Filled with sensational skyline views, beautiful vistas and stunning street scenes, Philadelphia is easy on the eyes—and the lenses. Photographers, videographers and Instagrammers covering Philadelphia have no shortage of vantage points and iconic scenes 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 vantage points and insider tips for capturing just the right angle at each of them.
*Also good for person-on-the-street interviews
In Center City:
1. Cira Green – The western facades of Center City’s skyscrapers as seen from the grassy rooftop of Cira Centre South, 90 feet above the street. Open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. in summer, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. fall through spring. 129 S. 30th Street (entrance at 30th Street between Chestnut & Walnut Street), ciragreen.com
2. 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, noon-4:15 p.m. 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, (215) 686-2840, phila.gov/virtualch
3. Loews Philadelphia Hotel – From the 33rd floor of the historic PSFS building, view of Center City and City Hall through large glass windows. Especially great at sunset. 1200 Market Street, (215) 627-1200, loewshotels.com
4. One Liberty Observation Deck – Attraction, 57 floors up, with 360-degree city views through floor-to-ceiling windows. Shot works best during the day. Tripods permitted on “Viewful Tuesdays.” Open until 9 p.m. April-September; until 8 p.m. October-March. Adult admission $14.50.
1650 Market Street, (215) 561-3325, phillyfromthetop.com
5. SkyGarten – An indoor-outdoor beer garden on the 51st floor with skyline views, all the way past Center City skyscrapers and past the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. 1717 Arch Street, (215) 557-7887, skygarten.com
From The West:
6. 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 works during clear weather—and can be especially lovely at nighttime.
7. 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/publicspace/drexelpark
8. Lemon Hill Mansion – View of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a glimpse of the Schuylkill River toward the Philadelphia skyline. East Fairmount Park, Sedgley & Lemon Hill Drives, parkcharms.com/lemon-hill
9. 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) 898-8658, upenn.edu
10. *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 near 30th Street, (215) 243-0555, ext. 229, universitycity.org
11. *Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk – Views of Center City skyscrapers with the boardwalk and trails stretching for miles along the river. Ramp access at 25th & Locust Streets and 25th & Chestnut Streets, (215) 222-6030, schuylkillbanks.org
From The South:
12. Citizens Bank Park – Standing in sections 333 or 237, distant view of the Philadelphia skyline. Advanced notice required. A small fee may apply. 1 Citizens Bank Way, (215) 463-1000, philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com
13. Lincoln Financial Field – Standing on the ramp by the Xfinity Gate near sign for sections 239 to 243, another long-range view of the Philadelphia skyline. Advanced notice required. A small fee may apply. 1 Lincoln Financial Field Way, (267) 570-4000, lincolnfinancialfield.com
From New Jersey:
14. Adventure Aquarium – Philadelphia skyline view from east, including Benjamin Franklin Bridge. 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ, (844) 474-3474, adventureaquarium.com
15. 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), Camden, NJ, drpa.org
16. 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
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.
17. Assembly Rooftop Lounge – Sweeping views of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from atop this well-appointed roofdeck of the Logan Philadelphia Hotel. Advanced notice required. 1 Logan Square, (215) 963-1500, theloganhotel.com
18. Boathouse Row – Iconic set of collegiate crew clubhouses, lovely during the day, lit up at night. From Fairmount Water Works (behind Philadelphia Museum of Art) or Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. (215) 685-0723, fairmountwaterworks.org
19. 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) 561-1776, embassysuites3.hilton.com
20. 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
21. Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central branch – Upper outdoor balcony with sweeping views of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Swann Memorial Fountain at Logan Circle. Accessible during free events, such as the pop-up rooftop beer gardens; available to press and by private rental. 1901 Vine Street, (215) 686-5322, freelibrary.org
22. Kelly Drive – One tenth of a mile from the Philadelphia Museum of Art; charming Boathouse Row on Schuylkill River also in background.
