40+ Of Philadelphia’s Best Vantage Points
Published on : Thursday, April 28, 2016
Filled with sensational skyline views, beautiful vistas and stunning street scenes, Philadelphia is easy on the eyes—and the lenses. Photographers and videographers covering Philadelphia for a quick news story, a full-length feature or just because have no shortage of vantage points to choose from in this city between two rivers—the Delaware on the east and the Schuylkill on the west. Here are more than 40 VISIT PHILADELPHIA-approved vantage points and insider tips for capturing just the right angle at each of them.
*Also good for man-on-the-street interviews
In Center City:
- One Liberty Observation Deck: New attraction, 883 feet high, with 360-degree city views (glass barrier). Possible equipment restrictions. Limited visibility in bad weather and at night. Shot works best during the day in clear weather. Open until 10 p.m. 1650 Market Street, (215) 561-3325,phillyfromthetop.com
- Top of the Tower: Dramatic skyline view from inside 51-story building and balcony access for 360-degree view. Potential fee depending on how much staff time is involved to fulfill request. 1717 Arch Street, (215) 567-8787, topofthetower.com
- City Hall Observation Deck: At the top of City Hall tower, just under the statue of William Penn’s feet, 360-degree city views (glass barrier), and elaborate architectural details. Weekdays only. 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, (215) 686-2840, phila.gov/virtualch
- Loews Philadelphia Hotel: From 33rd floor, view of Center City and City Hall through large glass windows. Especially great at sunset. 1200 Market Street, (215) 627-1200, loewshotels.com
- Pennsylvania Convention Center: Good indoor stand-up location. Liberty Place skyscrapers visible through glass wall on 3rd floor. 1101 Arch Street, (215) 418-4754, paconvention.com
From The West:
- Belmont Plateau: Skyline view from 10 minutes west of Center City. Take Schuylkill Expressway west to Montgomery Avenue and turn right onto Belmont Avenue. Shot only works during clear weather.
- Lemon Hill Mansion: View of the Philadelphia skyline with the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the foreground. Shot only works during clear weather. East Fairmount Park, Sedgley Drive & Lemon Hill Drive, (215) 232-4337, lemonhill.org
- Drexel Park: View of the Philadelphia skyline from Drexel University’s campus in West Philadelphia. Credit to Drexel University is required on all photographs and footage. 32nd Street & Powelton Avenue, (215) 895-6741, universitycity.org/drexel-park
- Penn Park: View of the Philadelphia skyline from the University of Pennsylvania’s campus in West Philadelphia. Credit to University of Pennsylvania is required on all photographs and footage. 3000 Walnut Street, (215) 573-2320, upenn.edu
- *The Porch at 30th Street Station: View of the Center City skyline from the west, with or without VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s signature XOXO structure. Market Street between 29th & 30th Streets, (215) 243-0555, ext. 229, universitycity.org
- *Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk: Views of Center City skyscrapers with the boardwalk and trails stretching for miles along the river. Access at 25th & Locust Streets, (215) 222-6030, schuylkillbanks.org
- Philadelphia Zoo: Views of Fairmount Park, Center City and the zoo itself from the 6ABC Zooballoon. Permit and fee may be required; limited seasonal availability only.
3400 W. Girard Avenue, (215) 243-1100, philadelphiazoo.org
From The South:
- Citizens Bank Park: Standing in sections 333 or 237, view of the Philadelphia skyline. Advanced notice required. A small fee may apply. Shot only works during clear weather. 1 Citizens Bank Way, (215) 463-1000, philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com
- Lincoln Financial Field: Standing on the ramp by the Chrysler Jeep Gate near sign for sections 239 to 243, view of the Philadelphia skyline. Advanced notice required. A small fee may apply. Shot only works during clear weather. 1 Lincoln Financial Field Way, (267) 570-4000, lincolnfinancialfield.com
From New Jersey:
- Adventure Aquarium: Philadelphia skyline view from east, including Benjamin Franklin Bridge. 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ, (856) 365-3300, adventureaquarium.com
- Wiggins Waterfront Park: View of Philadelphia skyline from the east, across the river, with Benjamin Franklin Bridge. 2 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ, (856) 541-7222, camdenwaterfront.com
- Benjamin Franklin Bridge: Standing at the start of the bridge on the Camden side, view of the Philadelphia skyline. 4th & Pearl Streets (directly behind the Rutgers University Gymnasium), drpa.org
Parkway Pleasures & Schuylkill River Delights:
A multi-phase, multi-year construction project is now underway on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. We advise that you scout the area before committing to a particular vantage point along this stretch.
- Embassy Suites: Long lens standup from some suites and meeting rooms with City Hall in one direction, Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the other. Advanced notice is required. Equipment restrictions may apply. 1776 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 561-8816,embassysuites3.hilton.com
- The Logan: Sweeping views of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from the rooftop bar, which opens in May 2016. Advanced notice required. 1 Logan Square, (215) 963-1500, theloganhotel.com
- Swann Memorial Fountain at Logan Circle: Featuring three main figures sculpted by Alexander Stirling Calder; City Hall view in one direction, Philadelphia Museum of Art in the other. Permit required; fee charged by City of Philadelphia Department of Parks & Recreation. Benjamin Franklin Parkway between Race & Vine Streets, (215) 683-0200
- Free Library of Philadelphia: Upper outdoor balcony with sweeping views of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Swann Memorial Fountain at Logan Circle. Due to ongoing construction, some of the views may be obstructed. No fee required unless overtime is needed. Advanced notice required. 1901 Vine Street, (215) 686-5322, freelibrary.org
- The Franklin Institute: A 180-degree balcony view of Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Parkway museums and City Hall from the roof. Inside the free-to-enter lobby is the massive Benjamin Franklin National Memorial. 222 N. 20th Street, (215) 448-1176, fi.edu
- Philadelphia Museum of Art Steps and Rocky Statue: Parthenon-like façade of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the site of Rocky’s famous run; long lens compression down Parkway shows skyline and City Hall. Permit required; fee charged by City of Philadelphia Department of Parks & Recreation. 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 683-0200
- Kelly Drive: 1/10 of a mile from the Philadelphia Museum of Art; charming Boathouse Row on Schuylkill River also in background.
