Formerly the largest prison facility in America, the Eastern State Penitentiary is now Philadelphia’s major tourist attraction. What was once the most expensive prison in the country now stands in ruins, but that does not stop curious tourists from visiting the attraction. A first-of-its-kind, the penitentiary implemented previously unheard ideas of incarceration, which prioritized reformation over punishment. Today, the vaulted cell blocks and central rotunda invite many a tourists keen on knowing the eventful history of this fascinating establishment. What adds to the curiosity of the masses is the fact that the prison was home to notorious inmates such as ‘Slick Willie’ Sutton and Al Capone.
Philadelphia's South Street is home to one of the most remarkable creations of art in the city. Known as the Magic Gardens, this work by artist Isaiah Zagar spans almost an entire block and engulfs everything in sight including the pathways and building walls. The continuously evolving work is a colourful riot and incorporates tiles, bottles, bicycle tires, spokes; pretty much anything you could think of. With this stunning landscape and installations, the artist draws you into his world for a peek into his mind. This one is not to be missed.
Union Transfer is a joint collaboration of Four Corners Management, R5 Productions and The Bowery Presents. Housed in a historic brick structure dating back to 1889, this music venue opened in 2011 and is now among the prominent concert spaces in town. It features three fully equipped bars and a few concession stands. Most of their shows are for all ages. Some of their previous listings are Metermaids, Jello Biafra, The Antlers, Mischief Brew, Sage Francis and Guantanamo School of Medicine.
Spreading across 9200 acres (3723.11 hectares) with 63 parks, Fairmount Park is among the biggest city park systems in the nation. It features picturesque trails, rolling hills, streams, historical structures, woodlands, public arts and more. The Centennial Arboretum, Horticulture Center, Japanese House and Garden and Philadelphia Museum of Art are some of the interesting sites located in this massive expanse. It also has recreational centers and sporting fields.
Due to its spellbinding architecture and sheer grandeur, Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul is a must-visit place on the list of every tourist in Philadelphia. This beautiful cathedral is the centerpiece of one of the largest Catholic populations in North America. It was designed by celebrated architect Napoleon LeBrun and constructed between 1846 and 1864 by blending Palladian and Italian Renaissance architectural styles. A beautiful “baldachin” or “canopy” over the altar is evidence of the Italian influence while the church façade is in the Palladian style. In fact, you may be forgiven for thinking you are in Europe while viewing this glorious cathedral. Embark on an audio tour and learn more about its eight chapels, 2000-seat sanctuary, vaulted copper dome, and a spectacular apse featuring red marble carvings and stained glass work. During the tour, you will also be familiarized with the fascinating history of the basilica. As Pennsylvania's largest Catholic church, this monument is recorded in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art features over 240,000 objects filled with treasures spanning across continents and cultures, drawn from a collection of more than 400,000 works of art like prints, drawings and photographs. The huge stone edifice of the museum, supported by majestic Doric columns, looks over the Schuylkill River. Scale the steps made famous in the 'Rocky' movies.
Rita of Cascia was born in Italy in 1386. At the age of twelve, she was married to an abusive man and was forced to endure his rage until his death eighteen years later. Rita delighted in her two sons until they also died; she then entered a convent and devoted herself to Christ. Rita is worshipped as the "Saint of the Impossible" and the "Saint of Desperate Causes." In 1907, George Lovatt built this Renaissance-style church in Philadelphia. It has become a national center of devotion to St. Rita.
Permanent displays consist of paintings, drawings, sculpture, multi media montages and photography. CFEVA acts as a collective exhibition and promotion network for local artists. The different events held here and organized by them help spread awareness about the arts. Showcasing of various artists exposes people from different media towards the talents on display. The website has a lot of additional information and is updated regularly.
Temple Emanuel is a community of people who wish propagate the Jewish teachings. Here, people are taught various spiritual practices that help them get closer to God. The Synagogue was founded in 1950 and since then it has committed itself to serving the society and spreading the teachings of the Jewish heritage.
This 92-acre public garden is populated with rare, exotic and large trees presented in four different environments: The English Park, Rose Garden, Swan Pond and Japanese Garden all offer a multitude of species and phylum of plants specific to each area. The generally Victorian tone of the gardens radiates a sense of romance and natural splendor. University of Pennsylvania students conduct botanical experiments and studies that are also on display.
During the day this park is alive with skateboarders, sunbathers and dog walkers; at night couples stroll on romantic walks. The natural sanctuary of lovely trees and green grass is surrounded by one of the city's most upscale eating, shopping and residential districts. Renamed Rittenhouse Square in 1825 for esteemed clockmaker and astronomer David Rittenhouse, this spot is the ideal place to take refuge from modern distractions. A few steps down the path at any of the six gates, and the noise and traffic of the city seem to disappear.
Built between 1698-1700, Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church survives today as the oldest church in Pennsylvania. The church is known as Old Swedes because Swedish pioneers were the first to settle the area in 1646. There is a fine collection of religious historical and religious artifacts the church has acquired over three centuries, including bronze crosses and 18th Century bibles in Swedish and English. The building itself is a perfectly preserved example of 18th Century public architecture. Today the church is still owned and maintained by its congregation of Episcopalians. The church is part of the Independence National Historical Park system.