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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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8 Parks to see in Philadelphia

8 parks to see in Philadelphia

When you travel do like to see public places, plazas and parks the locals frequent? Indeed, there are quite a few to see in Philadelphia.

Whether you are planning a visit Philadelphia, or if you live here but haven’t noticed these monuments 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 8 parks to see in Philadelphia.

8 parks to see in Philadelphia

  1. Paint Torch
    Credit: Courtesy of PAFA

    Lenfest Plaza

    • What’s special about Lenfest Plaza? It is next to the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts and boasts a few public art pieces. These include the giant Pain Brush designed by Claes Oldenburgin 2011 as well as the Grumman Greenhouse designed by Jordan Griska. You will find Lenfest Plaza on Cherry St and N.Broad St., a few blocks north of City Hall.
  2. Thomas Paine Plaza
    • Across from City Hall to the north, you will find Thomas Paine Plaza and collection of quirky monuments. These include larger than life board game pieces. Artists Daniel Martinez, Renee Petropoulis and Roger White designed the various pieces of chess, checkers and other board games found here. This public art exhibit called “Your Move” saw its first day in 1996.
  3. Love ParkJohn F. Kennedy Plaza
    • You will find the world-famous Love Sign in John F. Kennedy Plaza, commonly referred to as Love Park. This plaza is located northeast of City Hall, between it and Logan Square. Robert Indiana, is behind this public art installation. You will also find a large fountain and public benches here to sit and relax.
  4. Sister Cities Park
  5. Logan Square
    • Logan Square divides the distance between Philadelphia’s City Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Further, it contributes to the symmetry of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway while further making it comparable to Paris’ Champs Élisés. It boasts the very large Swann Memorial Fountain.
  6. The Oval
    • The Oval stands below the Philadelphia Museum of Art where the Benjamin Franklin Parkway loops around. In particular, the Washington Monument stands in the center of the Oval, between the Eli Kirk Price Fountain, and the Ericsson Fountain.
  7. Aviator Park
    • Located in front of the Franklin Institute, Aviator Park offers paved paths, green space and public artworks including the Aero Memorial by Paul Manship. In fact, this memorial is dedicated to the aviators who died during World War I. It is an open bronze sphere that suggests the heavens and the earth, with intricately intertwined forms evoking signs of the zodiac.
  8. Center Square
    GK tramrunner229 (based on copyright claims)

    Center Square

    • Directly across 15th Street and City Hall sits Center Square. Claes Oldenburg erected in here 1976 the 45-foot steel Clothespin. This is also the site of Philadelphia’s first waterworks. On another note, it was the first public water system in America to use steam for large-scale pumping.

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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14 Monuments to see in Philadelphia

14 monuments to see in Philadelphia

Do you love art? When you travel do you make it a point to see public monuments, sculptures, and statues? There are many monuments to see in Philadelphia.

Whether you are planning a visit Philadelphia, or if you live here but haven’t noticed these monuments 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 14 monuments to see in Philadelphia.