Delaware River Delights:
- *Race Street Pier: View of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the Delaware River. Permit required. Columbus Boulevard at Race Street, (215) 922-2FUN, delawareriverwaterfront.com
- *Morgan’s Pier: Views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the Delaware River and boats docked in the harbor. Open in season. 221 N. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 279-7134, morganspier.com
- *Spruce Street Harbor Park: Views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and historic ships from seasonal park with beer garden, hammocks and family activities. Open in season. Permit required. 301 S. Columbus Boulevard (at Spruce Street), (215) 922-2FUN, delawareriverwaterfront.com
- *Blue Cross Summerfest/Winterfest: Seasonal attraction with views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and historic ships; roller/ice-skating rink. Open in season. Permit required. 101 S. Columbus Boulevard (at Chestnut Street), (215) 922-2FUN, delawareriverwaterfront.com
Broad Street Beauties:
- *Broad Street, also known as Avenue of the Arts: Standing on the median in the center of the street, both north and south of City Hall, with City Hall as the backdrop. Especially pretty when the City Hall clock is illuminated in yellow at night. Broad Street from Vine to Arch Streets and from Chestnut to Spruce Streets
- Lenfest Plaza: Views of Claes Oldenburg’s Paint Torch, Jordan Griska’s Grumman Greenhouse(bent airplane sculpture), the Pennsylvania Convention Center and City Hall. Especially pretty when the City Hall clock is illuminated in yellow at night. Broad & Cherry Streets, (215) 972-7600, pafa.org
- National Constitution Center: Upper indoor space and outdoor balcony with Independence Mall in the background. Advanced notice required; a small fee may be charged if overtime is required. 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6600, constitutioncenter.org
- *Liberty Bell: Iconic Bell as seen against the backdrop of Independence Hall. Permit required. Cameras not permitted inside the building while open to the public. 6th Street between Market & Chestnut Streets, (215) 597-9205, nps.gov/inde
- Independence Visitor Center: Two upper balconies with views of The President’s House and Independence Hall. Advanced notice required. Availability is limited.
1 N. Independence Mall West, (800) 537-7676, phlvisitorcenter.com
- National Museum of American Jewish History: Upper balcony with wide view of Independence Mall from the National Constitution Center to Independence Hall. Advanced notice required. Availability is limited. 101 S. Independence Mall East, (215) 923-3811, nmajh.org
- *Old City: Bustling historic-yet-modern neighborhood east of Independence Mall filled with locals and visitors dining, shopping and gallery hopping. 2nd & 3rd Streets from Chestnut to Arch Streets
- *Italian Market: The nation’s oldest continuous outdoor market. 9th Street between Christian Street & Washington Avenue, (215) 278-2903, italianmarketphilly.org*Pat’s King of Steaks & Geno’s:Famous Philly cheesesteak vendors—and rivals—that occupy the same South Philly street corner (9
- th Street & Passyunk Avenue) and serve the masses 24/7. Geno’s, (215) 389-0659, genosteaks.com; Pat’s (215) 468-1546, patskingofsteaks.com
- *Reading Terminal Market: Indoor food paradise filled with all sorts of vendors, many of which are Amish; located right next to the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
12th & Arch Streets, (215) 922-2317, readingterminalmarket.org
- *Famous Fourth Street Delicatessen: Classic Jewish deli serving up gigantic portions and attracting Philly’s politicians and high-powered players on election day and beyond.
700 S. 4th Street, (215) 922-3274, famous4thstreetdelicatessen.com
More Iconic Philadelphia:
- *LOVE Sculpture: Famous Robert Indiana icon relocated to Dilworth Park during renovations to Love Park; Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the Philadelphia Museum of Art to the left when standing to the right of the statue. Permit required; potential fee charged by City of Philadelphia Department of Parks & Recreation. 1 S. 15th Street, (215) 440-5507
- *Rittenhouse Square: Historic square filled with office workers, amblers, families, musicians, etc. and surrounded by high-end restaurants. Permit required; potential fee charged by City of Philadelphia Department of Parks & Recreation. 18th & Walnut Streets, (215) 683-0200
- Mural Arts: More than 3,800 outdoor murals in all, including Common Threads at
Broad and Spring Garden Streets, Dr. J. at 1234 Ridge Street and Frank Sinatra at the northeast corner of Broad and Wharton Streets. (215) 685-0750, muralarts.org
- Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens: Multi-level, open city lot filled with the whimsical, fantastical, impassioned 3-D mosaics of artist/activist Isaiah Zagar. 1022-24 South Street, (215) 733-0390,philadelphiasmagicgardens.org
- *Friendship Gate: Colorful, ornate, four-story symbolic gateway to Chinatown.
10th & Arch Streets