23. 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, for permit: beta.phila.gov/services/permits-violations-licenses/apply-for-a-media-permit
24. *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, for permit: beta.phila.gov/services/permits-violations-licenses/apply-for-a-media-permit
Delaware River Delights:
25. *Blue Cross Summerfest/Winterfest – Seasonal attraction with roller/ice-skating rink and views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Permit required. 101 S. Columbus Boulevard (at Market Street), (215) 629-3200, riverrink.com
26. *Morgan’s Pier – Views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the Delaware River and boats docked in the harbor. Open April through October. 221 N. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 279-7134, morganspier.com
27. *Race Street Pier – View of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the Delaware River and soon-to-be Cherry Street Pier. Permit required. Columbus Boulevard at Race Street, (215) 629-3200, racestreetpier.com
28. *Spruce Street Harbor Park – Views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and historic ships from seasonal park with beer garden, hammocks, lights and family activities. Permit required. 301 S. Columbus Boulevard (at Spruce Street), (215) 629-3200, sprucestreetharborpark.com
Broad Street Beauties:
29. *Broad Street, also known as Avenue of the Arts – Standing on the median in the center of the street, both north and south of Philadelphia 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
30. 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
31. *Elfreth’s Alley – The nation’s oldest continuously occupied residential street gives cobblestone charm and quaint rowhouse realness. Between 2nd & Front Streets and Arch & Race Streets, museum at 124-126, (215) 574-0560, elfrethsalley.org
32. Independence Visitor Center – East- and south-facing second-floor balconies with views of The President’s House, the Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall and the National Constitution Center. Advanced notice required. 599 Market Street, (800) 537-7676, phlvisitorcenter.com
33. *Liberty Bell – Iconic Bell as seen against the backdrop of Independence Hall. Permit required for interior filming, provided the project meets Independence National Historical Park criteria. Commercial filming not permitted inside the building while open to the public. 6th Street between Market & Chestnut Streets, (215) 597-9205, nps.gov/inde
34. National Constitution Center – Upper indoor space and outdoor terrace with Independence Hall in the background. Advanced notice required; depending on extent and needs, a fee may be charged. 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6600, constitutioncenter.org
35. National Museum of American Jewish History – Upper balcony with wide view of Independence Mall from the National Constitution Center to Independence Hall and all the way to City Hall. Advanced notice required. 5th & Market Streets, (215) 923-3811, nmajh.org
36. *9th Street Italian Market – The nation’s oldest continuous outdoor market. 9th Street between Christian Street & Washington Avenue, (215) 278-2903, italianmarketphilly.org
37. *Pat’s King of Steaks & Geno’s Steaks – Famous Philly cheesesteak vendors—and rivals—that occupy the same South Philly street corner (9th Street & Passyunk Avenue) and serve the masses 24/7. Geno’s, (215) 389-0659, genosteaks.com; Pat’s (215) 468-1546, patskingofsteaks.com
38. *Reading Terminal Market – Indoor food paradise filled with more than 80 historic and new vendors, many of which are Amish. 12th & Arch Streets, (215) 922-2317, readingterminalmarket.org
More Iconic Philadelphia:
39. *Friendship Gate – Colorful, ornate, four-story symbolic gateway to historic, hip Chinatown. 10th & Arch Streets
40. *LOVE Sculpture – Famous Robert Indiana icon in the heart of JFK Plaza. Permit required; potential fee charged by City of Philadelphia Department of Parks & Recreation. 1 S. 15th Street, (215) 440-5507, for permit: beta.phila.gov/services/permits-violations-licenses/apply-for-a-media-permit
41. Mural Arts Philadelphia – More than 4,000 outdoor murals in all, including Rise, part of the North Philadelphia Beacon Project at Broad Street and Lehigh Avenue, Keith Haring’s We The Youth at 22nd and Ellsworth Streets in Point Breeze and South Philly Musicians Remix at the northwest corner of Broad and Tasker Streets. (215) 685-0750, muralarts.org
42. *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, for permit: beta.phila.gov/services/permits-violations-licenses/apply-for-a-media-permit
43. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens – Multi-level, open city lot filled with the whimsical, fantastical, impassioned 3-D mosaics of artist/activist Isaiah Zagar. 1020 South Street, (215) 733-0390, philadelphiasmagicgardens.org
VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.
On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.