Philadelphia Things to Do Tips by mindcrime
Philadelphia Things to Do: 745 reviews and 1,163 photos
The cathedral of Philadelphia was built between 1846 and 1864 in Italian renaissance style. It’s big but not really impressive (pic 1).
When I walked in (there was a very welcoming old man at the door) I liked the atmosphere of the interior (pic 2), it was as dark as in some orthodox European churches but the difference was that it was completely empty...
I took some pics (pics 3-4-5) of some of the churche’s statues, paintings and nice stained-glass windows. I’ve read that the acoustics are great but I didn’t attend any ceremony or something to check it out.
There’s no entrance fee and its open daily 7.00-17.00
Address: 18th and Race streets, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to spend much time here. We went through the Franklin’s passage (pic 1), we saw the Franklin Post Office from outside, we spend some minutes at the backyard (pics 3-4) where we read some signs and check some drawings but we didn’t manage to enter the underground museum which is full of objects associated with Benjamin Franklin.
The Ghost Structure was weird, it stands where the original house of Franklin once stood but for some strange reason they didn’t try to recreate it. Nothing really to keep us here so we kept going on our way to see other corners of the city…
There’s no entrance fee.
Address: 316-322 Market Street
Directions: (between 3rd and 4th Street)
If you don’t want to pay for any of the museums you can enjoy the city center and check the numerous statues and sculptures! We saw so many of them and most of them were really interesting, usually dedicated to someone famous. I found the small signs very helpful, explaining some things about the artists and his work. You can see some of them at my pics 2-3-4 but I was surprised about the one dedicated to Copernicus!
Kopernik sculpture (pic 1)was made in 1972 by Dudley Talcott(1899-1986) with the 16foot outer circle represents the earth’s orbit and the inner disks symbolize the sun, sending out its rays of light. To celebrate the 500th anniversary of his birth, the local polish American community commissioned this stainless steel sculpture and donated it to the city. By the way the polish astronomer (known as Copernicus) was the first to propose that the earth revolves around the sun, a revolutionary idea in the 1500s when the earth was thought to be the center of the universe.
JKF square (pics 1-2) is a nice central square, just across the City Hall. We went there to take some romantic photos of us in front of the Love Statue (oh yes, the same we take in front of every statue like this in every city, the first one was in Madrid I think). :)
The Love statue (pic 3)was made in 1978 by Robert Indiana and ok, it is nothing special about it but we liked the water fountain at the background and the small colorful garden of flowers.
The square was supposed to be a good spot for skateboarders but recently the authorities banished them from the square. “Security” above all, who cares about teenagers…
Address: Kennedy Plaza, 15th and JFK
Directions: diagonal the city hall
Philadelphia’s Museum of Art
A beautiful art museum. There are many galleries but it’s funny that many visitors come just because S.Stalone (as Rocky Balboa) ran up its step! You can see a statue of Rocky (that was originally placed here for the promotion of Rocky 3 movie!).
On Friday evening you may catch a jazz concert at Great Hall for free! We didn’t catch that but we enjoyed some of its galleries. The museum houses more than 225,000 items covering a long period of time (items from Asia since the 3rd millennium BC, European items from medieval times to date, arms and armor, Dadaist gallery, tapestries about Constantine the Great etc), yes, yes, this museum is huge, maybe I will return some day.
The entrance fee is $16, expensive it is yes, but on first Sunday of every month is for free (actually they advertise it as pay what you wish day!). Special Exhibitions are always charged of course.
It is open Tuesday to Sunday 10.00-17.00 (on Fridays till 20.45)
As I dont have any pic from the beautiful paintings I will put this distance pic of the museum that I took from the Tower of City Hall
Address: Eakins Oval
Directions: Northwest side of Ben Franklin Parkway, I think bus#38 comes here.
People are sometimes suspicious about masons probably because their ceremonies are closed to non members. By the way, many of the American revolution leaders were masons.
