Philadelphia played an instrumental role in the American Revolution as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States, who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787. The city is the economic and cultural anchor of Delaware Valley, Pennsylvania.
The Eastern State Penitentiary is a former American prison that was operational from 1829 until 1971. Notorious criminals such as Al Capone and bank robber Willie Sutton were held inside its innovative wagon wheel design. Completed in 1829, the building was the largest and most expensive public structure ever erected, and quickly became a model for more than 300 prisons worldwide. Its architectural significance first arose in 1821, when British architect John Haviland found most of his inspiration for the plan for the penitentiary from prisons and asylums built beginning in the 1780s in England and Ireland. He gave the prison a neo-Gothic look to instill fear into those who thought of committing a crime. Today, this former prison is a U.S. National Historic Landmark and is open to the public as a museum. The closest subway station is Fairmount Station.
It is an art museum originally chartered in 1876 for the Centennial Exposition, America's first World's Fair, when Philadelphia celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The main museum building was completed in 1928. The museum collections containing over 240,000 objects include major holdings of European, American and Asian origin. The various classes of artwork include sculpture, paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, armor and decorative arts. The museum is one of the largest art museums in the world based on gallery space.
The 72 stone steps before the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art have become known as the "Rocky Steps" as a result of their appearance in the triple-Oscar-winning film Rocky and five of its sequels. Tourists often mimic Rocky's famous climb, a metaphor for an underdog or an everyman rising to a challenge. A bronze statue of Rocky was cast and installed atop the steps for the filming of Rocky III, and was ultimately relocated at the bottom of the steps.
Opened in 1929, Rodin museum contains the largest collection of the famous sculptor Auguste Rodin's works outside Paris. The best-known of Rodin's works, The Thinker (1880–1882), sits outside the museum in the entry courtyard. A massive 5.5-m-tall bronze cast The Gates of Hell, located at the main entrance to the museum, is one of the three originals.
The cathedral is the head church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It is the largest Catholic church in Pennsylvania, and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Presented in a Roman-Corinthian style of architecture, with its grand façade, vaulted dome, ornate main altar, eight side chapels and main sanctuary that comfortably holds 2,000 worshippers, the cathedral is the largest brownstone structure and one of the most architecturally notable structures in the city.
The Barnes Foundation is an educational art and horticultural institution founded in 1922 by Albert C. Barnes, a chemist who collected art after making a fortune by co-developing an early anti-gonorrhea drug. The collection consists primarily of works by Impressionist and Modernist masters, but it also includes many other paintings by leading European and American artists, as well as ancient works from other cultures. The collection displays different types of items and works in "wall ensembles", which allow comparison and study of works from various time periods, geographic areas, and styles. The collection includes many works by renowned artists such as Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Degas, and Van Gogh. There is also a 12-acre arboretum open to the public for tours. The museum can be accessed by subway at Spring Garden Station or Race Vine Station.
This enclosed public market opened originally in 1893 in the train shed of the Reading Railroad Company after the city of Philadelphia advocated to move public markets from the streets into indoor facilities for both safety and sanitary reasons. Today, the market still occupies the ground floor and basement levels of the Reading Terminal's former train shed; and it still serves as a popular location for local Philadelphians to buy their goods and produce as well as singular culinary treats and unique merchandise. Over one hundred merchants offer fresh produce, meats, fish, artisan cheese, groceries, ice cream, flowers, grilled cheese, baked goods, crafts, books, clothing, and specialty and ethnic foods. Two of the vendors are descendants of original merchants from the initial opening in the late 1800s.
It is a nonprofit, nonpartisan institution devoted to explaining the United States Constitution. The center serves as an interactive museum and a national town hall for constitutional dialogue, regularly hosting government leaders, journalists, scholars, and celebrities for public discussions, including presidential debates. It opened on July 4, 2003, joining other historic sites and iconic attractions in what has been called "America's most historic square mile" because of the proximity to historic landmarks such as Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. The center is located at 525 Arch Street, an address chosen because May 25 (5/25) was the date that the Constitutional Convention began in Philadelphia in 1787.
