30 Philadelphia Landmarks You Must Visit

10 min read

Destguides may receive commissions from purchases made through affiliate links in this article.

A city skyline under a bright blue sky with some clouds
Philadelphia has a diverse culture and history and is home to many landmarks

Philadelphia is the largest and most populous city in the state of Pennsylvania, and it played a crucial role in the founding of the United States of America. Original 18th-century Colonial buildings still stand where you can follow in the footsteps of Founding Fathers like Benjamin Franklin or well-known citizens like Betsy Ross.

Nicknamed "The City of Brotherly Love," Philadelphia was founded on the principles of peace, tolerance, and freedom for all. Due to its rich culture, diversity, and collection of historical sites, Philadelphia was designated by UNESCO as the first World Heritage City in the United States.

From the Liberty Bell to the Rocky Steps, Philly has a collection of landmarks like no other. Here are 30 of the best-known Philadelphia landmarks that are a must-see on your next trip to this fascinating and educational destination.

Planning a last-minute trip to Philadelphia?

When visiting Philadelphia, book your entrance tickets and tours before you go. Here are some top choices to make your trip enjoyable.

☂️ Top tours and experiences in Philadelphia

30 Landmarks in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Landmarks Video

Check out our highlights video of Philadelphia landmarks.

Philadelphia Landmarks Map

A map of Philadelphia landmarks. Use the map to explore all of the points of interest.

Philadelphia Landmarks Map

Show Interactive Map

Philly Landmarks

A statue saying "LOVE" surrounded by Christmas trees, a fountain, and buildings
The LOVE statue is one of the most iconic Philadelphia landmarks

LOVE Statue

One of the most recognizable features of Philadelphia, the LOVE statue has been an icon since it was unveiled in 1976. It captures the embodiment of the spirit of the city, which has the Philadelphia nickname of "The City of Brotherly Love."

No visit to Philly is complete without a photo in front of this famous statue encompassed by the stunning Philadelphia skyline.

The Rocky Steps

Made famous by the movie Rocky, the stairs leading up to the Philadelphia Art Museum have become one of the most iconic landmarks of Philadelphia.

Countless visitors run up these steps every day, hoping to create their own Rocky movie moment. Atop the stairs sits a bronze statue dedicated to the beloved movie character who captured the spirit of Philadelphia.

☂️ Explore the Philadelphia Museum of Art Steps with a tour

A brick building with many windows and a tall clock tower atop it
Independence Hall is the centerpiece of Independence National Historical Park

Independence National Historical Park

Independence National Historical Park features a federally protected collection of National Historic Landmarks relating to the American Revolutionary War. Sprawling over 50 acres, the park is home to Independence Hall, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, and many other historically significant sites.

During a visit, you can see monuments like the Liberty Bell and follow the footsteps of America's Founding Fathers when they signed the Declaration of Independence.

☂️ Visit Independence National Historical Park with an excursion

National Constitution Center

A museum dedicated solely to the US Constitution, the National Constitution Center is the first and only of its kind. The attraction displays exhibits detailing the history of the US Constitution and its amendments.

This landmark also serves as a meeting place and center of debate for Constitutional scholars and politicians. It's one of the most famous landmarks of Philadelphia and a favorite among history buffs.

An alleyway surrounded by old brick houses on a sunny day
Old City is known as "America's most historic square mile"

Old City

Known as "America's most historic square mile," Old City features original cobblestone streets and historic buildings. It's also a lively place to shop, dine, and sightsee. It's home to several historical landmarks in Philadelphia, including the Betsy Ross House and Elfreth's Alley.

Old City is a favorite among tourists and locals alike. You can stroll the cobblestone streets, learn some historical Pennsylvania facts, or have a drink in one of many old-style Philly pubs.

☂️ Explore the Old City on a tour

Franklin Square

One of the original Philadelphia squares envisioned by William Penn back in 1682, Franklin Square is full of history and charm. It's also a great place for family-friendly fun.

You can stroll around, grab a bite at the cafe, play a round of mini-golf, or take a ride on the carousel. The centerpiece of this quaint location is the impressive 180-year-old fountain, the oldest in the US.

African American Museum in Philadelphia

Founded in 1976, the African American Museum in Philadelphia is the first museum established by a major municipality to preserve, interpret, and exhibit African American history and culture.

While there, visitors can tour various exhibits and can also participate in educational workshops, enjoy artistic performances, and view historical reenactments.

☂️ Discover the African American Museum in Philadelphia on a tour

A large stone building with stairs, columns, and banners under a blue sky
The Franklin Institute was built in honor of Benjamin Franklin

The Franklin Institute

Founded in the 1820s in honor of Benjamin Franklin, The Franklin Institute hosts an array of science exhibits for all ages. It's the largest science museum in Philadelphia and among the top Philadelphia landmarks for families to visit, with plenty of hands-on fun for kids.

