Philadelphia Things to Do Tips by Ewingjr98
Philadelphia Things to Do: 732 reviews and 1,134 photos
The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is a one-mile long city street in central Philadelphia that connects the Philadelphia Museum of Art with City Hall. The Franklin Parkway marks the city's museum district, which includes the Museum of Art, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Franklin Institute, and the Rodin Museum. The area is also famous for its statues and monuments to include a Washington Monument, a Joan of Arc statue dating from 1890 (with a twin in Paris), the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Memorials, and a Shakespeare Memorial. The iconic parkway also has four huge traffic circles and squares: Eakins Oval, Logan Circle, JFK Square, and Penn Square.
The Franklin Parkway was designed in 1917 to resemble the majesty of the Champs Elysee in Paris. Logan Square and Penn Square were two of the five original public squares in William Penn's plan for the city.
Rittenhouse Square, along with Washington, Franklin, Logan, and City Hall Squares, is one of five public spaces established by William Penn in his original plan for the city of Philadelphia. Originally a pasture for the grazing of livestock, it was renamed from Southwest Square to Rittenhouse Square in 1825 to honor David Rittenhouse, a local astronomer, clock maker, and first director of the U.S. Mint. By the 1850s, the Rittenhouse Square area was attracting the wealthy to its residential neighborhood.
Today the area remains affluent, though high-rise apartments have replaced the Victorian mansions. Rittenhouse Square remains a very lively area filled with people throughout the day, relaxing, moving from home to work and back, shopping, or walking the dog. The streets immediate adjacent to the square house some of the city's finest stores alongside expensive apartments.
From here you are just a few blocks from City Hall, and after a few blocks in the other direction (to the west) you will find the great running and walking trails along the Schuylkill River. The area also has many of the city's top restaurants and hotels. This is a perfect place to stay, eat or shop in Philly.
Most famous for the Rocky movies, the Philadelphia Museum of Art apparently also has some sort of art exhibits inside. The museum was in Rocky, Rocky II, and Rocky V, and earned its screen time for the scene of Rocky running up the stairs while training for the prize fight. At one point, there was a statue of Rocky at the top of the stairs, but has since been moved off to the side of the steps...this museum is reserved for "real" art only.
Speaking of real art, the museum's most famous collections include Pennsylvania German art, early Pennsylvania furniture, and works by a Philadelphia artist named Thomas Eakins. I've never heard of him either (but I have heard of Rocky).
The museum was opened in 1876, and construction of the current facility was begun in 1919. The front of the museum is aligned to face directly down broad, tree lined Benjamin Franklin Parkway to City Hall just over a mile away.
The Art Museum is a favorite photo spot for new brides; one busy Saturday in October we counted at least five wedding parties on the stairs in front of the museum for photos just during a single 30 minute period of time.
Directions: Located along the Schuykill River where the Ben Franklin Parkway, Kelly Drive, and Spring Garden Drive intersect. Easily accessible from I-76 or I-676.
Other Contact: email@example.com
Phone: (215) 763-8100
One of the most unique and distinctive buildings in Philadelphia, City Hall was constructed from 1871 to 1901. This square was in William Penn's original 1682 design of the city, but it took many years for the city to expand west from the Delaware River.
City Hall is designed as a huge square with a 548 foot tower. Its 700 rooms make it the largest municipal building in the US, and it houses all three branches of city government.
At the top of City Hall's tower is the famous and highly visible statue of Pennsylvania's founder, William Penn. This 37 foot-tall statue weighs 77 tons, and includes intricate details, such as the buttons and lace cuffs. Mr. Penn is pointing a hand towards Penn Treaty Park where a peace treaty was signed with the local Indians, and he is carrying the Charter of Pennsylvania.
Address: 1400 John F. Kennedy Blvd
Directions: Broad Street, Market Street, Penn Square in the heart of Center City.
One of the more disappointing historical areas in Philadelphia is Ben Franklin's House. Here you will see a steel structure approximating the shape of his original house, alongside windows through the sidewalks that let you see down to the original foundation where you can view reas such as the privy. Next to the house is a museum built in the 80s that looks like it was built in the 80s...neon lights, pulse dialing phones, an entire section that is just dark, some random hall of mirrors, and some displays of replicas, actual artifacts, and things that might have been in his house.
Penn's Landing is a waterfront revitalization area named because this is one of the locations William Penn first landed in 1682. From the 1700s to the s late as the 1800s, this was the city's primary port area, and it was filled with docks and wharves. By the 1960s the riverfront port area was an eyesore, and the area was extensively redeveloped in the 1970s.