14 Monuments to see in Philadelphia

  1. Philadelphia City HallThomas Paine Plaza
    • Across from City Hall to the north, you will find Thomas Paine Plaza and collection of quirky monuments. These include larger than life board game tokens and pieces. The various pieces were designed by Daniel Martinez, and Renee Petropoulis and Roger White. This public art exhibit called “Your Move” saw its first day in 1996.
  2. 36 feet tall William Penn
    • This tall bronze statue stands atop Philadelphia’s City Hall. No building in this city was higher than the brim of his hat until 1987. The statue faces northeast towards Penn Treaty Park. Alexander Milne Calder sculptured this statue.
  3. Compass BFamilias Separadas
    • This giant compass including the positioning of zodiac symbols called Familias Separadas is in the center of City Hall’s courtyard. In particular, like the game pieces at Thomas Paine Plaza, this painted compass is larger than life. Michelle Angela Ortiza, artist, created this work of art for the city.
  4. LOVE
    • Love ParkYou will find the world-famous Love Sign in John F. Kennedy Plaza, commonly referred to as Love Park. This plaza is located northeast of City Hall, between it and Logan Square. Robert Indiana, artist, and sculptor is behind this public art installation.
  5. Paint Brush
    • Claes Oldenburg designed the Paint Brush located at Lenfest Plaza. Paint Brush, installed here in 2011, honors the act of painting. Moreover, the brush and glob of paint illuminate the plaza at night.
  6. Grumman Greenhouse
    • Grumman GreenhouseJordan Griska designed and sculpted the Grumman Greenhouse located at Lenfest Plaza. The Grumman Tracker II flew anti-submarine bombing missions during the cold war era. Griska obtained the decommissioned plane and folded the metal of the nose and body of the plane so that it appears to be crumbling into the platform. In addition, he turned the existing sections of the plane into working greenhouses. Ultimately, this lead to the name of the piece – Grumman Greenhouse.
  1. Benjamin Franklin Parkway
    • Benjamin Franklin PkwyThis broad avenue stretching from Logan Square to the Philadelphia Museum of Art is often compared to the Champs Elysées in Paris. Museums, parks, public art installations and flags line Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The tradition of displaying flags on the Parkway began in 1976 as a part of the bicentennial celebration. New flag hoisting occurs every year since then, on Memorial Day. They represent countries with significant populations living in Philadelphia. Flags hang in alphabetical order from Logan Square to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
  2. Kopernick
    • A committee of Polish Americans commissioned this sculpture to honor Mikolaj Kopernik, known to most of us as Nicolaus Copernicus. Thereupon, it was erected on his 500th anniversary on Benjamin Franklin Parkway next to the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul. Of course, Kopernik was the Renaissance astronomer who boldly theorized that the earth and other planets rotate around the sun. Indeed, Sculptor Dudley Talcott symbolizes the sun with stainless steel disks and the earth’s orbit with a 16-foot ring.
  3. Swann FountainSwann Memorial Fountain
    • Swann Memorial Fountain is the centerpiece of Logan Square. You will find it between Philadelphia’s City Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in the center of Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
    • Alexander Stirling Calder, son of the City Hall artist Alexander Milne Calder, sculpted the statues within the fountain. Indeed, it memorializes Dr. Wilson Cary Swann, founder of the Philadelphia Fountain Society. Because the fountain is equally visible from City Hall and from the Museum of Art, there is no doubt one of the most iconic fountains in the city. Inaugurated in 1924, the three bronze sculptures of Native Americans spouting water represent the city’s three main waterways. They are The Delaware River, The Schuylkill River, and the Wissahickon Creek.
  4. The Thinker
    • The Thinker represents the most famous sculpture by August Rodin. This reproduction stands on the lawn outside the Rodin Museum, located along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. However, its original, sculpted in 1902, stands within the Musée Rodin in Paris. August Rodin was born in Paris in 1840 and died in Meudon, France, in 1917.
  5. Washington Monument
    • Philadelphia MuseumStanding in the oval at the foot of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Washington Monument presents George Washington sitting atop his horse in full ceremonial dress. He looks poised to lead a march down the Parkway. Allegorical figures surround his pedestal, while the lower levels portray “typical” American people and animals.
  6. Rocky
    • Located at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, adjacent to the famous Rocky steps, is a larger than life statue of Rocky Balboa holding his gloved hands in the air. In the first place, A. Thomas Schomberg sculpted this art piece commissioned by Sylvester Stallone in 1980 for the movie Rocky III, then it was installed here in 2006.
  7. Clothespin
    • Erected in 1976 by Oldenburg is the 45-foot steel Clothespin, directly across 15th Street and City Hall. In contrast, Center Square exists today where stood Philadelphia’s first waterworks in the 1800s. It was the first public water system in America to use steam for large-scale pumping.
  8. Aero Memorial
    • Paul Manship designed the Aero Memorial you will find in Aviator Park, in front of the Franklin Institute.

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 monuments, statues, and street art and much more while completing challenges and learning Philadelphia’s history.

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5 Film locations to see in Philadelphia

5 film locations to see in Philadelphia

Do you love movies? Do you seek places where your favorite flicks were shot when you travel? There are several great film locations to see in Philadelphia.

Whether you are planning a visit Philadelphia, or if you live here but haven’t noticed these monuments 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 5 film locations to see in Philadelphia.

5 Film locations to see in Philadelphia

  1. C ity HallPhiladelphia City Hall
    • Philadelphia’s City Hall served as the backdrop to many films. It is the largest municipal building in the entire United States. Philadelphia (1993) with Tom Hanks shot many scenes outside City Hall. You will remember it also from Rocky (1976), Twelve Monkeys (1995), National Treasure (2004), Transformers 2 (2009), and Limitless (2011).
  2. Eastern State PenitentiaryEastern State Penitentiary
    • Eastern State Penitentiary opened in 1829 and was operational until 1971, located on Fairmont at Kelly Dr. Twelve Monkeys (1995) shot many scenes here as did Transformers 2 (2009).
  3. Rocky BalboaPhiladelphia Museum of Art
    • The Philadelphia Museum of Art opened in 1929 and remains the largest museum in Philadelphia. Do we need to state that Rocky (1976) had many iconic scenes shot here, namely when Rocky runs up the 72 stairs and jumps up in victory at the up? Dressed to Kill (1980) shot scenes here as well.
  4. The Franklin InstituteThe Franklin Institute
    • The Franklin Institute, opened in 1924, is as clever as its namesake. National Treasure (2004) filmed scenes here, specifically when a youth helps decipher the Silence Dogood letters written by Benjamin Franklin.
  5. Center Square
    GK tramrunner229 assumed (based on copyright claims)

