If you want to visit Philly, you absolutely have to see at least a few of these beautiful structures. Philadelphia is legendary for its many different architectural styles. In daylight or at night, the city looks charming because of its architectural richness. So, let’s talk about the city’s must-see architectural wonders.
1. The Wanamaker Building
You’ll find this opulent gem at 1300 Market Street. It used to house Wanamaker’s Department Store, which was eventually replaced by a Macy’s store. From the outside, you may expect to find a courtroom inside of the all-gray Italian Renaissance structure. It’s tall, wide and a bit foreboding. When you step inside, the first-floor courtyard will amaze you.
Picture flowers, trees, benches and everything you’d expect to find in a tranquil park. Since it’s an open courtyard, you can see it from most levels of the building. You’ll see an enormous lit tree towering over the courtyard if you visit around Christmas. You may also notice a bunch of fancy gold pipes just above the courtyard. If you’re not a music enthusiast, you may not realize that it’s an enormous pipe organ. You really have to see this building to believe it.
2. The Comcast Center
No trip to Philly to see architecture would be complete without seeing the city’s tallest building. There are talks that taller buildings may be erected. For now, you can go to John F. Kennedy Boulevard just past the iconic Love Park to see this towering beauty. Reflecting the company’s idea of transparency, the building’s walls are mostly made of glass. You can see inside the shimmering structure from the street. Some people cite a height of 973 feet precisely, and some say that it is 975 feet. Aside from the impressive glass, the indoor LED screen that measures 2,000 square feet is the most amazing feature. You can go in and watch a show on it.
3. The Cira Center
As you head to 2929 Arch Street, you may think that there is a mirage in the distance. It’s just the Cira Center’s exterior reflecting everything. On a sunny day with scattered clouds, it nearly blends into the background. Cesar Pelli designed the 473-foot office building. If you spend a lot of time on Instagram and have friends who visit or live in Philly, you’ve probably seen a selfie or a sunset photo featuring this living crystal. There’s not a lot to see inside other than office buildings. However, it’s still fun to go see it and take some keepsake photos.
4. Fisher Fine Arts Library
You’ll find this castle-like library at 220 South 34th Street. Frank Furness was the creative genius behind this building and several others. If you love to sit down with a good book in surroundings that stimulate your imagination, you’ll probably never want to leave this library. There’s an open reading area with ornate windows, walls and a regal staircase. If you walk around the building, you’ll notice several stones with inscriptions on them. Be sure to snap some photos of the exterior of this exquisite Venetian Gothic structure.
5. Kimmel Center
At 300 South Broad Street, you’ll find one of the city’s most unique structures. You can’t miss the Kimmel Center with its pronounced rounded roof. You can see through most of the glamorous roof, which protects a garden. Visit the garden for a breathtaking aerial view of the Avenue of the Arts. There are trees, flowers and more. The building below the garden takes up an entire city block and is home to two theaters. If you like performing arts, look up schedules and get tickets in advance. The massive theaters in this building reflect the extravagance of early Victorian theaters but with a modern twist.
6. Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk
Although this isn’t a building with doors and windows, the boardwalk is a magnificent architectural structure that you won’t find in most other cities. It is a newer structure that connects Locust Street and South Street. In the past, one of the city’s most popular running trails stopped at Locust Street. Now, runners and sightseers can enjoy an extended area on the boardwalk. This boardwalk doesn’t sit on the riverbank. It was actually built in the river a short distance from the shore.
I hope this guide gives you a few ideas. Philly is full of beauty and boasts an intriguing history. If you’re open to learn more, you definitely will, and you’ll have fun in the process.
About The Author
Todd Lubar currently serves as Senior Vice President at Legendary Investments and President of TDL Global Ventures, LLC. He earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Syracuse University in 1995. In that same year, Todd realized his passion for helping others and for real estate. He decided to make finance and real estate his lifetime career. Todd served in several positions in the real estate industry between 1995 and 2007. At that time, Todd focused more on financial services.
Although mortgage banking has been his main priority throughout his successful career life, Todd has also shown his impressive entrepreneurial spirit by owning several other types of companies from a recycling center to a demolition business. In his spare time, Todd loves spending time with his two adorable children where he lives in Maryland.