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

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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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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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Family 17

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Philadelphia Sights

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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...

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...

Fisher Fine Arts Library

  • Library/Archive

One of the finest examples remaining of the work of Philadelphia architect Frank Furness, this was the most innovative library building...

Institute of Contemporary Art

  • Museum/Gallery

This museum, part of the University of Pennsylvania, has established a reputation for identifying promising artists and exhibiting them...

Penn Park

  • Park/Playground

This 24-acre park stretches along the western side of the Schuylkill River and serves as a new connector between Center City Philadelphia...

University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

  • Museum/Gallery

Rare treasures from the deepest jungles and ancient tombs make this one of the finest archaeological and anthropological museums in the...

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