The United States Mint produces circulating coinage for the United States to conduct its trade and commerce, as well as controlling the movement of bullion. The Philadelphia Mint is the Mint's largest facility. Philadelphia at that time was the nation's capital; therefore the first mint facility was built there. The current facility at Philadelphia, which opened in 1969, is the fourth Philadelphia Mint. It can produce up to one million coins in 30 minutes. It took three years for the original mint to produce that many. The mint also produces medals and awards for military, governmental, and civil services.
The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of American independence located in the Independence National Historical Park. The bell was commissioned in 1752 and was cast with the lettering "Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof," a Biblical reference. While there is no contemporary account of the Liberty Bell ringing, most historians believe it was one of the bells rung. After American independence was secured the bell fell into relative obscurity until, in the 1830s, the bell was adopted as a symbol by abolitionist societies, who dubbed it the "Liberty Bell." Today, the Liberty Bell weighs 940 kg. It hangs from what is believed to be its original yoke, made from American elm.
Independence Hall is the building where both the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted. It is now the centerpiece of the Independence National Historical Park. The building was completed in 1753 as the colonial legislature (later Pennsylvania State House) for the Province of Pennsylvania. It became the principal meeting place of the Second Continental Congress from 1775 to 1783 and was the site of the Constitutional Convention in the summer of 1787. A convention held in Independence Hall in 1915, presided over by former US president William Howard Taft, marked the formal announcement of the formation of the League to Enforce Peace, which led to the League of Nations and eventually the United Nations. The building is listed as a World Heritage Site.
Boathouse Row is a historic site located on the east bank of the Schuylkill River. It consists of a row of 15 boathouses housing social and rowing clubs and their racing shells. Each of the boathouses has its own history. They are all at least a century old, and some were built over 150 years ago. The boathouses are seen as centers of the rowing community around the United States and rowers from the boathouses compete at every level. In 1979, lights were installed to outline each of the boathouses, giving them a nightly Christmas-like gingerbread house appearance and reflecting in the Schuylkill River. Boathouse Row is a National Historic Landmark. It can be accessed by Light Rail at Girard Av & 29th St Station.
Built in 1901, this big, ornate massive municipal building is the seat of government for the city of Philadelphia. At the time, it was the first modern building (excluding the Eiffel Tower) to be the world's tallest and also was the first secular habitable building to have this record. With almost 700 rooms, City Hall is the largest municipal building in the United States. The building is topped by an 11.3 m, 27-ton bronze statue of city founder William Penn.
It is a non-profit organization, folk art environment, and gallery space. To date, it is the largest work created by mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar. The Magic Gardens spans three city lots, and includes indoor galleries and a large outdoor labyrinth. The mosaics are made up of everything from kitchen tiles to bike wheels, Latin-American art to china plates. The interior gallery space hosts artists from all over the world and exhibits artwork that has ties to the organization's mission in some way - whether ceramics, mosaics, or "outsider" art.
Elfreth's Alley is a street referred to as "Our nation's oldest residential street," dating to 1702. The 30 something houses were built between 1728 and 1836. Elfreth's Alley is named for Jeremiah Elfreth, an 18th-century blacksmith and property owner. Among the alley's residents were tradesmen and their families, including shipwrights, silver and pewter smiths, glassblowers, and furniture builders. The Georgian and Federal-style houses and cobblestone pavement of the alley were common in Philadelphia during this time. Present-day Elfreth's Alley is the product of cycles of urban renewal and decay as well as historic preservation efforts. It is a rare surviving example of 18th-century working-class housing stock.
The Spruce Street Harbor Park is an urban beach located in Penn's Landing in the city. During the summer, the place features a boardwalk along the Delaware River with a beachfront atmosphere. About 100 hammocks hang under thousands of LED lights hung in the trees during the night. There are multiple restaurants and pubs or bars. In 2014, Philadelphia inaugurated the first Harbor Park festival which was planned with beer gardens to start a new tradition they referred to as "Summer in the city".