In addition to its many exhibits, the attraction also houses a planetarium and hosts live science demonstrations.


One of Philadelphia's most culturally vibrant locations, Chinatown is full of unique art, restaurants, museums, and shops. Philadelphia's Chinatown is most famous for the culinary delights available at every corner.

You can find dishes from China, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and others here. The area also hosts seasonal festivals, artistic events, and street fairs showcasing Asian culture.

A sundial statue of women surrounded by cherry blossom trees
Fairmount Park is a great place to stroll around in nature

Fairmount Park

One of the most popular parks in Philadelphia, Fairmount Park offers a quiet oasis in the middle of the bustling city. Over 2,000 acres of lush, green landscapes, walking trails, and bike paths provide visitors with plenty of options for outdoor recreation, perfect for a picnic, hike, or bike ride.

Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center

The Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center is located within Fairmount Park and features serene gardens, koi ponds, and traditional Japanese-style architecture. Visitors can stroll through the peaceful gardens, feed the koi fish, learn about Japanese culture, and marvel at the gorgeous 75-year-old weeping cherry tree.

The Mütter Museum

Located within the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the Mutter Museum offers a fascinating array of antique medical equipment and scientific specimens.

Educational displays showcase historical medical events like the 1918 Pandemic and Cholera outbreaks. Those with a strong stomach can tour the Mutter Museum's collection of specimens including real skeletal remains, tumors, and organs.

Historical Sites in Philadelphia

A brick house with a hanging American flag and a "Betsy Ross House" sign
The Betsy Ross House is where the first official American flag was sewn

Betsy Ross House

One of the top Philadelphia points of interest, the Betsy Ross House, is known as the birthplace of the American flag. Visitors can step back in time in the almost 300-year-old house where seamstress Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag. Interactive reenactments of Betsy's life and work can also be seen.

☂️ Join a tour to see Betsy Ross House

The President's House

Just steps from the Liberty Bell Center sits the remnants of the home of George Washington, the nation's first president. Most of the house was demolished in 1832, but the National Park Service commandeered the remaining foundation and built an outdoor museum.

The new building is now an exhibition on early slavery. A memorial with the names of nine enslaved people who once served in the home sits outside. Their stories are told through exhibits, videos, and original texts.

☂️ Discover the Presidents House Site on a tour

Christ Church Burial Ground

Established in 1719, the Christ Church Burial Ground is one of the oldest and most notable burial grounds in the United States. It is the final resting place of Benjamin Franklin and other noteworthy historical figures.

Over 4,000 people are buried at Christ Church Burial Ground, including some of the country's earliest leaders, members of the military, and medical pioneers.

A Gothic-style stone building under a blue sky
The historical Eastern State Penitentiary was constructed in 1829

Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary was the first penitentiary in America, housing over 85,000 prisoners between 1829 and 1971. During the 1920s, bank robber Willie Sutton and legendary crime boss Al Capone served sentences there.

Today, visitors can tour the grounds, learn about the history of the prison, and even enter Al Capone's cell.

Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church

The Mother Bethel AME Church is home to the first Black Protestant denomination in the US. The church has been serving the African American community of Philadelphia since the late 1700s.

It was a place of sanctuary during the Civil War and a meeting place during the Civil Rights era. Today, it's a member of the historic registry and still provides services to the African Methodist Episcopalian community in Philadelphia.

Elfreth's Alley

Elfreth's Alley is the oldest continuously inhabited residential street in America. The homes and structures in the alley were built between 1720 and 1830 and are preserved along with the iconic cobblestone streets. Today, you can walk this street, learn about its history, and get a glimpse of what life was like in Philadelphia in the 1700s.

Famous Buildings in Philadelphia

A Renaissance-style building with many windows and a tall spire in the middle
Philadelphia City Hall is one of the city's most amazing pieces of architecture

Philadelphia City Hall

An impressive turn-of-the-century architectural feat, Philadelphia City Hall houses the city's government offices and is the largest municipal building in the United States. The building sprawls over 14 acres and has a 548-foot tower, atop which is a statue of Willian Penn, an early colonial founder.

While tours inside have been limited since 2020, many still come to marvel at the grand architecture of the hall and photograph its facade. Philadelphia City Hall is not only an iconic Philly landmark but also one of the most prominent landmarks in Pennsylvania.

☂️ Visit Philadelphia City Hall with an excursion

The American Philosophical Society

Founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin, The American Philosophical Society is known as the oldest learned society in the US. In addition to Benjamin Franklin, other founding fathers were among the first members, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton.

Today, the society hosts doctors, scholars, scientists, and political leaders for philosophical research and debate. The museum and library house several literary collections and exhibits.

☂️ See the American Philosophical Society on a tour

A brick pathway surrounded by brick buildings under a blue sky
Carpenters' Hall is the birthplace of the first Continental Congress

Carpenters' Hall

Carpenters' Hall is another of the many famous Philadelphia buildings. This landmark is notable as it once housed the first Continental Congress.

