A Two Day Tour – One Day in Old City, One Day on the Ben Franklin Parkway
View of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, from the Philadelphia Museum of Art Steps (the "Rocky steps"). To better see this dazzling view in all its magnificence, just click directly on the photo, to enlarge it.
If you're in Philadelphia for just two days, we've designed this custom tour for you. We recommend that you spend one day in
Old City Philadelphia.
seeing the many 18th-century sites. We then recommend that you spend your other day west of Broad Street, taking in the western part of Center City, experiencing the attractions on the
Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
The First Day - Old City Philadelphia Attractions
You can refer to our
One Day Tour of Philadelphia
for many of the details for the first day. Here is what we customize for the first night, since you'll be staying overnight in or near Center City.
We'd recommend that if you are in Philadelphia, while the
Lights of Liberty
show and tour is taking place, that you go see it. That's the best use of your time, and you'll have a great experience.
After Lights of Liberty -
Important Note - September 17, 2010 - Lights of Liberty Is Currently CLOSED, Due to Extensive Renovations and Improvements - It Will Re-Open to the Public in 3D Format, on September 29, 2010 - Several Months Earlier Than Planned
There is a good deal of foot traffic in Old City, particularly if it's a weekend night, and the weather is reasonably warm (or at least not cold), and it's, by and large, a safe place, as long as you're alert.
If you'd like some good pictures, and a sense of elegance, we'd recommend a walk down Broad Street from
along what has become known as the Avenue of the Arts. This cultural corridor contains many of the city's best known performing arts institutions. It starts at City Hall, and extends down several blocks.
We'd also then recommend jumping in a cab, and heading over to
South Street has a cool vibe to it on any evening, but particularly if it's a weekend night, it will be hopping. We wouldn't recommend walking all the way from Broad Street, as much of the street from the intersection of Broad and South isn't much to see. The interesting part starts at around 8th or so, and extends over to Headhouse Square, at 2nd and South.
Your Second Day - The Benjamin Franklin Parkway Attractions
There's no hope of doing everything on the Parkway in a lifetime, let alone one day. However, we've designed this section to maximize your experience in Philadelphia.
If You're Here, During the Day, During the Week
We'd recommend that you start your day, at
Philadelphia City Hall Tower
, where you can ride to the hat of the gargantuan, 37-foot
William Penn Statue
The view from the hat of the 17th-century founder of Pennsylvania is magnificent, spectacular, and unmatched anywhere else in the city.
This is a microcosm of your day - this is the view of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, from the hat of the William Penn statue atop City Hall. This is a great perspective of the spectacular view from City Hall - the Museum of Art is 1.6 miles away... To better appreciate this view, just click directly on the photo, to enlarge it.
We recommend that you start your day at City Hall, for two reasons.
One is because it closes earlier than the other attractions we're describing here. The other is that it can also "sell out", due to large demand, and the fact that it isn't open on the weekends. (That's not a factor anywhere else, other than tickets for
which you can obtain only at the
Independence Visitor Center.
- and hopefully, you've already been there, during the first day of your tour of Philadelphia. Or you'll be there on your second day, if you're doing the Ben Franklin Parkway attractions as your first day.)
Eventually, you'll work your way up the Ben Franklin Parkway to the Museum of Art, which is 1.6 miles away. But the Museum of Art steps - made famous as the
- by definition, are open 24 hours a day. But, in contrast, City Hall isn't.
If You're In Town, on the Weekend
However, if you're in town on the weekend, or if you aren't interested in City Hall, then we'd recommend that you start at the
Philadelphia Museum of Art,
at 26th and the Parkway.
View Two Day Tour of Philadelphia - Second Day - Ben Franklin Parkway in a larger map
In addition to its world-class art collections, the Museum of Art also has benefited from its association with the fictional Rocky Balboa, from the Rocky series of films starring Sylvester Stallone.
If you are an art enthusiast, we'd highly recommend the Museum of Art, per se (and even if you aren't, there are tons of cool things to see inside the Museum, given its huge dimensions and ever-changing galleries).
But, if you're trying to pack as much Philadelphia as possible, into your day or weekend, we'd recommend just running (or walking) up the steps, getting a picture with the
at the base, and continuing on...
There is a purpose as to why we recommend that you start the day, at the Museum of Art (at least, if you're not starting it at City Hall.) The main reason is that it occupies a relatively distant position, relative to the other attractions in Philadelphia. It's a long, over-a-mile-and-a-half walk back from there, or a significant ride.
Accordingly, you're better off starting your day up there at 26th, and working your way back toward Broad Street (the north-south equivalent of "14th Street"). This is particularly true, if you're here off-season, and daylight and temperatures can diminish rapidly...
The other is that it's a rapid stop, if you don't go into the Museum itself. The Art Museum steps really are a must-see in Philadelphia, and the only reason they aren't included in the One Day Tour, is the fact that they're so far from Old City. So make sure you get to the steps, and then plan the rest of your day.
Once you're done with that...
We would recommend that you walk as much of the Parkway as possible. The flags of all of the world's sovereign nations line both sides of the Parkway, in alphabetical order. They are a spectacular backdrop, as you enjoy the view from the Art Museum steps, and if you're walking back, they flank you along with the beautiful landscaping, on both sides of the Parkway.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, from the perspective of the Ben Franklin Parkway. This picture, taken just beneath the intersection of 20th Street and the Parkway, provides a good perspective of the colorful ambience of a walk on the Parkway. For a better view, just click directly on the photo to enlarge it.
The Swann Memorial Fountain - Logan Circle / "Logan Square"
Undoubtedly, you should see the Swann Memorial Fountain at
Logan Circle, also known as Logan Square.
You can consult the preceding link to learn more about Logan Circle, and why it's sometimes called Logan Square - and most importantly, more about the Swann Fountain. Although it is beautiful at any time of day, it is particularly spectacular, at dusk, or at night.
Swann Memorial Fountain, Logan Circle, as dusk falls... To better appreciate this stunning picture, just click directly on the photo to enlarge it.
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