Ships at Penn's Landing include barque Moshulu, the World War II submarine USS Becuna, the Spanish-American War cruiser USS Olympia, the barquentine Gazela, and tugboat Jupiter. The Independence Seaport Museum is also located here. The northern edge of Penn's Landing is flanked by the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, which was the world's longest suspension bridge when completed in 1926.
Plans are underway for two slots-only casinos to be constructed here along the river.
Fairmount Park is a collection of some 62 regional and neighborhood parks operated by the city of Philadelphia. Comprised of a total of 9,000 acres, the park accounts for about 10 percent of the total land area of Philly and is one of the largest public parks in the nation. Fairmount is also the 9th most visited city park in America with some 10 million visitors each year--virtually the same number who visit the Mall in Washington DC per year!
Bridge over the Schuylkill River in Manayunk
Manayunk is a historic neighborhood in western Philadelphia. Originally owned by William Penn, the first house was built int he early 1700s at the site of Green Lane and Silverwood Street. The areas was originally called Flat Rock, and as it grew, it later took on the name Manayunk, derived from a local Indian word. With the construction of a dam and canal in the 1800s, the area became an industrial hub. Once a separate town, it was combined with the rest of Philadelphia County's towns to become the greater city of Philadelphia in 1854.
Today the neighborhood retains its small town feel, that certainly seems separate and distinct from Philadelphia. Its Main Street near the river is packed with trendy bars and restaurants, and the hillsides above the river are full of historic buildings, steep alleys, and limited parking.
This historic area of Philadelphia is also its most charming area with cobblestone streets, original 18th and early 19th century buildings, historic sites, and lots of shops and nightlife in the area along South Street.
Key attractions and historic sites include the Society Hill Synagogue (1829), Old Pine Street Presbyterian Church (1768), St Peter's Church (1761), Old St Joseph's Church (1757), Old St Paul's Church, Old St Mary's Church (1763), the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, Washington Square, and the area borders Independence National Historic Park (home of Independence Hall, Carpenters Hall, and the Liberty Bell). Over half of the residences in this neighborhood were constructed before 1939.
This neighborhood is known as a young, affluent, well-educated, mostly white neighborhood. Some interesting demographics to prove it: 92% white, 40% 20-34 years old, 44% never married and 26% divorced (makes for a lot of single people!), 45% earn over $50,000 per year, and 75% with an undergraduate or graduate degree.
Society Hill Civic Association
GoPhila.com has a great walking tour of Society Hill.
Directions: Area bordered by Walnut, Lombard, Front and 8th Streets
Washington Crossing looking into NJ from PA
In 1776, at an especially low point for the colonists in the American Revolution, George Washington took a gamble. He decided to lead his force of 2,400 men across the Delaware River into New Jersey for a surprise attack against the 1,400-man Hessian garrison in Trenton, NJ. The attack came on a bitter cold winter night as the American forces crossed the Delaware on the night of Christmas. Washington attacked the Hessians around 8am on 26 December which resulted in a complete rout of the enemy mercenaries. The Battle of Trenton was quickly followed by the Second Battle of Trenton on January 2, 1777 and the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777. On January 6, 1777, Washington's troops entered their winter encampment in Morristown, NJ. Frederick the Great once remarked that the 10 day span from December 25 to January 4 was the "he most brilliant of any recorded in the annals of military achievements."
Both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey sides of the Delaware River memorialize this historic event. In New Jersey you will find Washington Crossing State Park where 2,009 acres have been preserved. Here you will find a visitors center, museum, and interpretive center as well as a nature preserve, trails, picnic areas, cross country skiing, and camping. The park also administers the Trenton Battle Monument at the site of the battle. A $5 entrance fee is charged only on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
In Pennsylvania, Washington Crossing is a 500 acre State Historic Park at two locations along the shore of the Delaware River. This park contains a Memorial Building and Visitor Center, the Durham Boat House, McConkey's Ferry Inn, Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve, Bowman's Hill Tower, Soldiers' Graves, and numerous historic buildings from the time of the crossing.
Address: 1112 River Rd, Washington Crossing, PA 18977
Directions: Washington Crossing is 34 miles north of Philadelphia near Trenton, NJ. From Philly take I-95 north to Exit 51 North (Taylorsville Road). Turn right on General Washington Memorial Blvd and the park will be right before the bridge along River Road.
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