One of the city's most unique parks and outdoor spaces, Race Street Pier stands close to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, jutting out into the Delaware River. Manicured lawns cover one part of the pier, while a beautiful raised promenade occupies the rest of the space. From joggers in the morning to picnicking families and tourists looking for some calm by the river, the park sees a lot of visitors throughout the day, and is an excellent bet for people-watching. Panoramic vistas of the city make it a favorite hangout for photographers. Check website for more.
In the 19th century, the Academy was the American equivalent of the best European art schools. A host of genres and mediums from the most prominent names in American art are constantly on display, with new pieces rotating their way into the collection. Some of America's best artists either taught or were students here, including Thomas Eakins and Mary Cassatt. The building itself is a work of art designed by Frank Furness, an influential 19th-century American architect.
Philadelphia Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the nation. Founded in 1874, this 42-acre (17-hectare) sanctuary on the Schuylkill River bank is home to over 100 species of rare and exotic fauna. Explore the Carnivore Kingdom, Reptile Exercise Yard, Monkey Junction, Small Mammal House, the Big Cat Crossing and other exhibits, and acquaint yourself with wildlife and their conservation. They shelter the Brazilian Agouti, Carribean Flamingo, and endangered species like the Micronesian Kingfisher, Western Lowland Gorrila and Panamanian Golden Frog. Visitors can also follow their interesting trails like Treetop or Great Ape. Children can enjoy river boat rides, safaris and the Amazon Rainforest Carousel. A viist is a great activity for school groups, campers, families and friends.
A working-class Philadelphian himself, Dr Albert Coombs Barnes established the foundation in 1922 to promote appreciation of the fine arts among the common man. Over the years, the Barnes Foundation has procured one of the most noteworthy collections of early French modern and post-impressionist paintings in the world. Works by artists like Renoir, Cezanne, Monet, Picasso and Rousseau are part of the collection. The collection has only toured once and then only a fraction of it was sent out. It is necessary to call ahead for a reserved admission ticket.
Few artistic geniuses have captured the human form and condition in sculpture-like Auguste Rodin. Marvel at perhaps his most famous work, The Thinker, and wonder at the introspective nature of man and the might that is thought and creation. The Kiss and other noteworthy sculptures are also on hand including his last work, Gates of Hell. Apart from the French Rodin Musee, the Philadelphia locale is considered the largest collection of his masterpieces.
This has been the jewel of the Philadelphia culture scene since it opened in 1857. The simple brick Federalist exterior opens into an ornate interior—art deco lamps, velvet cushions, and possibly the largest chandelier on the East Coast. The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Pennsylvania Ballet, the opera and the occasional pop show have performed at the academy. There is some criticism about the acoustics and sight lines, but none of this matters. This is where the big shows are.
Gothic and neoclassical influences dominate the features of City Hall. The statue of William Penn that resides atop City Hall's clock tower remains a Philadelphia skyline marker—until the 1980s there was a "gentleman's agreement" that no Philadelphia building would be built higher than the rim of Penn's hat. City Hall provides a majestic backdrop for shoppers and businesspersons alike as it is situated on the intersection of the city's two main arteries, Broad and Market Streets. The tour of the City Hall lasts for 1.5 to 2 hours.
In operation for more than 30 years, the Gross McCleaf Art Gallery caters to those who prefer pieces that are geared more toward contemporary realism than abstract work from local and regional artists. Gross McCleaf Gallery carries an extensive inventory that is rotated around three locations.
Philadelphia Center for Architecture gives you a chance to learn about the city's magnificent architecture through guided tours. Throughout the tour, their learned guides will acquaint you with the architectural styles that were used in the construction of PA Academy of the Arts, Reading Terminal, City Hall, the Wanamaker building, the Union League Building and Comcast Center, with comparisons drawn from architecture in Chicago and New York. The tour also talks about the city's transportation and planning, and lets you enjoy a bird's-eye view of the historic city from certain platforms.
Casual visitors, artists and fabric buyers alike enjoy the fusion of the brilliant textile displays and on-site working fabric design shop of this unique museum. Located in an industrial loft, original designs from some of the most notable names in the fabric art world are on display. The institution also gets the community involved with the Apprentice in Training program that educates students about every characteristic of the textile production process and the artistic aspect. The gift shop also sells prints and other items.