A jewel of the Independence National Historic Park, the Liberty Bell spans layers and layers of long-standing history. In 1751, William Penn asked that the new bell being cast for the Pennsylvania Statehouse be engraved with the words, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” When the bell first rang to call citizens to the first reading of the Declaration of Independence, little did it know that it was going to change the course of the country forever. It was later dubbed the 'Liberty Bell' by abolitionists, who adopted the bell as a symbol of their fight for freedom for all Americans. A copper-clad, 2,080-pound (940-kilogram) icon of American independence, The Liberty Bell yet serves as a symbol of pride, inspiration and freedom.
Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) can best be described as—a large, square space filled with ideas and beauty. Past shows have included retrospectives of Agnes Martin, Robert Morris, Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe, Paul Thek and Peter Campus. There's no permanent collection, so check ahead about the current schedule. From July 1, 2008 ICA has become free to all visitors.
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.
Established in 1985, The Dock Street Brewing Co. is a pioneering microbrewery in America. With award-winning artisanal beers to its credit, it remains at the forefront of West Philly’s beer culture. This laid-back brewpub, located in the heart of Cedar Park, offers a great selection of tap beer with delicious bar fare. Calzones, burgers, gourmet wraps and wood-fired pizzas are best sellers. They also organize an annual music fest and film screenings that are a big draw among patrons.
The Masonic Temple is the home of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania. The current building, dedicated in 1873, now houses the Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania. The library contains the most extensive collection of Masonic literature in America. The museum houses a diversified collection of Masonic treasures that is unequaled and international in scope. The Masons sponsor a number of youth, educational and recreational opportunities. They have been strong supporters of Little League baseball and direct a number of scholarship and grant programs.
This little hollow across from City Hall is most noteworthy for Robert Indiana's 1978 "Love" sculpture. The piece has become a popular symbol for the "City of Brotherly Love" and its image is plastered all over the city. It's 20-foot-tall appeal lies in its simplicity: The letters L, O, V, E, stacked on top of each other. During a usual lunch hour the park attracts an odd combination of Armani clad businesspeople and skateboarders who skinny-dip their modes of transport in this concrete pond. They're actually fun to watch.
As the largest fully-functioning pipe organ in the world, the Wanamaker Organ has serenaded visitors to the Wanamaker Building with special concerts since 1911. Although ownership of the building has since changed over to Macy's, the organ can still be viewed and heard in all its splendor. The Wanamaker Organ is played at least twice daily Monday through Saturday, so be sure to stop by and hear it in person.
This 1976 Claes Oldenburg sculpture carries the same bit of quirk found in many of his other works about the city. If you take a stroll through Philadelphia, you'll find it is not that odd to find a 20-foot tall, red clothespin in the middle of high activity areas. The Clothespin also provided the background for a scene with Jamie Lee Curtis and Dan Ankroyd in the film "Trading Places." There are other Claes Oldenburg sculptures around town, including the giant broken button on the Penn campus at 36th and Locust Walk.
The Union League of Philadelphia originated back in 1862 in order to promote Abraham Lincoln's policies. Today, the exquisitely architecrured historical building stands tall in the heart of Philadelphia's busiest commercial district. The league has been involved with a number of philanthropic activities through the Youth Work Foundation and other such organizations. In the one-quarter million square feet of space that the building has, it encompasses 14 banquet and event rooms with excellent audio visual facilities and catering services. The space is used for everything from award ceremonies and fashion shows to corporate meetings and trade fairs.
Established in 1816, the Philadelphia Savings Fund Bank was the first savings bank to do business in the United States. By the 20th Century, the PSFS had attracted the largest amount of depositors anywhere in the country. With such great success, the bank had begun to outgrow itself, thus needing a new space to call home. In the 1920's, the PSFS made a monumental move and commissioned the most modern skyscraper of its time. Completed in 1932, the 30-story skyscraper was constructed using the finest materials and innovations including granite and marble throughout the interior of the building and a limestone covered tower on the exterior. Now revered as the first American skyscraper, the PSFS is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. Although the bank eventually went under in the early 1990's, the building has maintained its historic place (including the famous PSFS sign atop the building) and is now the Loews Philadelphia Hotel.