The truth is that I never been inside a Masonic Temple so when I’ve read it about this one in Philadelphia I wanted to take advantage of the organized tours they have daily except Sundays.
Unfortunately, we were there on Sunday so we couldn’t get inside and check this (surreal) tour. So we just watched and took pics of the interesting building which was much bigger than I expected and looked like a modern American church that try to look like european.
The entrance fee is $8 and the tours are Tuesday to Friday 10.00, 11.00, 13.00, 14.00, 15.00. On Saturdays on 10.00, 11.00 and 12 noon
Address: 1 north broad street, Philadelphia PA 19107
Directions: opposite the City Hall at the intersection of Market and Broad streets
The building that houses the City Hall is an impressive tall/huge building in French second empire style (pic 1). I’ve read that was designed to be world’s tallest building but although the construction started in 1871 it didn’t finish until 1901 (and the cost went up to millions these 30 years) when other building were already taller.
There are about 700 different rooms but what I liked most was the Clock Tower which dominates Philadelphia skyline. At the top is 11m statue of William Penn (city’s founder)
There’s a 90’ tour Monday-Friday but the reason we actually visited the City Hall because we wanted to go up to the Tower of City Hall and have a pigeon’s eye view of the city. First we took our tickets ($5) at the bottom level where the souvenir store is and then we went up with the elevator. First to the 7th floor and then we followed the red lines on the floor to the escalator that goes to 9th floor waiting room. Then the guard will take you to the top with another elevator that leads to the observation desk which is below Penn’s statue). There are no refunds if late so arrive at the Tower 15 minutes before scheduled time.
At pics 2-3 you can see some of the pics we took from up there.
The City Hall is open Monday to Friday 9.00-16.30
Address: 1600 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 686-1776
Pennsylvania academy of fine arts
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts is the oldest Art museum and School in the USA. There are 2 different buildings, both worth seeing although I didn’t have much time I enjoyed it to the bone. The museum was very quiet in the afternoon.
First I checked the ground floor, nothing special here but the upper floor that houses the permanent collection is very good with some top class paintings. There is a good collection of American Art, basically focusing on 18th and 19th centuries.
The museum houses 2 of my favorite paintings, “Ariadne Asleep on the island of Naxos” (John Vanderlyn 1814) and “Turkish page” made by Frank Duveneck in 1876.
The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 10.00-17.00. The entrance fee is $10 +$5 for special exhibitions. There are 2 free tours daily. No photography on the upper level.
Address: 118 and 128 North Broad Street Philadelphia, PA191
Christ church (pic 1) is a protestant Episcopal church that was built in 1754 in Georgian style (replacing the old wood and brick church) and it is one of the historic churches in US. Many famous figures, from B.Franklin, G,Washinghton to Betsy Ross worshipped here of course. I didn’t really feel impressed by the simple interior (pic 2) so we stayed only for some minutes and then got outside and checked also the 60m high steeple of the church.
The man that runs the gift shop was always behind us trying to give us info about the church
There’s no entrance fee but donations are welcome.
Benjamin Franklin is buried at the cemetery of the church (it’s a couple of blocks to the north and there’s a small entrance fee) but many others too like singers of the Declaration of Independence and signers of the Constitution.
Address: 2nd Street above Market Street, Philadelphia PA 1
Elfreth’s Alley is a national historic landmark because it dates back from 16th century, the oldest residential street in US. It’s a picturesque small alley with 33 private homes, some of them are really old and you can visit only those that are open to the public (on certain occasions like christmass period etc). There are only two houses (at number 124) that housing a small museum and are open all year round with small guided tours and a nice gift shop.
There’s no entrance fee to see/walk the alley but you have to pay $2 for the small museums that are open daily 10.00-16.00
Some people may find funny/interesting the actors with colonial costumes along the alley but the only thing I liked here was the colorful houses, the row of these colonial houses is really charming.
Address: Elfreth’s Alley, Philadelphia, PA
Directions: off Second Street, between Arch and Race Streets,
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