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7 Architectural sites to see in Philadelphia

7 architectural sites to see in Philadelphia

Do you enjoy architecture? When you travel, do make it a point to see a city’s unique architectural highlights? There are a great many architectural sites to see in Philadelphia. Many historical gems restored to their former glory can be seen throughout the city.

Whether you are planning a visit Philadelphia, or if you live here but haven’t taken the time to take in these architectural sites to see in Philadelphia’s museum district, this list is for you.  In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in Philadelphia’s museum district, we’ve come across much information, some of which can only be gleaned when doing the actual scavenger hunt.

However, we also wanted to share some of that information with you for your visit planning. Here are 7 architectural sites to see in Philadelphia.

7 architectural sites to see in Philadelphia

  1. Philadelphia City HallCity Hall
    • City Hall is the largest municipal building in the entire United States. It contains over 631 thousand square feet of floor space. Isn’t it breathtaking? Sculptures cover its exterior. They represent the seasons, the continents, as well as allegorical figures. Alexander Milne Calder sculptured and designed all the art adorning city hall including the 27-ton statue of William Penn atop the tower. John McArthur, architect, designed City Hall in the Second Empire style. Construction lasted from 1871 until 1901. City Hall opened its doors to administrators in 1898.
    • Of course, you will find City Hall where Market St. meets Broad St., on John F. Kennedy Blvd. You can tour city hall weekdays from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
  2. Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & PaulCathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul
    • Napoleon Lebrun and John Notman, designed the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. “San Carlo al Corso” in Rome, Italy, served as inspiration for this grand church.
    • You will find the cathedral to the northwest of City Hall, between it and Logan Square. With this in mind, construction lasted between 1846 and 1864.
  3. Public LibraryFree Library of Philadelphia
    • The Free Library of Philadelphia represents the 13th-largest public library in the United States. An independent city agency, a board of directors as well as a separate nonprofit organization, together called The Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation, govern it which is unique among public libraries in the US. Furthermore, several ancient books are available for consultation here.
    • In this case, Julian Babel and Horace Trumbauer designed the Free Library of Philadelphia for its opening in 1927 in the Beaux Arts style.
  4. Philadelphia Museum Of ArtPhiladelphia Museum of Art
    • The Philadelphia Museum of Art is the largest museum in Philadelphia. It showcases objects from many different periods from Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Almost 800,000 people visit it each year. Located on Fairmont hill, PMA stands at the opposite end of Benjamin Franklin Parkway from City Hall.
    • Julian Babel and Horace Trumbauer also designed the Philadelphia Museum of Art for its opening in 1928 in the Classical Greek temple style.
    • The museum opens Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am until 5 pm, 8:45 pm Wednesday through Friday. Admission is $14 for youth and $20 for adults.
  5. Fairmont Water WorksFairmont Water Works
    • Behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art, beyond the Statue Garden, stand Greek architectural buildings. Fairmont Water Works opened in 1812. It served as the city’s second municipal waterworks and is not a museum of any kind. Frederick Graff designed the Fairmont Water Works. Moreover, authorities designated it a National Historic Landmark in 1976. Additionally, the water’s edge is a great place to take wonderful pictures, weather permitting.
  6. The Franklin InstituteThe Franklin Institute
    • The Franklin Institute, opened in 1924, is as clever as its namesake. In particular, its eminently touchable attractions explore science in disciplines ranging from sports to space. Moreover, the Tuttleman IMAX Theater is found within. John T Windrim and John Haviland designed the Franklin Institute, located off of Logan Square.
    • The Franklin Institute opens daily from 9:30 am to 5 p, and costs $16 for children, $20 for adults.
  7. Masonic Temple PhiladelphiaMasonic Library and Museum
    • This Masonic Temple finished in 1873 is referred to as a Great Wonder of the Masonic World. Indeed, the museum presents thousands of texts and artifacts relating to the history of the Fraternity in the Commonwealth.
    • Tours operate between 10 am and 3 pm and cost $5 for children / $15 for adults.

We invite you to try our Philadelphia – Museum District Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 4-hour guided walking tour around Philadelphia’s museum district you do on your mobile phone (how it works).  It only costs $30 for your group. You will enjoy seeing these parks, plazas and much more while completing challenges and learning Philadelphia’s history.

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