. The gallery shares its historic...

Athenaeum

  • Library/Archive

Housed in a national landmark Italianate brownstone dating from the mid-1800s and designed by John Notman, the Athenaeum is a research...

Avenue of the Arts

  • Neighborhood/Street

Broad Street, the city's main north–south thoroughfare, has been reinvented as a performing arts district. Although most of the cultural...

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