    Center Square

    • Directly across 15th Street and City Hall sits Center Square where you will see a 45-foot steel Clothespin. Trading Places (1983) shot a few scenes here.

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 film locations and much more while completing challenges and learning Philadelphia’s history.

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9 Museums to visit in Philadelphia

9 museums to visit in Philadelphia

Are you wondering which museums to visit in Philadelphia? Or do you live here but have not gotten around to visit the museum district of the city? 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 9 museums to visit in Philadelphia.

9 Museums to visit in Philadelphia

  1. City HallPhiladelphia City 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 the exterior of City Hall, from top to bottom and all around. In fact, they represent the seasons, the continents, as well as allegorical figures. Alexander Milne Calder designed all the sculptures, including the 27-ton statue of William Penn atop the tower.
    • You will find City Hall where Market St. meets Broad St., on John F. Kennedy Blvd. Additionally, you can tour city hall weekdays from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
  2. Philadelphia Museum Of ArtPhiladelphia Museum of Art
    • The Philadelphia Museum of Art is the largest museum in Philadelphia. Also, it showcases objects from many different periods from Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Over 800,000 people visit it each year. The PMA resides at the opposite end of Benjamin Franklin Parkway from City Hall, in direct alignment.
    • 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.
  3. Eastern State PenitentiaryEastern State Penitentiary
    • Eastern State Penitentiary opened in 1829 and was operational until 1971. It was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world but stands today in ruin, a haunting structure of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America’s most notorious criminals.
    • Eastern State Penitentiary opens daily from 10 am to 5 pm, costs $10 for children / $14 for adults, and is located on Fairmont at Kelly Dr. Additionally, Terror Behind the Walls conveys you throughout October each year for evenings of fright between 7 pm and 12:30 am.
  4. The Franklin InstituteThe Franklin Institute
    • The Franklin Institute, opened in 1924, is as clever as its namesake. As a matter of fact, its eminently touchable attractions explore science in disciplines ranging from sports to space. Furthermore, the Tuttleman IMAX Theater can be found within.
    • The Franklin Institute opens daily from 9:30 am to 5 p, and costs $16 for children, $20 for adults.
  5. Academy of Natural Sciences
    • The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is a leading natural history museum that houses 200 years of discovery. ANSDU opened in 1812 and resides 1 block east of the Franklin Institute on Race St.
    • The discoveries that rocked the world then and now share four floors of exhibit space in this family-friendly museum. 3-D painted dioramas replicate the natural habitats of large game animals acquired in the 1920s and 1930s. For Philadelphians of that era, this was their first sighting of an Indian tiger or a wildebeest.
    • The Academy of Natural Sciences opens daily from 10 am to 4:30 pm and admission ranges from $13.95 and $17.95.
  6. Rodin Museum
    • The famed 19th-century sculptor’s greatest hits are all here at the Rodin Museum. They are bold, energetic and emotionally intense. Several pieces are on exhibit on the outside lawn, visible from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, while most are within the museum.
    • Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, admission is $7 for youth & students and $10 for adults.
  7. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
    • The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts is a historic Victorian museum presenting 19th and 20th-century American works. By the same token, it opens daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is free for children and $15 for adults.
  8. Masonic Library and Museum
    • The beautiful Masonic Temple in Philadelphia was constructed in 1873. Freemasons refer to the Philadelphia lodge as one of the great wonders of the Masonic World. Correspondingly, the museum presents thousands of texts and artifacts relating to the history of the Fraternity in the Commonwealth.
    • You can tour the Masonic Temple between 10 am and 3 pm for $5 (children) / $15 (adults).
  9. Barnes Foundation
    • Barns Foundation is an art museum on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, next to the Rodin Museum. Likewise, it presents paintings by artists including Picasso and Renoir, African sculptures, Native American textiles and more.
    • Barnes Foundation opens daily from 10 am to 5 pm.

We invite you to try our Philadelphia – Museum District Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 2 and a half 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. Moreover, you will enjoy seeing these museums and much more while completing challenges and learning Philadelphia’s history.