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  • Writer's pictureVenture Philly Group

7 Iconic Philadelphia Buildings You Need to See

It’s no secret that Philadelphia is full of history - I mean it was the birthplace of America. And today we can still visit those buildings where iconic moments in history took place right here in Philadelphia. There are some truly beautiful and historic buildings, mixed with new additions that have made the city so special. Let’s take a look at 7 iconic Philly buildings that are a must-see.


1. Philadelphia City Hall

1 S. Penn Square, Philadelphia, PA 19107





This one is pretty obvious, but we have to take a moment to appreciate this architectural treasure in the heart of Philadelphia. It is the largest municipal building in the United States. It has more than 14.5 acres of floor space! Look up and you’ll see the statue of William Penn looking out over the city at the top of the 548 foot tower. Inside there’s the City Council Chamber, Mayor’s Reception Room, Conversation Hall and Supreme Court Room. You can take a guided tour of the building and take a trip up to the open-air observation deck.

Neighborhood: Located in Center City, just outside Rittenhouse Square

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2. Philadelphia Museum of Art

2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130





This marvelous cultural heart of Philadelphia sits atop a hill at the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. It’s one of the largest art museums in the country - and the building itself is a true masterpiece. Julian Abele, the chief designer and first African-American graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s architecture school, was the mastermind behind the iconic museum. He was inspired while traveling in Greece and came up with this idea of three linked Greek temples. It’s truly majestic and you’ve got to check it out.

Neighborhood: Fairmount

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3. Independence Hall

520 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106





If you love history, Independence Hall is calling your name. It’s the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution - talk about important! Inside is George Washington’s “rising sun” chair in the Assembly Room that is arranged just as it was during the original Constitutional Convention. There’s also the actual inkstand used to sign the Declaration of Independence and an original draft of the Constitution. Right across the street is the Liberty Bell. History buffs - you’ve got to see this!

Neighborhood: Old City

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4. Eastern State Penitentiary

2027 Fairmount Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19130





America’s most historic prison - the Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world. Today the Gothic structure sits on Fairmount Ave in ruins. Left behind are crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. It held infamous American criminals such as “scarface” Al Capone. It opened in 1829 and was an experiment to reform criminals through strict isolation. After 142 years, it closed its doors in 1971. Today you can tour the prison and during Halloween they have Terror Behind the Walls - a haunted house.

Neighborhood: Fairmount

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5. Comcast Center Campus

17th and John F. Kennedy Boulevard and 1800 Arch Street





If you’ve got a thing for skyscrapers, this one is for you. It’s actually more of a two for one. The Comcast Center and The Comcast Technology Center are the two tallest skyscrapers in Philadelphia (and among the tallest in the United States). They soar 58 and 60 stories high! At the top of the technology center is the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel and the new JG Skyhigh bar to enjoy cocktails with a view! It’s also home to NBC 10 and plenty of dining options!

Neighborhood: Logan Square

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6. Carpenters’ Hall

320 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106





This was the meeting place of the First Continental Congress. This came before the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. In 1774, delegates from 12 colonies (Georgia abstained), gathered here at Carpenters’ Hall and voted to support a trade embargo against England, one of the first unified acts of defiance against the King. It’s another moment in history that played a major role in shaping the world as we know it today and it’s right here in Philadelphia!

Neighborhood: Old City

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7. Boathouse Row

1 Boathouse Row, Philadelphia, PA 19130





Boathouse Row is a historic site on the east bank of the Schuylkill River. It consists of a row of 15 boathouses housing local boating clubs. At night, lights outline the homes that you can see from across the river. The historic 19th century houses are sandwiched between Kelly Drive and the Schuylkill River. It’s a welcomed sight every time you drive in or out of the city!

Neighborhood: Fairmount

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