Historical artifacts and the occasional costumed character tell the tale of the building's storied past. The hall is undergoing restoration in 2023, so check if the attraction has re-opened before heading over.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church

St. Paul's Episcopal Church opened in 1762 and has been a forerunner in important sociopolitical issues such as the fight for racial equality and women's rights. It was also one of the first churches to perform same-sex marriages. It has striking architecture, colorful stained glass windows, and elaborate wood carvings adorning the ark-shaped ceiling.

The Second Bank of the United States is one of many Philadelphia landmarks
The Second Bank of the United States opened in 1816 and now houses an art gallery

Second Bank of the United States

Founded in 1816, the Second Bank of the United States was the second federally chartered bank of the new nation. Today, the building is regarded as a grand display of Greek Revival architecture.

It also houses an extensive collection of 18th and 19th-century paintings, and its art collection includes military, political, and scientific figures. The Second Bank of the United States is undergoing renovations in 2023, so check opening times before heading over.

Hill-Physick House

With a history that dates back to 1786, the Hill-Physick House is one of the oldest historical places in Philadelphia. It was once the home of Philip Syng Physick, a physician deemed "the father of American surgery."

Dr. Physick was credited for leading several medical advancements at the turn of the 19th century. The house is now a National Historic Site that offers tours and educational experiences relating to Dr. Physick's work and the house's history.

☂️ Discover the Hill-Physick House on a tour

Classical Revival-style buildings by the river
Fairmount Water Works is a must-see for architecture and engineering enthusiasts

Fairmount Water Works

A modern engineering marvel of its time, Fairmount Water Works was established in 1815 to supply water to the growing city of Philadelphia. It was decommissioned in 1909 in favor of more advanced systems but remains a must-see site featuring a history museum with interactive displays, a science lab, and a theater.

Philadelphia Monuments

A large hanging copper bell on a stand with a crack on it
The Liberty Bell is a renowned symbol of American freedom

Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell is one of the most well-known landmarks in Philadelphia. A monument that has withstood the test of time, the bell was first made famous when it was used to call early lawmakers into session at the Pennsylvania State House.

Later, the bell was adopted as a symbol for abolitionists fighting to end slavery. The Liberty Bell is now one of the most recognized symbols of American freedom.

Benjamin Franklin National Memorial

Located outside the Franklin Institute, the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial stands at an impressive 20 feet and is sculpted from white marble. It's one of the most iconic statues in Philadelphia and a favorite place for tourists to take photos with one of history's famous Founding Fathers.

A bronze sculpture depicting people in a boat
The Irish Memorial commemorates the Great Irish Famine and Irish migration to the US

The Irish Memorial Monument

Showcasing Irish heritage in Philadelphia, the Irish Memorial Monument tells the story of the Great Irish Famine that caused a mass migration to the United States.

The monument is painstakingly detailed to show the immense suffering victims of the famine faced and their long journey to America. Created to educate, memorialize, and inspire empathy among all who lay eyes on it.

Smith Memorial Arch

A monument to Pennsylvania Civil War heroes, the Smith Memorial Arch resides on the Avenue of the Republic in Fairmount Park. It took 15 years to build, with several artists partaking in the project.

Fourteen military figures are represented in statue form along the intricately carved arch. It is a favorite among art enthusiasts, history buffs, and photographers.

STUDIO MELANGE/Shutterstock.com
A colorful road archway with Chinese-style designs and characters
The Chinatown Friendship Gate features tiles from Tianjin, China

Chinatown Friendship Arch

Serving as a gateway into the famous Chinatown district, the Chinatown Friendship Gate, or Chinatown Friendship Arch, stands as a beautiful homage to the Chinese community of Philadelphia.

It was constructed in 1984 with the help of artists and engineers from Tianjin, known as Philadelphia's "sister city" in China. The gate features colorful tiles and intricate carvings representing Chinese cultural symbols.

In Summary

Philly is a hub of education, history, and culture. Whether visiting one of the many museums or historical sites, you will surely come away with some newfound knowledge about American history and culture.

From the bustling cobblestone streets of the historic district to the steps where Rocky trained, there is much to see in Philadelphia!

Give us feedback about this article

Written by Lauren Rey

L_Rey FORMER WRITER Lauren might be based in Florida, but she is always plotting out a new road trip route with her partner-in-crime, Pickles. Pickles is a mixed-breed rescue dog that loves hiking, road trips, and Starbucks as much as her mom does!

Want to keep exploring?

Subscribe for discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

Thank you for subscribing

We will be in touch soon with discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

Want to keep exploring?

Subscribe for discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

Thank you for subscribing

We will be in touch soon with discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

Want to keep exploring?

Subscribe for discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

By entering your email address you agree to our terms and conditions, Privacy policy, and consent to receive emails.